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 So, I am thinking that the new controls are for it and its all under ground and this above ground system is obsolete.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.