Side Trip: Ed Maiers Secret
(Intermission from the Buckskin Gulch Backpack)
Monday, September 26
At about the two-hour mark, we stopped for another quick break. I had a proposal for the others in the group: a short side trip to a little known but supposedly quite scenic area of scenic sandstone. During my research into the area, I'd come across some references and pictures to an area known cryptically as 'Ed Maiers Secret'. It wasn't clear who Ed was, but the pictures looked nice. And from scratching around a bit more, I managed to obtain a general GPS waypoint that indicated that it was easily reachable with a 500-yard walk from where we now were. Since it was still early -- around 1pm -- and since we weren't all that far from the location where we planned to camp for the night, everyone was up for the side journey. We dropped our packs in the shade of a tree and headed left, up a small side-draw with a curiously soccer-ball-patterned bedrock floor.
As we walked up the draw, we could see a very large and thick layer of cross-bedded Navajo sandstone above us, steeply sloped but not steeply enough to prevent us from easily scrambling up. As we climbed, we immediately saw what 'Ed' saw in the place. The regular and extensive cross-bedding had created a swirling wonderland of patterns and colors. In places, different deposits of wind-blown sandstone had created 'brainy-like' textures in the rock; in others, it created swirly banded patterns. And in yet others, the interplay of different episodes of cross-bedding created a striking 'frozen waves' type effect. Little knobs and hoodoos dotted the slope here and there, adding to the character of the place.