Thursday, January 17, 2019

Alcoves Galore!

al·cove  noun 
A recess in the wall of a room or garden. An arched opening.
synonyns:  recess, niche, nook, opening, bay, hollow, cavity

I seemed to have stumbled upon the land of alcoves. Or perhaps "shallow caves" would be a better description? I seem to recall reading somewhere that alcoves are formed at ground level. When the very occasional rain water in the desert puddles up against a rock, and especially when the rain water is acidic, it begins to erode away certain areas of the rock. As this occurs over and over again, ta-da, you have an alcove! Remember, we're talking geologic time here.

Here's a typical alcove. They can be small, large, shallow or deep. All are interesting, and you never know what you might find inside. Nearly all have critter poop... mice, pack-rat, coyote, and a surprising number have bighorn sheep. Surprising because I don't know of a water source or spring anywhere in the area.

The opening to the above alcove must have been at ground level many years ago. Over geologic time, the sand and soil around the alcove slowly eroded away, leaving this alcove about 8' above ground level. Check back in 10,000 or 20,000 years, and it will likely be higher in elevation! According to this theory, alcoves high up in the rocks would be the oldest, while ground level alcoves would be relatively young.

Not quite an arch. More of a wave-shaped boulder. As we were checking out rock formations, three military helicopters flew in low overhead. This is Cousin Scott taking a picture of one. Quite a surprise, especially in this part of the desert, where you hear nothing but nature and rarely see another human footprint!

A couple more alcoves, one deep and one shallow. They are just a little above ground level, so easy access, and they are larger than they look.

View from inside looking out. Hi Scott!

Seems like alcoves often cluster together. A number of small alcoves here, with Cousin Scott for size reference.

The way these rocks erode can be pretty bizarre. Does anyone else see a scull?

Quack quack!

I can't tell you how many of these alcoves I've crawled inside to take pics, but it's a lot! I like the way the rock creates a natural picture frame.

One of my favorite alcoves discovered on this particular hike. It actually qualifies as a shallow cave because it's fairly deep. It has a squarish opening with a large slab of stone hanging down. It even had rough stone steps leading up to it!

Cousin Scott provides a nice reference for the size of the opening!

The view in. It continued beyond the large rock, but I didn't venture in that far!

The view out. A beautiful shelter, and quite spacious!


Mini-arch!

As you view the surrounding boulders and hills, you may notice many alcoves. It makes it difficult to follow a planned hike, because I am constantly veering off-course to go check out another alcove. But, hey, that's half the fun!

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

46 comments:

  1. You have quite a collection of alcoves, and like you, I like the natural frame!

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  2. You always find the most marvelous things to explore!

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  3. Cool pictures! Natures protection from the elements.

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  4. Those are a lot of neat alcoves! New to me.

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  5. Those are stunning. So many nooks to explore.

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  6. Wow, I am amazed. Next time venture on beyond that rock!!

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  7. Amazing landscape. Are there any drawings in the alcoves?

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  8. I like the duck head. Amazing rock formation,

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  9. Very very neat. Do you suppose that some of the larger ones were used my natives or nomads? My daughter lives on a large ranch in Eastern Washington in an area called the Channeled Scablands---Interesting area. Many caves in the in the rocky ridges. On in fact was studied by the University bigwigs and they stated by the materials they found the cave was used at least 3000 yrs ago. It has been documented. There are also some burial mounds on the property. Very interesting place
    MB

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  10. I love those alcoves, I wonder if people once lived in them.

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  11. So a lot to discover. The one in the second photo has something of a lions mouth wide open ready to devour the unsuspecting visitor. As always great shots.

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  12. Awesome a place I would love to nose around, all those books and crannies

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  13. Hello, what a beautiful place to explore. My hubby, the spelunker would love all the alcoves. Great series of photos. Enjoy your day and have a happy weekend.

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  14. There seems to be no limit to the variety of shape and form which natural processes, allied to geological time, can produce. If you want to grasp geological time then you need to go on a time walk: draw a line on the ground at the start of your walk, the another just 1cm away; that 1 cm represents 1,000 years. Then do the maths to work out how far you need to walk to represent the age of the rocks - you'll probably need to do the sums several times to convince yourself that you've got it right!

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  15. Amazing world! I could clearly see the scull.

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  16. Great post again, there is more interesting to be seen in your desert than one could imagine.

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  17. Amazing,haven't seen any before

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  18. Nice shots.

    I didn't see the skull.

    I almost always wonder what the area looked like 6 million 12, 24, 36 million years ago. I think there would have been daily rains, a few mammoths strolling by. Maybe a sloth or two.

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  19. Awesome alcove shots!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  20. Was good that Cousin Scott was there for perspective, and good company 😉 some of the alcoves looked quite small until he stood next to them. Loved the views you took looking out of the caves/ alcoves. Fascinating stuff SPP!

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  21. Wow, stunning stone formations !
    Great shots, as always...

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  22. As always, another collection of stunning rocks! I wonder if animals wandered into the alcoves to escape the sun, as opposed to seeking water.... But, then again, if the alcoves were made by water, then it must have been around.

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  23. It's always an adventure when you go hiking. Incredible and beautiful landscape.
    Wonderful photos as usual.

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  24. Amazing! Absolutely amazing!

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  25. I love you site because I always learn something new. It's fascinating that the ground has eroded, leaving the alcoves higher up. I'd be most afraid of flushing out an unhappy large critter.

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  26. Just watch out for the snakes who think those alcoves look pretty cool, too. :-)

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  27. Fascinating to read about the alcoves and the pictures of course are beautiful!

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  28. So interesting and I definitely see that skull!

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  29. Those are wonderful formations. I love the photos looking out of the caves that make them looked like framed pictures. I’d like to visit the desert in the winter when you can be out there for more than a few minutes without cooking. I always seem to end up there on the summer!

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  30. Awesome features! Geology is so interesting.

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  31. You hit pay dirt! You hit the mother load too. I did see the melted skull. Great hike and info about the holes. I can't wait to see more red rock country this summer. But for now, still enjoying the jungles of Costa Rica.

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  32. The fifth shot had a very interesting feature - it almost looked like rows of teeth … As always, thanks for sharing your desert beauty with us - love it all!

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  33. it was great for people and animals to find shelter. And it is beautiful too.

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  34. Such good ... and beautiful ... examples of the power of nature. And thank you for the geology lesson... I didn’t know that about alcoves (the ground formation of), but it all makes sense. Good to have your cousin in there for perspective, especially for those of your readers who have never seen country like yours. (We’ve been lucky enough to get brief glimpses, not your in depth knowedge. ).

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  35. This desert is full of amazing stuff!

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