A”maze”ing Channels

We knew that we’d have a great hike and incredible views when we visited The Channels Natural Area Preserve, and we even knew that there would be some interesting sandstone formations to explore.  What we didn’t know was just how very cool those formations would be.  We simply could not help ourselves and kept exclaiming out loud with every turn.  As Karen said, the place brought out the inner child in all of us.

According to several online sources, the sandstone outcroppings were formed 400 million years ago.

Geologists conclude that the Channels were likely formed while the high elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging during the last ice age.

 The expanding ice fractured the sandstone and water slowly spread and smoothed the breaks over millions of years.

“What is left is a labyrinth of slots and crevices through the rocks. The pathways range from 20 to nearly 40 feet deep and wind their way through damp, moss-covered walls of stone” (https://virginiatrailguide.com/2016/10/23/great-channels).

Aren’t the colors incredible?

Check out the way these tree roots are stretching for moisture,

and the ferns growing amidst the cracks in the rocks.

We laughed and exclaimed and explored and were utterly happy with the experience.

For more information about The Channels, visit the previous two posts.

40 thoughts on “A”maze”ing Channels

  1. Oh my! I can’t believe, with all the hiking I’ve done, that I have never been here. I am definitely putting this on the list. Thanks for posting these fabulous pictures.

  2. The amazing channels are gorgeous, Laurie. Of course, your photos capture the beauty of this place. I caught up with your last two posts as well and it makes me realize what a beautiful state you live in. I’m glad you were able to discover and hike this preserve and found a cool road on which to ride the Harley. Have a great week, whatever you do!

    • Thanks, Mary, for going back and looking at the other two posts about The Channels. Frankly, I’m quite proud of getting 3 posts written 🙂
      Seriously though, the place is so cool, and I’m glad to have been able to take the day to explore (and to get home in time to listen to the Virginia Tech football game).
      Good week to you as well!

    • Thanks for that comment, Jane, but I’ll tell you … the light, or lack thereof, was challenging. I could have used a tripod or more time (it’s always hard to have people waiting on you to shoot). Such a cool place!

      • I know what you mean when you’re with people, Laurie…trying to balance touring with serious photographing. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice friendships for your art…haha! 🙂

  3. Stunning photos. I often thought that had I ever been able to go to college, I would have liked to study geology. I’m fascinated by this planet that has gone through so much and many changes only to get more beautiful and interesting. At least where we haven’t meddled. Just beautiful.

  4. I can hear the joy in your voice, Laurie. I’m heading over to Karen’s posts next. This looks like my kind of place. What fun to be up close to something formed millions of years ago. Extraordinary!

    Gorgeous pics.

  5. Wow, that is looking very prehistoric isn’t it? I guess it really is, if we are talking last iceage. Very cool to see giant rock stacked up like that! How do you find your way out again? Do you follow route markers? I get lost so easily. Honestly, I rarely know what direction I’m going. You wouldn’t want to have me in the lead thats for sure. Did you worry about that? Or coming across the remains of the last hiker that got lost…eeeek! Did you see the movie about the guy who was hiking, but got stuck and had to saw his arm off to live? Just sayin’ :/ I need more LB in my life! You’re so adventurous, I’m so chicken xoxox

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