The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

Length: 44.0 mi / 70.8 km
Time to Allow:
2 hours

This spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge in Moab, UT begins at the Colorado River Bridge on the north end of Moab. For the first 13 miles (20.9 km) it parallels

the Colorado River within a narrow section of the gorge, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding red sandstone cliffs. Popular attractions along this portion of the route include viewpoints of the river, public camping areas, and Negro Bill Canyon, which contains a delightful hiking trail to Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

At 13 miles (20.9 km) the gorge widens as the highway proceeds past Castle and Professor Valleys, which have been the shooting locations for many western films including Wagon Master and Rio Grande, along with numerous television commercials. The Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission has a museum at the lodge located at Mile Marker 14. Admission is free. After 24.7 miles (39.8 km) the highway passes a viewpoint for one of the grandest views in the west, the red rock spires of the Fisher Towers set against the often snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains.

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

After leaving the valley, the road winds farther up the river gorge until arriving at the site of historic Dewey Bridge at 29.8 miles (48 km). Unfortunately Dewey Bridge was destroyed in April 2008 by a brush fire. The road then follows the northern bank of the river for a few more miles before exiting the Colorado River gorge. At this point the highway proceeds across open desert toward the ghost town of Cisco at 44 miles (70.8 km). Cisco was founded as a water refilling station for steam locomotives along the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. After another 5 miles (8 km) the route intersects Interstate 70.

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

San Rafael Swell, UT

San Rafael Swell - Vertical Mine Shaft

History and Activities: Historically, the Swell was crossed by various expeditions during the exploration of the West but received virtually no permanent settlement. More recently, the area has seen sporadic mining operations – principally for uranium (most intensively around the Temple Mountain area) but also for small amounts of copper, silver, oil and gas; otherwise, ranching has been and continues to be the only major use of the land. Herds of wild horses and burros roam the plains, and bighorn sheep may sometimes be spotted in the canyons. Most of the tracks across the swell result from prospectors in the early to mid twentieth century, and these provided the only access until 1972, when the interstate was constructed, dividing the region in two.

San Rafael Swell - Vertical Mine Shaft

Various exits now allow easy entrance to the middle section and link with the old tracks, most of which are good for regular vehicles and quite well signposted. Hiking and exploring are the main reasons to visit nowadays – there are trails to mountains, historic sites, old mines and the numerous canyons – these offer experiences ranging from extended, strenuous trips like the hike through the Black Boxes of the San Rafael River to easy walks such as that down Little Wild Horse Canyon.

San Rafael Swell -  Mine Shaft

Temple Mountain: The most accessible area of the San Rafael Swell is around Temple Mountain in the southeast, beside the road to Goblin Valley State Park. Half way to the park (6 miles from UT 24), a side track branches off westwards and cuts right through the reef, the only such road along the whole eastern edge apart from interstate 70. There are many good places for free camping either side of the road, all with nice views over the reef and the San Rafael Desert – a good alternative to staying at the Goblin Valley campground, where the fees are $15 a night. The road becomes unpaved but still fine for all vehicles as it follows the canyon of South Temple Wash into the reef, where multicolored walls of Wingate sandstone rise up to 500 feet. Two sections of the cliffs on the north side have quite impressive pictograph panels, though mixed with modern graffiti. The cliffs recede on the far side of the reef to reveal an angular landscape of numerous red ridges, ravines and cliffs, with a prominent peak to the north. This is Temple Mountain – site of one of the main mining areas in the Swell, it was in use from 1910 to about 1960, extracting large amounts of uranium ore from strata of the Chinle formation. Many shafts, stone buildings, spoil heaps, rusty iron equipment and other debris remain in place, plus a large winch tower, and a walk around the mountain on old mine roads makes for an interesting hike of 2 hours or so. The rocky badlands beneath the mountain are also strewn with many pieces of petrified wood, the Chinle sandstone being the same formation as found in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. The old tracks branch off the main road at the site of Temple Mountain village, a settlement that was built to service the miners and once included a gas station and general store, though little trace remains today.

San Rafael Swell

Access: The largest town nearby is Green River, 18 miles east of the reef on I-70; this is also a convenient base from which to explore the Canyonlands region to the southeast and Desolation Canyon to the north. The town has a selection of shops and cheap motels, and the John Wesley Powell River Museum – besides its interesting exhibits this has a good selection of local books and topographic maps. UT 24 and its side roads give access to the southern swell, and along here is found Goblin Valley State Park, the most visited site in this area. The northern half falls between US 191/6 and UT 10 and amongst the routes heading inwards is the unpaved Buckhorn Draw Road which leads to the single most impressive viewpoint – the Wedge Overlook from where many square miles of eroded canyons around the San Rafael River are viewable.

Cooking with Cattail

Cattail
Cooking with Cattail Shoots

In early spring, cattails send up small, immature shoots that are rich and succulent and taste a bit like zucchini. These first sprigs of fresh cattail can be put into stir-fries, soups, pasta sauces, or any other recipe that calls for fresh, green vegetables. My favorite preferred use is in Asian-style stir fries. Their taste especially complements the texture and flavor of water chestnuts.

Cooking with Cattail Hearts

When cattail shoots mature in mid spring, the rich “heart” at the base of the leaf-blades becomes full of nutrients. These can be used in the same contexts as cattail shoots, but will lend a slightly stronger flavor and crunchier texture. A cattail heart’s texture is something like a cross between a bamboo shoot and an artichoke heart, and its flavor is like a cross between a rutabaga and a melon rind. They are ideal for pickling and canning.

Cooking with Cattail Heads

One of my all-time favorite foods is what I call “cat on the cob”, a delightful dish that tastes remarkably similar to sweet, white corn. Immature cattail heads that do not yet have a cotton-like texture– best harvested in early summer— are tasty and wonderful additions to any meal. They can be boiled or put into soups and stir-fries, but I prefer to cook them in a buttered skillet over medium heat and serve them in place of corn.


Cooking with Cattail Pollen

When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.

Cooking with Cattail Roots
The cream of the cattail crop is its rhizome, or root, which can be harvested any time between late fall and early spring. Cattails store starches in their roots over winter, similarly to potatoes and carrots, and provide a succulant, fibrous meal base when the root is properly harvested. These rhizomes can be prepared like potatoes or used along with them. Cattail roots make a great addition to mashed potatoes, greens, and root-bakes.
Regardless of the route you choose for cooking cattails, be sure that you have properly identified the plant. While there are few poisonous plants that resemble the cattail at any stage of life, it is still critical that all foragers cook wild plants only if they are certain that it has been accurately identified.
When the flowers, or heads, of the cattail plant mature in mid-summer, their pollen can be gathered and used in the same context as corn starch. The pollen gives an excellent flavor to breads and pancakes when it is added to flours, or it can be used as a thickener in gravies, soups, and
stews. Its flavor is mild and barely noticeable, but it makes a fine addition to the pantry of any foraging chef.


Dandelion fritters

Dandelion
During, spring in Michigan one of my favorite activities was making and eating dandelion flower fritters.
The simple dandelion is one of my favorite herbs.   This plant is tenacious, despite many folk’s best efforts to eradicate them from their lawns this plant has so much to offer.
They are easy to pick and so bright and cheery on a sunny day.  Pick these in the sunshine when they are open, and when you have time to make the fritters right after gathering.
Find a bowl, and mix together one egg and one cup of milk.  Stir in a cup of flour and your fritter batter is ready to go.  (If you like your fritters sweet you can add a little maple syrup or honey.)
Now, prepare a skillet on the stove with gently warmed olive oil – keep it over medium heat.
Take one of the flowers and hold it by the greens at the base of the flower petals. Dip the petals into the batter and twirl until the flower is covered.
Drop it into the skillet, flower side down.  Continue dipping and dropping flowers, checking the first ones every once in a while to see if they are brown.  When they’ve lightly browned, flip them over and brown them on the other side.
When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain the excess oil on paper towel.
For a sweet treat, drizzle them with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar.  For savory fritters try dipping in mustard or adding some savory herbs to the batter.
A second method for fritter making is to pull the dandelion flower petals from the green base and add the petals to the batter.  Then you can cook them up just like pancakes.
Not only are the fritters delicious, the dandelion flowers are good for your heart.  Dandelion flower tea can help relieve pain from headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomachaches and depression.  The rest of the plant (greens and roots) has nourishing, healing properties as well, the younger greens are great boiled and eaten as you would eat boiled spinach. So, once you’ve fallen in love with the flowers, consider seeking out further information.

Save 10% on RedRock Back Country Adventures

Save 10% @ RedRock Backcountry Adventures

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Natural Bridges National Monument covers a relatively small area in southeast Utah, close to scenic highway UT 95 between Hanksville and Blanding. It is rather remote and not close to other parks so is not heavily visited, despite being near many fine, lesser known places in this part of the state such as White Canyon, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch Plateau and the La Sal Mountains. Unlike Arches National Park, with over 2,000 classified arches, there are only three bridges here though the monument also contains Anasazi cliff dwellings, pictographs and white sandstone canyons. Natural bridges are formed by running water and hence are much rarer than arches, which result from a variety of other erosional forces. This is also the reason why bridges tend to be found within deep canyons, sometimes quite hidden, whereas arches are usually high and exposed, often the last remnants of cliffs and ridges.

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Location:  The bridges are reached by UT 275, a 4 mile side road forking off UT 95 close to the junction with UT 261 from Mexican Hat. The closest major town is Blanding, 38 miles east. Like all roads in this area, highway 275 crosses a flat, pinyon-juniper covered plateau around 6,500 feet in elevation – the top of the white Cedar Mesa sandstone layer – and bordered in most directions by distant red cliffs. The monument has a small visitor center

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 3:39 PM  Comments Off on Natural Bridges National Monument, UT  
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Africanized bees or killer bees

 

No Image Available

No Image Available

 

 

As the number of Africanized bee colonies increases in an area, so, too, does the likelihood of human and animal encounters with them. Serious human injury can be avoided if the habits of Africanized bees are learned and precautions taken.
Wear light-colored clothing. Bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, any thing dark in color could draw the animus of AHB.
Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to disturb honey bees. Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfume.
Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it be and keep family and pets away. Find a pest control company or a local beekeeper to solve the problem.
To help prevent honey bees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of refuse, honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground.
When hiking, avoid hiking off trails. Bring some bug spray, bee spray, a GPS, and your cell phone with you just in case.
Be alert for bees acting strangely. If one or two start to bump at you, especially at your head, take notice and possibly vacate the vicinity.
 
How can I escape an attack by Africanized Honey Bees?
Obviously, it is best to avoid contact with Africanized Honey Bees. But if contact becomes unavoidable, it is important to know what to do.
Bees target the head, and nearly all those who suffer serious stinging incidents with Africanized Bees are overcome by stings to the head and face.
The best method of escaping a bee attack is to cover your head and run for shelter.
Any covering for your body, especially for your head and face, will help you escape. A small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket.
If you do not have these, grab a blanket, coat, towel, anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape.
If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.
If one or two bees start agressively bumping you, pay attention.
Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed.
DO NOT JUMP INTO WATER! Bees will wait for you to come up for air. They have been discouraged by water from a spraying hose, however. Spray water from the hose onto yourself and overhead. If you can get into a shower that will help as well.
Once you are away from the bees, evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately. Ice has been said to help with the swelling.
If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.
Remove stingers as soon as possible to lessen the amount of venom entering the body. Scrape stingers off the skin with a blunt instrument or plastic card. Do not remove bee stingers with fingers or tweezers – this only forces toxins into the victim’s body.
As the number of Africanized bee colonies increases in an area, so, too, does the likelihood of human and animal encounters with them. Serious human injury can be avoided if the habits of Africanized bees are learned and precautions taken.
Wear light-colored clothing. Bees tend to attack dark things. Dark clothing, dark hair, any thing dark in color could draw the animus of Africanized Honey Bees.
Bees are sensitive to odors, both pleasant and unpleasant. The smell of newly cut grass has been shown to disturb honey bees. Avoid wearing floral or citrus aftershaves or perfume.
Check your house and yard at least once a month to see if there are any signs of bees taking up residence. If you do find a swarm or colony, leave it be and keep family and pets away. Find a pest control company or a local beekeeper to solve the problem.
To help prevent honey bees from building a colony in your house or yard, fill all cracks and crevices in walls with steel wool and caulk. Remove piles of refuse, honey bees will nest in an old soda can or an overturned flower pot. Fill holes in the ground.
When hiking, avoid hiking off trails. Bring some bug spray, bee spray, a GPS, and your cell phone with you just in case.
Be alert for bees acting strangely. If one or two start to bump at you, especially at your head, take notice and possibly vacate the vicinity.
 
How can I escape an attack by Africanized Honey Bees?
Obviously, it is best to avoid contact with Africanized Honey Bees. But if contact becomes unavoidable, it is important to know what to do.
Bees target the head, and nearly all those who suffer serious stinging incidents with Africanized Bees are overcome by stings to the head and face.
The best method of escaping a bee attack is to cover your head and run for shelter.
Any covering for your body, especially for your head and face, will help you escape. A small handkerchief or mosquito net device that fits over the head could easily be carried in a pocket.
If you do not have these, grab a blanket, coat, towel, anything that will give you momentary relief while you look for an avenue of escape.
If you have nothing else, pull your shirt up over your face. The stings you may get on your chest and abdomen are far less serious than those to the facial area.
If one or two bees start agressively bumping you, pay attention.
Try to find shelter as soon as possible. Take refuge in a house, tent or a car with the windows and doors closed.
DO NOT JUMP INTO WATER! Bees will wait for you to come up for air.
They have been discouraged by water from a spraying hose, however. Spray water from the hose onto yourself and overhead. If you can get into a shower that will help as well.
Once you are away from the bees, evaluate the situation. If you have been stung more than 15 times, or if you are having any symptoms other than local pain and swelling, seek medical attention immediately. Ice has been said to help with the swelling.
If you see someone else being stung or think others are in danger, call 911 immediately.
Remove stingers as soon as possible to lessen the amount of venom entering the body. Scrape stingers off the skin with a blunt instrument or plastic card. Do not remove bee stingers with fingers or tweezers – this only forces toxins into the victim’s body.

John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell

John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, and explorer of the American West. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first passage through the Grand Canyon.

Powell was born in Mount Morris, New York, in 1834, the son of Joseph and Mary Powell. His father, a poor itinerant preacher, had emigrated to the US from Shrewsbury, England in 1830. His family moved westward to Jackson, Ohio, then Walworth County, Wisconsin, then finally settling in Illinois in rural Boone County. He studied at Illinois College, Wheaton College, and Oberlin College, acquiring a knowledge of Ancient Greek and Latin but never graduating. Powell had a deep interest in the natural sciences, with a restless nature. As a young man, he undertook a series of adventures through the Mississippi River valley. In 1855 he spent four months walking across Wisconsin. In 1856 he rowed the Mississippi from St. Anthony to the sea, in 1857 he rowed down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to St. Louis, and in 1858 down the Illinois River, then up the Mississippi and the Des Moines River to central Iowa. He was elected to the Illinois Natural History Society in 1859.
First camp of the John Wesley Powell expedition, in the willows, Green River, Wyoming, 1871

Civil War and aftermath

Due to Powell’s deep Protestant beliefs, and his social commitments, his loyalties remained with the Union, and the cause of abolishing slavery, He enlisted in the Union army as a topographer and military engineer. During the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army, serving first with the 20th Illinois Volunteers. At the Battle of Shiloh, he lost most of one arm when struck by a musket ball. The raw nerve endings in his arm would continue to cause him pain the rest of his life. Despite the loss of an arm, he bravely returned to the army and was present at Champion Hill and Big Black River Bridge on the Big Black River. Further medical attention to his arm did little to slow him; he was made a major and served as chief of artillery with the 17th Army Corps. In 1862 he married Emma Dean.

After leaving the Army he took the post of professor of geology at the Illinois Wesleyan University. He also lectured at Illinois State Normal University, helping found the Illinois Museum of Natural History, where he served as the curator, but declined a permanent appointment in favor of exploration of the American West.

Expeditions

Powell with Tau-gu, a Paiute, 1871-1872

From 1867 he led a series of expeditions into the Rocky Mountains and around the Green and Colorado rivers. In 1869 he set out to explore the Colorado and the Grand Canyon. He gathered nine men, four boats and food for ten months and set out from Green River, Wyoming on May 24. Passing through dangerous rapids, the group passed down the Green River to its confluence with the Colorado River (then also known as the Grand River upriver from the junction), near present-day Moab, Utah. The expedition’s route traveled through the Utah canyons of the Colorado River, which Powell described in his published diary as having …wonderful features—carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds and monuments.
From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon. One man (Goodman) quit after the first month and another three (Dunn and the Howland brothers) left at Separation Rapid in the third, only two days before the group reached the mouth of the Virgin River on August 30, after traversing almost 1,500 km. The three who left the group late in the trip were later killed— by Indians. However, exactly how and why they died remains a mystery debated by Powell biographers; some, including Jon Krakauer in his Under the Banner of Heaven, have raised the possibility of a Mormon ambush. The song “Mr. Powell” by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils recounts Powell’s trip down the Colorado River.
Powell retraced the route in 1871-1872 with another expedition, producing photographs (by John K. Hillers), an accurate map, and various papers. In planning this expedition, he employed the services of Jacob Hamblin, a Mormon missionary in southern Utah and northern Arizona who had cultivated excellent relationships with the Native Americans. Before setting out, Powell used Hamblin as a negotiator to ensure the safety of his expedition from local Indian groups who he believed had killed the three men lost from his previous journey.

Members of the first Powell expedition:

John Wesley Powell, trip organizer and leader, major in the Civil War
J. C. Sumner, hunter, trapper, soldier in the Civil War
William H. Dunn, hunter, trapper from Colorado
W. H. Powell, captain in the Civil War
G.Y. Bradley, lieutenant in the Civil War, expedition chronicler
O. G. Howland, printer, editor, hunter
Seneca Howland
Frank Goodman, Englishman, adventurer
W. R. Hawkins, cook, soldier in Civil War
Andrew Hall, Scotsman, the youngest of the expedition

After the Colorado

In 1878, the intellectual gatherings Powell hosted in his home were formalized as the Cosmos Club. In 1881 he became the second director of the US Geological Survey, a post he held until 1894. He was also the director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution until his death. Under his leadership, an influential classification of North American Indian languages was published. In 1895 he published a book based on his explorations of the Colorado originally titled Canyons of the Colorado, now known as The exploration of the Colorado River and its canyons. Powell was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Published in: on April 21, 2009 at 4:56 AM  Comments Off on John Wesley Powell  
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Brian Head, UT

Brian Head, UT

Brian Head, UT

Brian Head is Utah’s highest-elevation 11,307 community & resort, receiving over 400 annual inches of light, Utah powder. The resort has 50+ runs for all ability levels, including an entire mountain dedicated to beginners and children. It features four terrain parks for varying ability levels, with more than 30 snow features, rails, fun boxes, and a half pipe (open when conditions permit). The Resort’s lift-served Snow Tubing Park is the best in the region, with six lanes to choose from. It’s like a giant frozen water slide! The Resort is located off Interstate I-15, adjacent to Utah’s famous national parks. Its location has helped foster a uniquely laid-back, uncrowded atmosphere, which is seldom found at winter resorts anymore.

Brian Head, UT

Brian Head, UT