Moab, Utah 2

Kathy and I hiked Upper Butler Wash, west of Bluff, Utah, where we explored the Ballroom and the Target Ruins. These ruins are just two of many that are scattered throughout the area that require a hike to access, so they have not ben vandalized very much. They may have been looted for their artifacts in the past, but the Antiquities Act of 1906, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt helped control the theft of artifacts . The Act resulted from concerns about protecting prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts, sadly, few “Pot Hunters” have been prosecuted and/or fined for desecrating these sacred sites.

Kathy pointing out the entrance to The Ballroom. We hiked up to the entrance of this location from the main Upper Butler Wash Trail.

Anasazi ruins at the entrance to The Ballroom that once occluded the entrance to the cave. Note the symbolic barriers that discourage visitors from accessing the ruins.

More Anasazi ruins near the entrance to The Ballroom.

Ruins detail of ceiling joists at The Ballroom.

One of many “spy holes” facing the approach to the entrance of The Ballroom.

Kathy modeling the matate’s used to grind corn by the Anasazi.

Communal matates at the top of this rock face used to grind corn. Note the footholds(moki’s) enabling the Anasazi people to access corn falling down the rock face below the matates.

Corn cob observed at The Ballroom. I’m not certain that this corn cob is not contemporary to the age of The Ballroom Ruin.

Back end of the The Ballroom Ruin. It was not possible to photograph the cavernous Ballroom in its entirety.

Kathy photographing a pot shard that she found, and left at the site.

View looking out from The Ballroom(with a view).

The Target Ruin. Note the target shaped pictograph on the far right, interior. This location is also off the Upper Butler Wash Trail.

Detail of Target Ruin.

Detail of the Target Ruin.

Upper Butler Creek Trail: Mostly shady and therefore cooler than in the direct sun.

Dense stand of Equisetum(horsetail). An ancient Genus of lower plants that reproduces by spores, rather than seeds. This is the only extent genus, a “living fossil”, that dates back 100 million years. Because it has a high silica content, it has been used by native peoples to sand or polish arrow shafts(McClung Museum of Natural History).

Sandstone smooshed, bent, folded by tectonic forces. One of the reasons I love the desert: an endless plethora of shapes, textures, forms, colors. All beautiful, all unique!

Pictographs in Upper Butler Wash. I think it’s a girl!

Upper Butler Wash canyon wall: the dark areas are called desert varnish. The varnish is primarily composed of particles of clay along with iron and manganese oxide. There is also a host of trace elements and almost always some organic matter. The color of the varnish varies from shades of brown to black.

The next series is of Crystal Geyser, on the east side of the Green River, 4.5 miles downstream of town of Green River, Utah. Crystal Geyser is one of very few cold water geysers in the world: cold water geysers are not caused by geothermal activity, but by large amounts of carbon dioxide in the ground coupled with significant gas accumulations. Very occasionally, the geyser shoots water into the air from the vent, from barely overflowing to 80′-90′. But don’t go to see it erupt with a 80-90′ geyser: go to see the colorful landforms that are produced by the chemicals in the water when it does spout.

When Kathy and I visited Geyser springs, the vent only gurgled a little bit. The big dark object in the left center is the vent, not geysering. The area around the vent are terraced accumulations of rust colored ferrous oxides, the result of years of geysers and overflows of mineral rich water.

Looking towards the Green River, the terraces descend in the direction of the river, ultimately emptying into the Green. One can see the outlines of the terraces, stair stepping down into the Green River.

Kathy found a comfortable 300 pound concrete recliner with a convenient rebar armrest. Note her perfectly contrasting green wardrobe(by Dior) against the ferrous oxide oranges and pinks.

Later in the day a few cumulous and alto cumulous clouds that lent interesting colors and texture to the horizon, against the rust red, puffy cloud like terraces.

I failed to emphasize the dark green algae in the center foreground: all that registers is a pea green blob. But somehow it resonates the the greens of the river and trees on its banks. Oh well!

There seems to be a lot of reddish orange in the landscape in all directions, also in the area of Green River.

The next sequence is of Sego Ghost town north of Thompson on I-70, a coal mining town from 1910-1955, when the cost of coal production exceeded the value of the coal. The canyon and town are named after the Sego Lily, the Utah state flower.

The Sego Canyon narrows near the town of Thompson.

Prominent structures still standing in Sego, from what appears to be what’s left of a clothes line support. The remains of a similar structure stands out of this frame.

The Sego company store. Misers were required to procure supplies from this store. If they were caught shopping in Thompson, they were fired. When the miners unionized the company could no longer force miners to shop here.

Note the high quality square cut stones forming the window and door casings, and the huge concrete lentil spanning the doorway and windows, another remarkable architectural feature of the structure given the remote location of the mine. Small wonder the company required the misers to shop there: it must have cost a fortune to build.

Sego Coal Tip, left circa 1926, where coal was loaded onto railroad cars. Image from Wikipedia. The structure on the right was the coal wash, used to remove impurities from the anthracite coal native to the area.

Rear of the former Company Store.

“You load sixteen tons, what do you get? 
Another day older and deeper in debt 
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go 
I owe my soul to the company store”- Sixteen Tons, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford

Door, window detail of partially subterranean structure, probably a miners home.

The only large mammal I photographed near Thompson, UT.

Dinosaur tracks Willow Springs Dinosaur Track site. The Willow Springs site features the tracks of theropods and ornithopods (three-toed dinosaur) and those from sauropods (long-necked dinosaur). Anybody want to guess how ornithopods got their name? Also from an interpretive display point of view the sign on the left is pointing the wrong way: it should be facing away from the tracks. No?

Very probably sauropod(long necked dinosaurs) at the Willow Springs Dinosaur Track site. Carnivorous dinosaurs have to have SOMETHING to eat. No?

Edge of the Cedars Museum and restored ruins: museum in the background, restored ruins in the foreground.


Another view of the restored Anasazi ruins.

Kathy in the Restored KivaKathy in the restored kiva

Published by sabaiedmsncom

I am a former park ranger, and coastal dune preserve manager, now retired and photographing the places that suit my wanderlust. I usually have a general idea of where I want to travel to, but once on the road I just follow my nose: it seldom steers me wrong.

2 thoughts on “Moab, Utah 2

  1. Another great job capturing the visual highlights of our journey Ed and I appreciate all the detailed and accurate information. Sure wish I could have brought that recliner home with me ; )


  2. You could probably pick it up any time if you have A small crane attached to your truck. You could get one of those hand crank kinds and use it to load/unload your dirt bike as well!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: