Hiking the Wave

Coyote Buttes Wilderness, Arizona - October 2004

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Eastern Slopes of Cockscomb Ridge
From the Wirepass Canyon trailhead, a short trail leads up Buckskin Wash and then disappears onto the rocky slopes of Cockscomb Ridge. From there on, you are on your own.

Three Small Hills
Heading south along the ridge, the rock formations get more fantastic in shape, size, and color.

Enter the Maze
About two miles south of Buckskin Canyon, the ridge breaks into a maze of tributaries, side canyons, hills, and knolls. Here the sandstone has been carved by wind and water into winding hallways and canals of curved and striped stone.

The Canal
One tributary is a sandstone gully of red rock curving through overlooking slopes of white. I took the liberty of naming this place 'The Canal'. :)

Stained Glass Hills
Near the entrance to The Wave was a small series of rounded outcrops whose slopes were so smooth and colorful, that they almost looked like they were made of Tiffany glass. Yes, this is REALLY what it looks like!

Entrance to the Wave
The most famous formation in the Coyote Buttes Wilderness is The Wave; a series of perfectly curved gullys that flow and twist together like petrified ocean waves.

Heart of the Wave
In the heart of the wave, the curve of the slopes, the odd colors, and the twisting stripes in the stone can give one a sense of being off balance and cause a slight feeling of sea-sickness.

The Wave as seen from above

The Teepees
A little ways to the southeast of The Wave are a series of conical stone hills known as the Teepees.

Blades of Stone
At the base of the Teepees, the different layers in the sandstone have eroded out into almost paper-thin sheets that extend often six to eight inches out of the rock face like stony knife blades.

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