Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Break Desert Adventure

This Spring Break had a desert flare. Since Larry lost so much vacation last year, we've been trying to use it little by little when I have vacations. I had a week off from school this year for the break, so Larry took the week as well. We had originally thought that we would do a little ATVing for the 1st part of the week and then go up to the cabin and the snow for the rest of the week. However with my knee and Larry's back not at their best, we were depending on Chris and Shan for a little extra help if we should have problems getting into the cabin. We didn't want to take the chance all by ourselves with all the new snowfall that was suppose to be up there. Chris and Shan were planning on going up with us on Wednesday.
Larry and I decided to go out on a little day trip on Saturday to Iosepa, pronounced Josepa, and take our ATV's and do some riding also. Iosepa is mostly just a grave site now, but when the Salt Lake Temple was being built many Hawaiians came to Utah to be close to the temple and receive their endowments and be sealed. I really don't know why they chose to be clear out there in Skull Valley, seems a long way from Salt Lake, but that is where they congregated. I know they were employed to do agricultural and stock, which was a church owned company. They stayed until the church announced they were going to build a temple in Hawaii and at that point most decided to go back to their homeland and help with the temple there. Iosepa is in the next valley west of the Tooele valley. I had not been out there, but had learned a lot about it since moving out here. So that was interesting to see.

After that we headed farther south and west toward Dugway and the pony express route. There we went out to Erikson's Pass and found a good place to take our ATV's off the trailer and just do a little riding. It was a bit of a cool day, but the weather was great and the riding fun.

While out in the desert, Chris sent me a text saying that the girls decided they really didn't want to go to the cabin and the SNOW, but wanted to go down to Little Sahara recreational area. (They go down there a lot and ride on the dunes.) To make a long story shorter since they weren't going to the cabin, Larry and I decided maybe we better not go, just in case something should happen that we couldn't get ourselves out of. Since we were going to leave Monday and go out to Dugway Geode Beds and do a little digging and then down to Topaz Mountain to find some Topaz, in Juab County Monday and Tuesday anyway, maybe we would just go to the dunes with Shan and Chris.(They invited us we just didn't invite ourselves. LOL) We would already be in that area after leaving Topaz Mountain.

Monday the rain was coming down hard and we knew we couldn't go out on those dirt roads along the Pony Express route, so we put off leaving until Tuesday. I packed some food that we could just eat cold, because I didn't want to have to take the stuff it would take to cook. We put together a bed in the back of the Pilot, which meant we didn't have to worry about setting up the tent either. So finally we were off. We again went back to the Pony Express route and headed off on our adventure. We stopped at Lookout Point and took a picture looking towards the East. Next we came to the Pet Cemetery...I don't really know much about it except there was a lady that lived out there that buried her pets there. The main reason we were going to stop there was to look for a geocache that we saw on the cache site was out there. BAD IDEA!!! It didn't look as wet as it truly was and that soil is totally clay! Well once we got down in there with our Pilot and trailer we could tell it was very muddy so we tried to get out of there, but on making a turn on the road to exit we were sucked into the edge of the road and no matter how we tried we just kept digging in deeper and deeper. The main road had not been that bad and so we hadn't thought much of going down into that area. When I had gotten out to help Larry try to figure what we were going to do, the clay was so slippery I couldn't believe it. The Lord was watching over us, because a guy who had just gotten his trailer set up across the road saw us there and came down and with a little effort pulled us out! He wouldn't have even been able to help us if there had not been some grassy areas. Phew...what a start to the vacation.

By early afternoon we had made our way out to the Geode Beds by the Dugway mountains. We found a place where several others were and began digging for some Geodes. I've decided that I could use some more instruction in rock hounding, but we did fairly well. Came home with several already broken open geodes and some that when we break them we hope that there will be some crystals inside. We shall see how well we did in finding them. It was fairly easy digging for them out there. They are in a clay mixture that looks a little like cookie dough.

We did a little riding around while there. I was actually glad that we had the ATV's, because getting out to the geode beds where much easier on them than it would have been in the Pilot. Plenty of others had made there way out there with their vehicles, but the roads were very bumpy. We spent the night out there in the back of the Pilot. It was a cold night, but we stayed warm and Sadie and Brandie slept in the front seats.
The next morning the dogs did a lot of investigating and had a lot of fun just being able to run and enjoy themselves, while we had some cold cereal and got ourselves ready to head toward Topaz Mountain. The drive there didn't seem to take very long. I thought it would be a lot longer. Again we drove up and then got the 4 wheelers off the trailer and went looking for buried treasure. We had done some looking online for topaz at Topaz Mountain and we had hopes of finding some fairly good size topaz crystals. Not as easy as it looked. Maybe online they were just showing large pieces of it. The whole mountain is made of Rhyolite and you can see the topaz crystals all over in it. I chipped of quite a few pieces and you can see the topaz sparkling all over in it. Like I said if we had a little more knowledge maybe we would have found the mother lode.. lol

We finally decided to take off and go to the western side of the mountain to hopefully find a place they called the amphitheater. The web had said that was a good place...well...I was following Larry and I stopped to take a picture of what I thought was a very picturesque view.

The picturesque view I was taking.
(picture doesn't do it justice)

When I finished I saw Larry up a head going around a corner. I started on and pretty soon I couldn't see him. He usually stops when he doesn't see me behind him and makes sure that I've caught up to him, but I kept on the main road and still couldn't see him. The farther the went the more worried I got that I was on the wrong road and that Larry had turned off on another side road. (another thing I know he usually never does without waiting to make sure I see him turn) So anyway...I turned around and went back to the spot that I had last saw him, thinking that if he had turned off and then noticed me missing he too would also return to that spot, but NO he wasn't there. So I turned around again and started back on the path but then decided that I would go to a high spot and just wait. I thought this would be horrible, because we were out in the middle of the desert and I thought we both would find the car, but he had to come back to where I was in order to find his way back to the car. Soon here he came and of course I got on to him for not waiting for me and where had he been. (I was a bit scared if you couldn't tell.) To get the heat off of him he showed me some much bigger crystals that he had found where he had gone, so I told him that I wanted to go to where he had been. (Which by the way was the way that I was going in the 1st place.) We ended up finding more crystals..none of them large, but bigger than we had been finding.

So about 4:00 in the afternoon, we decided to head out for Little Sahara. We had talked about going to Delta and looking for Trilobites, a ancient sea fossil, but didn't think we had time. I had also talked about going to see the site of the Topaz Japanese internment camp that they had during WW 2. We noticed there was a paved road just passed the dirt road so we decided that would be a welcome rest from all the bumps. Not more than 3 mintues being on the road, smoke started to appear in our rear view mirror and all of the sudden "POP" went the driver's side tire on the trailer. After much checking Larry realized the spring on the trailer had broken, which made it sit down on the tire and the tire had stopped turning as we had drug it along. Therefore the "POP". So there we sat!! Well after tearing the car apart to get the jack and all, Larry said that maybe if we found a rock we could keep the spring up off the tire enough to limp into Delta. I'm sad I didn't take a picture of that...but I was too busy finding rocks and helping Larry with the tire. We had called Chris to tell them we were coming but would be late. He did some checking and found an ATV and trailer place in Delta and had called them. They thought they had the spring. So we headed there. After getting there they didn't have the right spring. Someone was going to Salina in the morning and thought they could get it at their trailer place there. So we left it and went on to Little Sahara. By the time we got there you could see the rain storm coming across the dunes. So it was a raining night. The next day was beautiful and Larry used Shans bike and went out on the dunes with Chris and Jennsen. We thought by noon we would have our trailer fixed and make the 30 minutes drive back down and then we could go riding all together, NO it was not to be. They had gotten the springs, but the U bolts on the trailer were not found, because our trailer is a bit on the old side. So the trailer and the bikes are still down in Delta. They were suppose to be fixed, but still not fixed, maybe next week. I guess that was okay, because by about 2:00 or 3:00 a horrible sand storm came through. It blew all kinds of things around and Chris went out of the trailer and was sand pitted to retrieve all kinds of things. We stayed inside and played games the rest of the night. The next day Larry and I went for a little walk with the dogs and found a few of our things in the field across the street from the camp site. Poor Chris' and Shan's trailer had sand in all the little crevices. Thanks Shan and Chris for letting us stay inside the trailer with you. I wonder if we shouldn't have gone to the cabin, because even with bad weather, the worst it would have been was just more snow.. LOL.

Anyway, I too got to go out on Shan's bike with Chris and learn how to ride the dunes. A very different feel on the sand than I was use to in the mountains. I did start to feel comfortable though and Chris even got me to "ride the bowl". Of course Larry didn't have his camera out for that. :)

Even with all our troubles, we had a very fun week. Maybe the struggles and problems just added to our fun with a great story to tell. I'm sure it's a Spring Break never to be forgotten.