Clouds over the Painted Desert

Nimbus clouds on a backdrop of dark blue wandering slowly over the reticulated hills of the Painted Desert. The serrated crags and fells here twist into the landscape. If you like to explore in unique terrain with a lens or otherwise you will love this place. SW wasteland scenes can almost seem tropical during the fall monsoons when highlighted with cloud systems overhead. The clouds in the frame above drifted over the horizon in slow motion changing shape as they came to my knoll… arriving in the late afternoon. Cool moisture in the air (from a storm system) kept them low… just off the hill tops. I watched as they dropped misty streaks of rain in the barrens as they approached.

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This is a great place to hike but you want a good GPS. The lack of vegetation comes from the high clay content of the soil. Clays can absorb a lot of water, and expand while doing so, but as it dries, it sort of evaporates more than consolidates. It has trouble returning to its old size when the water goes away. Cracking and the general instability when drying cause it to erode quickly through the omnipresent force of wind and sun.