White Pocket

White Pocket - an alien world

White Pocket – an alien world

When I asked William James, manager for Dreamland Safari Tours, which day tour he recommended, he quickly replied, “White Pocket. It’s an alien planet!” We’d been pondering signing up for one of the rare day passes given out by lottery to Northern Arizona’s famous The Wave, but the chances of winning that, along with needing a permit and a four-wheel drive vehicle (neither of which we had), had us taking a look around and what else was out there that could offer a similar experience as the Wave without needing a permit or locating an off-road vehicle of our own. “Definitely White Pocket,” said James.

His recommendation didn’t disappoint. Located southwest of the Wave in the Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, we bounced along with two other couples in a four-wheel drive Suburban operated by Dreamland, across deeply rutted back-country roads before finally arriving after a three-hour drive to one of the more jaw-dropping experiences we had in the Southwest.

Panaramic view of White Pocket. (Click on the icon to embiggen the panorama.)

While others can more accurately describe the geology behind pools, pock marks, and twisted sandstone striations of red, orange, yellow, and white, all I can offer up is: Alien planet, indeed! White Pocket looks like a mud wallow for monstrous creatures; a place where the hands of ancient giants grabbed, pulled, and pawed their way through the sandstone cliffs like a sculptor working his way through a pile of clay trying to find and release the art within.

My first thirty minutes there was spent on my belly trying to photograph a tiny shelf of sandstone that had been slowly worn away over centuries. By the time I stood up and dusted myself off, the rest of the group had moved a quarter mile on. Everywhere I turned were surreal compositions formed by rock, weather, and time. It was going to be a long day getting through all of the Pocket, and that absolutely was okay by me.

(Click on a pic to embiggen and view the full gallery.)
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