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Author: Subject: Pics- Road Trip To The High Deserts Of Utah - Western Plateau of Colorado - Kansas - Outer Banks

Zen Peach





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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:46 PM
One thing that I like to do when I am on a determined road trip is to have a copy of the song "Jessica" in tow. I don't play it all the time, as I travel, but I wait for that special moment when it becomes the perfect soundtrack for the beautiful scenery that is hopefully in front of me. "Jessica" is that type of song, and that is why it fit so perfectly in the movie Field Of Dreams when it was played as Kevin Costner's character began his road trip. And, it is a song that I played on one of the longest, and best, road trips that I ever took a while back.

A few years ago I found myself with two back-to-back weeks of vacation, and I was ready to roll and explore parts of America that I had not been to as of yet. I had been lucky as a kid, being a part of a family that took three week road trips as a vacation almost every year. I had been in 46 out of 50 states by the time I was a teenager, but as I grew up and went to work and so forth, the longer trips didn't happen again for a long time. A couple of friends of mine had just taken a camping trip to the high desert of Utah, and their stories and pictures inspired me and provided the motivation to load up and head out. I ended up taking a 5,000-plus mile road trip by myself. Number one - I couldn't find anyone else who could take that much time off at the same time, and two-when you travel by yourself you can cover a lot more ground and make the singular decisions needed to explore as much area as possible. I looked at it this way- I was scouting out the cool places of the world so that one day I could take future friends, family, and lovers to these destinations and be able to blow their minds by knowing where to go, and what to show them.

So, I loaded up my 1993 Taurus station wagon, including my 18-foot Grumman canoe on top, and traveled from Ohio to the western plateau of Colorado, then onto the high elevation desert canyonlands of Utah, then back through Kansas and the midwest, all of the way to the Outer Banks barriers islands of North Carolina. A couple of weeks ago I found a missing box of pictures from this trip, and while not the best ones that I took, you do get the sense of the amazing beauty of the places I explored.

My goal for the trip was simple-to concentrate on finding dinosaur footprints viewable in the ground as well as seeking out ancient Native American hieroglyphics, petroglyphs, and wall paintings. I knew that finding these areas would put me in the kind of country I was looking for, and I would explore from there. It paid off.

Here are some pictures from my road trip, including a misguided adventure or two on my end that proved interesting;





[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:46 PM
The high desert and canyonlands of Utah



Arches National Park- outside of Moab, Utah



Sunset in Arches



Footprints of a three-toed dinosaur found way up on a ledge outside of Moab, Utah



[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:47 PM


Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab



Canyonlands National Park outside of Moab



This is either the Green River or the Colorado River in Canyonlands near where the two rivers combine.

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:48 PM


This is almost an optical illusion as the ledge I am standing on is suspended above the canyon if you will look closely. canyonlands.



Outside of Moab, Utah



These water-filled holes are the footprints of a round legged Brontosaurus-type of dinosaur.

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:48 PM


Along the bottom of the cliff are some eerie and amazing 2,000-year old Native American drawings. Drawn with a red paint of some sort, the creatures depicted seem to float in the air, with no legs on them, and with heads that are more than interesting. Sego Canyon Petroglyphs - Utah



A closer look at the Sego Canyon Petroglyphs



Sego Canyon

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:49 PM


A small post office out in the middle of nowhere.



The fascinating maze of red and white weathered rock and slot canyons known as The Needles. It is an area that is literally like a maze, and in parts of Needles you are required to hike with a guide if you are not familiar with the area because too many people get lost in the canyons, and that can be deadly in this part of the world, and often is.



[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:52 PM
High desert horses







 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:53 PM
Misadventure!

I decided to make the brilliant move (not!) of driving my Taurus station wagon, with canoe on top, down a switch back jeep trail into Canyonlands. The look on the faces of the four-wheel drive jeep riders was priceless as they would turn a corner and see me coming. I made it quite a ways down into the canyon and stopped only when the car started to bottom out. It took me a while to get back out of the canyon as the car over-heated every step of the drive up and out.




Canyonlands



On the top of the canyon jeep trail



I got out and walked ahead to take this photo of my car, to the right and up, on the switch back trail



This picture will give you some scale as far as the switch back canyon trail goes. Look for the small jeep making its way down the road. Big country.



[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:53 PM
More Utah.

In the high desert, 6,000 feet elevation and higher, there is something called micro-biotic soil. Black in color and crunchy to the feel, the key is to not step on it as one misplaced foot would destroy a hundred years of growth. For example, in this part of the desert, if you threw an apple core down on the ground it would take six months to decompose, so hikers need to be very careful.











[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:54 PM
Western plateau of Colorado

Along I-70 in western Colorado is a fossil dig site where they left a lot of the dinosaur fossils in the ground so folks could see them while walking a trail. It is near the Colorado-Utah border right off the highway. Of course, I ventured further. This is mountain lion country, as well as an area where some wolf sightings happened on occasion as well, so that was in the back of my mind as I hiked alone. It was a rainy day, but I was in the mood to explore. At the end of the fossil trail I kept following a creek that led around a couple of small box canyons and along the way I found some amazingly colored rocks on the ground. They were of all colors, but the standouts were a light blue rock that almost glowed on this cloudy day. I kept turning the corner and hiking into different box canyons when I found the following formation;



I then kept hiking with an idea in mind- it is always good to hike a creek after a rain so you can possibly find newly uncovered rocks and/or fossils, so that is what I did. I was miles from any other human, and I found myself in a narrow creek that had 8 to 10 foot walls on each side that were not sloped, but went straight up to ground level. While walking the creek bed, the creek walls were too high for me to see over them. Then, I got the feeling....I had the sense that I was being watched. If an animal would have jumped me in the creek, I would have been in big trouble. Then, a few feet further down the creek, I came across a fresh set of large animal foot prints that made the hair on the back of my neck literally stand up. Because it was after a fresh rain, the prints were obviously formed recently, as in hours or minutes.

I could not see over the 10-foot high creek walls, and if anything was lurking, I was a sitting duck. It was the first time in my life where I felt what it was like to be prey, to be blatantly vulnerable. I backed up and retraced my steps in the creek and did not go any further. I never did see what it was, I wasn't attacked or anything like that, but I did take a picture of the footprints in that creek that day. Looking at them now, they are not from a mountain lion, but from either a large coyote or possibly a wolf. Then again, I could be wrong. If anyone is good at reading prints, let me know what you think. Here is the picture of the fresh prints in the creek bed, and they were much larger in real life than they appear to be in the picture;






[Edited on 9/17/2007 by DerekFromCincinnati]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:55 PM
Kansas

While Kansas is known for mile after mile of the same scenery, corn field, church, corn field, I did findsome interesting things along the way. This part of Kansas is called Post Rock Country. There is a rock formation native to a certain area in Kansas that was used by the early pioneers to build with because Kansas did not have a lot of trees. Here is the Post Rock Museum's explanation;

quote:
http://www.rushcounty.org/postrockmuseum/

Early pioneers were faced with an unusual difficulty on the expansive plains of Kansas; lack of trees. Most pioneers traveled from the coast where trees were readily available for building, shade, food, and firewood. Kansas, though, was a vast dry prairie where few trees were able to grow due to the drought-like conditions and high occurrences of prairie fires. Early pioneers quickly found a substitution for firewood, a source of fuel very abundant on the open prairies, bison chips. The large round piles of bison dung were literally everywhere on the prairie and burned hot, making it preferable to wood for cooking. However, the pioneers probably did not consider making their homes out of this abundant resource! Instead, the first pioneers made their homes from something even more abundant, the ground itself. Most pioneers could not afford to ship lumber from the coast to build houses, so they made houses in the ground. Some pioneers settled on land that had hills into which they dug their houses, these structures are called dugouts. Pioneers not so fortunate as to have hills on their land, dug down, making dugouts below the ground surface. Other pioneers cut squares from the soil making sod (soil) bricks to build houses. Dugouts and sod houses protected the early pioneers from most dangers, but torrential rainfalls would flood dugouts and common prairie fires could destroy sod houses. These early pioneers of Kansas, like all pioneers, continued to search for a better way to live. These industrious pioneers discovered a layer of rock, located only a few feet below the soil surface, that could be used to make permanent, weather resistant, beautiful buildings. This rock layer is known as limestone and due to the geological formation is just the right thickness (8 to 12 inches) for building stones and posts. When limestone is first exposed it is soft and chalky, making it easier to drill and dress (form). However, once the stone has been exposed to air, the edges become hard making it an exceptional building material for the plains pioneer. At first, limestone blocks were just used to form the walls of dugouts. As the pioneers recognized the structural potential of limestone, more permanent all-stone buildings were constructed. Limestone blocks quickly became a common building material throughout north central Kansas. Stone blocks were used to build schools, churches, homes, bridges, posts, decorative stone, window trims, steps, hitching posts, troughs (feed and water), tombstones, and walkways.



Post rock is still used in the area. Here is a picture that I took of some post rock being used for a fence line,



In a small town in the same county I found a statue carved out of the same limestone depicting the early pioneers who settled the area and the town,



The drive from Utah to the Outer Banks of North Carolina was tiring though, as you can see from the pic below;


 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 04:56 PM
The Ocean

Scenes from the far end of my trip to the Outer Banks Barrier Islands off the North Carolina shore,











 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 05:17 PM
Nice pics Derek....

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 06:16 PM
Great pics, Derek! I've travelled/camped southern Utah a few times and love that area of the country (always feel kind of like I'm in a John Houston movie when I'm going through these areas ) I have seen some petroglyphs but never in Sego Canyon - cool. It's so interesting trying to read these 'stories' and attempt to get a sense of the people who created them all those years agol. Also love taking my Jeep on those back roads but you really have to watch out for weather as they do get some flash flooding down in the canyons when it rains heavily and suddenly.

Outer Banks - only been there once (so far ) but fell in love with that part of the country, too. I love how the beaches and surrounding areas were very natural and pristine and the ocean was so beautiful. Was very pleasantly surprised by how gorgeous this area of the country is.

Thanks for sharing the pics!




[Edited on 9/18/2007 by lolasdeb]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 06:51 PM
Cool story and pics Derek. I know the prey feeling you were getting. Seeing some fresh Grizzly footprints in the Yellowstone backcountry did that to me. Did you ever launch your boat out West? If so, where?

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 06:53 PM
Amazing pictures..thank you so much!

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 07:40 PM
Great Photos and looks like you had yourself a fine time...the tracks are either a wolf or a dog..could be a big coyote too..

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 07:44 PM
beautiful pics....thanks!!!

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 08:13 PM
Wow Derek, those are some amazing pics!! Dont know why but some of them are so magnificent I started to cry!! I highly doubt that I will ever get to see something like that with my own two eyes and you brought me there. Thank you!!

Just beautiful...thanks for sharing them with us!!

[Edited on 9/18/2007 by Eileen1]

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 08:49 PM
quote:
Cool story and pics Derek. I know the prey feeling you were getting. Seeing some fresh Grizzly footprints in the Yellowstone backcountry did that to me. Did you ever launch your boat out West? If so, where?


I launched my canoe at a few places out there, Brock. The first place was the two lakes on the north side of Pike's Peak that were just re-opened when I got there. There were a lot of rainbows in the lakes and I did fish for them. But, sitting in that canoe, I couldn't help but to look up at the mountain peaks that were surrounding me. I am sure I missed quite a few fish.

Another place that I floated on was the Flaming Gorge resevoir on the Wyoming-Colorado border. What an amazing place, yet again, with snow-capped peaks off in the distance. Very cool.

DH

 

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  posted on 9/17/2007 at 09:51 PM

Thanks for sharing, Derek! This is a wonderful, illustrated story ...

But why is it in the Whipping Post???

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 9/18/2007 at 12:55 AM
Very nice Derek. Thanks for taking the time to post the photos and verbal illustration.
I enjoyed this thread very much.

 

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  posted on 9/18/2007 at 09:14 AM
Thanks for posting those pics. It's been like, 20 years since my first and only trip "out west" through Colorado and Utah. I remember being amazed at the contrasting landscape. The Southeast and Appalachian Range scenery is gorgeous, but in a more subtle way than the scenery out there.

 

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  posted on 9/18/2007 at 09:19 AM
Thanks for sharing, those are great pics. I really need to get out there.
 

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  posted on 9/18/2007 at 11:15 AM
u ROCK.

thanks for sharing these!

 

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