Posts Tagged ‘Utah


Confluence Overlook Trail

When I arrived at Canyonlands National Park, I spoke with one of the rangers and she gave me some very good advice about hiking in the desert.  Carry water with you when you hike and carry something to snack on to keep your energy levels up.  She also told me about several of the trails I could hike as long as I could do ten miles (16 kilometers).  In the desert!  Um, sure!  I can do that!  My first thought was, I haven’t done ten miles since I’ve been having trouble with my knee.  Then she mentioned the name of one of the trails—The Confluence Overlook trail.


When the ranger mentioned the trail’s name, I knew I would be hiking it.  If you remember, when this trip began, I stayed at Wyalusing State Park in Wisconsin.  Wyalusing is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers.  Then I drove down to stay at Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois, which is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers.  The Confluence Overlook trail here in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park leads you through the desert to an overlook of the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers.  I couldn’t pass on this hike because it seems confluences are a recurring theme to this trip.  The best part is, from the ground, this is the only way to see this particular confluence.  There is a four wheel drive road that leads you to a picnic table about a half mile from it.  I chose to hike.  Ten miles (sixteen kilometers) through the desert.


From the trailhead I hiked down into the canyon below, all the while thinking I would have to hike back up when I got back.  The temperatures at the bottom were very cool almost to the point of being cold, but I knew that would change so I pressed on.


I left on my hike very early in the morning, 6:00 AM my time.  The temperatures in the morning are not so bad and the first three hours were nice.  Flowers bloomed all along the trail as I hiked through canyons, rocky tops and the various cracks in the canyon walls that allowed me to pass from one canyon into another.


By the time I reached this grass-filled canyon, the temperatures had risen noticeably.IMG_8451a

The trail is marked with these piles of rocks known as cairns.  Following them isn’t difficult most of the time, but does require a lot of trust, which is what I thought about as I followed them.  I don’t trust government or politicians, yet the people who placed these cairns work for the government.  No government anywhere in the world truly cares for its people, they’re only trying to keep them happy or in-line for that day when they need them.  Politicians are the same way, they’re only trying to make you happy long enough to get your vote or to get your support.  And anyone who believes a government or a politician is the answer to their problems is only fooling themselves.  So why trust the employee of any government?


This district of Canyonlands National Park is known as the Needles.  While you hike up and down and through the canyons of the Confluence Overlook trail you will get dramatic glimpses of the various rock formations.  Maybe I trusted the employee of the government who placed these cairns because I believed that person saw the beauty in this place and wanted to lead me and those who follow to that beauty.


Including this rock formation which is visible, in the distance, from the slickrock trail.  The Confluence Overlook trail runs east and west, while the slickrock trail runs north to south.  The trailheads for these two trails are about five hundred feet (less than two hundred meters) apart.  So while hiking on the Confluence Overlook trail, you hike toward the rock formation, eventually passing it as you hike toward the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.  Then when you hike back toward the trailhead, you hike toward and pass this rock formation as well.


The Confluence Overlook trail in Canyonlands National Park is not for beginners.  The trail winds through the desert over rough and varied terrain.  It passes over and then through several canyon walls, climbing several hundred feet (100 meters or more) in some places, there are crevices to negotiate and some scrambling is required.  If you don’t already know what scrambling is before you hike here, don’t hike here.  The weather this time of year, by 10:30 AM is hot and keeps getting hotter throughout the day.  The ranger I spoke to on the first day told me to hike early in the morning and try to be done by 1:00 PM.  It was advice I heeded and I’m here to write to you today, so I would consider it good advice.


The reward for this difficult hike is the scenery.


And seeing a sight very few people have ever viewed.


The confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.


Now all I had to do was hike back 5 miles (8 kilometers) through the desert.


Hiking Canyonlands

Canyonlands National Park is desert, so great care must be taken when choosing to hike here, especially now that the weather has turned hot.  Yep, it gets hot in the desert.  The Needles features many miles of hiking trails, too numerous for me to hike in a five day stay.  They range in length of a few hundred yards (meters) to as many miles (kilometers) as you can combine.  I am not a desert hiker and I know better than to disrespect nature, so I chose my day hikes carefully.


No matter, parking the truck and hiking into the desert is one of the things I have chosen to do.  My first hike involved a moderate trail called Slickrock.  I wanted to hike Slickrock as soon as I read it offered the best opportunity to see bighorn sheep.  I’ve already had one of my fans complain about me being in the desert because there is no wildlife to view.  Well there is, but this isn’t whitetail country and I don’t know how to find some of these animals I want to shoot.  So, as my complainer complained, it will probably be more rocks and sand to shoot.


But you have to admit, there are some rather beautiful rocks and sand here.


Especially this particular rock formation.  Don’t know its name but I’m sure it has one.  My second hike would have me hiking toward it, past it and beyond.


Besides, who says the desert doesn’t have any wildlife?  There’s plenty!


Why it’s know as the Needles, because these rock formations look like needles.  Slickrock was a beautiful hike, but I did not see any bighorn sheep.  There was one rock formation down in one of the canyons that fooled me at-first-sight, but when I photographed it and realized it wasn’t moving, I knew I had just taken a photo of a rock.  Oh well, better luck next time.


Morning Sunrise


Good morning, from Canyonlands National Park in Utah.


Campsite #7

Utah!  For campsite #7 I chose Canyonlands National Park.  I was unable to communicate from the park because of a lack of internet connection.  No cell phone service either.


Canyonlands and the people who take care of the park will be celebrating the parks 50th anniversary in September.  Canyonlands is divided into 4 districts; The Needles, Island in the Sky, The Maze and the Rivers.  The Rivers District is comprised of the Colorado and Green rivers.  I stayed in The Needles.


On This Day, 9-28-2008: Pompey the Great

September 28, -48

Pompey the Great assassinated

Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey is murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt.

During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield. He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, and conquered Armenia, Syria, and Palestine. Appointed to organize the newly won Roman territories in the East, he proved a brilliant administrator.

In 60 B.C., he joined with his rivals Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus to form the First Triumvirate, and together the trio ruled Rome for seven years. Caesar’s successes aroused Pompey’s jealousy, however, leading to the collapse of the political alliance in 53 B.C. The Roman Senate supported Pompey and asked Caesar to give up his army, which he refused to do. In January 49 B.C., Caesar led his legions across the Rubicon River from Cisalpine Gaul to Italy, thus declaring war against Pompey and his forces.

Caesar made early gains in the subsequent civil war, defeating Pompey’s army in Italy and Spain, but he was later forced into retreat in Greece. In August 48 B.C., with Pompey in pursuit, Caesar paused near Pharsalus, setting up camp at a strategic location. When Pompey’s senatorial forces fell upon Caesar’s smaller army, they were entirely routed, and Pompey fled to Egypt.

Pompey hoped that King Ptolemy, his former client, would assist him, but the Egyptian king feared offending the victorious Caesar. On September 28, Pompey was invited to leave his ships and come ashore at Pelusium. As he prepared to step onto Egyptian soil, he was treacherously struck down and killed by an officer of Ptolemy.

“Pompey the Great assassinated.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Sep 2008, 07:37

On This Day

551 B.C. – Teacher and philosopher Confucius was born. He dedicated most of his life to teaching, starting at the age of 22 when he opened his first school.

1066 – England was invaded by William the Conqueror who claimed the English throne.

1542 – San Diego, CA, was discovered by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

1787 – The U.S. Congress voted to send the new Constitution of the United States to the state legislatures for their approval.

1850 – U.S. President Millard Fillmore named Brigham Young the first governor of the Utah territory. In 1857, U.S. President James Buchanan removed Young from the position.

1939 – During World War II, Germany and the Soviet Union agreed upon a plan on the division of Poland.

1972 – Communist China and Japan agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations.

1985 – Rioting erupted in London’s Brixton district that lasted for two days. The incident occurred after a black woman was shot by a police officer during a raid on her home.

2000 – The U.S. Federal Drug Administration approved the use of RU-486 in the United States. The pill is used to induce an abortion.

2004 – Nate Olive and Sarah Jones arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border to complete the first known continuous hike of the 1,800-mile trail down the U.S. Pacific Coast. They started the trek on June 8.

September 28, 1781

Battle of Yorktown begins

On this day in 1781, General George Washington, commanding a force of 17,000 French and Continental troops, begins the siege known as the Battle of Yorktown against British General Lord Charles Cornwallis and a contingent of 9,000 British troops at Yorktown, Virginia, in the most important battle of the Revolutionary War.

Earlier, in a stroke of luck for the Patriots, the French fleet commanded by Francois, Count de Grasse, departed St. Domingue (the then-French colony that is now Haiti) for the Chesapeake Bay, just as Cornwallis chose Yorktown, at the mouth of the Chesapeake, as his base. Washington realized that it was time to act. He ordered Marquis de Lafayette and an American army of 5,000 troops to block Cornwallis’ escape from Yorktown by land while the French naval fleet blocked the British escape by sea. By September 28, Washington had completely encircled Cornwallis and Yorktown with the combined forces of Continental and French troops. After three weeks of non-stop bombardment, both day and night, from cannon and artillery, Cornwallis surrendered to Washington in the field at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence.

Pleading illness, Cornwallis did not attend the formal surrender ceremony, held on October 19. Instead, his second in command, General Charles O’Hara, carried Cornwallis’ sword to the American and French commanders.

Although the war persisted on the high seas and in other theaters, the Patriot victory at Yorktown ended fighting in the American colonies. Peace negotiations began in 1782, and on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed, formally recognizing the United States as a free and independent nation after eight years of war.

“Battle of Yorktown begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 28 Sep 2008, 07:40


On This Day, 4-12-08: FDR

President Roosevelt dies

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving president in American history, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage three months into his fourth term.

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address in March 1933, President Roosevelt promised Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare. Although criticized by the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he swept to re-election.

During his second term, he became increasingly concerned with German and Japanese aggression and so began a long campaign to awaken America from its isolationist slumber. In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Roosevelt agreed to run for an unprecedented third term. Re-elected by Americans who valued his strong leadership, he proved a highly effective commander in chief during World War II. Under Roosevelt’s guidance, America became, in his own words, the “great arsenal of democracy” and succeeded in shifting the balance of power in World War II firmly in the Allies’ favor. In 1944, with the war not yet won, he was re-elected to a fourth term.

Three months after his inauguration, while resting at his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Following a solemn parade of his coffin through the streets of the nation’s capital, his body was buried in a family plot in Hyde Park, New York. Millions of Americans mourned the death of the man who led the United States through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s unparalleled 13 years as president led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limited future presidents to a maximum of two consecutive elected terms in office.

“President Roosevelt dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:47

Roosevelt left a controversial legacy in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations. Critics charged that the president had been “soft” on the communists and naive in dealing with Stalin. The meetings at Yalta, they claimed, resulted in a “sellout” that left the Soviets in control of Eastern Europe and half of Germany. Roosevelt’s defenders responded that he made the best of difficult circumstances. He kept the Grand Alliance between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain intact long enough to defeat Germany. As for Eastern Europe and Germany, there was little Roosevelt could have done, since the Red Army occupied those areas. Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman, decided that a “tougher” policy toward the Soviets was in order, and he began to press the Russians on a number of issues. By 1947, relations between the two former allies had nearly reached the breaking point and the Cold War was in full swing.

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:48

1204 – The Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople.

1770 – The British Parliament repealed the Townsend Acts.

1782 – The British navy won its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints, off Dominica.

1861 – Fort Sumter was shelled by Confederacy, starting America’s Civil War.

The Civil War begins

The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The Civil War begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:42

1864 – Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow, in Tennessee and slaughters the black Union troops there.

The Fort Pillow Massacre

During the American Civil War, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate raiders attack the isolated Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, overlooking the Mississippi River. The fort, an important part of the Confederate river defense system, was captured by federal forces in 1862. Of the 500-strong Union garrison defending the fort, more than half the soldiers were African-Americans.

“The Fort Pillow Massacre.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:44

1892 – Voters in Lockport, New York, became the first in the U.S. to use voting machines.

1927 – The British Cabinet came out in favor of women voting rights.

1944 – The U.S. Twentieth Air Force was activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.

1955 – The University of Michigan Polio Vaccine Evaluation Center announced that the polio vaccine of Dr. Jonas Salk was “safe, effective and potent.”

1961 – Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin became first man to orbit the Earth.

On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok, Soviet Major Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his historic one hour and 48 minutes in space was, Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.

1963 – Police used dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, AL.

1966 – Emmett Ashford became the first African-American major league umpire.

1969 – Lucy and Snoopy of the comic strip “Peanuts” made the cover of “Saturday Review.”

1981 – The space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL, on its first test flight.

1983 – Harold Washington was elected the first black mayor of Chicago.

1985 – U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL.

1989 – In the U.S.S.R, ration cards were issued for the first time since World War II. The ration was prompted by a sugar shortage.

1993 – NATO began enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Galileo is convicted of heresy

On this day in 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo  was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.

The Judgement:

“We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo . . . have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.”

The Penalty:

“We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

“Galileo is convicted of heresy.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:25

First gentile governor arrives in Utah

Salt Lake City offers an uneasy welcome to Alfred Cummings, its first non-Mormon governor, which signals the end of the so-called “Utah War.”

The Mormon acceptance of a gentile governor came after more than a year of tensions and military threats between the U.S. government and Brigham Young’s Utah theocracy. Sometimes referred to as the Utah War, this little-known conflict arose out of fundamental questions about the autonomy of the Mormon-controlled territory of Utah. Was Utah an American state or an independent nation? Could the Mormon Church maintain its tight controls over the political and economic fate of the territory while still abiding by the laws and dictates of the United States?

“First gentile governor arrives in Utah.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:32


On This Day 2-12-08: Abraham Lincoln

1554 – Lady Jane Grey was beheaded after being charged with treason. She had claimed the throne of England for only nine days.

1733 – Savannah, GA, was founded by English colonist James Oglethorpe.

1870 – In the Utah Territory, women gained the right to vote.

1892 – In the U.S., President Lincoln’s birthday was declared to be a national holiday.

1912 – China’s boy emperor Hsuan T’ung announced that he was abdicating, ending the Manchu Ch’ing dynasty. Subsequently, the Republic of China was established.

1915 – The cornerstone of the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington, DC.

1924 – U.S. President Calvin Coolidge made the first presidential political speech on radio.

1971 – James Cash (J.C.) Penney died at the age of 95. The company closed for business for one-half day as a memorial to the company’s founder.

1973 – American prisoners of war were released for the first time during the Vietnam conflict.

1998 – A U.S. federal judge declared that the presidential line-item veto was unconstitutional.

1999 – U.S. President Clinton was acquitted by the U.S. Senate on two impeachment articles. The charges were perjury and obstruction of justice.

2003 – The U.N. nuclear agency declared North Korea in violation of international treaties. The complaint was sent to the Security Council.

No matter what his position or experience in life, there is in everyone more latent than developed ability; far more unused than used power.
James Cash Penney

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.
Abraham Lincoln

January 2020
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