Part 2 of our extraordinary day at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona continues at White Pocket. If you missed Part 1, check out my post on South Coyote Buttes. I doubted that anything could match up to the geological wonders we saw at South Coyote Buttes. But then… there was White Pocket, another beautiful freak of nature. I’m really happy we saw both places on our combo excursion with Kanab-based Dreamland Safari Tours. I still can’t decide which one I liked better. Take a look…
As I mentioned in my previous post, South Coyote Buttes and White Pocket (only 5ish miles away) are hellishly difficult to get to. The 50 miles roundtrip driving (after the pavement ends) on deeply rutted and sandy roads is impossible for most people’s cars and driving skills. Trust me, leave it to an expert.
The good news is that unlike The Wave and South Coyote Buttes, a permit is not required for White Pocket. Also, once you get to the trailhead parking (about a 2.5 hour drive from Kanab, Utah) the hike to the rock formations is only about .5 miles and super easy. At the end of the sand path, there is no fixed trail, just a vast expanse of crazy nature that begs for exploring, playing, and letting imaginations run wild.
White Pocket is very close to South Coyote Buttes so I was surprised that the geological structures and colours are quite different. As the name implies, there is an abundance of almost white Navajo sandstone. To me, it looks like elephant skin, but I looked it up and the correct term is polygonal cracks, the result of weathering and expansion. “Pocket” refers to the beautiful little indentations that are filled with water during certain times of the year.
I love the scene below. Doesn’t it looks like an alien planet that Captain Kirk might have beamed down to? The pink striations and swirls are caused by the oxidation of iron-bearing minerals.
Speaking of otherworldly, check out what I call the “rock vortex”. We might have missed this brilliant piece of erosion without Marjorie, our guide.
The striation patterns provide some very cool optical illusions. In the photo below it looks like I’m crouching on a ledge at the edge of a steep slope. In reality, there’s no ledge and just one continuous, extremely gentle slope.
There was something about White Pocket that brought out the playfulness in us. As I looked over to a gorgeous wall of orange-hued sandstone, Mike was engaged in a spontaneous yoga session. I soon joined in. Our poses are a bit wonky, but don’t our blue shirts look fetching against the stone? It wasn’t planned that way, really.
Our fabulous day at South Coyote Buttes and White Pocket was over way too soon. It had me itching for more. Marjorie read my mind when she told me about Dreamland Safari multi-day excursions with camping at White Pocket. Hmm, now that would be dreamy!
For more information about logistics and permits, please see my South Coyote Buttes post.
Upcoming posts will feature hiking in Bryce and Zion national parks.