One of my favorite sections of trail to date is Vasquez Rocks, located just before you reach Agua Dulce and the infamous Hiker Heaven at the home of the Saufleys.
These giant rocks jut out of the earth at violent angles, as if they were hurled there by thunderous gods ages and ages ago. Hills formed around them and then wind and time eroded the dirt, leaving bare the massive rocky skeletons. Now ravens live high up in the rocks, watching as hikers pass through in desert heat.
A naturalist I ran into told me that the rocks are 25 to 29 million years old. They lie on three forks of the San Andreas Fault (which explains their violently jutting angles) and are composed of iron oxide, magnesium oxide, sandstone and salt. The boulders that look like giant meatballs are composed of granite and mud debris that were blown in by a storm and settled long ago.
Random fact: occasionally you might come across eyes or a face painted onto a rock face. These oddities were made by a hermit who lived there in the thirties. He had a home made of apple crates and tested paint durability by painting on the rocks.
Well, there’s your geography lesson for the day! 200 more miles of desert to go and then on to utterly new terrain in the High Sierras. Looking forward to it!