Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Travel Journal: Utah's National Parks April 23-30 2011: Day 3

Tuesday in Bryan Head dawn without much to make me want to rise and shine.
It was snowing...

The tree outside my widow had a coating of frozen fog.

This was a VACATION. 
Staying in bed for awhile reading...now that was exactly what I was going to do.

So I propped myself up with a pillow, Bernie made coffee and I stayed snuggy warm in bed in front of the fire with a book and a cup of coffee.

I had checked a few books out of the library that I thought might relate to our vacation.  We both wound up reading "I walked to Zion", a collection of writings by those who had walked across country as children to come to Utah.  Some of the stories were heart breaking as the adult recounted watching a new born sister die, then her mother die, then her father....
Others recalled the pain of seeing a three year old brother tumble out of the covered wagon and be rolled over by the wagon wheels.
A few of the stories were from diaries written on the trail, but most were recounted stories.  The "walkers" that were in their teens were especially interesting as they had little romances along the way.  One woman wrote that she and a young lad pledged beneath a trysting tree to meet again and marry...in four years time.
She said actually it was forty years later when they met again...she was the mother of 19 children by then, and he had a few children himself.
Funny how that works.
They wrote about letting the milk swing in buckets beneath the wagon which made butter by the end of the day.
Others, making the trek later, covered the distance with a hand cart pulled by their fathers for 12 hours a day, while the children and mothers pushed from behind.  Their meal was a thin soup made from a handful of flour per person.  That was it for the whole day....

The snow kept falling outside.  Eventually Bernie got restless and suggested we go check out some fishing streams.

Mammoth Creek is known for good fishing, but today the water was too swift and was flooding the area.

We tried another place on the river, walking in the bitterly cold sunshine and enduring harsh winds.

Eh...not very fish able.

In the pasture around the stream there were several places with holes and tunnels like this one....

With elaborate trails created by what looked like cores of soil and sod being rolled right out of the earth.
I have no idea who or what did this.
Anyone have any ideas?

Utah had a very cool April and additional snow as well; the melt off is late and expected to be flooding.
The pastures we saw already looked like they had gone under water once.

This was state owned land; we were not trespassing.
We passed by a decayed two room cabin on our way to the river.

Bits and pieces of rusted metal was around the cabin remains.
We both wondered what some of the pieces had been used for years ago.

The snow started up again, falling through sunshine and shadows. I kept hoping I might see a snow rainbow, but it didn't happen.
Geezie Louizee...it was cold!

As we headed back to our lodging, my So California brain struck again.
I glanced out the window, saw dark heaps, and made a mental note that a road must have been torn up and the asphalt had been dumped by the roadside to be hauled off at a later date.

As the miles rolled by and the heaps were still in abundance and in fact were as far as the eye could see, I took another look, a closer look this time.

Not broken up asphalt. What I was seeing was lava rock, miles of a lava flow, running down in a river aside the red soil road side.

So interesting how it the lava lines meandered through the red stuff.
Which was first?
Where was the volcano that spewed all this rock?
And how long ago did this happen?

The lava rock was blackish gray, with some purplish tones mixed in, and had the typical airy light look to it, yet each hand sized chunk that I lifted was actually quite heavy.

(Of course I was on my Android phone trying to look up volcanoes in Utah with no luck.  Finally found THIS site about where we were. The site explains that the oldest tree in the youngest flow is 900 years old.  So it has been awhile since the vent has blown.  I guess that is good news?)

The local Indian tribes call the area around the lake "Smoking Mountain"; the mountain hasn't "smoked" in a long, long time....so did they see the eruption 900 years ago and kept the story alive with the name for the area?

The rocks look like they are pretty new up close. Not worn at all, but the freeze/thaw cycles have succeded in cracking a few of the boulders.

Sure is desolate looking.

The plant grow just stopped right at the edge of the flow.

Then occasionally there would be a bush or a tree growing from the rock.
Tough plants.

Well, it was a kinda of a short look around.

Bernie commented it looked like a scene from the movie Fargo as we drove back.

Going back to the fireside with a book for the rest of the evening sounded like a perfect way to spend the rest of the day.
And evening too.

To be continued.


ellen b. said...

Fireside and a book sound really really good right now! We are suppose to get up to 65 tomorrow!! I'll believe it when I see it...

Vee said...

Brrr, it really does look cold and especially for late April. (Hope that things have warmed a lot. It's rainy and cold here, though there won't be any snow.)

You have such curiosity about things...you're like Thomas Jefferson..."there's not a blade of grass that shoots that is uninteresting to me."

That lava flow is pretty amazing and especially so since it looks like "new" rock. I'm surprised that in 900 years more plants haven't grown there. Must be a location thing as I believe that Mt. St. Helens has a lot of vegetation belying its much more recent eruption.

The story you were reading does not sound like a snuggle down, get cozy, kind of book.

Vicki said...

It may be 90 degrees F here but I was shivering as I looked at the snowy pictures! I suspect that tunnel was possibly a washed out mole or vole (or some other varmint) tunnel. Maybe. At least, if I saw one of those around here, that's what I would guess. Southern Utah? No real clue!! :)

The lava rock flow reminds me of our trip to Craters of the Moon last August.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

A lovely warm hotel room with a fireplace and something delicious to eat would be quite welcome after an excursion such as this one. There sure is an amazing variety of things to see in Utah!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

You may have been hunkering down with a book beside the fire...but I think you carried right on with your expedition...immersing yourself in the history of Utah. I rather like the white-on-lava-rock look...brightens everything up.

I'm still waiting for Bryce...and hoping it wasn't covered in snow!

Lovella ♥ said...

Such an adventure from the book to the one you and B scouted out on your own. The lava rock is incredible. The snow storm on your way back gave me chills. It looks way too desolate out there to be alone.