|Climbing the Corkscrew, Ancient Art Formation, Fisher Towers|
|Kingfisher Tower and Ancient Art Formation in early morning shade|
If that would prove too easy, why not put a line between some high tops and test your slack-lining skills by balancing from peak to peak? There is no end to activities to satisfy your thirst for adventure in between those miracle towers! You don't believe me? Well, take a look at this VIDEO! Pictures say more than a thousand words.
By now you could have guessed that I am talking about the Fisher Towers of fame, reachable in just half an hour by car from Moab, following a beautiful road upstreams the Colorado river.
|Travelling North on Utah Route 128 in the Colorado River Valley|
There is only one drawback, and it concerns dog owners. About mid-distance on the trail, there is a deep cleft to cross, where the park services have put a ladder, so you can descend easily on the slippery stones. This proves a ladder too far for men's best friend and many a master has been forced to cut short his adventure tour so as not to miss the company of his dear companion.
|Where dogs won't tread|
|Climber on top of "Corkscrew". Screenshot from Citbank Commercial|
The towers are mainly built up of the so called Organ Rock sandstone formation. This is a very old stone stratum, contained within the Cutler Sandstone Group. Those of you readers that crave a deeper understanding of this intriguing stratum, are encouraged to study this pedagogical ARTICLE. The lesser mortals among you may still be interested to hear that Organ Rock sandstone has about the same age (just a bit less) as the Mesa Verde Sandstone and (just a bit more than) the White Rim Sandstone. In fact, all three strata are contained in the Cutler family, which was formed in Earth' old age, in the Permian Period. So we have covered almost the whole Cutler group within three blog posts, quite a substantial achievement, don't you think?
Organ Rock stone is rather brittle and easily eroded by the forces of the seasons. This explains, why the towers' sides have a muddy look to them, as if a giant were constantly occupied with throwing big slabs of that sticky material at them.
|Kingfisher Tower, "mud"-clad, with highest top protected by Moenkopi "cap"|
We were off to an early start from Moab, that morning, but I still managed to take a quick memorial shot of the garden in back of our cosy inn, as a "Goodbye" to a nice place where we had spent five pleasant nights.
|Autumn morning in garden of Sunflower Hill Inn, Moab|
As soon as we arrived at the trail head I rushed out of the car and started shooting off with the camera. One of the shots turned out quite nicely, you can perceive the result as the second picture from the top above.
|View Northeast from Fisher Towers Trailhead|
Far on the horizon, we could glance some vermillion formations that border on Castle Valley. These rocks are famous among climbers who have tired of getting excited about the Fisher Towers. The lonely tower to the far left there is called Castleton Tower, and the formation just to the right of it consists of the Refectory. It has a slim tower at its right, called The Priest. Another tower, Sister Superior, is almost hidden behind the next hill, showing only its top over it. Here is another treat for the fairer sex: don't hesitate to click on this VIDEO. You may wish to jump directly to minute 6.15, to see an engaging young lady climb Castleton Tower without ropes and thereupon jump off the top.
|The hike begins: Castle Valley towers on the horizon|
|Approaching the Fisher Towers. Kingfisher Tower in the background|
|Fisher Towers Amphitheater: Ancient Art Formation at left, Kingfisher Tower at center|
|Backward look at Castle Valley|
|The Group of Eight picnicking at the front of Cottontail Tower. Kingfisher Tower to the left|
|Right flank of Cottontail Tower|
|Start of canyon trail along Cottontail Tower's foot|
I assure you that I had nothing to do with this. My otherwise trusty Nikon suddenly chose to get difficult on me and started to produce only these watercolor imitations whilst I was busy documenting our descent into the void. This destroyed a lot of engaging pictures for me, I can tell you! Those pictures have been "baked" by the Nikon and there is nothing I can do to change them back.
|Nikon camera getting funky on me!|
|View Northeast from Cottontail Canyon|
|The Titan in all his majesty!|
|The Group of Eight dwarfed by The Titan. Peak of Cottontail Tower at far left|
But let us not dally here, time to get on with our hike! There followed a long stretch of relatively easy trampling on a level, but gravely surface, until it was time for the next wonder of nature: a tiny natural arch we had to bow under, the only one to exist in this region of giants.
And here it is, in all its humble splendor! Anyone wishing to follow the trail to Trail's End has actually to go through this trap. There is no other way to continue the trip! After the passage you tend downhills for a hundred meters, before ascending the goal of the hike, a ridge the top of which you can just about glance on the upper left of the picture, and to the left of the two towers you can notice there.
|The "Big Bro Arch", tiny but shiny!|
Isn't it nice to pay homage to a small wonder of nature for a change?
|Bowing under Big Bro Arch|
This gave us a marvelous view of the Towers, as well as the valley below, all the way down to the Colorado. Unfortunately, since this was midday with a clear sky, there were no contrasts to be found in that direction, so I don't have any pictures to show for it. You just have to trust my word that this was indeed an outstanding panorama.
It seemed that we had reached the end of the trail, since the ridge ended rather abruptly on a huge boulder that seemingly barred all further progress. I was very surprised to see this, since, some ten meters below us, there was another ridge, angled towards our's at about 90 degrees. Furthermore, there were people on that ridge, that seemed much more eager than us to enjoy the scenery!
"Nu var goda råd dyra!" (Good advice was sorely needed); but there was no one to help us out of this one way trap. Eventually, the most adventurous member of our Group of Eight stepped forth and started to slide around the boulder on its left hand side; slightly counter-intuitively, since the lower ridge we sought was angling off towards the right, and an almost vertical void opened up on the left.
|Void bordering the boulder's left hand side|
And it was well worth it to dare fate in such a manner, since we now had arrived at the very end of the way. Just a wee bit further rose what only can be described as the outlier tower rounding off the last rampart of an enormous medieval fortification. Book two of "Lord of the Rings" comes to mind.
|View down Onyon Valley|
To show you what I mean, have a look at this model of Hornburg, made in Lego by an intriguing artist.
|Hornburg, from Tolkien's Tale of Two Towers. Lego model Source: Danieldt|
Much better to let other, more vigorous Members of our Group of Eight do the task for me. Let me take a picture of them striving to the very end, so as to provide scale to the deep and formidable landscape! Seen from the valley floor, this outpust must have looked like another giant tower, positioned as it was at least 300 meters above it.
|Hikers on last outpost to Onyon Valley|
It would be later in the day, with the sun at a different angle, and we would look forward upon scenery we hitherto had left at our back! So there was plenty yet to experience and document. Still, I fear that your patience is running thin by now; so let me concentrate on four highlights from our back trip, before coming to the grand finale.
The first picture shows a small marvel already well known to you. That notwithstanding, I feel the urge to present another view of it, lest this brown delicacy fades from your memory amidst the manifold of red giants.
|The Big Bro an hour later|
I trust you admit, that this view of its flank conveys a completely different impression of the giant's stature and grandeur! It is not so much a spire we are looking at here; rather, it resembles a giant fin, like the one you can see – at a much smaller scale – on an aircraft's tail or a shark's sharp-end.
|Hikers on flank of Cottontale Tower|
But what they lack in scale they more than make up for in pleasing shape. I found the statue below especially endearing. It looked to me like a cobra, slithering its way upwards – as if charmed by Baba Gulabgir –, whilst balancing a small tablet on its head. Later on, I discovered that I was not alone in that interpretation, this goblin is called "The Cobra" and – does it surprise you? – is the structure to climb, if you are an enterprising youngster.
|An intriguing "goblin", called The Cobra. The Corkscrew on upper right|
Let us round up this hefty adventure trip by showing a last scenery, which met the weary hiker, when almost back at the trailhead. By then, I was rather exhausted and had left my fellow hikers far ahead of me. But the end was near and I trusted them to wait for me patiently at the car. So I still took some minutes to preserve this view for posterity (or at least for this blog!). This being the last day of the hiking trip and all!
|View of Castle Rocks towards end of Fisher trail|
|Dirt road from Fisher Towers to Route 128|
|Colorado Valley, seen from Route 128|