These pictures were taken by Tom Getts, a Mancos resident who, after 5 years, finally got a permit to go to the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. It is a 112,500-acre wilderness area located between Kanab, Utah and Page, Ariz. It is composed of broad plateaus, tall escarpments, and deep canyons, and is administered by the Federal Bureau of Land Management. But the most striking rock formations are the formations called "The Wave", located in the North Coyote Buttes area.
A total of 20 people per day are issued permits to hike to The Wave. This is to preserve the beauty of this unique natural showcase. The permits are issued in advance via online lottery for 10 people per day. The other 10 lucky people have to appear in person at the BLM office in Kanab to get a permit.
"I tried the lottery for a long time and never had any luck. I happened to be out that way and stopped into the BLM office and got very, very lucky," Getts said.
"The Wave is fairly well known now internationally," he said. "About half of the people who were there the day I went were Japanese. It's also (not surprisingly) a favorite of European visitors to this region as well.
"Permits are issued year round, but I would not want to go there in the heat. The hike was a bit challenging for me (two hours and about 3-4 miles each way). It was cold when I went but the BLM recommends that each person going in carry a gallon of water. The entire hike is lovely and The Wave is a showcase among a very large area with incredible Jurassic-age sandstones."
According to information on Wikipedia, "The Wave" consists of intersecting U-shaped troughs that have been eroded into Navajo Sandstone. The two major troughs, which comprise this rock formation, are 19 meters wide by 36 meters long and 2 meters wide by 16 meters long. Initially, infrequent runoff eroded these troughs along joints within the Navajo Sandstone. The troughs are now almost exclusively eroded by wind as indicated by the orientation of erosional steps and risers cut into the sandstone along their steep walls.
"No overnight camping is allowed and it would be a really early start to get in there for sunrise photography," Getts said. "I got there about 11 a.m. and stayed for several hours. With the low winter sun, the shadows for some of my photos really helped me capture some great images."