Updated Links

This Blog is no longer updated on a regular basis to provide for my time writing and the exploration of our great west. Please if you are new make sure to go through the individual content posted here. This blog contains areas highlighted and guaranteed to provide you and your family with endless adventure. If you need additional resources I am sure that you will find these links below more than helpful.




Please check out my book during it’s upcoming release


Or check out my online social pages



Past Posts related to this page






Published in: on December 10, 2015 at 7:32 PM  Comments Off on Updated Links  

Moab & The Four Corners

Moab & The Four Corners

Some of the areas highlighted in this book are:

House On fire Ruins

Sego Canyon Petroglyphs

Canyonlands-Needles District

Salmon Ruins

Newspaper Rock

Hovenweep National Monument

Mule Canyon Cave Tower Ruins

Sand Island Petroglyphs

Monument Valley


Cisco Ghost Town

Halfway Stage Station Ruins

Mill Creek Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Edge of Cedars State Park

Mule Canyon Roadside Ruins

Trail of The Ancients National Scenic Byway

Butler Wash & Mule Canyon Indian Ruins

Bridges National Monument

Grand Gulch Primitive Area

Four Corners Monument

Three Kiva Pueblo

Gooseneck State Park

Valley of The Gods

Coronado State Monument Kuana Ruins

Canyon of The Ancients

Horseshoe canyon

Anasazi Indian Village State Historical Monument

Ute Mountain Tribal Park

Mesa Verde

Published in: on September 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM  Comments Off on Moab & The Four Corners  
Tags: , , , , ,

Four Corners Excursions

Four Corners Excursions

Personalized and Custom Tours :

Interested in exploring an abandoned ghost town standing silent after decades of desertion, How about visiting Anasazi archeological ruins of these Native American cultures that existed from about 1200 BC ?. Experience the artistic expression of the Native American displayed in the forms of petroglyphs and pictographs describing a ancient world no longer present ,Touching and experiencing a life past by prehistoric dinosaur from million’s of years past. More information can be obtained here…


Hiking Tours of featuring the four corners region available April-October. Cost is based on amenities desired, hotel packages available as well as catering if requested.



Day trips, weekend trips and a 2 party minimum, 1/2 payment required upon scheduling. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.



Tour the Ancestral Puebloan Anasazi ruins in Cedar Mesa, Butler Wash and others. Petroglyph tours are also available in Moab, Monument Valley, Thompson Springs, Canyonlands and other locations. I am CPR and First Aid Certified as a precaution I do carry a SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger to alert the proper authorities in case of an emergency and no wireless signal is available.



For more info contact me at




Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM  Comments Off on Four Corners Excursions  

Unmet Friend To Bill Kettler written by Phill Randall

Unmet Friend,

by Phill Randall on Wednesday, 9 January 2013 at 16:36 ·

Came from the same mold him and I,

Reckon they threw it away after that day,

Not many can say two are one of a kind,

Two were friends and uncorse words we never say,

Agree on most things we were taught,

Didn’t listen to most cause we knew,

Back then when it all ment alot,

We agree on the things that were new,

Travels we have never seen on the same line,

Seen em all I guess we can say,

But we both know the places left by time,

Been there and seen em, we left it lay,

Shook a hand of many but not ours,

Maybe past each other on some trail,

If we did, I doubt it was in any cars,

Guessen we told our storys, never told a tale,

Sat by a fire and ponder we have not,

Poured coffee in a cup yet to be seen,

Probley cured the worlds problems,

Of course in a way that isn’t so mean,

Been accused of brothers to the core,

Think alike in most cases unlike some,

One fear we don’t have is a closed door,

When one hears family mentioned with out name,

Brothers of most so we might contend,

We’ve been them, an unspoked fame,

For us we agree, brothers to each, unmet friend,,

Phill Randall,



Thank you to my brother closer than kin Phill I will always have your back!

Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 9:55 PM  Comments Off on Unmet Friend To Bill Kettler written by Phill Randall  

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


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:


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


For those newcomers to our lovely desert and for those of you who have forgotten them, here are some basic tips for dealing with the heat, traveling and your car.

Service your car often: Do not use my former mechanic! Do have the oil changed frequently, check the belts and keep an eye on your battery. Make sure your car’s bodily fluids are full.

Items you should have in your car:
If you are not used to living in a hot climate, these are must-have items in your car.

  • Extra water. Even if you are just going to the mall, make sure you have water for everyone in your car. Think “what if?” Heat sick is not pleasant, trust me. Being even slightly dehydrated can make you feel awful. If you are thirsty, you are becoming dehydrated. A simple drive to Las Vegas can become deadly if you are stuck four miles behind an accident that has closed the road and you have no water.
    **Don’t forget extra water for your car. Pick up one of those cases of water at the market or CostCo.
  • Seat cover: Use something like a towel to cover the seat if you don’t have seat covers. Leather seats can be “dangerous” when they have been closed up in 110 degree heat for a couple of hours. You really don’t want to sit on them. Besides, towels can be good for sticky hands and for collecting crumbs, and are easily thrown in the wash. I use towels over my seat cover — an extra set of seat protection.
  • Steering wheel cover: Use a cloth cover (not leather). Leather gets too hot. Hot steering wheels cannot be held safely so protect it and your hands.
  • Snacks: Granola bars or small bags of crackers. Again, have on hand “just in case.” Forget the ones that will melt. No chocolate chips or cheese.
  • Cell phone: Call someone if you get lost or get into trouble. Don’t be brave and/or stupid and try to walk for help. Heat can kill.
  • First-aid kit: Items you should consider include ice packs, ace bandages, wrist brace, sunscreen, tweezers, x-acto blade, batteries, (girl stuff) and various meds like Benadryl or Motrin.
  • Emergency kit: Items you should consider include a flashlight, flares, jumper cables, blanket, extra clothes and gloves, paper towels and some basic tools such as wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers. A tow strap and/or rope is also a good idea.
  • Sunshades: This may seem like a no-brainer but use those handy-dandy sunshades to shade your windshield. Those can really mitigate high temps inside your vehicle. Your dashboard doesn’t like the sun or heat so a sunshade will help keep it from cracking and fading.

Items you should NOT have in your car:

  • Anything packaged under pressure: Hair spray or sodas. They will go boom big time. Canned air is also a no-no — you photographers out there. It is dangerous, as one of my photographer friends found out — the hard way.
  • Tapes, CDs or DVDs.
  • Sunscreen in a bottle or tube: Buy little packets or towelettes. I had a tube of sunscreen in the car so I could always have it handy. Opened it up the other day and ka-woosh — sunscreen everywhere. Now it goes in a go-bag of “stuff I need in the car everyday but don’t want to leave in the car.”
  • Crayons, candy, gum, lipstick: You might think this is another no-brainer ladies — or guys who like lipstick. But I have ruined more lipsticks that I can shake a stick at because I forgot it was getting hot. And a melted Chapstick makes a sticky mess.
  • Credit cards or other cards with magnetic strips on plastic: They really do melt into weird shapes and will not fit into the ATM machine.
    ** After shopping, check your trunk (or cargo area) carefully to make sure nothing has fallen out of the grocery bags: You really don’t want to find those eggs or that salami a week later. Or even the next day when the forgotten items are frozen bags of fruit for your smoothies.
Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 11:55 PM  Comments Off on HEAT AND SAFETY  

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.

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

Natural Teas From The Desert Floor

The creosote plant in bloom

Tea has been known in China since about 2700 BC. Tea was initially used strictly as a medicinal beverage obtained by boiling fresh leaves in water, but around the 300 AD it became a daily drink, and tea cultivation and processing of Chinese tea began.

But tea beverages have been drunk by most of the world’s cultures for millennia. Many of these were herbal teas, using a wide variety of native plant leaves, roots and stems steeped in boiling water.

There are, likewise, many desert plants, which have been used for centuries by Native Americans to brew tea. As in the Far East, they were primarily used for medicinal purposes rather than as a daily beverage. Below is a sample of some of the more common desert plants used for brewing tea.

Creosote Tea

(Larrea tridentata)

Place a sprig of Creosote leaves and flowers in a cup. Add boiling water, cover and steep 5 to 10 minutes (depending on strength desired), then strain. You may want to sweeten this strong, aromatic tea with honey.

Creosote bush is the dominant shrub over most of the southwestern deserts. California’s Cahuilla Indians brewed Creosote tea to relieve coughs, colds, flu, infections and bowel complaints. They also covered their heads with a blanket and inhaled the steam of creosote leaves in a boiling pot of water to relieve congestion.

Sagebrush Tea

(Artemesia spp.)

Place several Sagebrush leaves (preferably from a small plant) in a cup. Add boiling water, cover and steep 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten and serve. Native Americans regarded this bitter tea useful to promote sweating and to aid in digestion. Many prefer honey or lemon for flavoring. Note that the many species of Sagebrush are not really a sage, but are an annual evergreen shrub. All are aromatic.

Mormon Tea, Desert Tea, Squaw Tea

(Ephedra spp.)

In a boiling pot of water, place a small handful of green or brown Ephedra twigs for each cup desired. Cover and steep 20 minutes. Strain and drink. There are many species of Ephedras in the Desert Southwest, but all make a tasty, energizing tea. Southwestern Indians and European desert travelers have long brewed Mormon tea or chewed the twigs to quench thirst and boost energy. Mormon tea is considered a general tonic for stomach ailments and kidney disorders.

Note: Those who are sensitive to caffeine should probably avoid this tea. The drug ephedrine is obtained from a Chinese species of Ephedra.

Mesquite Tea

(Prosopis spp.)

Among the 3 species of mesquites in the desert, Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) is most preferred for brewing tea. Place 8 or 9 green or dry yellow twigs in a cup. Fill with boiling water, cover and steep 20 minutes. Or boil 24 seed pods in a pot for one hour. This sweet, mild tea has a vanilla-like flavor. It was used by Native Americans to treat diarrhea and stomach ulcers.

Sage Tea

(Salvia apiana / mellifera)

Bruise one leaf of either white or black sage, place in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and steep 5 minutes; strain, sweeten and serve. Native Americans used Sage Tea as a gargle for sore throats and to aid digestion. It was also used topically as a disinfectant. Note that White Sage is much stronger than Black Sage, which may require moderation.

WARNING: Many native and cultivated plants are extremely toxic and can result in severe illness, or even death if ingested. Never ingest any portion of any plant unless you are absolutely certain about its identity and harmlessness.

Published in: on May 15, 2010 at 1:07 AM  Comments Off on Natural Teas From The Desert Floor  
Tags: , , , , , , ,