So I couldn’t really find much about the park we were at in Hurricane, Utah. I’ll go ahead and move on to the last stop before Tuweep, Pipe Spring National Monument, which shares the grounds with the Kaibab Paiute reservation. This land sharing compromise in some ways extends far back into history with the Mormon Pioneers, the Federal Government, and the Kaibab Paiutes. What they fought over was, of course, water and land usage. The Kaibab Paiutes utilized the spring in the area for farming and then, the Mormon pioneers built a fort called Winsor Castle over the spring. The pioneers used the land for ranching cattle and sheep which destroyed the plant ecosystem the Kaibab Paiutes so heavily relied on. There were also great struggles and disputes with the federal government (something that neither the Mormons or the Paiutes wanted to be a part of). I guess I didn’t get a picture of the Winsor Castle. But here is a pic of some of the Pioneer and Paiute Stuff they had in the park.
All the cactus were in bloom, which was quite enjoyable.
And then, we stumbled upon dinosaur footprints. Talk about layers of history!
Looking over the top of the small mountain we could see an indented path that seemed to trail throughout the desert. I later came to find out that this indented path was the trail the pioneers used to haul timber from the Mt. Trumbull Saw Mill to build the St. George Temple. Now, The Grand Canyon. It’s hard to put words to the Grand Canyon Overlook pictures. I guess I will just go ahead and share some of them. If you want to see more photos than what is posted here please let me know and I will post more.
The temperature that day was just about 100 degrees. Most of the photos above were taken before 9 a.m. From noon to 4 p.m. we took refuge in the shade.
The diversity of geological activity and life in the desert in the Grand Canyon fascinates me.
We may not think of the desert and the Grand Canyon as a sensitive ecosystem. We may not think there is much of an ecosystem there at all, but indeed there is. That little black pool of what looks to be dirt is called cryptobiotic soil. This soil is instrumental in restoring these areas to its previous glory and will help to bring back the vast diversity of plant life. A single footstep on this soil causes so much damage that it takes fifty years for it to recover. This soil was also a major player in converting “the earth’s original carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into one rich in oxygen and capable of sustaining life.”
I feel none of these photos have done the area and this experience justice. Even the attempt to capture something, some element or moment only broadens the spectrum of things that cannot be captured. Instead of conquering and retaining an area via image, words, hiking, what have you, we are merely making it that much larger and ungraspable. The sublime slips through our fingers, like water in the sand and when we look and examine what it is we think we took away from the place, we realize we didn’t grasp anything from our efforts at all. Hopefully I captured something internally here at Tuweep. If not, maybe it will come later. Either way, it is probably time to move on from here, and move on I did. These thoughts and pictures are from the first two days of my Parashant-Grand Canyon adventures. I will post more soon and I think it is equally fascinating. From Tuweep we headed up into the mountains and Ponderosa forests filled with Paiute artifacts and ruins, lava flows, charred lands, the strangest squirrel you have ever seen or heard of, and beautiful lookout points.