We had arrived at one of our favorite lay-over camps – Blackjack Wash. It, too, was over-grown, but still made a great camp. Blackjack Wash, at Mile 31.0, is located .7 of a mile upstream from Quartzite Falls Rapid – the “power spot” of the Salt River – and one can hike downstream from the camp to, first, obtain a view of the rapid from above and then continue down a wash to the rapid’s edge. Additionally, one often gets the opportunity to watch boats run the rapid from these vantage points.
Some of the new foliage now being seen along the river includes the native Gooddings willow. This medium-sized tree is very handsome and (IMHO) a welcome addition to the riparian zone. So … why did the Salt River riparian zone get so over-grown? Some years ago, two very large wildfires burned through a number of Salt River tributary creeks and drainages, laying many thousands of acres bare. From these burned and bare areas, subsequent monsoon rains carried off large amounts of soil, some of which got deposited along the banks of the Salt River. And this new soil (we were told) is given credit for stimulating the growth of vegetation in the riparian zone of the Salt River.
Some Blackjack Wash flora.
Some camp and other scenes.
The river has cut through the steeply tilted White Ledges at Blackjack Wash. Continuing downstream, this layer then runs parallel to the river and has been carved into a number of flatiron formations, four of which are positioned across the river from camp. All of #2 and parts of #1 and #3 are seen in the above photo. Below is flatiron #4, the highest of the group, downstream view. BTW, where have you seen flatirons before? Perhaps The Flatirons at Boulder, CO? – which are formed in sandstone layers. Here is the Wikipedia definition of a flatiron: “Traditionally in geomorphology, a flatiron is a steeply sloping triangular landform created by the differential erosion of a steeply dipping, erosion-resistant layer of rock overlying softer strata. Flatirons have wide bases that form the base of a steep, triangular facet that narrows upward into a point at its summit. The dissection of a hogback by regularly spaced streams often resulted in the formation of a series of flatirons along the strike of the rock layer that formed the hogback. As noted in some, but not all definitions, a number of flatirons are perched upon the slope of a larger mountain with the rock layer forming the flatiron inclined in the same direction as, but often at a steeper angle than the associated mountain slope. The name flatiron refers to their resemblance to an upended, household flatiron.”
Below, ripple-marks on different layers of the Yankee Joe Formation, seen across from camp. Each individual layer, deposited at a different time, and under different conditions from the other layers, shows a different size and orientation of the ripple-marks. BTW, these ripple-marks could be casts of ripple-marks of over-lying layers. I’m not enough of a geologist to be able to say, one way or the other.
Some of us watched a group of commercial rafts take an unexpected approach to the rapid, which we imitated the next day when it was our turn, with very satisfactory results. The next post will cover the remainder of the trip.
Here’s the link to the post of Part 1: