colorado plateau


I am on a road trip to California and currently I am in Utah (a new state for me!)

On our drive today, we pulled off to a rest area and walked around a bit.

Needless to say, I met a few new furry friends on the trail.

These little critters are white-tailed prairie dogs. They live in parts of Wyoming, southern Montana, western Colorado, and eastern Utah. They really like high elevations, between 5,000 to 10,000 feet. Like all other species of prairie dogs, they are very social animals, living in extensive burrow and tunnels systems called “towns.” The little guys in my pics are probably sentinels, who help guard the rest of the town by warning of potential threats. They were curious, but since I don’t look like a badger, a hawk, or a snake, I guess they concluded that I was not a threat. :P

Painted Wall by Courtney Meier
Via Flickr:
The Painted Wall in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The white is a pegmatite intrusion into the gneiss bedrock - the formation as a whole is approx. 2.5 billion years old. Pegmatite is harder than gneiss, so at various points in the canyon, the pegmatite forms little fins that erode more slowly than the surrounding black rock.