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

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins, AZ

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins, AZ

The Virgin River has helped to create several impressive Southwestern landscapes, starting with the great white cliffs and canyons of Utah’s Zion National Park and ending at the upper end of Lake Mead in Nevada, where it eventually meets the Colorado River. In between, it flows across the very northwest tip of Arizona for 30 miles, through two gaunt ranges of hills – the Virgin and Beaver Dam Mountains, which have similar, Grand Canyon-like scenery of eroded, stepped cliffs and terraces of metamorphosed sandstone. The Virgin Mountains are the more extensive and isolated range, running alongside the river as far as the north edge of the lake, and forming the southwest edge of the Colorado Plateau; to the west stretch the flat, arid plains of the Mojave Desert, terrain that extends for hundreds of miles across Nevada and California. The Beaver Dam Mountains are a little more accessible but just as rugged and scenic, and part is a designated wilderness area – an untamed region of Joshua trees and cacti, lizards and mountain sheep, and much colorful, weathered rock.

Beaver Dam Wilderness Pioneer Ruins

Along the Virgin River if one wishes to experience the pioneer spirit one may wish to check this out along Interstate 15 just exiting the Virgin River Gorge to the north several pioneer ruins are visible although almost un-noticeable access can be found by taking Beaver Dam Littlefield exit and following it through Beaver Dam and following old highway 91.   On the right you will see an access road stating Virgin River access the first authorized road on the right take this road and follow this map once parked you can hike the rest.

Beaver Dam Wilderness

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.

The Chuckwalla Trail, Saint George – UT

The Chuckwalla Trail

The Chuckwalla Trail is located just west of Highway 18  in Saint George, UT and north of Snow Canyon parkway. As you travel north on Highway 18 past the Snow Canyon intersection, the Chuckwalla Trail is on the left about a mile up the road. The parking area is gravel, but can be navigated by most vehicles, although it may become muddy after rains. In the parking area, you’ll find primative bathrooms and ample parking.

The Chuckwalla Trail is a local favorite for cross-country runners wanting to get away from the traffic and enjoy the spectacular views. The trail system is well marked and allows horses, mountain bikes and foot traffic. As a note of interest, the Chuckwalla is a desert lizard that is native to the area, along with desert tortoises and the occasional gila monster.

The Chuckwalla Trail

The trailhead is easily located at the northwest corner of the parking area and where you’ll see an opening in the gate. As you make your way down the hill, you’ll notice a well used climbing wall to your right, evidenced by someone climbing, or by the white resin stains that pepper the handholds.

A short half mile hike brings you to the first of several trail intersections. The trail to the right will take you to the north route along the Turtle Wall Trail, while the trail to the left takes you the south route along Paradise Rim Trail. If you haven’t been before, I’d recommend taking the Turtle Wall Trail. Following the trail northwest you’ll reach a natural arch with a great view of the airport to the south.

Natural Arch

Once you reach the top, a location called Paradise Point, be careful as it is only a few steps from certain injury or death if you venture too close to the edge. Paradise Point is a great location to view Kachina Springs and most of the Cliffs subdivisions.

Trail Map

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 2:06 PM  Comments Off on The Chuckwalla Trail, Saint George – UT  
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Preparing Edible Cactus

Edible Cactus Pads
Edible cactus is also known as nopales (no-PAH-les), nopalitos or cactus pads. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries, parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, North Africa and Australia. Its popularity is increasing in the United States where it can be found at Mexican grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmer’s markets.
Edible cactus is characterized by its fleshy oval leaves (typically called pads or paddles) of the nopal (prickly pear) cactus.
With a soft but crunchy texture that also becomes a bit sticky (not unlike okra) when cooked, edible cactus tastes similar to a slightly tart green bean, asparagus, or green pepper.
Cactus pads contain beta carotene, iron, some B vitamins, and are good sources of both vitamin C and calcium.
What is the difference between cactus leaves (edible cactus or nopales) and the prickly pear?
As part of the cactus plant, the prickly pear is a fruit that is 2 to 4 inches long and shaped like an avocado. Its skin is coarse and thick, not unlike an avocados and it ranges in color from yellow or orange to magenta or red. Tubercles with small prickly spines can be found on the prickly pear’s skin. This fruit’s flesh, which ranges in color also from yellow to dark red, is sweet and juicy with crunchy seeds throughout.
The prickly pear can be diced like pineapple and used as a topping on yogurt or cereal or blended into a smoothie.
Availability, Selection, and Storage
Edible cactus is available year-round with a peak in the mid-spring and the best season from early spring through late fall. When picking them wild wear gloves our use something rather than your hands to pick these up to avoid the spines, I prefer the use of a small fire to burn the spines from the fruit. Even after this type of preparation be extremely careful for remaining spines use gloves when available.  When buying edible cactus, choose small, firm, pale green cacti with no wrinkling. Be sure to pick cacti that are not limp or dry. Very small paddles may require more cleaning because their larger proportion of prickers and eyes.
Edible cactus can be refrigerated for more than a week if wrapped tightly in plastic.
Edible cactus is also sold as:
Canned — pickled or packed in water
Acitrones — candied nopales, packed in sugar syrup and available in cans or jars.
Preparation
The edible cactus you buy should be de-spined though you will need to trim the “eyes,” to remove any remaining prickers, and outside edges of the pads with a vegetable peeler. Trim off any dry or fibrous areas and rinse thoroughly to remove any stray prickers and sticky fluid.
Edible cactus can be eaten raw or cooked. To cook, steam over boiling water for just a few minutes (if cooked too long they will lose their crunchy texture). Then slice and eat! Cactus can also be cut and sautéed in butter or oil for a few minutes.
I prefer cactus to be added to scrambled eggs and omelets, or one can add to diced fresh and added to tortillas. They can also be substituted for any cooked green in most dishes.
The pads can be served as a side dish or cooled and used in salads. They taste especially good with Mexican recipes that include tomatoes, hot peppers and fresh corn.

Cactus Recipes

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:53 PM  Comments Off on Preparing Edible Cactus  
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Spare Batteries in a Pinch

Opened Battery

So you are out in the backcountry camping and your surrounded a severe storm and grab the radio to obtain a current forecast your batteries go dead, well if you were prepared as you should be you are carrying spares and it’s of no consequence.  Although let’s say you did not maybe you have a spare lantern battery did you know that you can get 32 AA Batteries from a Single 6 Volt Battery at a cost of $5.00 for a pack of 4 you have just saved yourself $36.00 and provided yourself a way to power your FM radio which could save your life.
Note : have only tried this on enigizer batteries and do not recommend regularly cracking open your  batteries (ware gloves and other protective eyeware before attempting.
Split the batteries  at the label/housing, 6 volts separated at the housing and the top of the battery . I have used a small screwdriver and peeled away the housing revealing a piece of paper.
What’s inside??
6-volt battery into 32 AA Batteries
12-volt battery into eight button cells
9-volt battery into six AAAs
Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 7:23 PM  Comments Off on Spare Batteries in a Pinch  
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Radiator Leaks in the Backcounty

Black Pepper

You’re out for a picnic driving the backcounty roads all of a sudden you hear the sound of a hiss coming from your engine block, The steam seeping from under your hood tells the rest of the story – you have a radiator leak. And now you need a radiator repair.Pull over! Many thousands of dollars are wasted on major engine repairs only because the driver “tried to make it” someplace while their car was overheating. When coolant is escaping from your radiator, your car’s ability to stay cool goes with it. If your engine’s insides get too hot, they start to distort, melt and break, leading to very costly repairs. Radiator repair is far less expensive than inner engine stuff.

If there is coolant gushing all over the place or you can see a broken or split radiator hose, you should try a radiator hose emergency repair patch or some duct tape. But if you have a pinhole leak, which usually appears in the radiator itself, you can save the day with a condiment. All you need is some pepper.

VERY IMPORTANT: Wait at least 15 minutes for your car to cool before attempting to make a roadside radiator or hose repair! Hot coolant will burn you!

Once things have cooled off, open the coolant filler cap and pour in as much pepper as you can find, up to a full shaker’s worth. Start the car and let it warm up, allowing the pepper to circulate. With a little luck, the little pepper pieces will find the pinhole and clog it right up, giving you a chance to get to the shop for a real fix.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the pepper fix is permanent. Not only is it unlikely to last long, you need to get all of that pepper out of your car’s cooling system. It’s not supposed to be there, and while it will not likely cause any damage, it’s certainly not good for all those sensors and valves in there.

Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 5:21 PM  Comments Off on Radiator Leaks in the Backcounty  
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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.

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