Saturday, October 3, 2009

Crossing Utah

When we left Moab, we headed west on I70 intending to exit south on Utah24 toward Goblin Valley. Somehow I let Ron drive right past the exit and we made a 36 mile detour to the next exit and back. At first we were a little frustrated, but I have found that almost every time we take a wrong turn, it turns out we see something interesting.

This time it was the San Rafael Reef. Thirty miles long, the Reef is the eastern edge of the San Rafael Swell, an uplift extending 75 to the west. We had driven through here a couple years ago, but it was going east. Driving through it the other direction, the jagged edge of the Reef seems more amazing and formidable.

After our little detour, we finally made it to our free BLM campsite along Temple Mountain Road just west of the intersection of Goblin Valley Road. It has changed since the last time I was here with the addition of vault toilets and fire rings, but still free. And there are more dispersed camping spots farther along Temple Mountain Road for the adventurous.

Here we are with Temple Mountain in the background. To our surprise, fellow WIN Nancy knocked on our door the second evening we were here. We hadn't even noticed that she and Maynard were parked in the same area.

We decided to explore around Temple Mountain. These buildings are the remains of the uranium mining hayday.

We saw signs of past mining activity . . .

And lots of old tunnels. Some were sealed off with concrete, but this one had substantial bars to keep out the curious. Personally, you couldn't pay me to go in one of these.

And even more frightening, that circular block I'm sitting on is part of a core of rock that was drilled out of a mine shaft. They lowered men and equipment in a bucket down the 36" wide shaft. Yikes!

We also found these pictographs that unfortunately where done on rock that is flaking away. From the road, I thought they were depicting buildings, but they're headless people.

And this poor guy has an additional problem - it looks like somebody used him for target practice. How sad.


  1. Looks like you are getting close to my location. = )

    The San Rafael Swell looks alot like the Cock's Comb on Utah's HWY 95.

  2. Must be a Utah thing...LOL! Coming out of Salt Lake City heading south on I-15 we should have caught the 89 towards Kanab...ya well hubby's not a good co-pilot and we ended up in St. George. Supertramp said it well..."Take the long way home".

    By the way, the weathers been great! You're almost here.