Road Trip 2016 - Pt 3

Before continuing on to the Southern portion of our road trip we needed to make a detour to Salt Lake City to pick up our son Carlin who would be joining us for the remainder of our trip. After picking up Carlin we continued to American Fork, Utah for the evening. The next day we drove South to Moab, Utah. The change in scenery between Yellowstone to Moab could not be more stark and the temperature to continued to climb as we reached our destination.

Arches National Park

The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks, the results of wind and rain on the soft rock.

Besides the rock formations the local Indians also left a number of petroglyphs and pictographs. The petroglyphs I photographed on the trail to Delicate Arch are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Since these depict horses we know that they were created after 1519 when horses were reintroduced to the North American continent.

The artwork in question has been attributed to the Ute Indians and is thought to date between 1650 and 1850. The Ute culture during this period was based on hunting and gathering, that took them to the mountains in the summer and to low-lying canyons in the winter. They sometimes traveled up to 400 miles between their seasonal camps. This location might have contained one of their seasonal camps. In addition to Indians riding horses it shows big horn sheep and smaller animals thought to be dogs. Unlike petroglyphs, pictographs are pictorial symbols for a word or phrase. One particular story regarding the Ute Indians involves a Ute who was captured as a young boy and raised with the Cheyenne. His name was Yellow Nose. According to stories, Yellow Nose had captured a 7th Cavalry guidon (flag) from a soldier he had shot. The story as told by many old Cheyenne warriors when they were interviewed long after the Battle was that Yellow Nose heard the shots, got on his horse and joined in the fight. As he went into the battle he shot a soldier, saw another soldier coming towards him, he shot the soldier and took the guidon from him. He went into the battle and started to strike or count coup. He circled around and came upon a white man, the man started to scream. Yellow Nose came up behind the man and struck him with his war club in the back of the head, killing the man. Yellow Nose is believed to have killed General G. A. Custer.

With temperatures of over 100 degrees we decided the best course of action was to start early so we got up at four and tried to be on the road before dawn. When we arrived at the park the ranger station was still closed but the park itself is open 24 hrs. We arrived at Delicate Arch while it was still dark but soon the first rays of the sun appeared. There were already cars at the parking lot at the trail head. The weather was cool but comfortable. Leaving early turned out to be a wise decision and we were able to use the rest of the day to tour the town of Moab, which is a popular destination for off-roaders and for good reason because in this area you would just as soon be off road then on.

The town of Moab is small with a population of just over 5,000, though it is the largest city on Grand County. Both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks were within a short distance. It seemed that every third business was an outdoor adventure company. In Moab I bought a Red Dirt T-Shirt. The dyeing process involves putting white T-shirts in washing machines, shoveling in red dirt containing oxidized iron and adding vinegar. After the shirts are dyed, they have designs printed on them.