Sunday, July 23, 2023

Not Even Not Traveling 41: Mossy Cave

Mossy Cave - Saturday, July 1
We took our morning hike to Mossy Cave. This is a seep spring formation that’s spectacular in the winter but doesn't look like much in the summer. We still enjoyed it. It was a great, easy hike. And it’s fun when you know what you’re looking at.

A seep spring forms because most of the rocks in the area are porous sandstone. Rains come in. They soak the ground. They slip through the sandstone layers and keep going. Sometimes the surface of the earth is sandstone for a half mile down. Sometimes it’s only sandstone for a few yards.

When the water hits a layer of non-porous rock, it starts to pool. It forms a source of ground water. Often, the water leaks out the sides of cliff faces. At that point, the configuration is a seep spring.

Apparently above the roof of the mossy cave, there is an unseen, non-porous shelf. Above it, a pool of water more or less continuously overflows into another layer of sandstone. It drips like any other natural spring. It drips all year round, so it supports an ecosystem of local moss and moisture-loving local oddities in this mostly-desert environment. It creates a system of ice columns in the winter.

Near the Mossy Cave site, though, is a stream. It's unusual enough that it's a major attraction to the people on the area trails, especially the kids. For some of the kids, I would imagine it's the only time they've seen a waterfall, even if it's only ten feet high. It is torrent of falling water in a desert land. They are delighted.

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