We recently complete a 50 mile endurance competition starting at Mt. Carmel Junction and traversing the countryside surrounding Zion National Park. The above photo is taken at Mineral Point, above a branch of the Virgin River.
Also in April, we traveled to canyon country just outside of Bryce National Park, riding trails through Casto and Losee Canyons. The reddish hoodoos are typical of the area's famous Claron formation.
Note the tiny window in the red rock fin.
This streambed showed an abundance of small pockets created by erosion. We found running water in one canyon, enough to provide a cool drink for the horses and a swimming hole for Daisy.
In front and to the left of Steve is a Great Basin bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva. At this latitude, we see them at 8000 feet or above, in high, windy, dry locations subject to cold winters, where they are best able to compete. Bristlecones grow very slowly and some are estimated to be thousands of years old. The needles can stay on the trees for up to 40 years. The thickly needled branches resemble bottle brushes. The tree seems to prefer the dolomitic white colored soil shown above. Limber pine and Ponderosa pine also grow in the higher areas.
The views were impressive.
The weather was 60ish and sunny, with just enough wind to keep the horses cool. We couldn't have ordered up a better day to explore these colorful, unique canyons.