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