Expanded Functionality of this Blog

Several Changes have taken place to expand the functionality and your access to the information contained within this blog.

1) A downloadable app for the I Phone & Android so while you are hiking or driving you have the information and images at your fingertips.   Download Here

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2) We have set up a new website FOUR CORNERS EXCURSIONS.COM  or to be exact http://www.fourcornersexcursions.com or those of you viewing this on a smart phone can go with QR readers can scan here:

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As usual you can still follow us on our new Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/HikingTheSouthwest

our sister blog  Hiking The Southwest

and last highlighting the photography and still under development @ Southwest Photography by Bill Kettler

Any further updates will be published as they come along

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Cave Valley, UT

Ghost Rock

Feature Name: Cave Valley
County: Washington County
Latitude: 37.32637
Longitude: -113.1091119

Feature Name: Cave ValleyCategory: Utah physical, cultural and historic featuresFeature Type: PhysicalClass: ValleyCounty: Washington CountyLatitude: 37.32637Longitude: -113.1091119

Cave Valley, UT

Cave Valley Pictographs – These are some of the best in Zion and are found along the Kolob Terrace Road. Again this rock art is protected and are settled among federal and private property lines ask at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center for directions.

Entrance to Large Cave

Cave Canyon in the Kolob Terrace is a remote site with nice rock art. There are also the well-known and protected Parunuweap ruins, but again, a park ranger needs to be contacted for more information and most of the sites are off limits to all but research personnel.

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash, is a wide-open rolling high desert, with low rocky bluffs studded with distant towering buttes. This road is well maintained and is generally a safe road to drive. The Buckhorn Wash portion of this route is especially scenic, with canyon walls rising many hundreds of feet above you, Native American rock art panels, a well-preserved dinosaur track and more! There are many side roads along this route, but the navigation of this road is easy-when in doubt, stay on the main road!

Mile 28.3 Mile 0
This is where the Cottonwood Wash Road intersects I-70 and heads north towards Buckhorn Wash.

Mile 26.2 Mile 2.1
This is a Sagebrush test area, used to study the effects of grazing by livestock. The western section of the enclosure was fenced off in 1937, while the eastern section was enclosed in 1961.

Sink Hole flat

Mile 23.3 Mile 5.0
You are at Sinkhole Flat, with the actual sinkhole surrounded by a circular log fence. The sinkhole is of little scenic value, and is included here only as a landmark.

Mile 10.8 Mile 17.5
Massive Window Blind Peak is to the east of the road, with the smaller Assembly Hall Peak to the north of Window Blind. Rising to an elevation of 7030 feet, it is the tallest free standing monolith in America, one of the largest in the world. It is called “Window Blind” because some of the rock formations near the top on Northeast side look like windows with the blinds closed. Assembly Hall was named for its resemblance to the original LDS assembly hall in Salt Lake City.

Mile 10 Mile 18.3

To the west, slender Bottleneck Peak rises to an elevation of 6401 feet.above sea level.

Mile 9.2 Mile 19.1
This is the bridge over the San Rafael River, and it is the boundary between Cottonwood Wash and Buckhorn Wash roads. Just to the south of the river is the San Rafael Recreation Area campground, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It offers many campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. There is no drinking water available. North of the river are many sandy primitive campsites under the cottonwood trees. The swinging bridge, located to the west, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 and was the only bridge over the river until the early 1990s. Though you can no longer drive on it, it is perfectly safe to walk on.

Mile 7.4 Mile 20.9
Calf, Cow and Pine Canyons enter from the East.

Mile 5.5 Mile 22.7
One of the highlights of the entire San Rafael Swell is the mysterious Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. There are some faint petroglyphs here, but the red pictograph figures are the stars of this site! The main panel was painted over 2,000 years ago by the Barrier Canyon culture. Learn more about the Barrier Canyon culture and how they made pictographs and petroglyphs. There is also a boulder with the names of the same CCC boys that built the swinging bridge over the San Rafael River carved into it. There is a pit toilet at this location.

Mile 4.2 Mile 24
On the sandstone ledge, about 40 feet above the road, is the Matt Warner inscription, dated Feb 17 1920. Matt was a very colorful outlaw that operated (on occasion with Butch Cassidy) from New Mexico to Washington State for over 18 years.  During that period, he frequented Green River, operating a saloon and brothel there.

Mile 2.3 Mile 25.9
There is a cattle guard here. Just south of the cattle guard is a parking area. Park there, and notice the trail heading to the east, up a steep hill. There is a large panel of petroglyphs at the end of this short trail.

Mile 2.1 Mile 26.1
To the east of the road a short distance is an interesting petroglyph. It can be hard to spot, so look for a series of bullet holes where some fool shot his initials (TKG) onto the cliff. Look left of those for a large, light colored crack running vertically. The petroglyph is just left of the crack.

Mile 1.6 Mile 26.6
A very clear and large dinosaur track can, with a little searching, be found here. On the east side of the road is a ledge of sandstone about 10 to 15 feet above the road. There are several paths up to the ledge. Once on top of the ledge, look for a larger flat area of bare sandstone at your feet. The footprint is on this large sandstone area, although you may have to move some flat rocks to uncover it. Visit the dinosaur pages within our site to learn more about other dinosaurs in Castle Country.

Mile 1.4 Mile 26.8
A short canyon is east of the road. There is an easy hike up the canyon.

Mile 0 Mile 28.3
You are at the intersection with the Green River Cutoff Road. West will take you to Castledale and Highway 10, east will lead you to US Highway 6

Location Of The Wash

Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel

Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel

The San Rafael River is the boundary-Buckhorn Wash north of the River, Cottonwood Wash to the south. The southern section, Cottonwood Wash, is a wide-open rolling high desert, with low rocky bluffs studded with distant towering buttes. This road is well maintained and is generally a safe road to drive. The Buckhorn Wash portion of this route is especially scenic, with canyon walls rising many hundreds of feet above you, Native American rock art panels, a well-preserved dinosaur track and more! There are many side roads along this route, but the navigation of this road is easy-when in doubt, stay on the main road!

Believed to be the work of the BARRIER CANYON CULTURE, the Buckhorn Wash panel is more than 2,000 years old. It predates the Fremont work found in Castle Country. The Barrier Canyon people did not have pottery. They hunted and gathered, used stone and bone tools and atlatls (spear throwers).

Distinctive features of Barrier Canyon
Rock Art

  • life-sized figures without arms or legs
  • broad shoulders, tapered trunks and bug eyes
  • dots, rays and crowns above heads
  • figures accompanied by birds, insects, snakes and dogs

How these Pictographs were made
Pictographs were painted on the surface of rock with natural pigments. Black was made from yellow ochre (a mineral found in the soil), pinyon gum and sumac. When stirred together, they form a black powder. Reds were made from red ochre and the roots of mountain mahogany. Rabbitbrush was a source of yellow. Likely binding agents were plant oils and animal fats. Petroglyphs were carved, pecked or chiseled into the rock.

Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel

Likely tools used in making Pictographs and petroglyphs

  • brushes made from human hair, dog hair or yucca fibers
  • flint or other stone chisel and hammers
  • hollow bird bones filled with pigment
  • fingers or mouths- paint could be blown out of the mouth and onto the rock creating a negative image often associated with handprints.

Vandalism
Paint, chalk, carvings and bullet holes have vandalized the Buckhorn Panel. The canyon’s proximity to the Old Spanish Trail and its use as a hideout for outlaws made the pictograph panel a prime target for vandals. Sadly, much of the damage is permanent and lost art cannot be repaired. However, the Buckhorn Panel was greatly improved in 1995 through an intensive restoration effort. Today vandalism of rock art is illegal and should be reported to law enforcement authorities.

The Restoration Project
As part of the 1996 Centennial Celebration citizens of Emery County initiated the restoration of the Buckhorn Panel. This project was a joint effort by citizens, the BLM, Utah and county governments. This site is one of several in the United States that has been restored by Constance Silver, an internationally known art conservator. The clean up took about six weeks at the site.

Please help preserve the panel by:

  • looking with your eyes, not your hands
  • reporting vandals to the BLM or local Sheriff

Follow This Map to locate the panels

The Moqui Cave, UT

The Moqui Cave, UT
Lex was not around when his father, Garth Chamberlain, purchased the cave (7 miles north of Kanab) in 1951. The beautiful paved Highway 89 that we now enjoy was just a dirt road. The black and dirty cave had been abused and mistreated and was filled with graffiti and black stains from campfires within the cave.
Garth had a vision not shared by many of his time. He went to the bank for financing and everyone thought he was crazy. They refused to lend him money for his project. Garth and his wife decided to go ahead with their plans anyway and began to clean up the cave. They started with 286 bags of Portland cement which they mixed in a small fruit sprayer. The couple put a clean white coat of paint over the interior of the entire cave. They commented that they got more on themselves than on the cave.
The paint was followed by 150 truckloads of dirt. The floors slanted badly, so the dirt was used to level the floors and entry.
Concrete, 7,000 square feet to be exact, was poured over the dirt to create a smooth floor. This concrete was not delivered in cement trucks, each load had to be hand mixed and pushed in a wheelbarrow to its destination.
A stage was built to provide room for an orchestra and the cave was ready. The first use of the cave was for dances and socials. A bar was also set up in the south wing of the cave.
Following years of long Friday and Saturday nights, Garth and his wife decided to discontinue the dances and bar and to turn the cave into a museum.
Museum pieces were acquired. Replicas of the ruins in the local area were added. Dinosaur tracks were found and brought to the cave. A fluorescent mineral display was created and has become one of the largest collections in the west.
The cave today represents forty years of painstaking work; work begun with a vision. Garth and his wife could not have imagined their success, nor the enjoyment others would find in their work

The Moqui CaveLex was not around when his father, Garth Chamberlain, purchased the cave (7 miles north of Kanab) in 1951. The beautiful paved Highway 89 that we now enjoy was just a dirt road. The black and dirty cave had been abused and mistreated and was filled with graffiti and black stains from campfires within the cave.
Garth had a vision not shared by many of his time. He went to the bank for financing and everyone thought he was crazy. They refused to lend him money for his project. Garth and his wife decided to go ahead with their plans anyway and began to clean up the cave. They started with 286 bags of Portland cement which they mixed in a small fruit sprayer. The couple put a clean white coat of paint over the interior of the entire cave. They commented that they got more on themselves than on the cave.
The paint was followed by 150 truckloads of dirt. The floors slanted badly, so the dirt was used to level the floors and entry.
Concrete, 7,000 square feet to be exact, was poured over the dirt to create a smooth floor. This concrete was not delivered in cement trucks, each load had to be hand mixed and pushed in a wheelbarrow to its destination.
A stage was built to provide room for an orchestra and the cave was ready. The first use of the cave was for dances and socials. A bar was also set up in the south wing of the cave.
Following years of long Friday and Saturday nights, Garth and his wife decided to discontinue the dances and bar and to turn the cave into a museum.
Museum pieces were acquired. Replicas of the ruins in the local area were added. Dinosaur tracks were found and brought to the cave. A fluorescent mineral display was created and has become one of the largest collections in the west.
The cave today represents forty years of painstaking work; work begun with a vision. Garth and his wife could not have imagined their success, nor the enjoyment others would find in their work

Moqui CaveMoqui

Cavewww.moquicave.com

4518 N Highway 89

Kanab, UT 84741

(435) 644-8525

Fire Cave, sometimes referred to as Windstone Arch

Fire Cave, sometimes referred to as Windstone Arch, can be found in Valley of Fire State Park, about 1 hour from Las Vegas, Nevada

Wind Stone Arch

The “Wind Stone Arch” (which incidentally is not an official name, in reality, this miniature arch has no name) located on the gravel loop at Campground, are also at the Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock.

Map

The coordinates (WGS 84) of the “Wind Stone Arch” are:

In degrees – minutes – seconds:
N 36 ° 24’45 .00 ”
W 114 ° 33’14 .34 ”

The arch is locate in a mini wind tunnel formed out of Sandstone rock.   the coordinates will take you to a standalone rock formation start looking inside the cavity of the rock where the wind and erosion has removed the rock base

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 2:26 PM  Comments Off on Fire Cave, sometimes referred to as Windstone Arch  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Parowan Gap

The Parowan Gap
Approximately 15 million years ago, a long slender section of sedimentary rock sheared from the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. This up-thrown block, later named the Red Hills, began to inch its way above the surrounding valley floor. At the same time the block was rising, a stream was cutting a path perpendicularly across the ridge. For millions of years the uplifting of the ridge and the down-cutting of the stream remained in equilibrium.
Eventually however, the relentless rise of the ridge and the drying of the region’s climate combined forces to defeat the stream. The stream disappeared and the valley became a waterless wind gap. Continued erosion by wind and rain have shaped the gap into the pass seen today.
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs
Parowan Gap Petroglyphs

The Parowan Gap Petroglyphs are listed on the National Register of Historic Places signifying its importance as a cultural treasure.
Fremont and Anasazi Indians were the first known inhabitants of Parowan. Petroglyphs, pithouses, arrowheads, pottery, and manos dating from A.D. 750 to 1250 found in the area are evidence that it was on a major thoroughfare of early Native Americans. At Parowan Gap, a natural mountain pass twelve miles (19 km) northwest of Parowan, ancient Indians inscribed petroglyphs on smooth-surfaced boulders that feature snakes, lizards, mouse-men, bear claws, and mountain sheep. In addition, the Old Spanish Trail also passed through the area.
Pioneer Wagon Grease Signature
The Parley Pratt Expedition discovered the petroglyphs at Parowan Gap in 1849.  The pass is a classic example of a wind gap, an unusual geological landform marking where an ancient river cut a 600-foot-deep notch through the mountain.  Native Americans and pioneers used this ancient gap for thousands of years to provide easy passage through the Red Hills. Pioneer wagon grease signatures can be observed along the towering walls of the Parowan gap narrows . The north wall of Parowan Gap contains a huge gallery of Native American rock art.  Most petroglyph sites contain figures of humans and animals.  This petroglyph site contains many deeply inscribed geometric forms, along with some humans and animals.
The most interesting feature of this site is a very large and deeply inscribed petroglyph known as the “Zipper”.  Many archaeologists believe the “Zipper” is a composite map (space) and numerical calendar (time). The gap is a superb “gallery” of petroglyphs that features a 1,000-year accumulation of Native American rock art.
Parowan Gap Small Cave - Interior Glyph and ceiling Soot Marks
Parowan Gap Caves

At the east entrance of the Parowan gap narrows are two caves one usually refered to as the “Small Cave” the other refered to the “Large” Cave. They both contain petroglyphs. Soot on their ceilings, from torches or fires, indicate they were once inhabited by Indians.
Parowan Gap Large Cave - Interior Glyph Panel
Carbon dating has shown that the caves were in use from 3000 to 400 BC.

Parowan Gap is known for its amazing petroglyphs (click here to see information about the petroglyphs) but the site also contains some interesting paleontological resources as well. Near the petroglyphs are dinosaur tracks made by ornithopods, ceratopsians and theropods. These tracks (natural casts) occur in the Iron Springs Formation* and are usually
in the fallen blocks of light yellow-brown sandstone. Some tracks do occur in place, but most are in the large fallen boulders, so check them first! Originally, these footprints were made in non-resistant mudstones which have since eroded away to expose the sandstone cast.
Visiting the gap is a perfect way to spend an interesting and breathtaking hour in Utah’s desert country.
Directional Map
You can get there from a gravel road from Parowan by going north on Main and turning left to 10.5 miles on the last street (400 North)
or from Cedar City, go north on Main (or take I-15 Exit 62, follow signs for UT 130 north 13.5 miles, then turn right 2 1/2 miles on a gravel road near Milepost 19.
For Additional Information Contact:
Bureau of Land Management
Cedar City Field Office
176 East D.L. Sargent Drive
Cedar City, Utah 84720
(435) 865-3053

Bloomington Cave, UT

To raise the appreciation of the cave resources and reduce the need for graffiti and stringing within the maze of passages within Bloomington Cave, routes have been marked. Currently, 5 routes are marked throughout the cave with different colored flagging. These routes wind throughout the cave. A lost caver shouldn’t be able to go far without hitting a flagged route leading to an entrance. These routes will make Bloomington Cave one of the best caving destinations in Utah.
The marked routes correspond to the updated map of the cave. The map of Bloomington’s maze of passages may be impossible to understand; however, matching the colored routes and numbered flags to the map should allow you to accurately and confidently navigate the cave’s maze.
Original display at Bloomington Cave
with cave map and trail descriptions
See the new display!
Safety
Flagged routes have been set to help navigate the labyrinth of passages within Bloomington Cave. These routes may deliver hours of pleasure exploring into the depths of the cave if properly prepared. However, they could easily lead you beyond your physical, mental, and equipment capabilities.
Be prepared! (1) Always wear a helmet, either a fancy climbing helmet or at least a construction helmet to protect your head. Most of the serious injuries are from falls. Without helmets, these falls become fatalities! (2) Always have at least one nice helmet-mounted light. Most all of these routes require climbing; you need both of your hands free. (3) Always carry at least 3 reliable light sources. Candles, matches and lighters are not considered reliable light sources. The farther in you go, the less likely you could make it out safely without light. (4) Wear appropriate footwear. Most people don’t climb well in gym shoes. Ankle support is strongly recommended to help protect and support your ankles during abusive travel. (5) And in case things go wrong, like flat tires or getting lost, inform dependable folks where you are, where you expect to be in the cave, and your expected return times. Most cell phones work out at Bloomington Cave so bring them along!
If you are with an organized group, you should seek your organization’s safety requirements to be sure you are covered under their insurance. Understand if you are leading a group, you are responsible for the group! You must provide adequate information, training, and equipment to ensure a safe, fun trip. If not, you could be heavily sued!
For Boy Scout Troop Leaders, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has caving policies and caving requirements. BSA’s policy states that all scouts must be 14 years of age or older, trips should have 2 adult leaders with one being experienced in cave exploration, groups should be less than 10 people, must have equipment be up to today’s caver standards, and that all caving trips require an approved tour permit. If the group doesn’t have a tour permit, they are not covered by BSA’s insurance!
Conservation
Along with your safety, please help protect the cave. Many hours have been spent restoring the cave by removing graffiti and trash from the cave.
All caves on federal lands are protected under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act. Defacing caves through spray painting, leaving trash, or collecting mineral or biological samples is illegal! Overnight camping, firearms, and campfires are prohibited in this cave. If you vandalize Bloomington Cave, you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Please report any violations or suspected activity by immediately calling the Law Enforcement Hotline (800) 227-7286
To maintain the open access to Bloomington Cave, everyone must cave responsibly, following safety and conservation standards. As groups continue to abuse or ignore these guidelines, future access restrictions are likely.
White Route
Main Route to bottom of Big Room via the Fanny Flume
The white flagged route leads to the bottom of the Big Room. This route is the most commonly used path through the cave.
The route starts at the South Entrance and goes straight to the Boardwalk where the cave register is found. After leaving the room just below the Boardwalk, the top of the Big Room (White #6) is entered. The high-angle slope drops about 70 ft to 100 ft to the bottom of the cave. After crossing the top of the Big Room, the route is marked going down the safer, but tighter, Fanny Flume (White #8-10), rather than the obvious and heavily used route leading straight down the well-exposed Big Room. To go directly down the Big Room a 100-ft handline or rappel is recommended. If going down the Fanny Flume, a short 50-ft handline and good teamwork is recommended. The White Route ends as it reaches the bottom of the Big Room (White #11).
Green Route
Boy Scout Route – Boardwalk to Lunch Room Junction to North Entrance
This route is the easiest entrance to entrance route. One should have climbing experience and no fear of tight spots.
This green flagged route starts by traversing the Boardwalk continuing straight past the White #3, until the start of the green flagging (Green #20) is reached. Quickly, the most difficult point along this route is reached. The “Slot” (White #19-18) is a tight 10-inch vertical crack that drops about 10 ft to a crawl below. The Slot is easier to navigate going down than up.
The Slot can be easily bypassed by taking the long flat wide crawl (Left of Green #19) then heading down a hidden climb to pop out at the Lunch Room Junction (Green #13).
Continuing along the normal route, another downclimb (Green #17-16) is reached. This climb is a bit exposed and slippery. The climb is easily negotiated by traversing along the ledge in the middle and then down. Climbing straight down leads to a long reach to a slippery point. This climb can be bypassed by continuing along the crawl at the top of the climb (Green #19) into the Lunch Room (Green #13).
After the climbdown (Green #16), the Lunch Room can be reached following the flagging by crawling through a small crack (Green #15-14). The flagging in the middle of the room (Green #13) is the junction with the Pink Route (Pink #23) and the Slot’s Bypass. There are a few flags to show the way through the vertical crack passage.
The route continues across the room working its way up through the cracks. Follow the flagging carefully for there are lots of tight cracks leading nowhere to be sucked into. After going through a tight 12-inch crack the route leads into a room. From this room the route continues up through a spiraling stoop way (Green #9-6). Crawling along the flat bedrock floor, you should start feeling the cold entrance air coming in. One can continue along this crawl (Green #6-5) all the way to the North Entrance (Green #0); however, the flagged route winds its way following the easiest path.
Pink Route
Boundary Route – Big Room to Outer Limits
This route is the longer entrance to entrance route. The route has lots of crawling and a bit of interesting climbing. This route uses both the White and the Green routes to make the loop so one should be familiar with these two routes before trying this route. This route is the most committing with the highest chance of getting seriously lost.
The pink flagging starts by traversing the flat bottom of the Big Room (White #11) to the north. This passage will quickly turn into a crawl and the pink flagging (Pink #1) will begin. The route will follow a long series of small traverses and climbs. Use caution, since the flagging can be a bit hard to follow through this highly-mazy section of the cave. When successfully followed, you will pop out into the long low Raceway passage (Pink #18-20).
The end of this passage continues up and up. A crack in the floor allows visitors in the Lunch Room to be heard below. From Pink #23 a short-tight 10-inch pitch leads into Lunch Room Junction (Green #13) and the Green Route.
Continuing up following the flagging on the normal route, the Hub (Green #6) is reached and the green route can be followed south to the North Entrance (Green #0).
Orange Route
The Miseries – Lunch Room to Big Room
This route connects the Lunch Room to the bottom of the Big Room. The route has slippery traverses on high-angled slopes with respectable exposure. The odds of slipping are higher than the Big Room, but the results would be a fast out-of-control slide, rather than Big Room’s straight-out fall. The route starting near the Lunch Room is very mazy; use caution not to lose the flagged route.
The route starts from Green #16 where the orange flagging leads down the easiest route down into the lower room. The route then zigzags through the room’s boulder field and then starts a steep descent into the cave. The first climb has a handline that other explorers left behind; however, the flagging shows an easier way to chimney down by using the ceiling and the floor to avoid the spacious short drop.
The route continues down with some interesting high pitching passages to follow. Good shoes will show their benefits through here. This type of traversing and climbing continues to keep you in the easier wider passages until a real bottom is reached. At the end of the route, you easily walk into the bottom of the Big Room (White #11.) Follow the white route to the South Entrance (White #0).
Yellow Route
Northern Exposure – Lunch Room to Crystal King Hall
This route goes into the northern section of the cave. It is fairly easy with only a few sections of steep easily-navigated slopes. The route can be reached from the Orange or Green Routes.
Enter the Yellow Route by descending the crack near Green #12 . Once through the crack the passage widens. Follow the flagging down the slope to Yellow #4. This point is where the Yellow Route completes its loop. Follow the flagging down into the Game Room (Yellow #5). This is a nice flat-floored room with nice size passages going off in all directions.
Follow the flagging or take the direct climb down to next room (Yellow #7). After leaving this room, traverse the large sloping passage to a stoopway. Scramble up through the breakdown to the base of a long slope. At the top of the slope (Yellow #14), a horizontal passageway is reached. Staying on this level, the passage is quickly traversed back to Yellow #4.
Once back at Yellow #4, the route can be followed to the intersection of the Orange Route. Follow the easy horizontal route. After an easy squeeze between two boulders, the route runs into the orange flagging (Orange #3 and 4).
Bloomington Cave Trails

Bloomington Cave Trails

To raise the appreciation of the cave resources and reduce the need for graffiti and stringing within the maze of passages within Bloomington Cave, routes have been marked. Currently, 5 routes are marked throughout the cave with different colored flagging. These routes wind throughout the cave. A lost caver shouldn’t be able to go far without hitting a flagged route leading to an entrance. These routes will make Bloomington Cave one of the best caving destinations in Utah.
The marked routes correspond to the updated map of the cave. The map of Bloomington’s maze of passages may be impossible to understand; however, matching the colored routes and numbered flags to the map should allow you to accurately and confidently navigate the cave’s maze.
Safety
Flagged routes have been set to help navigate the labyrinth of passages within Bloomington Cave. These routes may deliver hours of pleasure exploring into the depths of the cave if properly prepared. However, they could easily lead you beyond your physical, mental, and equipment capabilities.
Be prepared! (1) Always wear a helmet, either a fancy climbing helmet or at least a construction helmet to protect your head. Most of the serious injuries are from falls. Without helmets, these falls become fatalities! (2) Always have at least one nice helmet-mounted light. Most all of these routes require climbing; you need both of your hands free. (3) Always carry at least 3 reliable light sources. Candles, matches and lighters are not considered reliable light sources. The farther in you go, the less likely you could make it out safely without light. (4) Wear appropriate footwear. Most people don’t climb well in gym shoes. Ankle support is strongly recommended to help protect and support your ankles during abusive travel. (5) And in case things go wrong, like flat tires or getting lost, inform dependable folks where you are, where you expect to be in the cave, and your expected return times. Most cell phones work out at Bloomington Cave so bring them along!
If you are with an organized group, you should seek your organization’s safety requirements to be sure you are covered under their insurance. Understand if you are leading a group, you are responsible for the group! You must provide adequate information, training, and equipment to ensure a safe, fun trip. If not, you could be heavily sued!
For Boy Scout Troop Leaders, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has caving policies and caving requirements. BSA’s policy states that all scouts must be 14 years of age or older, trips should have 2 adult leaders with one being experienced in cave exploration, groups should be less than 10 people, must have equipment be up to today’s caver standards, and that all caving trips require an approved tour permit. If the group doesn’t have a tour permit, they are not covered by BSA’s insurance!
Conservation
Along with your safety, please help protect the cave. Many hours have been spent restoring the cave by removing graffiti and trash from the cave.
All caves on federal lands are protected under the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act. Defacing caves through spray painting, leaving trash, or collecting mineral or biological samples is illegal! Overnight camping, firearms, and campfires are prohibited in this cave. If you vandalize Bloomington Cave, you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Please report any violations or suspected activity by immediately calling the Law Enforcement Hotline (800) 227-7286
To maintain the open access to Bloomington Cave, everyone must cave responsibly, following safety and conservation standards. As groups continue to abuse or ignore these guidelines, future access restrictions are likely.
White Route
Main Route to bottom of Big Room via the Fanny Flume
The white flagged route leads to the bottom of the Big Room. This route is the most commonly used path through the cave.
The route starts at the South Entrance and goes straight to the Boardwalk where the cave register is found. After leaving the room just below the Boardwalk, the top of the Big Room (White #6) is entered. The high-angle slope drops about 70 ft to 100 ft to the bottom of the cave. After crossing the top of the Big Room, the route is marked going down the safer, but tighter, Fanny Flume (White #8-10), rather than the obvious and heavily used route leading straight down the well-exposed Big Room. To go directly down the Big Room a 100-ft handline or rappel is recommended. If going down the Fanny Flume, a short 50-ft handline and good teamwork is recommended. The White Route ends as it reaches the bottom of the Big Room (White #11).
Green Route
Boy Scout Route – Boardwalk to Lunch Room Junction to North Entrance
This route is the easiest entrance to entrance route. One should have climbing experience and no fear of tight spots.
This green flagged route starts by traversing the Boardwalk continuing straight past the White #3, until the start of the green flagging (Green #20) is reached. Quickly, the most difficult point along this route is reached. The “Slot” (White #19-18) is a tight 10-inch vertical crack that drops about 10 ft to a crawl below. The Slot is easier to navigate going down than up.
The Slot can be easily bypassed by taking the long flat wide crawl (Left of Green #19) then heading down a hidden climb to pop out at the Lunch Room Junction (Green #13).
Continuing along the normal route, another downclimb (Green #17-16) is reached. This climb is a bit exposed and slippery. The climb is easily negotiated by traversing along the ledge in the middle and then down. Climbing straight down leads to a long reach to a slippery point. This climb can be bypassed by continuing along the crawl at the top of the climb (Green #19) into the Lunch Room (Green #13).
After the climbdown (Green #16), the Lunch Room can be reached following the flagging by crawling through a small crack (Green #15-14). The flagging in the middle of the room (Green #13) is the junction with the Pink Route (Pink #23) and the Slot’s Bypass. There are a few flags to show the way through the vertical crack passage.
The route continues across the room working its way up through the cracks. Follow the flagging carefully for there are lots of tight cracks leading nowhere to be sucked into. After going through a tight 12-inch crack the route leads into a room. From this room the route continues up through a spiraling stoop way (Green #9-6). Crawling along the flat bedrock floor, you should start feeling the cold entrance air coming in. One can continue along this crawl (Green #6-5) all the way to the North Entrance (Green #0); however, the flagged route winds its way following the easiest path.
Pink Route
Boundary Route – Big Room to Outer Limits
This route is the longer entrance to entrance route. The route has lots of crawling and a bit of interesting climbing. This route uses both the White and the Green routes to make the loop so one should be familiar with these two routes before trying this route. This route is the most committing with the highest chance of getting seriously lost.
The pink flagging starts by traversing the flat bottom of the Big Room (White #11) to the north. This passage will quickly turn into a crawl and the pink flagging (Pink #1) will begin. The route will follow a long series of small traverses and climbs. Use caution, since the flagging can be a bit hard to follow through this highly-mazy section of the cave. When successfully followed, you will pop out into the long low Raceway passage (Pink #18-20).
The end of this passage continues up and up. A crack in the floor allows visitors in the Lunch Room to be heard below. From Pink #23 a short-tight 10-inch pitch leads into Lunch Room Junction (Green #13) and the Green Route.
Continuing up following the flagging on the normal route, the Hub (Green #6) is reached and the green route can be followed south to the North Entrance (Green #0).
Orange Route
The Miseries – Lunch Room to Big Room
This route connects the Lunch Room to the bottom of the Big Room. The route has slippery traverses on high-angled slopes with respectable exposure. The odds of slipping are higher than the Big Room, but the results would be a fast out-of-control slide, rather than Big Room’s straight-out fall. The route starting near the Lunch Room is very mazy; use caution not to lose the flagged route.
The route starts from Green #16 where the orange flagging leads down the easiest route down into the lower room. The route then zigzags through the room’s boulder field and then starts a steep descent into the cave. The first climb has a handline that other explorers left behind; however, the flagging shows an easier way to chimney down by using the ceiling and the floor to avoid the spacious short drop.
The route continues down with some interesting high pitching passages to follow. Good shoes will show their benefits through here. This type of traversing and climbing continues to keep you in the easier wider passages until a real bottom is reached. At the end of the route, you easily walk into the bottom of the Big Room (White #11.) Follow the white route to the South Entrance (White #0).
Yellow Route
Northern Exposure – Lunch Room to Crystal King Hall
This route goes into the northern section of the cave. It is fairly easy with only a few sections of steep easily-navigated slopes. The route can be reached from the Orange or Green Routes.
Enter the Yellow Route by descending the crack near Green #12 . Once through the crack the passage widens. Follow the flagging down the slope to Yellow #4. This point is where the Yellow Route completes its loop. Follow the flagging down into the Game Room (Yellow #5). This is a nice flat-floored room with nice size passages going off in all directions.
Follow the flagging or take the direct climb down to next room (Yellow #7). After leaving this room, traverse the large sloping passage to a stoopway. Scramble up through the breakdown to the base of a long slope. At the top of the slope (Yellow #14), a horizontal passageway is reached. Staying on this level, the passage is quickly traversed back to Yellow #4.
Once back at Yellow #4, the route can be followed to the intersection of the Orange Route. Follow the easy horizontal route. After an easy squeeze between two boulders, the route runs into the orange flagging (Orange #3 and 4).
Bloomington Cave is the fifth largest cave in Utah, at a length of 1.30 miles and a depth of 240 ft. Larger caves in Utah include Little Brush Creek Cave(5.93 miles), Big Brush Creek Cave(4.92 miles), Duck Creek Lave Tube (2.28 miles), and Main Drain Cave (1.47 miles), Bloomington Cave still contains many unmapped passages. Several thousand feet remain to be surveyed.
Bloomington Cave is a fault cave. The cave trends north and south with a western plunge of about 40 degrees. This plunge allows the cave to be descended to its maximum depth without ropes. The cave is three-dimensional fracture maze. The cave’s floor consists of large steps that are pinched off by a consistently sloping ceiling. Many of the walls turn up to be low connecting passages. At many locations the walls are indefinable. And many passages overlie each other. Many of the passages appear as if they were carbon copied at hundred of locations throughout the cave. The cave is truly a mapping nightmare!
Location
37.059059° -113.735028° @ 3700′
The cave is accessible through BLM maintained roadway off of a neighborhood street called Navajo Dr. From there, drive up Cottonwood Wash. This is a moderately harsh road that would involve the requirement of a 4WD vehicle. Alternatively, an easier route can be taken from Highway 91 that most standard cars can take, at the expense of a longer trip from nearby St. George. Take the Apex Mine road and take a left at the first mainroadway fork (a sign is present), and this will get you into coming into the Bloomington area from the west
Published in: on October 14, 2009 at 3:04 PM  Comments Off on Bloomington Cave, UT  
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Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is at once one of the most breathtaking and tranquil places on earth.  Gently carved from the Navajo sandstone over the course of countless millenniums, the slot canyons are majestic and narrow passages, just enough space for a small group to walk the sandy floor – and for the occasional shafts of sunlight to shine down from above.
It is really two separate canyons – Upper and Lower Antelope.  Each contains the hidden “slots” carved from the swirling sandstone, and both drain from the south into Lake Powell (once the Colorado River).  The canyons are so narrow in places that one can stretch out his or her arms and touch both sides.
The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.”  Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed.  Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi, or “spiral rock arches.”  Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.
Though dry most of the year, Antelope Canyon runs, and sometimes floods, with water after rains.  It is the water, slowly wearing away the sandstone grain by grain, that has formed the beautiful and graceful curves in the rock.  Wind has also played a role in sculpting this fantastic canyon.
You must have an authorized guide to Upper and Lower areas of Antelope Canyon. You can contact one of the outfitters below, to make reservations.
HISTORY
A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon, which explains the canyon’s English name. It is not known exactly when people first discovered Antelope Canyon. According to local Navajos, who have lived here for some time, the canyon and the LeChee area were places where cattle grazed in winter.
To older Navajos, entering a place like Antelope Canyon was like entering a cathedral.  They would probably pause before going in, to be in the right from of mind and prepare the protection and respect.  This would also allow them to leave with an uplifted feeling of what Mother Nature has to offer, and to be in harmony with something greater than themselves.  It was (and is) a spiritual experience
Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is at once one of the most breathtaking and tranquil places on earth.  Gently carved from the Navajo sandstone over the course of countless millenniums, the slot canyons are majestic and narrow passages, just enough space for a small group to walk the sandy floor – and for the occasional shafts of sunlight to shine down from above.

It is really two separate canyons – Upper and Lower Antelope.  Each contains the hidden “slots” carved from the swirling sandstone, and both drain from the south into Lake Powell (once the Colorado River).  The canyons are so narrow in places that one can stretch out his or her arms and touch both sides.

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.”  Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed.  Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi, or “spiral rock arches.”  Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Though dry most of the year, Antelope Canyon runs, and sometimes floods, with water after rains.  It is the water, slowly wearing away the sandstone grain by grain, that has formed the beautiful and graceful curves in the rock.  Wind has also played a role in sculpting this fantastic canyon.

You must have an authorized guide to Upper and Lower areas of Antelope Canyon. You can contact one of the outfitters below, to make reservations.

HISTORY

A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon, which explains the canyon’s English name. It is not known exactly when people first discovered Antelope Canyon. According to local Navajos, who have lived here for some time, the canyon and the LeChee area were places where cattle grazed in winter.

To older Navajos, entering a place like Antelope Canyon was like entering a cathedral.  They would probably pause before going in, to be in the right from of mind and prepare the protection and respect.  This would also allow them to leave with an uplifted feeling of what Mother Nature has to offer, and to be in harmony with something greater than themselves.

Published in: on September 28, 2009 at 7:00 PM  Comments Off on Antelope Canyon  
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Best Friends Animal Sanctuary & Angel’s Rest Cemetary, UT

Angel Canyon, Kanab, UT

Angel Canyon, Kanab, UT

Angel Canyon

Millions of years ago, Angel Canyon was a shallow sea, home to dinosaurs at the beginning of the Jurassic Era. (You might see some 3-toed dino footprints during your walks in Angel Canyon.) The earliest humans came to Angel Canyon about 11,000 years ago.

Seven locations in the canyon are noted for their beauty and the atmosphere of peace and healing that emanates from them. The first is Petroglyph Rock.

The figures on the wall of Petroglyph Rock were carved about a thousand years ago by people known as the Anasazi or Hisatzanome.

Nobody has completely deciphered the meaning of all the petroglyphs (carvings) and pictographs (paintings) of the Anasazi. But they share a unique characteristic when compared to the rock art of almost every other ancient civilization of the world. Nowhere, among all the pictures and carvings, will you ever see a depiction of war, violence, slavery, subjugation, or any other form of aggression.

On the popular TV show, the Lone Ranger and Tonto took refuge in Angels Landing, a huge dome-shaped cave of red sandstone at the heart of Angel Canyon.

But long before the Lone Ranger or, indeed, any other European settlers came here, Angels Landing had been a sacred gathering place for thousands of years. Nearby, you can see evidence of people who settled here more than 10,000 years ago.

Underground Lake

A short path at the top of the pasture leads down sharply to a cave full of dark, still, chilly water that quickly curves around and goes out of sight. Bats nest in the cracks of the rock over the lake during the day, then swarm out at sundown.

Angel's Rest Pet Cemetary

Angel's Rest Pet Cemetary

Angel’s Rest

The entrance gate depicts a dog and cat with rabbits perched on their backs, surrounded by flowers in bloom. Colorful rocks form walls that hold urns, vases, and memorials. Stones and markers proclaim, “Always in our hearts,” “The best wee cat in the whole wide world,” and other loving sentiments.

Animal statues dot the landscape – a napping cat, a smiling sheepdog, an elegant owl, and many others

Anasazi Kiva

a kiva, a small circular building, built partially underground, in one of the caves that was home to a community of the Anasazi people.

The kiva was the heart of the community – most likely a ceremonial room where the people would gather on special days for prayer or purification.

Handprint Cave

Faint petroglyphs (carvings in the stone) and pictographs (paintings) decorate the walls of this cave home. The paint is red and yellow, colors that were painstakingly distilled from the iron oxide that gives the cliffs those same colors.

But your attention is immediately, almost hypnotically, drawn to the handprints.

They’re quite small. Perhaps the hands of a young person, although the adults were not large people and the prints have been carefully placed on the walls with no smudges.

Dinosaur Traces

Near the caves, millions of years earlier, a family of dinosaurs walked by and left their huge, three-toed footprints in the red sand one rainy day. The sand dried and the prints remained.

From Kanab

The entrance to Best Friends is about five miles north of Kanab on the east (right) side of Hwy 89. Between the 69 and 70 mile markers, a green highway sign indicates Kanab Canyon. Turn into Kanab Canyon and drive about 1.5 miles to the Welcome Center, which is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week.

Published in: on August 31, 2009 at 2:23 PM  Comments Off on Best Friends Animal Sanctuary & Angel’s Rest Cemetary, UT  
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