Saturday, October 31, 2015

3 down, 1 to go, or how to score what you need!

 So, who would have thought that on October, 31st, Halloween day, you could go out into the mountains and have a great warm day? Well, today was just like that and off to the mountains we went. Our goal today was to visit the 3rd marker of 4 that show the 3 state boundaries where they meet. Today's was Idaho, Utah and Nevada. I spent a few hours online trying to pinpoint the exact way to get there and I thought I was prepared. Sadly, I was not, but that's for later. 
 As you can see by the fotos, we did indeed arrive at our destination. The Utah, Wyoming Idaho was a breeze to find compared to this one. But again, that's for later. This one was located on flat ground and really didn't require too much skill to get to. The road was very rough and had some hellacious high weeds to go through, but other than that it was easy.
 The monument here was erected in 1999 to replace an old one. I find it odd that it was square, which doesn't make sense because there are only 3 borders that touch. Must be some sort of government thing. 
 This one features something the others didn't have. As you can see there is a bronze map coin, for lack of a better word, that graces the top and shows you where you are. Rumor has it that at one time there were the 3 states quarters embedded around the monument itself, but someone keeps stealing them. Stupid people. 
 For those of you that know me very well, this foto is self-explanatory. As I said, 3 down, 1 more to go. 
So, to go back and finish the loose ends I left above, lets go back to how we found this marker. As I said, I spent a few hours on Google Earth and Maps so that I would be able to drive right to it. I was wrong. The road I was to follow was indeed where it said it was, it just didn't tell me I would have to cut across a farmers property to get there. As we were trying to figure out where the road was, this gentleman above happened by with his 3 dogs as passengers. I asked him how to get to the road on the map I showed him and he said there was only 1 way.....across his property. I said, oh. But, not only did he say he would let us through, he took us 1/4 of the way. He could have told us he didn't know or said yes but it is private, but he didn't. He was nice as nice could be and just asked that we close the gates we would go through. I am glad he was so nice to us. We made our destination in an easy way and accomplished our goals. I must admit that there is a whole lot of unexplored land out that way that needs to be seen. The GPS unit showed several mines within the area that I think need to be visited. I think I am going to do it!  Jeep on my friends!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Return to Jeeping and a new team member joins the group

 Well, it's about damn time I finally added something new here. As most of you know, I did survive the open heart surgery and I'm really doing good. The Dr. in his infinite wisdom added a "NO JEEPING TILL AFTER SEPTEMBER 15TH" on my discharge papers. With it in large capital letters, the better half banned me from the activity until the date had passed. Talk about a long, boring summer! So when the day of freedom arrived, we headed out for an overnight journey to have fun and test some new LED lights I installed. We ended up in the Eureka Utah area and explored  some previously unexplored trails. As you can see, fall is in the air as the trees begun to change to the bright autumn colors. 
 It had rained a wee bit the week before so we were able to find a wee bit of mud here and there. We didn't find a whole lot of things to take fotos of so here are 2 out of 3. Our goal was to see how well the new LED lights lit up the night. I have included a video down below that shows that they are great for slow speed adventures in the night. On the whole, I didn't really like their overall output so I will be ordering a new light bar that will light up the night like the sun. This will necessitate another night time run which really breaks my heart. The trip was overshadowed by the pending birth of our newest member. 
 September 25th at 3:11 pm, Wyatt Cousins joined the MTNMAD group of off road explorations. Mama's water had broken 2 weeks earlier and the medical staff used modern medicine to keep the little guy in the oven and extra 2 weeks so he could develop better lungs. Everything went well and the little guy is now out of the oven and growing. Being born at 34 weeks has made it so he needs to stay in the NICU for a while until he has everything running 100%.
 We went to visit on Saturday and we found him sunning himself under some tanning lights. He has little eye covers and sleeps just snug as a bug as his tan replaces a slight case of Jaundice. He was very quiet while we were there, never crying once. We got to feed him and Sam even combed his hair as you can see 2 fotos up. Bob is already a great father doting over his son. 
As you can see, the proud parents are incredibly happy with this new little guy as are the rest of us. I used to think that becoming a grandparent would make me feel old as hell, but it actually has done the opposite. The damn surgery kicked my ass from point A to point B and left me feeling well over my 51 years. Being around Wyatt made me feel really good and forget that I am old and worn out. Stay tuned, because I am sure there will be many more entries starring this young man. Well the video is below so enjoy it and Jeep on my friends!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One last hurrah, with a surprise........

 Welcome to the last Jeeping adventure of 2015. With open heart surgery coming up and a Dr. that says no more Jeeping till 2016, I had to have one last adventure. This trip wasn't the one I had hoped for, but I guess I should be grateful for what I got. Originally it was planned for a 4 day trip to Moab. That got scratched and a 2 day 9 mile canyon trip was planned. Strike 2. So, plan 3 had to work and it did. I chose to visit another 3 corner area, this one on the Utah, Wyoming and Idaho border. Unlike the grand-daddy 4 corner area, the 3 corner areas are hard to find and require a good GPS and a Jeep. 
I must admit that today's was kinda marked with a tiny arrow sign that said monument. There was one out on the main road and one showing where to turn off the trail to find it. I had done some research and they gentleman's page I used for a reference was vague and had you walking over 100 yards. Uphill. That was not going to happen. I took Old Yellow up the hill almost to the top. I am damn glad we didn't make it all the way to the top though, there wasn't a whole lot of real estate on top. That could have proved interesting.    

 So, we parked at the bottom and hiked the last 20 yards, uphill, through a blizzard both ways. The monument was not as spectacular as the Wyo-Colo-Utah one, but at least there were directions too it. We got lucky as hell on the previous one. We found it and we weren't even looking for it. So this just leaves 2 more to find. I know how to get to the Utah-Idaho-Nevada one and then after that, the Utah-Nevada-Arizona one will follow. All of them are in no mans land so they should prove to be fun and adventurous.  
The big surprise of the day was this guy. We were in a dry, desert like area and we ran in to Mr. Moose. Now what the hell he was doing here is the big question. Moose are found near water and lots of trees.....a forest. We saw no running water, no trees, and nothing that would give a clue as to why he was here. It is a male, you can see his 2 horns growing, so I am wondering if he was run off from his mom or chased out of an area by a dominant male. We were alone, as usual, so we didn't go into the hills further. Maybe the mountains there get more moose friendly the farther you go in. I don't know. Someday I guess I will have to return and see. Twas a great last trip for the year. Jeep on my friends. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Can You Die In Death Canyon?

 What do you think the answer to this question is? We'll discuss it later and see if you are right. Death Canyon is located in the Simpson mountain range in Tooele and Juab counties. It is right at the southernmost tip and the canyon goes north in to the range. This foto above is where the Jeep decided it was done playing. There was an ATV trail available, but there was a good 3 foot drop off I would have had to try to climb out of and with my situation as it is, until I am better, I'm not gonna be too stupid. 
 At the end of our trail, there were 2 mines; one open and one I didn't want to crawl into. So, of course, we opted on the easy entry and went strolling on in. This mine, from what I could find online, has been quiet since before 1980. There were new claim stakes in the area so I am beginning to think that someone has literally "staked their claim." I know, dumb, but you'll just have to get over it. This mine was hard rock for the most part, but there were plenty of support timbers throughout the mine. I wonder where this ladder led to, but I wasn't going up it. This goes back to "explore aware" which is very important when doing things like this. Besides, we were pretty much alone for our trip up the canyon. 3 ATV's passed us going up as we were coming down. This place is really in the middle of nowhere. 
 One of my most favorite things is to find an open mine with ore cart tracks. There is some hope that as I pass through the mine I will stumble onto a pristine ore cart that I can roll out to the entrance and load into a truck and take it home. It has never happened and I doubt it ever will. I do believe there are some cars in a mine at the Devils Playground, but it is caved in and there really is no easy way to re-open it. So, its a fantasy.  
 Mine number 2 was the same. There, in all their glory, was another set of ore tracks! This mine, like the other one, has passages going every way possible. The whole mine seemed interconnected by large open passageways as well as the drifts (area left behind after removing the ore) that seemed to almost make the mine one large room. I found one spot where you could enter an area from the main passageway, through a open hole in the floor and from above in the roof.  
 As you can see in the foto above, there is a ladder leading up into a drift. At the top of the drift is a hole that leads into the next chamber of the mine. The ore veins in these mines go every which way they can. This is very similar to the mines in Eureka. It is not uncommon there for a small hole on the surface that you could fall into and drop hundreds of feet. 
 Being so complicated, with passages going all over, someone took the time to mark the way out with arrows. Due to some claustrophobia, we really didn't get into the mine more than 2000 feet. I would for sure mark the way I went in were I to go back and see how far it does go. 
This is where the tour ended. The tracks going down to who knows where. I think once my heart bypass is done and I have healed, I will return to Death Canyon and finish exploring all the cool stuff there. As to the question..... yes you can. With mine shafts everywhere as well as no help anywhere near, any type of accident could prove fatal. So travel in a group and be sure you are exploring aware.... your life may depend on it!  Jeep on my friends.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Little Hawaii, lost in Utah

 Located at the north end of Skull Valley, you find a small slice of Hawaiian heritage left over from the past. After sending missionaries out to Hawaii to preach the gospel, converts from the the islands began to migrate east to the mainland to join with the main body of the church. At first, the islanders were not permitted to leave their native homes, but as time progressed, the restrictions of emigration were changed and soon Utah had a population of native Hawaiians. Their arrival was not welcomed by the majority of the population. There were prejudices against them and the church had to find them a place to settle.  
 In 1889, 3 former missionaries and 3 converts began to search for a home for the newest arrivals to Salt Lake. The site finally chosen was located west of Salt Lake in Skull Valley. The area was owned by the church and officially called the Iosepa Agriculture and Stock Company. The first group arrived in the valley on August 28th, 1889 and drew lots for land. This day is called Hawaiian Pioneer Day and each year relatives revisit the area. The area was hard on the native Hawaiians who were not used to such a harsh,  unforgiving climate. They built canals to bring water from the Stansbury Mountains to water their fields and even built a small lake to use for harvesting fish. The small town had issues of disease including leprosy which further alienated them for the main population. By 1915, 228 people lived in the town. 
With the announcement of the construction of a temple in Hawaii, the Hawaiians returned in mass to Hawaii. There is controversy on why the majority returned to Hawaii. The church did pay the passage for those who could not afford it, but it is unclear as to why all went back. According to one historian, the answer lies in the personal papers of then President Joseph F Smith. When asked, the church will not release the papers to be studied. Archaeologists as well as historians have met with constant issues when trying to do research on the area. Today the area is marked by the cemetery and a few modern buildings. We spent maybe 15 minutes there before being chased out by mosquito's. The damn things were everywhere we wanted to go. Perhaps on a day where it is hot beyond belief we can return and spend more time exploring the area. The place is well kept by relatives of the former residents and some of these people even choose to be buried there. This year on August 28th, a time capsule will be unearthed and opened. I think that would be a great time to return. Jeep on my friends.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Carnage, carnage, and more carnage.......maybe?

 Welcome to the annual memorial day blog. Well, I want to think its annual, but I could be wrong. Anyway, today's awesome adventure began at 6 am as we left the fair city of Tremonton and headed south to Vernon, Utah. Vernon is located at the southernmost end of Tooele county. Google says its exactly 145 miles and I believe it. Today, the destination was Harker Canyon. I had never heard of it until it was mentioned to me by my friend, Mr. Kirt Womak. The canyon was named for his great x 3 or 4 grandfather who, during the summer, would take his flock of sheep from the Salt Lake Valley and march them or herd them all the way to this remote canyon.  
 My guess is it would have been a long long trip to get them all the way there. As you can see from the first foto, it is very green and lush towards the top of the canyon and there is a small stream flowing down named, are you ready for this, Harker Creek. The mountains there are surprising, in a way. The drive to mouths of several of them leads you to believe they are plain old desert mountains. As you climb up the canyons, they suddenly begin to turn lush with Pine trees, Willows and Quaking Aspen. They were quite beautiful and we had them all to ourselves. Supposedly there is a ghost town up one of the canyons, but we did not encounter it. We did find a few mines, complete with ore cart tracks that would be fun to explore had they not been blown closed. I am certain that there are ore carts left inside just waiting to be rescued.  
 The third canyon we went up is where the carnage took place. The trail was muddy, steep and way off camber. I must tell you that we went with my niece Holly and her 07 Ford F-150. This was her first time out doing serious off-roading. I had to get on her case to hit the mud-holes and she finally got into it. Her enthusiasm was growing as she followed me up the trail. We got to a spot where a chevy had parked of the road and the driver was no where to be seen. I went on by and headed up the hill to a mine. The trail was narrow and a 4-lo climb crawling over the boulders. We flew on up and sat at the mine and wondered what happened to her. She finally popped out of the trees and stopped where it turned really nasty. We took fotos and crawled back down to where she stopped and were met with damaged Ford. She clipped a rock in the trees and took off part of her passenger side running board. She also managed to remove the truck's antenna at the same time. She said she wasn't mad but I think she was. Of course I used this to try and persuade her to not trade it in on a Honda, but to get a Wrangler Unlimited. I hope she goes with her wise uncles advice and gets a Jeep!  
We came back down the canyon, ate lunch and followed the road where ever it went. We ended up coming out at the Vernon reservoir where we stopped to check it out. Oh, and pee. TMI? Too bad! We will have to return someday to figure out where this so called mining camp is. A second entry on place it 2 miles west of Harker Canyon and we had gone east. Oh well, I guess I have an excuse to return. I will also admit I got to a place in the trail and couldn't go on. It was ATV wide and there was a good size rock that had a tendency to throw you into the trees as you tried to climb it. I bounced over on one attempt but the mud was too slippery. Again, another reason to return. As a follow up to the last entry, I got lucky and got into the University of Utah cardiac center on June first instead of July first with IHC. This is good news. Jeep on my friends! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Things that make you go hmmmm............

 It is quite interesting what  you can find when out exploring the road less traveled. For instance, someone left this mine area and forgot the kitchen sink. Now who does that? 
They also left the toaster. I find it hard to believe that a person would leave their dream and not take things with them. There were other things left behind too but we're not gonna talk about that anymore. It has become common knowledge that I, Mtnmad, suffered a heart attack some time in the last 8 weeks. It really hit home today when I mowed the lawn, which I really find relaxing, and it exhausted me. Granted, the lawn was about 18 inches high, but really, I never got tired before when I did it. 
      So I guess this gets me to my point. Life is awesome and I don't want to check out early. I used to think that you live then you die and no big deal. But when face to face with it, it becomes a huge deal. For example, I am going to be a grandfather in November. I used to think that it was not for me and it would make me  old. Not anymore. I want to meet this child and impart some grandfatherly wisdom to this young man. Oh, It is a boy. I want to teach him how life is a great adventure with things out there to see and do. My parents took me to historical places when I was growing up and being the typical child, I thought it was boring. Now look at me. I can't get enough of exploring the past. I would much rather Jeep the darkside and see what was left for us by past groups of people than just read about it in some biased text book. My grandfather was a miner. I have had the luck to enter 1 mine he worked in, stand outside another, and view one from a distance. The 4th doesn't exist anymore due to the hole in the ground Kennicott Copper has dug, but I have fotos of it from when he was there. I don't know whether this new young boy will find any of it interesting, but I hope he does. He will have all of my old fotos someday and hopefully he will want to go see what I saw and enjoy it like I do. So, my goal is to try and win this battle ahead so I can be the one to take him on his first Jeeping adventure. That is what I plan on doing. As for whats ahead, I am kinda pissed off at Dr's. The left side of my heart is pretty much toasted at this moment. I had tests that said it would be wise to get blood flowing back into it, but they make me an appointment in July. What the hell? I talked to a friend who has a ton of know how and he told me time is of the essence. So, I am taking the proverbial bull by the balls and going out in search of a Dr who can get me in sooner. I have a young man who needs to learn a few things from me and I will be there to do it, even if it means I go about it in a slightly different manner than most would. 
   OK, that's my goal and I will achieve it. Stay tune for more adventures...... this ain't over yet. Jeep on my friends.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Great Salt Lake isn't so Great Anymore......

Welcome to another edition blog. It is Sunday, the 8th of March and 60 degrees outside. Being such a nice day, it was time to get the hell out of Dodge, better known as Tremonton. We headed out to the west desert in search of just about anything. When we arrived at the Salt Wells Valley we noticed what everyone has been talking about. The Great Salt Lake isn't great anymore. All the white you can see is dry salt covered dirt. The lake should fill up the whole foto, but it doesn't. It is approximately 5 or more miles from the true shoreline. The officials that measure this info have said it is nearing its lowest point in recorded history and I do believe it is true.  
I bet some of you are saying " so what, its just worthless salt water". That is true. But, the more water in the lake, the more snow we get. It's called Lake Effect. A storm blows over the lake and sucks up the moisture and deposits it in other parts of the state as snow or rain. So,without the water in the lake to boost our storms, the less snow or rain we get. So, you have learned something new about Utah and its desert climate. As dry as it is, Old Yellow managed to find a nice mud hole and drove itself into it. Naughty Jeep. 
 In the foto above, you can see what looks like a road in the lower 1/3 of the frame. That is actually the leftover remains of the Central Pacific Railroad bed from 1869. It is used now as just a road to enter into the Salt Wells hunting area. 

In this foto you can see the curve as it makes its way across the flats. If you do ever go out there to see this area, stay off the mud flats. They are very deceiving and it wont take but 5 seconds to sink your vehicle into the mud. Yes, I did it once. Back in '86 in my friends mom's new F-150. It cost me $135.00 back then to have a tow truck come out from Tremonton. Dumb things we do as kids. At this rate, the mountains will be open for business by April and we can continue the ghost town visits. Jeep on my friends!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Sunday adventure down a new road, less traveled.

Welcome to another adventure. Today's plan kind of got screwed from the get-go, but we got it figured out. The original plan was to make a complete circle around the Promontory Mountains, west side to east. It didn't happen. As we headed down the west side we ran into a great big fence, locked tighter then...... yah, you know the joke. So, we turned around and went back over the mountain to the east side and headed south. We got to the tip and headed west along the Union Pacific tracks until we reached the west side. Looking down the tracks, we noticed something interesting and went to check it out. The first thing we noticed was the lake. The wind was blowing and big balls of foam were washing up to the shore and then taking flight in the wind. I would imagine they are salt flavored, but I sure as hell wasn't going to try one.
 Looking west on the track, you can see them lying by the rails. At this point, we are almost at the place where the lake surrounds the track on both sides. 
 This is looking east back towards the Wasatch Mountains. As you can see, there is some snow left on the highest peaks, but at this rate, it will be gone by March. The temperature was a balmy 53 and shorts were the mode of dress. In the past, this line was very busy with rail traffic but today we didn't see a single train. That was a disappointment. Standing that near a train going well over 60 miles an hour is quite an experience. There is one that is just a wee bit  better, but I will save that for another time.  
 Now, what we saw was quite interesting. I do believe that this was a pumping station for GSL. They are a type of mining company that takes salt as well as other minerals from the lake to sell. This pump group didn't look operative at all. 3 main pumps were totally missing and the fourth didn't look happy. What was very odd was the fact that all of the control boxes were very new.
A memorial at the site tells trespassers that this is the sight of the famous Behrens Trench. Supposedly they dug some sort of underwater canal that feeds the east side of their complex from the western side of the lake. So, I am thinking that the new controls are for it and its all under ground and this above ground system is obsolete. Who knows. I do know that is was kind of cool to explore. It is hard to imagine it is just February 15th and there is no snow or mud to play in. I as well as Old Yellow are suffering from lack-of-mud-itis. It just isn't winter Jeeping without some type mud or snow to play in. Oh well, maybe we will get lucky and get a late winter. who knows? My last comment will be on lack of reader participation. Why in the hell don't any of you write anything. I do know it is being read, but no one ever writes an opinion. How come?
Jeep on my friends!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Careful, You Might Learn Something!

 During my last 2 semesters of school we have discussed the Native American culture in Utah History as well as History of the West. One particular event stands out in both classes; the Bear River Massacre. In 1863, Colonel Patrick Connor and his California volunteers were stationed in Salt Lake at Fort Douglass when word came in of a dispute between the white settlers and the Shoshone. Being extremely anti-Indian, Connor marched his troops north into the Washington Territory and on January 29, 1863 wiped out the group gathered near the Bear River. Estimates range from 250 to 350 Native Americans slaughtered, men, women and children. 
 This memorial was placed in the vicinity to mark this horrible tragedy. Over time, the land in the area has been returned to the tribe in small parcels. The massacre site itself was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990. In 2008, the Western Shoshone had acquired all the land and were planning on erecting a monument of their own on site.  
The foto above shows the valley from the north side. At this point in time, there is no evidence of an Indian Memorial, just ones built by the state of Idaho. The valley is peaceful and rather pretty. 

 Though the massacre was 152 years ago, the memory of it is strong among the Shoshone Tribe. Back in a corner, out of the way lies this tree. I cannot say if it has a name but I will call it a memorial tree. In this tree are many tiny memorials to the Native Americans killed by Connor. I tried to pick out the best ones to post here as to give my 2 fans a slight look at what they were.
 Many of the ornaments were dated from this year. It is said that the tribe gathers every year on the anniversary to mourn the loss of their ancestors. 
 This one contained shells, beads and something my untrained eye could not decipher. I am going to say that the majority of them are from this last January due to the dates on them and the fact they are still very colorful. 
 Popular among the gifts were dream catchers and gods-eyes. 
 The memory of the massacre is still strong among the surviving members of the Shoshone Tribe. The tales of the lost battle are passed on through stories by the Elders of the tribe to each passing generation. This sad tale of a massacre will continue to be passed on for many generations to come. 
Jeep on my friends.