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White Pocket, AZ


The most visited part of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in northern Utah is The Wave. Photographers (and NatGeo) have made the Wave famous and now you can only get there if we win a lottery. Only 20 people a day are allowed, and sadly, I did not win the lottery when I was in Kanab. So, I opted to go to the second most spot in Vermillion Cliffs--White Pocket.


As we headed to white pocket through the sandy and sometimes rocky desert, I pondered over the name White Pocket. What exactly is that? Well, a pocket, in this sense, refers to a relatively small area of land markedly different to its surroundings, which here, like most of the plateau, are sandy plains sparsely covered by bushes and small trees. White, or light grey is the dominant rock color, in contrast to the red of the nearby Coyote Buttes, but the general features are similar - swirling, thin-layered strata, adjacent layers of contrasting color, and curious erosive features.


Some geologist proclaim that White Pocket is a result of 'soft sediment deformation', meaning the contortions and twisting and turning at White Pocket occurred back in Jurassic time while the sand was saturated and before the sand was completely turned into rock.


Now I've seen a lot of Hoodoos in my day, but none as swirly and twisty as White Pocket.



Some of the formations look like a dragon's tail.


This section of White Pocket is called the Portal. Makes sense.


This is my favorite photo from White Pocket. This small column feature on a 15 foot conical hoodoo is carved by the wind and other elements on very soft sandstone. It's like looking at tree rings, but in stone. You can almost feel time passing in this photo. It's amazing to me that wind can carve stone. When I was there, it was really windy, so I felt the sand blowing and whipping around this hoodoo. I could imagine small grains of sands blowing in the wind knocking other grains of sand loose from this feature.

If you get the chance to visit White Pocket, you should jump on it. It's a long drive on a rough road, so air down your 4x4 with clearance and get out there! No permit needed and camping is allowed at White Pocket.

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