Day 9: Blacktail Canyon & Aisles section

blacktail canyon  

Blacktail Canyon is another of the slot canyons. In the photo you can see the steep vertical walls cut into the layered sedimentary rocks and you can also see the rocky rubble on the canyon floor. These slot canyons erode downward during the flash flood events that occur when monsoonal rains occur somewhere in the canyon's catchment basin. The rainwater flows quickly over the rocky uplands, then the collected water and rocks it picks up come rampaging down the slot canyon as a wall of water and rocks that picks up all that bottom rubble and moves it along, using it to scour the canyon deeper.

The floodwaters arrive very rapidly and it is said that the only warning may be the roar of the approaching waters. Obviously you don't want to be in the canyon when it's been raining upstream. But it can be difficult to know what has been happening upstream. Downpours are often small and localized. The wall of water and rocks comes roaring down the canyon and gives you almost no time to climb the canyon walls to safety. And in many cases the canyon walls are almost impossible to climb.

Another view of the Aisles section.

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