“Layer cake” walls are common in the desert around here. What’s that? Take a look at the picture and you understand where the name came from. Being mostly sedimentary in nature, the build-ups over time are pretty much made up of sand, silt, gravel, clay, volcanic ash, and striped with bands of mineral deposits. They create excellent subjects for photos, not to mention the springboard of your imagination as you stare at such walls for a time, perhaps puzzling over the wonders of geology while you wait for the light to hit in the perfect way.
I took this photo just outside Capitol Reef National Park, up an unassuming little wash. There are many great examples of layer cake walls within the park; notably the so-named one on the Cathedral Valley Loop. I don’t have a great photo of that one, but someday, on some trip in there, I’ll time it just right and get it when the light best displays its varying bands, stripes, and sudden jags of color.