Archive for April, 2011

newspaper rock   5 comments

Posted at 5:14 pm in history,trees,Utah

This will be the third to last post about my autumn 2010 travels between eastern Canada and southeast Arizona. For those who are following my journey and wondering where I am right now, I left Arizona on April 1st, and arrived in eastern Ontario on the evening of April 9th. I spent the better part of nine days driving from my starting point in Arizona, through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York state, to an end point just north of the Canadian border. Quite a number of these states were new to me. I particularly enjoyed my brief stays in New Mexico and Oklahoma. I hope to return to camp in Oklahoma for a few days – perhaps next April.

Gas was costly on this trip, although total mileage was much less than my usual route. As the weather was reasonably warm most of the way, I was able to camp on all eight nights. Campsite fees worked out to about $110 in total. They were very reasonable in the west, and increasingly expensive as I moved east. Sage and Sabrina managed the trip just fine, but I ended it feeling quite tired and stressed. From about Arkansas onward, I found the freeways busy and the parks much more developed than I prefer. Luckily, there weren’t too many other campers, or things would have seemed a lot worse.

I’m glad to have the journey out of the way. Now I’ll try to rest up, take care of some business, buy a few tools and materials, pick up my canoe from friends who have stored it for me for over two years, and head east to work on the old house in Nova Scotia that I acquired about a year ago. I took a lot of photos along my spring route. Once the last of the autumn journey posts is up, I’ll work on a couple of pieces about the high points of this spring’s travels.

By the second week in November (2010), I was moving southward through Utah, on my way to visit Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The weather was getting cooler and it was only a matter of time until I would have to deal with snow. Before leaving Moab, I spent a morning driving up and down a few canyons to visit petroglyph sites. Later that day, I headed south, returning to camp at Sand Island near Bluff. However, there was one last stop to make along the way — a side trip to see Newspaper Rock in Indian Creek Canyon.

The panel is described as being about 200 square feet, located on an expanse of sandstone which is partly sheltered by a rock overhang. Almost every inch is covered with petroglyphs varying in age from decades to about 2,000 years old. There are many figures of animals, but also geometric shapes, a good many “footprints” and also a number of human type forms.

Of all the images on the panel, the above is my favorite. To me, it resembles some of the petroglyph depictions of the manitou type spirit creatures found up in Ontario.

I studied and shot a number of photos of the panel, then readied to leave. From here, I would drive back out to the interstate and south through Monticello, Blanding, and on to the campground near Bluff. Once again, there were very few campers at that location. We spent a quiet evening camped in the same site we had occupied a week or so earlier.

The cottonwood yet retainedg their bright yellow autumn leaves, but would soon begin to lose them to the winter winds. The tree down below was actually photographed at Moonflower Canyon near Moab. I thought it a particularly beautiful example of a cottonwood in autumn. Click on all of the above photos for larger views.

Written by bev wigney on April 11th, 2011

dead horse point state park   8 comments

Posted at 9:12 am in geology,sabrina,sage,traveling alone,Utah

In my last post, I wrote about how we came to be camped at Dead Horse Point State Park near (and above) the town of Moab, Utah. After visiting the rock art site at Thompson Springs, my plan was to find a campground with electric hook-ups so that we could more easily weather snow and colder weather that was moving into the region. After parking the van, I made a quick dinner and climbed into the van for the night. The windows of the van were soon covered with snow. However, we were relatively comfortable with a small electric heater warming the van. I read for a short while then called it a day.

By morning, the campground was covered with a mix of snow and ice. It wasn’t deep, but frozen well to everything. However, with the sun attempting to break through the clouds, it didn’t take too long for its warmth to begin melting everything away. That’s one thing about the southwest. Snow melts quickly once the sun comes out from behind the clouds.

I made breakfast at the picnic table under the ramada. A raven watched from atop the wall and from the branch of a nearby tree. It commented occasionally, making the odd “klonk” or “crrrrick”.

By the time I’d cleaned up after breakfast and taken care of a few other odd jobs, most of the snow had melted off. Sage, Sabrina and I took a walk on one of the hiking trails leading out from the campground. I think it is called the “Big Horn” trail. The above photo was taken on our way back to the van. As you can see, there is now very little snow to be seen.

The above photo was taken along the Big Horn trail. SIgn boards around the park warn hikers and cyclists not to go too near to the edges of the cliffs as there is about a 2,000 foot drop. One of the rangers told me that there are often strong winds that rush up the cliffs and will lift anything that is close to the edge. Frankly, I didn’t need much warning as I’m uncomfortable standing close to the edge of any precipice.

These last three photos were taken at other points around the park. I think all were taken while out on Dead Horse Point, which is the geological feature which gives this park its name. The roadway through the park ends at a high mesa which is separated from the main plateau, but a tiny bridge of rock. You must drive across that spot to get out onto the mesa to see the incredible views of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Monument lands which lie below. Apparently, cowboys used to drive wild horses out onto this mesa and could contain them with a short fence across the land bridge. The horses couldn’t get down of the mesa, so they were kept corralled until such time as they were released. The story goes that, at some point, a group of horses were contained out there and then left to die from lack of food and water. Not too nice a story, but that’s how that geological feature got its name – as well as the park.

Well, this will probably be my last post to the blog for awhile. This morning, I leave Bisbee to begin the long trip back to Canada. Over the past couple of years, my route has always gone up or down the west, and then across the Canadian prairie provinces, along the north shore of Lake Superior, and down the Ottawa River valley to eastern Ontario — and then on out east to Nova Scotia for summer. This year, spring is taking so long to come to the western states and across Canada, that I have had to revise my route as I don’t think we could deal with the cold, and more importantly, with the mix of rain and snow that seems to keep falling over those regions. I’m going to try going east across the U.S. and then cut north to cross into Ontario. I have to say that I’m not all that happy about having to make that route change as I’ll be going through at least a half dozen (or more) states that I’ve never visited. As I’ve mentioned to a couple of people, when Don and I traveled together, new places were always kind of fun and seemed like adventure. Traveling into new places alone isn’t quite so much fun as it takes so much more of my energy to figure out my route, find places to camp or motels to stay, and so on. After four crossing of the continent, I could almost do my usual route with my eyes closed. This crossing will be very different, but hopefully, I will see many interesting things along the way. I will be sure to take plenty of photos and write about my travels when I get back to Ontario. I still have a couple of places to write about from last autumn’s trip – Newspaper Rocks, and last but certainly not least, my visit to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. However, those will have to wait until I have a good net connection once more. So for now, hasta luego.

Written by bev wigney on April 1st, 2011