Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Colored Sands

Looking back at the trail from Big Fin

Descending from the summit, some of the group, myself included, finished early. We arrived at the "colored sands" area inside Machtesh Gadol, the Great Crater.

Those of us who finished early had access to the Ice Cream Minivan.

A map of the nature preserve. The grey outlines show the crater rims of Machtesh Gadol (the Great Crater) and Machtesh Katan (the Little Crater.)
The ground in the area is made up of sandstone, which crumbles into sand quite easily. Various layers of brightly colored mineral ore of differnet colors ripple through the rock and impart a pigment to the loose sands.

A red ore vein stains the sand

The colored sands.

Kids playing on the colored sands.
A camel lost on the colored sands. (I cheated and increased the contrast on this photo.)
More colored sands and scrub brushes.

Three hills, three colors.
Leaving the colored sands area, the bus climbed up the sides of Machtesh Gadol on an incredibly windy path. Looking down the revene at the neck of each bend, one can see piles of destroyed, rusted cars which didn't quite make it. It was a bit disconserting, like you weren't necessarily expected to survive the road. But we made it.

Looking back. Big fin is the hill to the right. The colored sands are in the valley between the two hills to the left.

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