The Pillars of Utah

UtahThe color red is such a dominant but mutable feature in the landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah that it would be convenient to have 30 or more different words to describe its variations, just as the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic have 30 different words to describe snow. Indeed, 60 varied shades of red have been identified. One is told the canyon is at its best at sunset. That’s true. Until you see it at sunrise. The harsh glare of noon betrays the devilish formations of broken-face gargoyles and sinister, brooding shapes, reminding the visitor of famous profiles or man-made structures. Hence some of the bizarre pillars, pedestals and carved, crimson cliffs, collectively known as “hoodoos,” have been nicknamed “Pope,” “Queen Victoria” and “Tower Bridge.”

This masterpiece of erosional scenery is a startling marriage of harshness and serenity. Nature’s chisels, time, wind and water have carved mile after mile of column-filled amphitheatres, labyrinths of box canyons, sheer walls, fin-like ridges and towering, fluted columns.

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