Friday, January 27, 2017

Old Homesteads Have Everlasting Charm.

Today is the first day, after about six continuous days of snowfall, that I have not shoveled or laid down ice melt.  So, I have decided to go back in time, to July 2016, and relate a tale of old homesteads.  I happen to enjoy taking photos of old cabins, barns, houses; stonework, wood, or combination thereof; they have history behind them, and charm.

Sunset was around 8pm, so after dinner we decided to go on a short gallivant; check out some of those county roads north of Highway 491.  5.1 miles - CR 308 (Hallers); South on Hwy 491; directly across and North on Hwy. 491 is CR 362; 1/2 mile north on CR 362, turn east onto CR 335 (North Old Highway). 

Here's a map to help follow our little drive.

There are alternative county roads to access CR 335 from Hwy. 491:

Eastland Tower in far background.

CR 335 is one of those pretty, scenic roads where you don't mind taking your time as you drive along; definitely a good way to relieve any stress tension and get into relaxation mode.

Except if you're me; my excitement comes when I find old homesteads, cabins, barns, even windmills.  They tell stories of when the pioneers and ranchers first began to settle the Old West.  I do get disappointed when I can't find the owners around, and ask if I can explore and take photos; sometimes they even give me a verbal history about the buildings.

Old Planks.

Before we knew it, we'd reached CR 370 (Ucolo); we went only about a mile north and found this old tree house in a field.  There was an old foundation too, but really nothing else left of whatever building(s) had once been. Up ahead we saw modern day homes, barns, farm machinery; and they just weren't that interesting; so we turned around and decided to take the southern end back to Highway 491.

Jackpot!  More old homesteads, plank fencing, pieces of farm equipment; a photographer's paradise.

Homestead #1

Farm Equipment Lying About.
 Homestead #2

Fencing made from Planks.

Almost to Hwy 491, we were graced with a raven in flight.

Before going directly home though, we visited Shake Shack; Roy's favorite is pineapple, and I love the mint; perfect ending to a perfect gallivant.

Oh, one side note: we also found out that Utah Highway Patrolman, Sanford Randall, was able to find our friend's camera that had gotten lost at the Blanding 4th of July Parade.  Ivy Kropf happens to be Amy Watkins Kensley's sister; and since the Watkins family adopted Roy and myself, well they're our sisters too.  Anyway, all's well that ends well.

Mary Cokenour

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Return to Mule Canyon Cave Towers.

I've previously posted about the first time visiting the Cave Towers at Mule Canyon with Four Corners Adventures, so here is the return visit the next day.  On that first visit, I mainly stayed on the left hand side of the canyon area; this is about the right side.  The high winds were gone, the sky clear and sunny; walking the ledges was a piece of cake, and no holding the camera with one hand, while the other held onto a tree for support.

Now, how to find the Cave Towers (aka Seven Towers), from Highway 191, going south from Blanding, go 19.3 miles along State Highway 95.  On the left hand side of the highway you'll see a dirt trail with a gate across it; just open the gate, go through and make sure to reclose the gate.  About 2/10ths of a mile, you'll reach a parking area with an informational board; the ruin site is only 4/10ths of a mile further on, so you can either hike to them or drive.  If you drive, make sure you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle with high clearance, skid plates would be a beneficial addition.

View from Parking Area.

As I said in my previous post on Cave Towers, the seven towers are distributed along the rim of Mule Canyon.  Roy and I climbed to the partial tower seen on the right hand side; use a walking stick for extra leverage on the sandy upward trail.  Within this tower is still one of the original wood beams, and a view of the puebloan ruins along the canyon's wall ledges.

Mule Canyon Wall Ledges with Pueblo Ruins.

Some of the towers are completely collapsed, but as you travel from one tower to another, you will notice that the other six are in view to each other.  Their placement protected the canyon, the secret spring that ran within this area, and watch guards were in sight of each other.  Smart strategy!

Ruin on Ledge Below Collapsed Tower.

The advantage to being able to walk the ledges, along the right hand side, is being able to better view the ruins tucked into cave openings and along the wall ledges.  A zoom lens on the camera is a huge help in seeing them properly, and we also had binoculars.

Pueblo Ruins Along Wall Ledges


Ruin Near Mesa Top.

My previous post on the Cave Towers included photos of Mule Canyon, so here I concentrated on pillars, pinnacles and walls.

Walking back to our vehicle, we found two interesting things, well interesting to us at least. The first was a stone which seemed to have a circle with lines radiating from it; was this a carving of the sun, or simply natural weathering from sun and rain?  The second was a gathering of dried juniper berries on the path itself.  The nearest juniper bush was about 10 feet away; the wind might have blown them there, but they were so neatly together.  More than likely, they had gathered by a bird or small creature.

Like the rest of Mule Canyon, this area is quiet, serene and beautiful; come visit, however, leave it as clean and complete as when you first entered.

Mary Cokenour