A Landing a Day

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La Sal, Utah and Bedrock, Colorado

Posted by graywacke on February 5, 2009

So, this your first time here?  Check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Phew.  The good news is, the tedious pattern is broken.  The bad news is that it took three OSers in a row to do it.  The interesting news about this landing is that, for the third time in four landings, I’m right near a state border and I’m referencing a town on each side of the state line.  Today’s OSer is . . . UT; 59/46; 4/10; 5; 167.4.  Today’s state border is between UT & CO, and the two border towns are La Sal UT and Bedrock CO.

For the second time, I landed in the Dolores R watershed, on to the Colorado (137th hit; forever in 3rd place).

Here’s a map, showing my landing a mere quarter mile from the state line:


Here’s a broader view:


So, what about La Sal (pop 350)?  From UtahOnline:

Old La Sal, located twelve miles east of present-day La Sal, was first settled in 1877 during the post-Civil War period by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ray and their eight children.  Because of frequent flooding, the old La Sal site was abandoned in 1930 and present-day La Sal was settled on U-46, southeast of Moab.  The name means “salt” and was taken from the name of the nearby La Sal Mountains, The town of La Sal had an early name of Coyote.

Here’s a picture of Mt. Peale, northwest of my landing:


As for Bedrock, I found this travel blog:

On a bend in Colorado Route 90, in the middle of spectacular Paradox Valley, lies the town of Bedrock, home to 230 hardy Coloradans.

We stopped at the Bedrock Store, by all appearances the only commercial establishment in the tiny town.  The Bedrock Store is a combination gas, convenience, and liquor establishment, where one can purchase a granola bar and a beer, and glance at the antique tobacco tins and other items that decorate the walls of the old store.  And feel the nice cool air inside after walking in from the unremitting sun.

It’s a quiet place, out here in the wide open flat Dolores River valley.  But I could imagine a Sunday afternoon at the Bedrock Store, with about 50 Harleys parked off the road, and a large canopy with picnic tables under the sole tree.  A pony-tailed barbecue guy would be turning ribs on an oil drum grill while old rock tunes or country music blared from somewhere nearby.  The Bedrock Store just seems like that kind of place.  But I open my eyes, and again it’s just a quiet spot in a quiet valley.

Driving on toward the Utah state line, we passed the Bedrock Post Office, definitely the smallest Post Office I have ever seen.  It sported an air conditioner and an outside privy, displaying, I thought, some interesting Postal Service priorities.

And we never saw Fred or Wilma.

Here are some pictures;  first the Bedrock Store:


And then, the Bedrock Post Office:


And, the view from the Post Office:


And, this view just west of Bedrock (photo by Tom Schwab):


Wow.  The stark beauty of this landscape never quits.

Moving on to the environment:  Check this out about the Delores R getting salty as it flows through the Paradox Valley.  It looks like a lot of money was spent to stop it from happening (even though it was perfectly natural!):

The Paradox Valley Unit is located near Bedrock, Colorado, about 10 miles east of the Colorado-Utah state line.  The Dolores River picks up an estimated 205,000 tons of salt annually as it crosses the Paradox Valley, primarily from the surfacing of natural brine groundwater.

The Paradox Unit is designed to prevent this natural salt load from entering the river and degrading the water quality of the main stem of the Colorado River.  The unit intercepts the brine groundwater before it enters the river and disposes of the brine by deep well injection.  Major project facilities include a brine production well field, brine surface treatment facility, injection facility, a 15,932 feet deep injection well, and associated roads, pipelines, and electrical facilities.

To put the above into layman’s language:  the Dolores River flows through the Paradox Valley, which is underlain by extensive salt deposits.  Groundwater flows through the salt deposits, such that the groundwater becomes very salty.   Then, for eons, this very salty groundwater discharged into the river, making the river itself salty.  This is a totally natural occurrence, but I assume that it wasn’t good for the flora and fauna in and along the Delores.

So, they installed a bunch of pumping wells where the water bubbles up.  These wells are used to pump the brine out of the ground before it hits the river. They then do some treatment on the brine (I don’t know why), and then inject it more than 4 miles below the surface into some rock formation that has enough fractures so that there’s room to pump in bunches of water.

I’m sure the flora and fauna along the Delores appreciate the effort.



© 2009 A Landing A Day

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