The Wave of Arizona in January
Snowcatcher put in for The Wave lottery last year, and we were drawn. This would be our second visit to this unique formation. We spent the night in Kanab, Utah, and traveled to White Pocket the next morning. Our permit for the Wave was for the following day.
After four-wheeling into and out of White Pocket, Snowcatcher and I found a nice little spot to camp right on the Utah/Arizona border and within a mile of the Wave's Wire Pass trailhead. Better yet, our camp was within several miles of where the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante Expedition was known to have camped days before venturing into, and being stymied by, the deep, intricate canyons of what is now known as the Lake Powell region. The idea was to start hiking predawn to capture morning sun hit. But, you know what? It's awful hard to crawl out of a warm bag on a cold January morning, even in the desert. Hence, we were late. But, that's okay; there also was a thin cloud cover to severely mute first light.
The Wave is another geologic gem of Jurassic Period Navajo Sandstone. It also calls home the stunning high desert area of the Paria Plateau between Kanab, Utah, and Page, Arizona. The hike begins in the Coyote Buttes area of southern Utah.
By education, I'm a hydrologist; yet, my head is still linking synapses after reading about iron oxide mineralogies. Nonetheless, here is a simple summary of what I've gleaned after a little research.
One could view The Wave as dissected ancient sand dunes.
The stunning crossbedding we see today is the result of seasonal changes in ancient dune migration.
Beautiful red, orange, buff, yellow, purple, white and pink coloration is controlled by iron oxide mineralogies.
The smooth bowl of waves is predominantly a wind-scoured channel whose dimensions behave like a venturi. The increased speed of wind helps to further sculpt out the visually smooth waves.
Fantastic, swirling, mystical sand phantoms float amongst granules of stone.
A handful of anomalies hide here and there.
The Wave II can be found almost adjacent to the Wave.
The whole area is fun to explore, and should be if you visit. I'm sure we'll be back soon. Thanks for reading.