Monday, February 28, 2005

05-14, pt 2, Pipe Springs, Kanarraville Utah

Southern Utah (part 2)

Pipe Spring, National Monument
Kanarraville, Population 320

Week 14 of 52
July 5-10

Moving day again. I’m heading over to Kanarraville a T-tiny town between Cedar City and St George UT. On the way there’s a small National Monument, so I figured I may as well stop in and see what it’s all about.

Pipe Spring is the location of a natural spring and the Mormons built Winsor Castle. A small fort. It was a tithing settlement, as the Mormons were expected to tithe at least 10% and that usually meant cattle or sheep. The size of the herd grew and the women made cheese and other dairy products for sale. Unfortunately the Paiute Indians were reduced in numbers due to successive waves of drought, missionaries, explorers bringing European diseases and the Mormons who even sold them into slavery. Although the Mormons were kind enough to call it something else. The Paiute’s in the area were reduced from over 5,500 in the 1700s to less than 240 today. They were finally granted a reservation in 1907. Overgrazing caused the pastures to dry out and be overtaken by sage. Of course the Mormons were struggling with their own problems, that of polygamy which was outlawed in 1880’s and Pipe Spring was one of the last hideouts of the polygamists. This land has gone through a succession of changes, with the Indian being the only one who understood the balance required to sustain this land properly. Why on earth it’s a National Monument is anyone’s guess, except maybe to show the mistakes mankind makes.

Another Flat Tire!

Ekkkkk! One mile from my final destination on moving day, I got another flat tire on the 5th wheel camper. Fortunately, I saw the tire shredding to bits and smoking before it did any damage to the camper or anything else. The side of the tire blew out. Fortunately I had the new spare tire to put on. Was it the heat? The camper is now 4 years old and they say tires are usually only good for 4/5 years even if they don’t look worn out. Stress, fatigue, dry rot can all occur. I’m going to have to be very careful over the next couple of weeks and months and may end up replacing all 4 tires on the camper before heading back home.

After settling into my new home at The Red Ledge Rv Campground in Kanarraville, I took a well needed break. The site is shaded, with tall cottonwood trees, fine golfers grass on each site and I have a redwood stained fence and shrubs shielding me from the small local road out front. I looked out the picture window and all of a sudden I saw a heard of sheep coming up the road. Of course I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. Now that’s what I call being in the country!

I went into Cedar City today and after checking with the Big O tire company, I’ve decided to replace all my camper tires. My camper is 4 years old, but the tires were actually almost 5 years old, which is the top end of the life of a tire, even if the tread still looks good. Tires can wear out from the inside as well, stress, dry rot, fatigue. It’s not worth trying to get the last mile out of them. If your tires are older than 4 years, consider getting new ones, before you have that blow out. The magazine trailer life has had a couple great articles on tires this past year. You might want to check it out. Oh, I’m upgrading to 8 ply tires with a 2,600 lb carry limit, much higher than my previous tires which barely covered the GVW of the camper.

Parowan Gap, Petroglyphs

Imagine over 1,000 years ago an Indian tribe, perhaps the Sevier-Fremont, nomadic Archaic or even the Southern Paiute tribe migrating between the Parowan Valley through the Parowan gap. Stopping to reflect on the time of the season. The Native Indians in this part of Southern Utah were able to figure out the celestial changes in the sun and stars and documented that on these shear rock formations which create the gap. Not all petroglyphs are the same. These have more geometric shapes and appear to contain a means of counting. Note the repeating slash lines and dots. They would have had a fairly good life. Being able to migrate to grow crops like corn and beans, hunting for small game and water foul and then moving on into the mountains to hunt mule deer. The V shaped Zipper glyph is actually a numerical calendar and composite map. The tick marks, creating the appearance of a zipper, count off about 180 marks which is the number of days of the solstices. You can even see a mountain and sun between the V which shows how to use the V figure, the mountain gap, to determine the time of year.

I wonder how close this tribe was coming to creating a written language. They were obviously counting by the geometric lines and sectioning of objects like the snake and they knew how to represent complex ideas and put them into a graphic form. They may have been getting close to the capabilities of the Aztec or Inca cultures. If the European community had not been introduced, who knows how advanced they could have gotten on their own.

See if you can find the snakes, mountain sheep, bear claws and human figures in the pictures.

This area has not been completely fenced off and I sure hope people respect the area. It could be damaged so easily. There is evidence of recent visitors writing their names and dates on the rocks, side by side of the petroglyphs. One dated to 1948, another said Go Texas Rangers. There is no Ranger station, just a small sign next to a beat up old chain link fence along this quiet country road.

Talk about making history come alive. To be able to get so close to something that was created over 1,000 years ago. This is one of the reasons I’ve been wanting to get out west. To see some of what our country was made of. The people, the cultures that have changed it over time. How they used the land and changed it along the way.

Cedar City July Festival

Ok, so this wasn’t the biggest festival to attend. But, it was free and the music was pretty good early on, until the larger bands appeared. Then the Sound guy really screwed up the sound system. I really felt bad for the bands after that. A couple blocks in the center of town were closed to traffic and filled with antique cars, fire trucks, safety booths and information booths, food vendors on a very small scale and fun stuff for the kids. They even had free hotdogs, cokes and chips. So one didn’t even need to spend a cent if you didn’t want to. I stayed a couple hours until about sunset, 8:45, when the crowds started to get too much. A small local Indian tribe did some dances in very colorful costumes. They mentioned how they enter many Indian tribe competitions throughout the country and the high cost to do so.

All in all a relaxing day that started with a short hike up the canyon overlooking my campsite, washing the truck which really needed it and then the festival. I’m glad I didn’t wait to retire. There’s so much to fill a day, I just can’t imagine ever having time to go to work. One of these days I’m going to just sit back and read a book. But I have my Birthday party to go to tomorrow and I have to bake a cake! Actually Banana Bread, but it’s like cake to me.

Doug’s Birthday, On the Road

Sunday, July 10th. Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me… Ta.. Da… Yippee! I’ve been retired for almost a year. It would have been a year, but I had waited an extra two months hoping for a buy out at work. So when you think about it, I’ve started to collect on the 32 years I’d put in the Gov. 31 more to go to break even.

So Sunday evening, about 8 of us got together including two dogs, Kyenne and Bo to celebrate my Birthday, Sandy’s and Steve’s. Lots of good munchies, banana bread, carrot cake Birthday cake and cheese cake. Small gifts were passed out, we had music and just good old fun and conversation… I’m ready for another year of freedom! Yippee!

Have a super great week!

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