Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Yes....there are still Wild Places close by

I have been to Antelope Island several times before and have ridden along the trails on the east side and up to Sentry Peak (which was awesome). This time we chose to start from the west side at White Rocks Bay. We ignored the 30% forecast as advised by Weatherman Bob. As a result, we got some spectacular clouds, no rain and perfect temperatures in the 60s. We rode for nearly FOUR hours and covered somewhere around 14 miles. There were miles of soft cantering paths with spectacular vistas on all sides. Wow, this is quite the ride! We will be coming back here often. I am told that October through March is the time to come to the Island. Then, there are are no flies, mosquitoes or sand gnats.

This is Trailblazer Bob pointing out a geological feature. (Yes, there really is a Molly's Nipple on Antelope Island)
Looking north from Elephant's Head look out.
Looking northeast towards the mountains in the Ogden area.
The remnants of the bison round up four days ago. They are still in holding pastures awaiting their yearly exams and inoculations.
Looking back to where we started at White Rocks Bay. Not another person in sight or earshot for miles in all directions. Love that lone Juniper tree "trimmed" by the wildlife.
A particularly striking rock formation on Elephant's Head Trail.
The rocks on this island are incredible. The oldest rocks on this island are among the oldest on earth. The Farmington Canyon complex, 2.7 billion years old. They comprise the southern 2/3 of the island.
Quartzite ( metamorphosed sandstone) is found on the island in nearly all of the rainbow colors plus white and grey. One variety shown below is a conglomerate quartzite with a big chunk of red jasper in the middle and lots of agate pebbles.
Beautiful red rock and sage. In this case, it is red quartzite instead of sandstone.

Monday, October 29, 2007

"You don't have to be crazy...but it helps"

The lyrics go something like this from C.W. McCall's "Black Bear Road".
"We went about a mile-and-a-half in about four hours, busted off the right front fender, tore a hole in the oil pan on a rock as big as a hall closet. Went over a bump and spilt the Kool-Aid and Roy Gene stuck his bolo knife right through the convertible top and the dog threw up all over the back seat. Peanut butter don't agree with him, you see.

So we had to stop and take off the top and air everything out and clean it up. The dog run off and RJ says she felt her asthma comin' on. I was sittin' there wonderin' what to do when the en-tire scenic San Joo-wan U-Drive-'Em Army Jeep car sank in the mud. At thirteen thousand feet above sea level.

Well, we shoveled it out and ate our lunch, the dog made a yellow hole in the snow and Roy Gene got out his Instamatic and took a snapshot of it."

It all started out as a trip to visit Wildbound and maybe my sister, Horsewoman in Preston, Idaho. Trailblazer wanted to check out Franklin Basin up Logan Canyon as a possible place to horse camp and ride. We only had a Utah Atlas. We hadn't brought any food, first aid kit, GPS or matches. We did not have peanut butter or Kool Aid. We did have a laptop computer, digital camera, a couple of jackets, two bulletin boards and cell phones that got no reception.
We drove about 5 miles past the turn off to Tony Grove and began driving up the Franklin Basin dirt road, and I mean dirt and rocks. 5-7 MPH tops. We decided we had seen enough that we didn't think we would ever come here again. The ridge looked like it topped out, the road MIGHT have gone through to Idaho and somewhere connected (we were thinking) to Franklin, Idaho. Oh well, give it a try. It's got to be better than the road we came up. Then, the road opened out in a great dirt road, 30 MPH. Wow, let's keep on going, this is much better than the road coming up. Hmmm. Getting on the north side of the mountain. Snow, ice, MUD. A sign that says "Rocky Road, Low clearance". Couldn't be any worse than we've been on. What followed was about 6 miles of snow, ice, mud, but going downhill. We had no choice, we could not have gone back uphill. The Pilot was a trooper, we only scraped bottom a few times.
Then, we came upon 2 bikers, who had gotten their wheels stuck in the 18 inch deep mud. They saw us coming and scrambled to help each other extricate their bikes from the mud so we wouldn't plow into them. They got to the side of the road (see video below). We stopped, rolled down the window and asked if we could help them. The expression on their faces was priceless as they looked at what we had just come down that they couldn't get up. "No, thanks, we're ok" Then, we asked "Where does this road go?" They said it hooks into Cub River. We asked how the road was and they said this was the worst spot.
Finally, we got out, connected into the gorgeous Cub River Canyon and then into Preston to visit Horsewoman and crew. On the way out, I commented that I probably would have rather stayed home and gotten a few things done. I do not like all that adrenaline rush. Just give me a nice COMFORTABLE adventure. I guess I should write this all into C.W. McCall type lyrics. Give me a while.

The Really Good part of the road--
Road still lookin' good, a little slippery mud, snow, but not bad at all.
Hmmm. Somehow the photos don't do it justice how BAD the road was. Snow, Ice, Deep Mud, Rocks......
Almost to Cub River. Road lookin' pretty good.

"About a mile-and-a-half in four hours"

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Escalante Days

We just returned from a delightful trip to the Escalante Art Festival. Who, in a million years, would have ever thought we would watch belly dancers in Escalante??

Sprinklers left on all night forming ice sculptures.

It was fun and interesting. We sold enough to more than pay for the trip and looked at a lot of real estate. Toured a few art galleries and gift shops. Saw a great presentation by an Arizona professor on Escalante photography by Dorothea Lang. She was one of Everett Ruess' mentors and married to Maynard Dixon the artist. We also enjoyed a boy scout pancake breakfast, dining at the local cowboy hang out and a buffalo dutch oven dinner at the Pine Creek trailhead. I got a request to carry my jewelry in a Panguitch gallery and got several more contacts, all impressed with my displays and unique jewelry. I was mildly surprised at what sold and who bought it. Most of my customers were from out of state including Florida and Germany. I hope to go back next year, maybe with Cowboy Bob and some paintings.