Known as "Devil's Fire" and "Hobgoblin's Playground," even the name of this strange place cannot be agreed upon.
Little Finland is a land of windswept goblins and gremlins on a cliff's edge, overlooking a desert plain. Stone formations that evoke visions of creatures and machines, and inspire imaginations and heated debates among those who can see a plethora of shapes hidden in the rock.
Legend has it that this area, which has long been described as a "frozen sandstorm," comes to life after the sun sets. The swooping arches, deep erosion grooves and crackling surface textures make it easy to see why.
This particular erosion pattern that sparks the imaginations of so many consists of a very specific geological recipe. Jurassic Period sand dunes were buried by deposits and solidified, and millions of years later, faults began to lift the sandstone up, cracking it into blocks. Around 10 million years ago, these cracks (called joints) in the rock became a vessel for mineral-rich groundwaters, which eventually crystalized due to the climate. As centuries go by, the sandstone has eroded but the mineral-rich joints resist. That, coupled with the usual wind/water erosion and pervasive salt weathering leaves behind the intricate designs that make this area so intriguing to visitors.
The area is a bit of a challenge to find, but it's well worth the effort. And as with so many enviro-spiritual areas in the Arizona wilderness, the ecologist ethos prevails: Take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints.