Friday, September 28, 2012

Into the West: It's all about the Rocks!!

In the Garden of Infinite Wisdom  
Botanical Garden: Haily, ID

This summer I was fortunate to experienced my first road trip in decades.  Andy and I left Anacortes for Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana on a day when thunder and lightening seemed to follow us everywhere.  We were on an adventure traveling through some familiar territory and to some places we've never been!
Stormy skies in Northeast Oregon

This trip was very social in many ways. We stopped to visit family and friends in Sun Valley, Salt Lake City, Boulder, Colorado, West Yellowstone, Wise River, Montana.  We camped, hiked, stayed in a hostel, and dipped in a hot spring pool.  We had two rock chips in our windsheild in two days, our car turned 100,000 miles, and entrusted our cats, garden and house to our teenage son.  Yet, in this post, I want to highlight one of my favorite topics:  Rocks!!!  Sun, wind, water erroded, exposed, crumbling, prominent, still forming, smooth, sharp, dull, brilliant, gigantic and tiny!

A tenacious tree growing through lava flows at Crators of the Moon Idaho

I know we drove past places where they find opals, sapphires, and quartz crystals.  Maybe some other time I'll go on a gemstone tour of the west!  For now I'll have to be happy with the pictures of amazing formations and geothermal wonders we encountered.
Snake River Canyon at Twin Falls  (you can see kayaks in the bottom left)

Heading East from Salt Lake City, UT
Near the Flat Irons, Boulder, Colorado

Wyoming Colors

Surprising to me was the variety and scope of the geology of Wyoming.  We saw only a slice of Utah and didn't get into the heart of the Rockies in Colorado.  So much saved for another year!

Wyoming Approaching Teton National Park

Vedauwoo Rocks in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Wyoming

More Vedauwoo, Wyoming
I have always loved observing geologic wonders; holding, finding, touching rocks large and small, shiny or dull, heavy or light.  I love to see how they landed thrown from a volcanic blast, were shaped and eroded by wind, water, or flowing glaciers, or see where they tumbled to into some canyon or became polished by waves on my favorite beach.  This trip was a feast for my latent rockhound self.
Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park, Montana

In Montana, experiencing a very different kind of rock
I like to think inspiration for my craft comes through the exposure on trips and adventures like this.  I feel renewed and invigorated looking back through the images and recalling the new sight, textures, smells, and sounds.  Let's fill that experience library with wonderful new memories!