That rivers and streams seldom flow (naturally) in straight lines is a gift of beauty. Otherwise we would not have canyons that bear the shape of moving water. The river’s meandering pattern forms sinuous, sweeping bends. Goosenecks are meanders so tight in succession that their bows nearly meet one another. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River in southern Utah are a classic canyon complex of deeply entrenched meanders. Here the river coils like a sidewinder through russet, terraced walls a thousand feet high. From one tight, looping bend to the next, the canyon layers up squarely on itself, an even set of folds. The saddle of the high cliff on your left is the saddle of the next cliff on your right, just around the bend.

Ellen Meloy