Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pickle Springs Natural Area

This park is located about six miles northeast of Farmington, on Highway 32.  Over the years it has been a favorite place of mine to hike. And you may be wondering about the name, what exactly does pickles have to do with a pool of water bubbling out of the ground?  My same theory for street name works here;  if a street's name does not make sense, then there is a person with that name. And there was a Mr. Pickles who owned Pickle Springs back in 1848, until the early 1860s. According to local legend he was shot by renegades sometime during the Civil War. Because of its permanent flow the spring was a critical source of water for local settlers during the dry summer months. In the picture below there is a waterfall and ledge, under which is located the spring. There are also other small waterfalls and a Pickle Creek which runs through the park.
 The path through this park is 2 miles long and is considered moderately difficult. It has steep cliffs and bluffs, as well as a couple of canyons. Below is a picture of Rockpile Canyon where a collapse of the south wall occurred in 1959, which left a sheer sandstone bluff. Neighbors can still recall the rumbling, thundering-like sound when the boulders fell from the canyon wall.
One  of the most awesome rock formations in the park is that of a special buttress arch, holding up a shelf of sandstone which in turn supports three huge rocks, two of which form another small arch.
You may remember from past postings this summer my discussion regarding hoodoos, or rock pillars. Pickle Springs has these moundlike sandstone formations. They sure occur in many unusual and often fantastic forms! And the ones located in this park are no exception!
Since we last hiked in this park the trail has become a bit more rougher to traverse over. Erosion has taken place and in some places large trees have fallen over the trail. However, its spectacular scenery has never changed and the park has as much natural beauty as some of the places we saw out west this past summer.

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