To say that each of the national parks in Utah is unique wouldn’t be an untrue statement at all. But we wondered, before we actually traveled there, how could rock in one park in the same state be so different from that in another park?
Arches has well, its arches, of course. Canyonlands has not only canyons but precipices and commanding views. Capitol Reef and Grand Staircase-Escalante — two drive-thru parks — boast vast scenery of various colors and shapes. But then there’s Bryce, different from all, with amphitheaters, canyons and hoodoos.
Ever since we read the term “hoodoo,” we’ve been fascinated. It sounds like “voodoo” and resembles some people’s vision of a haint, if you’re from the South. But hoodoos are formations. Kinda like tall, skinny people with wispy bodies and heads balanced on necks of questionable support.
Hoodoos are all about erosion, if you will. Composed of limestone with some other content thrown in (mudstone, siltstone, for example), hoodoos begin as blocks of stone but end up as hoodoos after wind and water have their way with them.
Frost wedging is what it’s called: melting snow gets into the crevices of porous limestone and freezes. And when freezing water expands, it creates cracks and holes that eventually lead to separations — or those tall individual forms resembling men standing at attention.
Minerals play a part in the coloring of hoodoos. If you look closely, you see striations of white and cream among the pinks and oranges and reds. Dolomite, for example, is one such mineral. A magnesium-rich limestone, dolomite can form a protective coating that erodes less quickly, explaining why some of the hoodoos are topped with white caps.
You may find yourself, as we did, staring for long periods of time at formations that you might not have seen at first glance. And you notice the ravages of time and weather on the stone. But you also start to create things. Like you do when you look up at clouds and see shapes of something familiar. Standing here, we could make out “buildings,” so to speak, with arched doors, covered “hallways,” and hoodoos stationed at the base like time-worn sentinels waiting for visitors.
Perhaps the most famous hoodoo at Bryce is Thor’s Hammer. And the structure must feel pretty special, too, since it has its own commanding view, and most visitors want to take its picture. It could be the hoodoo of all hoodoos.
Seeing it is something you don’t want to miss.
You can’t visit Bryce without being charmed by the hoodoos. They’re what you come for. Best viewing spots? According to the National Park Service website, you can be see them at the Navajo Loop Trail, the Queen’s Garden Trail, and Full Moon Hikes. But actually, we saw them at every stop we made.
Hoodoos are natural. Colorful. Captivating. And synonymous with Bryce.
So, hoodoo you love?
For more information:
Bryce Canyon National Park/Hoodoos: https://www.nps.gov/brca/learn/nature/hoodoos.htm
Photo credit for Thor’s Hammer: Wikimedia Commons
For more on Utah’s national parks, check out our Travel Series We Saw Utah to see the beauty!