Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, Utah – The white ghosts

The white stone pillars are so fragile that they were hided for years. Their position was classified; photographers didn’t divulge their name in their books or on the internet not to conclude their location: the White Hoodoos of Wahweap Creek. That leaded to smart guides taking interested parties for a lot of money to the hided place. This couldn’t be of interest to the BLM. The hoodoos are located on public land. It’s not correct if single persons grow rich on selling this information. The BLM gives the position of the Wahweap Hoodoos together with rules of conduct since a couple of years on request.

Finding the right spot isn’t that easy anyway. There are no signs. There is only a simple sign at the trailhead. Then a 10 mi / 16 km hike (roundtrip) through a river bed follows: We have to walk through sand, over river pebbles, and cross for a dozen times one of the arms of the river that comes through the bed. The reward is overwhelming. The dazzling whiteness of the hoodoos is imposing; some of them are many metres high. The pillars that are luckily in possession of their dark lid will survive for a while. Others with less fortune melt like ice in the sun. The whole area is covered with white gypsum sand. One of the pillars looks like an elf king who wears his crown with highly uplifted head and wraps his robe around him. But for all of them the dilapidation has already begun. Some stand so close to the brim of the river bed that the next rainfall may wash them away. Every careful step, every gentle touch with a hand let some crumbs flake off. It might sound paradox: Everybody who doesn’t come here helps to preserve their maintenance. I’m getting a bad conscience, but in the white wall behind the pillars new hoodoos come into being. Nature erects, nature destroys.

It is a bit confusing that there are three groups of hoodoos, but the ranger’s brochure only talks about two. Coming from the south the first group has the tallest pillars. The middle group consists of many small goblins, and the northernmost one holds the most elegant and graceful shapes. The ranger’s handout ignores the first group; maybe because they are so obvious at the river bed, the others are a bit hided behind a corner.

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