Saturday, May 26, 2012

Calf Creek Falls

Calf Creek Falls is a southern Utah landmark and the major feature of the BLM's Calf Creek Recreation Area. Walking between mineral-streaked cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, hikers pass beaver ponds and pre-historic rock art sites enroute to the 126-foot-high Lower Calf Creek Falls.
Round trip distance to the falls is 5-1/2 miles. While little elevation change is encountered, most of the trail is sandy, and can be very strenuous walking, particularly in warm weather. However, the falls area, once reached, is a delightfully cool, shady haven well worth the effort.

Our journey begins.

The Upper Falls, located farther upstream, can be reached only by a difficult one-mile hike over sandstone slickrock from the Escalante-Boulder highway, 5-1/2 miles north of the campground.
Calf Creek is a clear stream which runs yearlong from its headwaters some 7 miles north. The road across the canyon to the east, State Highway 12, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC's) in 1938. Until then, mail and supplies were carried to Boulder by mules and pack horses over Hell's Backbone Road or the Boulder Mail Trail, both hazardous routes. Boulder is said to be the last town in the United States to have mule train mail delivery.
Early on the trail, you will encounter Utah juniper trees (Juniperus osteosperma). Commonly called "cedars", these junipers are used locally for fence posts. The seeds ("berries") are eaten by wildlife. Dried seeds are used by Native Americans for making jewelry.
You will also see pinyon pine trees (Pinus edulis). Pinyon is popular for Christmas trees and produces an edible nut, long used as a staple food by Indian people. The nuts are an important food source for rodents and birds. Resin from these trees was also used by Indians to waterproof baskets and to cement turquoise stones to jewelry.

Further up the canyon, just below the rim, high on the cliffs east of the creek, you can see an ancient storage structure (granary) built some 800 to 1,000 years ago by Indians who farmed the canyon bottoms and stored their produce in these high, dry, probably rodent-proof structures. Peoples of both the Anasazi and Fremont cultures were residents in the area at the time these structures were built. Further archaeological work is needed to determine which group built these structures. You may also see four large figures painted in red on the cliff wall. Typically Fremont in style and form, these thousand or so year-old pictographs could represent deities or culture heroes, or a ceremony or event may be depicted.
The predominant geologic formation in this area is the cliff-forming Navajo sandstone. As you look at the canyon walls you can see the typical cream to red-colored sandstone layers formed millions of years ago by ancient sand dunes. Vertical discoloration is created by rain water running down the cliffs.

In the early 1900's a local farmer grew watermelons along the bank of the creek. They were said to be, "the best melons in Boulder"

My first  glimpse of the  falls!

Mist from the 126-foot high Lower Calf Creek Falls, and shade provided by the canyon, combine to keep temperatures cool and comfortable even during the hottest of summer days. Darker colored, rounded rocks are also scattered about. These volcanic rocks washed down from lava flows originating on the Aquarius Plateau to the north.
Calf Creek Recreation Site and Campground (elev. 5,346) is located along Utah Highway 12, 15 miles east of the Town of Escalante. Facilities at this site include individual camping units, five individual picnic units, a group picnic area, and a 2-3/4 mile (one-way) interpretive trail to the 126-foot Lower Calf Creek Falls. Other developments at this site consist of a culinary water system, playground equipment, 2 volleyball courts, a paved road, paved parking area, vault toilets, and a foot-bridge across Calf Creek. Camping fees are $5.00 per night on a first-come basis.
For additional specific information about the two waterfalls and associated campground, call the Interagency Visitor Center in Escalante: 435-826-5499.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Family Adventures Ahead

Finally I get to see the part of Utah that I have missed out on. Dennis's Dad started tradition by taking his grand-sons down to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
My oldest son was one of the first to go at the age of eight. My youngest son Kyle was actually baptized in one of the bodies of water there.
Then once the grand daughters came along an said "What about out us "
He even started to include them.
They would park at a trail head and back pack in for three to four days.
Health issues and fear has keep me from going with them in the past.
So I was really happy to see all the beauty that I had only heard about.
So we set out for another adventure. Dennis,  his father Art,  JD an his two boys Alex an Noah , Kyle , Kari , Payton , Paige,   Khloe and even Sadie the dog.
From the oldest 78 to to the youngest 21 months .
We hiked had great campfires stories told by Noah who is four and many fun memories.
 Alex was always willing to help setting up camp and helping his great grand father pitch his tent.

Gone with the wind

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photos Of The Day

I went and spent some time with Brent's mom the other day at the hospital. She now has been in there for over a month.
I went out side to give her some quite time and took a walk around the area and snapped the pictures of this beautiful home that is near by and some of the flowers that were out.
Good news is they were able to let Cheryl out for a walk in the sun which must have been wonderful for her.
 The girls are excited that they will be able to see their grandmother for Mother's Day.

Last weekend Dennis and I headed up to Middle Fork in hope some of the mountain flowers were out but found very few. Saw some moose but once again out of the reach of my lens.