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THE HIDDEN ARROYO, PART I

A location with no people is a treasure. The hidden arroyo is protected by a convoluted terrain and a ring of private property. In the ten years I have explored it, I have seen only a few footprints. By an accident of geography, the arroyo runs parallel to the mountain rather than plunging directly down the face. As a result, it is unsually long with a gentle grade. The arroyo cuts through a deep volcanic deposit, exposing colorful stones and creating fantastic shapes. Its walls are composed of soft rocks, barely more substantial than sand. Hard basalt shelters the soft substratum to produce a multitude of hoodoos.

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