One of the more interesting aspects of the Southwestern United States is the geology. And one of the standout geological formations you can find in this area is something called an igneous or magmatic dike. If you ever stumble across one of these features you’ll not soon forget the experience.
In my travels through this area I have come across two incredible examples — West Spanish Peak in Southeastern Colorado, and Shiprock in Northwestern New Mexico. What makes these formations so visually impressive are the shear walls of igneous rock that radiate outward from them like some gigantic fortification.
Of the two I think Shiprock is the more impressive. Alas, I did not get very many shots of the more impressive dikes stretching across the high desert plain just east of the Carrizo Mountains. I guess that’s my excuse for going back into the Four Corners Area.
Your first sight of Shiprock as you descend through the Carrizo’s will indeed leave you awestruck. As you get even closer the immense size of this “Rock with Wings” becomes readily apparent, for it rises 1,583 feet (482 meters) above the surrounding desert plain.
Spanish Peak on the other hand is a much taller mountain (3,686 feet/1,123 meters above the nearby terrain) taking up a much greater area in the wilderness in the San Isabel National Forest west of Interstate 25 between Walsenburg and Trinidad, Colorado.