Thursday, May 28, 2015

Monticello Cemetery

"I walked among the dead today; your family, friends passed on."
"Among the tombstones voices called; "Why am I gone?"
"I sat among the dead today; listening to their tales."
"Babies sighed, women cried; full of stories were the males."

"I walked among the dead today; your family, friends passed on."
"Touching tops of cold stone; a flower or two placed upon."
"Many remembered; too many lost in time."
"A simple stranger was I; promising to keep them in mind."

"I walked among the dead today; your family, friends passed on."

I'm not the best at poetry, but I believe what I've written above says what I felt today.  Why was I at the local cemetery?  I was asked to visit and take photos of Kent Frost and Marie Ogden's grave stones to add to the displays at the Frontier Museum.  Simple task, except when the dead want to talk.  You might be able to hear them, and that's a shame.  You probably don't believe that I can, or that I'm plain crazy; ask me if I care.

Being from the more urban part of the east coast, cemeteries packed to the edges, and busting at the seams, is more the norm.  Small, quaint cemeteries (the older, the better) have stories to tell; how a place was founded; who married whom; hardships of child birth during certain centuries; and certainly who kept America free during the wars.  Monticello Cemetery is one of these quaint cemeteries that can tell these stories; you just have to be quiet, pay attention and listen.  Did you know that in most Asian countries, families have picnics at particular times of a person's life at the gravesite?  It's their way of making sure that the ancestors know they are being remembered; I truly like this idea.

 The Horse Head seems to be keeping watch over the cemetery.  Perhaps the legend of the buried horse on the peak, watching over its rider, has more to it than mere legend.

I met some of the pioneers that settled in Monticello back in 1887 (remember, it was called "Hammond" back then); lets meet Nephi Bailey and his lovely wife, Annie.  From the information I gained at the diorama sitting inside the Welcome Center, he owned a good deal of this town.  My home sits upon the land that his son, Nephi Peter Bailey, once owned.  I spoke to Nephi about how the ground around my home was pretty beat up, but not to worry, as we were trying hard to revitalize it.  Well, it has once been used for growing vegetables, some fruit trees were still around; and I would love to see blooming gardens all around my home.

There were two stones where the name, "Bradford" was barely discernible; so not sure which Bradfords they were.

I strolled along to wherever I was called; or turned as a whisper in my ear said, "Look here" and took photos of whichever tombstone I neared. I met some interesting folks this day, sort of regret not being able to know them in life.

There were the war veterans who needed to be thanked; they made sure every American was free and safe during the worst of times.

There were children...

Then I came to this lone little marker with the word "Baby" etched upon it; a weathered lamb its only companion. When it comes to funerals and cemeteries, I'm not much of a crier, but this grave hit home. See, I don't want to be buried when it's my time to go on; I want to be cremated and my ashes spread in the desert. I want my body to go back to the elements quickly; fire will turn me to ashes; the ashes will be taken by the wind and placed upon the earth; the rain will wash me; and such is the cycle of life and death.

It wasn't until I was leaving that I saw the kiosk with the cemetery map; there's also a plastic box with a book containing the alphabetical listing of grave sites.  I'm very happy that I didn't look up Kent Frost and Marie Ogden's sites, go there and then leave.  Look at all the folks I would have missed meeting.

Monticello Cemetery, 300 South (aka Cemetery Road), Monticello, Utah, 84535

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Road G - Cortez to Bluff.

So, after making that short visit along the Sand Canyon Trailhead; along Road G we continued towards Utah. If you have the time, sometimes you need to travel a road both ways to see what you missed the first time around.  You'll understand what I mean with this next set of photos.  Oh, by the way, across from the Sand Canyon Trailhead is a winery which does have a tasting room, and sells by the bottle.  Just in case you need some after that long hike, or want to take a bottle along with your picnic; just remember to take your garbage out of the canyon area with you.

The last time we traveled Road G, we took Route 262 which is between White Mesa and Bluff, off of Route 191 in Utah towards Cortez.  Along the way, we saw this huge boulder almost sitting on the left side of the roadway.  Big deal, seen one boulder, seen them all, right?  Wrong!  Coming from the Colorado way, as we got to the boulder I shouted out, "Stop!  Ruins!"  Poor Roy almost choked as he was drinking from his bottle of Mountain Dew, but he did stop the SUV.  I jumped out and began walking towards the boulder, camera in hand; there indeed were the small remains of Native American ruins, and petroglyphs.  Unfortunately, there was a lot of modern day graffiti which almost obscured some of the rock art.

Climbing up and around the boulders

Signature from 1940

After climbing up from the boulders a little, the landscape opens up across and behind the area.

Ridge behind the boulders

4/10s of a mile from the boulders, there is a sign indicating the way to Yellow Jacket; we figure it will come out eventually onto Route 491, but plan on exploring it in the future. The Ismay Trading Post is also here, not open when we were there, but it does look interesting.  If you're looking for Hovenweep National Monument, there are signs here and there to keep you on track.

Different View of the Ridge

Ismay Trading Post

Along the way we met up with a family of horses, at first the colt was lying on the ground; but we watched as it struggled to get up on all fours; the other horses nuzzling or pressing their bodies against it.  We never left the vehicle, only took photos from the window; but the adults were ever watchful over the youngster.  The huge male got up himself and did a bit of posing for the camera...what a ham!

...and out of the desert soil, some of the most lovely flowers grow

Hairy Goldenaster (Sunflower family)
This was a relaxing adventure with some of the prettiest sights to see; still not hungry, we continued back home.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, May 11, 2015

Sand Canyon Trailhead - Canyon of the Ancients.

After doing our shopping at the Walmart and City Market in Cortez, Colorado; Roy and I decided to take Road G back to Utah instead of the usual highway (Route 491). It wasn't lunch time yet, but we certainly had enough food in the back for an impromptu picnic. Road G turns into Route 262 and eventually comes out onto Route 191, in between Bluff and White Mesa, Utah; and yes, it's a scenic drive which I will be writing about later on.

Since we'd already found Sand Canyon Pueblo, we also wanted to check out the trailhead on Road G.  We weren't prepared for the 6.5 mile (one way) hike, but wanted to get a basic lay out of the land.  You will most definitely see the formation, which was the background of Castle Rock Pueblo, before you get to the actual parking area and beginning of the trailhead.  The parking area is slickrock, so once you leave the paved roadway, you are on all natural terrain.

Castle Rock Pueblo is an ancient village dated back to 1250 A.D. which was built around the base of a butte.  It was thought to have contained 16 kivas, 40 rooms and 9 towers.  It was first photographed in 1874 by William Henry Jackson, but as time progressed, photographs kept a record of its deterioration.  All that remains is a small section of logs in a corner near the top of the butte, and a small section of wall at the eastern side.

As I stated before, the trail you will be hiking, or mountain biking on, is all natural; slickrock, sand, rocks, dirt.  Watch for the cairns (small piles of stones) or informational signs that will help you stay on the trail.  We only walked about a half mile in to get an idea of the terrain.  The scenery is quite beautiful, especially seeing lovely flowering plants and cacti thriving in the sandy soil

We have planned to return to the Sand Canyon Trailhead, and definitely be well prepared for the hike.

Mary Cokenour