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.