Saturday, June 29, 2013

Flaming Gorge, Utah

We arrived in Rock Springs on Thursday.  Once the heat of the day had abated, we drove into the historic center of town.  In  a small park near the above sign we learned the history of the area.  We immediately walked to a statue of a miner and his horse pulling a load of coal.  Buried under the streets of the town are seams of coal.  In 1868, once the Union Pacific Railroad came through Rock Springs, then the commercial mines were opened.  The town became known as the "Newcastle of the West".  In the 1950s the underground mining stopped and in the 1970s strip mining began.  Mining has been the economic mainstay of this region, but there has been a sobering reminder of the price it had to pay, as with all mining ventures.   In the park we found a memorial with the names of all the men killed in the mines over the years.
We are now parked in Wyoming, near the Utah border.  The picture above gives you an idea of the land which surrounds our home- low-lying grey hills with sparse vegetation.  Yesterday we drove south into Utah and, once we drove over the border a different sight greeted us.

John Powell was the first scientific explorer to journey down and document his findings along the Green and Colorado Rivers in northeast Utah.  The Green River, he says, "enters the range by the flaring brilliant red gorge.  We name it Flaming Gorge."  The range he was referring to was the Uinta Mountain Range, the only major mountain range in the lower states with an east-west alignment.  The gorge and rivers are located within the Ashely National Forest.  It is this area we which we explored yesterday, a beautiful land of forests, deep canyons and rivers.  We also finally saw some bighorn sheep, apparently they like to hang around the visitor's center of Red Canyon.  Pictured below is a yearling male.  As he and another ram tried to flee from us they quickly leaped over a fence and bounded down over the rocky ledges of the canyon, it was amazing to watch how agile the sheep are!   I will have more on that canyon in my next posting.

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