Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bluff, Blanding and Wellington, UT (3/27 - 4/1/2017)

This will be the last travelogue from my winter "vacation", so I'll compress the last days into a single post to avoid a lot of repetition.  During this time, the weather didn't always cooperate, so I took more down time to edit photos and visit with friends old and new.  Like with most political decisions, there are varying opinions among the locals regarding the designation of Bears Ears National Monument.  Some feel it's too large or totally unnecessary, as the land involved was already managed by federal agencies.  Some say it was to appease the Indians, but others say the local Indians were opposed to it and fear they will lose the right to gather wood from the area.  Most likely, under BLM and Forest Service control, there will be few changes in the short term.

My last morning in Bluff, I lost track of time and was inside when sunrise occurred.  It was a nice one, so I took a few photos from the campground since I had no time to find a better viewpoint.

In Blanding, there were good views of the Abajo Mountains and some decent sunsets.  The last one shows the formations known as Bears Ears, for which the monument is named.  Some local Indians consider it a sacred place, others don't.

Nearing Moab on my way north, I stopped on the side of the road for a photo of the lovely La Sal Mountains.
Wellington is a tiny town without much to offer a tourist, but it is close to Nine Mile Canyon, a place I've wanted to visit for some time.  Contrary to its name, the canyon is more like 75 miles long, but the most significant part is a 25 mile stretch in the middle where many ancient petroglyphs can be found.  Hundreds of rock art panels can be seen along the main canyon, and surely many more are located within the numerous side canyons.  Some are easily spotted from the road, while others require some exploring.  Only a few locations are marked by signs, but most people enjoy the search for hidden panels.

For me, the beauty of the canyon itself was worth making the trip.  I don't know that any movie westerns have been filmed here, but the towering cliffs and canyon walls sure look like those seen in many movies.  The entrance to the canyon was still snow covered, but farther in the temperature rose a little and the snow disappeared.

I'll show only a few of the more significant petroglyph panels.  Notice in the first one the name of an early settler from the town of Vernal, at least 100 miles away.  Another has images of horses, indicating it is much more recent than most.  The Indians did not have horses until after the Spanish explorers arrived in the mid-1600s.  Many of the images are well over 800 years old.

I am back home in Montrose, settling in after a long and very enjoyable trip.  My plan was to be away longer, but it didn't work out that way.  Fortunately, Spring has arrived early here and everything is in bloom right now, a very pretty time to be here.  

It has been fun sharing my trip with you and I look forward to the next one, although I have no plans at this time.  It's likely that I will be staying fairly close to home over the next few months, possibly making occasional short trips.

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