Goosenecks Of The San Juan River, New Year’s Day

Goosenecks of the San Juan River, from Goosenecks State Park.

Goosenecks of the San Juan River, from Goosenecks State Park. (Click on image for larger version).

New Year’s Day found me back at Goosenecks State Park near Mexican Hat, Utah. The light looked less than promising: bright overcast, pretty flat. Oh, well, I had plenty of daylight left on that short winter’s day, so might as well see what I could see.

Closeup of one of the "entrenched meanders" of the San Juan River.

Closeup of one of the “entrenched meanders” of the San Juan River.

I was glad I did. The lack of strong sunlight and shadows in the San Juan River Goosenecks allowed attention to other details of the immense sinuous canyon that geologists have awarded the informal title of “world’s deepest entrenched meander”. I hope you’re appropriately impressed.

Afternoon skylight reflecting off the muddy waters of the San Juan River.

Afternoon skylight reflecting off the icy, muddy waters of the San Juan River.

The mid afternoon sunlight, filtered through the high clouds, was at a low enough angle to reflect off the surface of the river in some places. What a beautiful effect, worth the price of admission ($5) right there.

It had been cold enough  since the last snowfall that any slope facing toward north had not melted off. In fact, given the lack of vegetation in this austere, high desert location, it was blatantly clear which direction a slope was oriented toward. If the low winter sun doesn’t hit it, it has snow.

South versus north facing slopes: the snow shows where the sun can't reach it.

South versus north facing slopes: the snow shows where the sun can’t reach it.

There was only one party of about five visitors there. One of them happened to walk down the pathway beneath the vista to sit back and enjoy the vista with even more seclusion. He made for a nice accidental “model” in the foreground to give the scene a better sense of scale.

A visitor sits below the lookout at the Goosenecks.

A visitor sits below the lookout at the Goosenecks.

Photo Location: Goosenecks State Park (day use fee $5 per vehicle), San Juan County near Mexican Hat, Utah.

Copyright © 2016 Stephen J. Krieg

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