This is the first image from this year's Black Friday / Saturday desert exploration adventure and camping trip. I love the way the light reflects around this curve in this slot canyon near the bottom opening creating the color spectrum effect caused by the light progressively reflecting less and less of the color spectrum as it bounces from wall to wall going deeper into the canyon. The worlds created by the dark and cool yet vibrant light in these slot canyons is surreal. It gives you the feeling of walking through the inside of the earth, yet in a way that is distinctly different from entering a cave. When you emerge on the other side, the feeling is like stepping from one world into another.
What else is fascinating is that the lumps of texture in this deep canyon and the surrounding area resemble volcanic pumice, yet they are in fact fossilized corals – remnants of an ancient sea ecosystem that once existed here. After the waters receded, the entire sea floor was exposed, leaving it open to erosion by the elements. As a new arid desert climate formed, seasonal rain storms would create flash floods, which would gush forcefully down any opening available in the earth's crust, very rapidly eroding the soft sandstone and mudstone in weak areas, and creating these cavernous slot canyons. Today, the floor of this canyon is littered with huge raven feathers and tumbleweeds, other icons of the present-day desert ecosystem. This one is about 75-100 feet deep and only a few feet wide. Near the opening of the canyon, 6-inch intact fossilized sand dollars can be seen sitting on and embedded in the surface of the sandstone sediment layers, like an entire beach frozen in time.