Exploring the Morrison Formation

Okay, get ready for a boatload of photos! Our first full day in Utah, Herb took us to explore some of the Morrison Formation. This type of desert landscape is all over Utah and consists of mostly purple and white banded hills with rocky outcroppings. Herb informed us that here be dinosaur fossils!

The steeper bits made us thankful we had goats to carry our water and gear!

I was also thankful I had a goat on the downhill side to steady me as we hiked along this precarious hillside. The rocks were very unstable and one slip could have caused a sprained angle or even a long, painful tumble.

What’s Sputnik doing, posing like that? He must be learning from Finn!

This is one of those “almost-worked-out” photos that Finn and I managed to botch. See Herb and Woodstock framed in the archway? They are the intended subject matter. When Phil told me to call Finn, I thought he meant he wanted Finn to look through the rocks. But Phil actually wanted me to call Finn away so he could get a nice shot of Herb. Now we’ve got Finn’s throat in the shot. Oh well. Not every artistic endeavor is destined to succeed.

Classic banded hills.

Herb and Bacchus.

This is not the most interesting photo in the world, but it reminds me of something that greatly affected our hike but which can’t be seen in the photos: Gnats! Yes, we were endlessly gnettled by an ignfestation of gnasty, gnefarious gnats which gnawed on our gnoggins and our poor goats’ gnethers. (According to Herb, every word that began with the letter “N” must be preceded by the letter “G” (pronounced) to emphasize that fact that the word “gnat” is ridiculous.) The people wore “gnat gnets,” but there was gnothing to protect the goats. We were surprised to see Finn suddenly lie down with his load mid-morning on this dirt pile. At first I thought maybe he was sick, but it turned out he was trying to scratch his belly on the ground.

I think Wile E. Coyote is hiding behind that rock with a stick. “Be careful, Sputnik!”

“Don’t push, Sputnik!”

That’s a B-I-I-I-I-G rock.

Stripey mushroom rocks! Are there any Smurfs hiding back there?

What are they all looking at?

Noble goats.

Herb and his goats blend in very well with this landscape.

I prefer red packs to help my boys stand out.

“Water! Water! I need water!”

A handsome trio.

We took a break in the shade of an overhanging rock. Everyone was glad to get out of the sun for a while.

An altercation occurred when Finn finally ran out of patience with Herb’s dog, Luna. She teased and pestered Finn and Sputnik every time they stopped, and both goats kept warning her off with their horns. Finn finally snapped and rammed her in the ribs. She howled as if every bone on that side was broken, but I think she mostly just wanted Herb to acknowledge her suffering because she stopped crying as soon as Herb checked our her “injuries”. She was fine five minutes later, silly dog!

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but it’s funny.

Bacchus enjoyed posing before the various Hues of Utah.

I love the rocks in this dry riverbed. They look like paving stones in an ancient roadway.

These rocks were my absolute favorite. I couldn’t get enough of them. They are hard to capture in photos. The brightness of the gold and the depth of the purple are usually lost.

Phil poses on the colors of his Alma Mater. Houghton College used purple and gold.

Herb photographs Bacchus’ best side. Tongue

If it weren’t for the tuft of grass in the foreground, this might look like a full-sized tree growing down in a rock canyon.

Personal portraits:
Boss photo of Herb and Bacchus.

Boss photo of Phil and Finn.

Wimpy photo of Nan and Sputnik.

In photos, the only thing that really brought out the purple in the rocks was Sputnik’s halter.

Woodstock’s coat blends in perfectly with the color of the rock. It’s a good thing he’s wearing a green pack to contrast!

I loved these little “goblins” down in the valley.

Little did I know that a few minutes later we would walk right past them.

Check out those colors!

In this landscape, I felt we might fit in better if we were using camels.

It looks like we’re in the middle of nowhere in a trackless desert, but believe it or not, we’re almost back to the truck. It was a great day of hiking. We found many interesting rocks and fossils, including a few that were worth bringing home to my curio cabinet. What a wonderful excursion!

4 thoughts on “Exploring the Morrison Formation

  1. Purple Mts majesty for sure. The goats are looking mighty majestic too and of course we know the humans are good looking too. What is it with the Hassey’s and rocks anyway?

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