Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park–Utah, November 1st 2011

17 Nov

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Making a slight change from rocks and hoodoos a visit to Coral Pink Sand Dunes seemed a good idea. The camp ground was very quiet enabling us to have a site with a great desert view back towards the mountains . A short walk took us to the dunes area and a raised platform amphitheatre where we sat the first evening to watch the sun fade across the dunes.

High winds and cooler temperatures were forecast for later the next day so we started out P1220405early to explore. We began on the nature trail reading about the various plants and animals which make the dune their home. We spotted many tracks from these mostly nocturnal creatures and had fun trying to decide who made which mark.

Soon we crossed toward the nearest of the dunes. The sand was soft and steep but great fun to climb. As we began to get to the crest we could feel the wind picking up and blowing sand at us.

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Of course we could not be content with climbing the first dune – there we two more to conquer!

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The dunes here have been created by wind blown sand from the Navajo sandstone cliffs being funnelled through a gap in the mountains, collecting on the valley rocks and piling up behind them. Today we could see exactly how this would occur with the wind increasing all the time we were out walking.

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A draw back to all our fun was that our shoes became full of sand, heavy shoes make for hard walking and we had to stop and empty them more than once!

Along with climbing and jumping in the sand we spent some time inspecting the fragments of rocks and minerals lying around. Small coral coloured stones caught my attention first, probably washed down in the summer flash floods from the cliffs, then we began to find small round concretions, looking just like marbles (and also known as moki marbles) these are formed in the rocks where there are deposits of iron. Now had I thought of it at the time we could have had fun by taking some of these to the top of the dunes to roll them down… ah well next time!

We were due to move on to Page AZ and as I said the wind was picking up so we thought we would move out that afternoon before it got too strong. With the sky still blue we got some great views of the surrounding mountains as we travelled towards Arizona.

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