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.