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Posts Tagged ‘Dinosaur National Monument’

Vernal, Utah (once again)

Posted by graywacke on July 10, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much an every-third-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2033; A Landing A Day blog post number 451.

 Dan –  There I was, poised to go below 150, but here I am, getting my third OSer in a row with this landing in . . . UT; 72/56; 4/10; 3; 151.5.  Nothing against Utah, but of my last seven landings, this is my third in UT!  Enough already!   Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My closer-in landing map shows my proximity to Vernal:

 landing 2

Vernal?  Sounds familiar.  Let me see . . . yup, I landed near Vernal back in November of 2009, so I have an ALAD Vernal post.  I’ll have to come up with something different this time . . .

 Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot looking north, showing that I landed in an arid landscape, up on a ridge between two valleys:

 ge 1

In this next GE shot, you can see my landing off to the right.  The valleys near my landing (which coalesce to form Garden Creek), flow into the Green River (30th hit).  The Green flows right to left, passing through the mountain gap known as Split Mountain. 

 ge 3

Here’s another GE shot, looking upstream:

 ge 4

You can see that the Green has carved quite the canyon just upstream from my landing (you’re looking at Whirlpool Canyon; more about that later).

 Anyway, the Green flows south through Utah, eventually finding its way to the Colorado (126th hit).

 I mentioned above that this was my second Vernal landing.  Here’s a GE shot showing both landings:

 ge 2

I just know I’m going to have beautiful pictures to show you, but I need a little something before plunging into the low-hanging fruit known as some of the most gorgeous scenery in the country . . .

 Speaking of low-hanging fruit, I think I’ll quote a little from the earlier post.  Here goes:

 So, on to Vernal, from Wiki:

The population of Vernal was 7,714 at the 2000 census.  Vernal is one of the largest cities in the United States without a railway. One was proposed in the past, with a railway station being built.  The closest railway is approximately 60 miles away.

From OnlineUtah.com:

Vernal, unlike the majority of Utah towns, was not settled initially by Mormon pioneers.  Brigham Young sent a scouting party to Uinta Basin in 1861 and received word back the area was good for nothing but nomad purposes, hunting grounds for Indians and “to hold the world together.”  That same year, President Abraham Lincoln set the area aside as the Uintah Indian Reservation.

I like what the scouting party said about the region . . .

White settlers arrived in 1873 and settled on Ashley Creek, about four miles northwest of present day Vernal. Many single men–trappers, prospectors, home seekers, and drifters–arrived in Ashley Valley, and some stayed. However, there wasn’t a woman in the area until 1876.

Three years without a woman!  Shades of Brokeback Mountain . . .”

Given all of my recent Mormon references, I think it’s good that the only Mormon story is that there isn’t a Mormon story.  But as I commented above, I really like the quote saying that the area wasn’t good for much except “to hold the world together.” 

 The lack of Mormon influence in the founding of Vernal seems odd, considering all the trouble the Mormons put up with in order to settle SE Utah (my recent Blanding landing), which is also in a very desolate region (and much further from the mother ship).

 Anyway, although I mentioned nearby Dinosaur National Monument in my previous post, I think I’ll emphasize it a little more here.  What a wonderful park!  Even without dinosaur fossils, it’d be a great place to visit just because of the scenery.  Check out how big it is:

 dinosar nm

It’s about 35 miles from east to west; the northern and western portions of the park follow the Green River and the eastern part of the park follows the Yampa River.  I landed just south of the words “Diamond Mountain Plateau.”  Vernal is right on the western edge of the map.

Making my job easier, I stumbled on a geology blog by a gentleman who led a rafting trip down the Green River through the park.  Great pictures, discussions of the geology – who could ask for more.  The blog is “Earthly Musings” by Wayne Ranney (a geologist, of course) and his post is about rafting through Lodore Canyon (well upstream from my landing, see map above), Whirlpool Canyon (just upstream) and Split Mountain Canyon (mentioned earlier, and just downstream). 

 Anyway, you must, simply must, click HERE and check out the post.

 Mr. Ranney leads geologically-based raft trips and hikes all over the Colorado Plateau.  Man, would I love to join him one of these days . . .

 Anyway, I’m going to give up and just post some GE Panoramio pictures.  I’ll stay within three or four miles of where I landed.   David Herberg has several shots.  Here’s one looking upstream into Whirlpool Canyon:

 david herberg looking upstream into whirlpool canyon

And another, closer view of the same canyon:

 david herberg whirlpool

And here’s one he entitled “Cottonwoods in Fall:”

 david herberg cottonwoods in fall

Remember L Sessions?  I posted one of his Panoramio shots in my Blanding Landing post. He has one here as well:

 L Sessions just south of my landing

I’m going to close with a couple of pictures from the Dinosaur National Monument website.  The pictures were taken from hiking trailers that are shown above on my closer-in landing map.  First this one, from the “Sounds of Silence” trail:

 Sound_of_Silence_Trail natl park service dinosau national monument

Looks like wild ‘n crazy geology, eh?  Where’s Mr. Ranney when I need him?   Anyway, I’ll close with this one from the Harpers Corner Nature Trail (of none other than Whirlpool Canyon):

 WhirlpoolCanyon_1 from hapers corner national park service

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Vernal, Utah

Posted by graywacke on November 14, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  My 6th OSer in a row, thanks to this old-time WBer . . . UT; 63/50; 2/10; 14; 154.7.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Vernal:

landing

Here’s an expanded view:

landing4

And my GE shot, showing what I would call dessert scrub:

GE1

I landed in the watershed of a quite substantial unnamed tributary, which flows to the Green (25th hit); to the Colorado (146th hit).  Here’s a map showing the boundary of the watershed of the unnamed tributary.  For reference, it’s about 7 miles across, with an area of about 35 square miles, or 22,400 acres.  That’s a pretty big hunk of watershed real-estate to go nameless . . .

watershed

So, on to Vernal, from Wiki:

The population of Vernal was 7,714 at the 2000 census.  Vernal is one of the largest cities in the United States without a railway. One was proposed in the past, with a railway station being built.  The closest railway is approximately 60 miles away.

From OnlineUtah.com:

Vernal lies in Ashley Valley, named in honor of William H. Ashley, an early fur trader who entered this area in 1825 by floating down the Green River in a bull boat made of animal hides.

Vernal, unlike the majority of Utah towns, was not settled initially by Mormon pioneersBrigham Young sent a scouting party to Uinta Basin in 1861 and received word back the area was good for nothing but nomad purposes, hunting grounds for Indians and “to hold the world together.”  That same year, President Abraham Lincoln set the area aside as the Uintah Indian Reservation.

I like Brigham’s quote . . .

White settlers arrived in 1873 and settled on Ashley Creek, about four miles northwest of present day Vernal. Many single men–trappers, prospectors, home seekers, and drifters–arrived in Ashley Valley, and some stayed. However, there wasn’t a woman in the area until 1876.

Three years without a woman!  Shades of Brokeback Mountain . . .

The area where Vernal is now located was called the Bench, and it was described as a large barren cactus flat.  David Johnston & family moved onto the Bench on 6 June 1878. It was reported that when they stopped their wagon, David took his shovel from the wagon and cleared off the cactus so the children could stand without getting cactus needles in their feet. He put the wagon on logs to keep it off the ground as there were many lizards, horned toads, scorpions, mice, and snakes in the area.

On 29 September 1879 the Meeker Massacre occurred in Colorado, with the White River Utes killing their agent, Nathan Meeker, among others. Renegade Utes then rode to Ashley Valley to convince the Uintah Utes to join them in killing all the white people in the area. Instead, the Uintah chiefs advised the settlers to “fort-up.” A fort was built on the Bench due to its open expanse. Many settlers of Ashley Valley took their cabins apart, moving them to the fort site.  People remained in the fort that winter. The winter was severe, killing most of the animals. The humans also suffered. Much of their grain had to be gathered from the ground, since grasshoppers had knocked it from the plant stocks and it became moldy. Diphtheria took its toll. It was March before they could get out of the valley for supplies.

A town grew out of the fort and became known as Ashley Center.  The name Ashley Center was too similar to the existing town of Ashley; the name Vernal was assigned to the community by the U.S. Postal Department.

No word on why the name “Vernal” was chosen.  “Vernal” means having to do with spring, like “vernal equinox.”  But it also means “fresh & young,” so maybe that’s the idea . . .

In 1948 Vernal had its first oil boom. From that time on it has been a boom and bust town. A thriving tourist business by Dinosaur National Monument, as well as livestock and agriculture production, help keep Vernal going during “bust” times.

Gilsonite was mined in the Vernal area for many years.  From Wiki:

Gilsonite is the registered trademark for a form of natural asphalt found in large amounts in the Uintah Basin of Utah; the mineral name is uintaite or uintahite. It is mined in underground shafts and resembles shiny black obsidian. Discovered in the 1860s, it was first marketed as a lacquer, electrical insulator, and waterproofing compound about twenty-five years later by Samuel H. Gilson.

By 1888 Gilson had started a company to mine the substance, but soon discovered the vein was located on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Under great political pressure Congress removed some 7,000 acres (28 km2) from the reservation on May 24, 1888 to allow the mining to proceed legally.

Sounds like a raw deal to me . . .

Gilsonite mining became the first large commercial enterprise in the Uintah Basin, causing most of its early population growth.

Gilsonite’s earliest applications included paints for buggies and emulsions for beer-vat lining. It was used by Ford Motor Company as a principal component of the black lacquer used on most of the Ford Model T cars.

This unique mineral is used in more than 160 products, primarily in dark-colored printing inks and paints, oil well drilling muds and cements, asphalt modifiers, foundry sand additives, and a wide variety of chemical products.

Here’s a picture of a vein of Gilsonite being mined:

Uintah__gilsonite

And here’s a close-up of the stuff:

Gilsonite_Mineral_Pitch_

Moving right along – you no doubt noted the reference to Dinosaur National Monument.  Here’s a landing map showing my proximity to the Monument, located over near the CO state line:

landing3

Here are a couple of cool fossil dino shots from the Visitor Center:

Card1DSCN0075r1m112500_prefRes

dinofossil

I’ll close with some scenery shots from around the park.  I’ll start with a couple of shots showing the Green River:

600px-DinosaurNM1Panorama

Dinosaur-National-Momument

And finish up with some general scenery shots:

20090205-dinosaur-national-monumenta

dino-lg

patriot_rock

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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