Sunset Notch

Drainage Gully, Wet but Cracked
Sandstone ChannelsSandstone Channels

The white clays in the foreground (appearing bluish at dusk) are eroding smoothly into deep channels, resembling folded cloth impregnated with plaster. This formation was approximately ten feet high (there is a large sod table on the far side, a higher plateau); others were twice as high.  I was walking in a drainage area, lower than the road at the Visitor Center in Cedar Pass, which is located just behind (and below) my apartment here. Water run-off has formed similarly-smooth gullies in the clay pan sediments, which are simultaneously MUDDY and CRACKED.  Weird place. The formations are pale, mudstones trending to ruddy Brule layers in higher formations.  These clays feature channel sandstone (or is it limestone?) layers near their tops, often undercut and crumbling, and studded with rust-colored concretions.  I saw fossil bones in several locations, as well as a lot of mule deer scat, coyote tracks, and mouse-tunnels.

As I write this note, the coyotes are howling their heads off outside! My window is still open a few inches, since it was so warm today. The howls were so eerie and near, I thought it was my own stomach making noises! I cracked my door to see what the moon looked like (quietly, so as not to wake any neighbors) and when I stepped outside, I was surrounded by a herd of mule deer who’d been grazing on the lawn of the staff-housing compound. They snorted and tore off in all directions, probably thinking I was a coyote.

Fossil BoneClay Ball, Fractured

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