Friday, October 26, 2018

One More Moab Entry

Moab time is up, time to head southeast.  We have enjoyed three weeks at Ballards RV Park in Thompson Springs seeking the red rock landscapes.  The campground was very basic, yet it was quiet (except for the train horn) and a good value for this area.  Once I figured out how to connect to their WiFi (loved Chrome not Firefox), we were good.  Here are some sights and scenes to wrap up our time here.

Sego Canyon and Rock Art, located just 3 miles up the dirt road from Ballards Campground, was a fun afternoon of exploring an old ghost town, rock art and unique landscapes.  We found three panels all together on a huge cliff with information signs.  The first rock art panel we come upon was the most recent.  Ute Indian Petroglyphs (1300-1880)
These rock art sites are protected by the Bureau of Land Management.  
 I discovered more information about these panels from this site: Sego Canyon Petroglphys.    These pictures are of a white bison, a human figure with leggings as well as several other large human figures.  The large circle is believed to be a shield. Unfortunately, over time these panels have been vandalized.

The second panel of petroglyphs would be from the Fremont Indian era. (600-1250 A.D.)  This group was contemporaries with the Anasazi Culture of the Four Corners area (Cortez, CO).   

At the top of the panel we saw a row of faint, painted large human figures.  Superimposed on top of them are "pecked" life-sized human figures with collars and waistbands.  Information described the painted ones as the oldest of this panel.

The third panel displayed petroglyphs from the Barrier Canyon Style. (6000 B.C.-100 B.C.)
The group of people that painted this panel, the Archaic group, were nomads.  They hunted game, collected plants and they did not build permanent structures but lived in caves.  They occupied this region approximately 8000 years ago!  

These paintings are larger than life-sized.  They exhibit leg-less and arm-less human forms and the ghost-like' hollow eyes.  

I took several photos of this panel because there were so many interesting figures.

This one looks like it has antennas and is flanked with two snakes..maybe?

After we inspected the rock art, Ronnie and I drove on to the abandoned coal mining town of Sego.  We found evidence of the old buildings, coal tailing's left on the ground and collapsing bridges.

We saw several fallen railroad bridges like this one.  Sego was once a coal mining community, established in the early 1900's.  First, the coal was dug manually and shipped out by wagons.  Around 1911, the mines, roads and rail were all developed for long term coal production. Unfortunately not enough quality coal was found therefore around the 1950's, the mines and community were abandoned.  Click here to learn more about this ghost town:  Sego Canyon - History

All that's left of the American Fuel Company building.

Abandoned old rusty car and fallen building of some sort..

We also found three rock structures, this one had its roof caved in by a huge boulder.

We drove by the Sego Cemetery. Surrounded by quiet, we walked among the graves some marked with inscriptions and some only marked with a white stone.

 You could easily spend an afternoon here exploring the dirt paths and canyons.  We did not drive to the end of the road where it is on Ute Property but I'm sure others have.  From the campground we noticed several cars driving up there to check out the area.  Judging by the plentiful information on the Internet, it is a known area to visit.

The Moab area has many, many areas of rock art and panels.  We checked out the Birthing Scene Rock Art , found along the Colorado River just outside of Moab.

All four sides of this rock were carved with various pictures of animals as well as the human form.  These petroglyphs cover the periods of Anasazi, Fremont and Ute groups (1 A.D.-1880)

Another set we found on Kane Creek Blvd were  the Moonflower Canyon Petroglyphs.  

These date from the Archaic and Barrier group period.

Since we were checking out old things, we discovered the Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite in our research. Just off Hwy 191, the site location was an easy drive down a dirt path and easy hike up a hill. 

The dinosaur foot prints we found are those rock impressions you see here.  They were filled in with sand and water so we are not sure if you could determine the claws shape. 

There were also a second set of prints where you could distinguish three toes.

And the recent rains made this variety of desert plant burst with blooms.
American Southwest Wildflowers

Next, Ronnie and I checked out the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite.  It was getting late in the day but we could still see the footprints.  We really liked the raised viewing platform to protect the tracks.  Info signs at this location state there are over 200 footprints from several different species of dinosaurs.  The unusual greenish rock is something called chert, a type of hard sedimentary rock formed from quartz.  It seems this area was once a large mat of algae. As the mat dried up with footprint impressions, it was covered with layers of sand then it hardened to become limestone.  I found it interesting that the bumpy surface of this ancient algae was preserved in rock.

Signage told us these tracks are from a large Theropod, a carnivorous dinosaur. There were 17 of them about 16-20 inches long. It was estimated this animal was about 8 feet tall however no evidence of its  fossilized bones have ever been found.

The footprints at this site  were easier to see because of the recent rains and they weren't filled in with sand.  Notice the rock texture, it's the algae mat from millions of years ago.

We also found this interesting imprint of where a crocodile slid into the water, leaving an imprint of its belly, tail and a foot.

These tracks were from a medium sized Theropod.  They were about 7-14 inches long, estimated to be about six feet tall.

We made a drive back to the Red Cliffs Lodge Movie Museum where we discovered lots of movie memorabilia from films made in the area.  Movie legend John Ford made some of his best work here in the 1940's. Also displayed are pictures from Moab locations used in more recent films, television commercials and photo shoots.  We spent about an hour here looking at the movie posters, photographs, props and antiques.

The mannequin figure on the left was used in the last scene of the Thelma and Louise movie. It was in the car that went off the cliff, retrieved and placed in this museum.

What a fun drive we had on The Onion Creek Road.  It appeared to us that the loop road went behind the Fisher Towers (they're located on Hwy 128, that beautiful road that winds along the Colorado River).  The road actually ends somewhere in the La Sal National Forest.  

We made several creek crossings.  It was obvious the road is maintained because we could see where the road grader had smoothed the surface and cleared mud from the stream crossings.

We were awed by that incredible stone tower.  Later reading Internet info about this drive, I found out it's named The Totem Pole.

We got out of the Jeep at this particular scenic rock wall, where we had a better view of the rock tower. 

As we continued on down the Onion Creek Road, we past several Jeeps, trucks, four-wheelers and motorized dirt bikes.  On this sunny Saturday afternoon, everyone was out enjoying the nice weather.

The road traveled through several slot canyons where the red sandstone was beautifully exposed.  The formations and colors were fascinating.  I found myself constantly looking up to see how this creek had carved the canyon.

 Ronnie turned the Jeep around at this unusual mineral deposit found at the base of this cliff.  We probably traveled about 7 miles on this dirt path.

Ronnie uses this web site to help him research possible scenic Jeep trails that would be suitable for our non-modified Jeep.
Jeep the USA

Our late afternoon timing was great, we got some good sun rays that cast nice light.

Ronnie really wanted to go on one more Jeep Trail:  Jeep The USA: Long Canyon Road.  We started on our adventure but got turned around just as we reached this wonderful view.  The Long Canyon Road was closed.  Guess we've got to leave something to new to discover for next time.

The Moab area of Utah was a fun place to explore.  There are many things to see and do in this region and we only touched on a small portion of it.  In fact, we only made one trip into Arches National Park and found it very crowded, we will have to come back one day to enjoy that experience.

More Later.

Sunrise from Thompson Springs

Sunset from Thompson Springs

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