Sunday, October 2, 2011

BINGHAM A TRIP to WEST DESERT by EUGENE

The West Desert

          By Eugene
Trilobite
Trilobite hunting I was tired and it was hot, we had traveled far this day.  Today was the first time I had ever seen Sevier Lake, where all the water from all the Sevier Rivers end up in a dead end pond out in the desert, to evaporate away.  It was quite high but the sand we travelled on was under water at one time, so it can be very large.  Antelope Springs of to the right and just a few miles away.  David Thorne and his family was leading me, and my family across a barren stretch of land, mostly sand and patches of stunted sagebrush.  We did look at the “Trilobites”.  They were black and shiny incased in black lava rock.   We had all the tools to get some but everyone was hungry and Joyce and Gwen were busy setting it out and the kids were attracted to the sand.  They went to play in it but there were trilobites just lying there to be picked up.  Many of them were perfect but they 


were brown and kind of dull looking.  The kids that day gathered four or five dozen and then went looking in the lava beds for something worthwhile.   I think they did better than what either Dave or I recovered. 

I found a scrubby bush with some soft sand underneath and actually fell asleep.  When I was called to eat there it was six inches from my nose, head hanging close to my face a five foot long snake.  It was a racer of some kind and I knew I was safe so I called everybody to come a save me.  Yep, there was a lot of screaming and the snake dropped down and scooted right over me and away he went, a hundred miles an hour.  I remember once when Shorty Jarrad found one stretched out on the sand sleeping.  He said watch this, he stepped on its tail to scare it only to have it go up his leg and over his back.



Topaz
Topaz, The search for these so-called valuable gems was fun.  Here I was all by myself and my dog, Specks was looking for birds and animals and I with hooks and a pick looking at holes in the rocks.  I left the spot everyone was directed too so, I went searching every place I could find even a trail.  The whole Thomas Mountain was made by volcanic action every part of had some kind of rock or crystal.  Then I found Pismire Canyon on the west side.  As I entered the canyon everything was sparkling all over the place on the road, in the wash, every place I looked.  A kick in the wash brought up many topaz crystals but of poor quality they had been laying for centuries out in the sun and had turned a milky color but I imagine they were still hard and pretty inside.  The pinks and purples were in these lava rocks and they had fist-sized cavities some going back a foot or so.  You could see them in clusters, a beautiful sight.  Some of the crystals were big.   I was never a rock collector but my son, David and I did collect a few but they are all gone now.   


Bubbly Lava from Pismire Canyon
Folklore ; During the Middle Ages topaz was thought to heal both physical and mental disorders and prevent death. The Greeks believed it had power to increase strength and to make its wearer invisible while the Romans believed it had power to improve eyesight. The Egyptians wore it as an amulet to protect them from injury.


 There were obsidian flakes also laying all over the ground, the kind the Indians used to make arrowheads.
The rocks were lava rock, as it flowed over the land it left a smooth molten trail of solid lava and in other places it left a bubbly kind of a rock.
A big wildlife guzzler was built there for the antelope, rabbits, chuckers, coyotes, bob-cats and many small birds.  It was a chucker hunter’s paradise.  The mountains and hills were easy to climb, there were ledges, a great sage brush draw,  wild grasses as well cheat grass.  Both Lee and I had good dogs and they knew where they were.  The thing David remembers was sitting in a chair with his twenty-two rifle and waiting for 
Geodes


the Jack rabbits to come to the guzzler.  There were rabbits everywhere. 
But I was always worrying about my dog.  There were several coyote cyanide traps that exploded in the poor animals face killing him in a most inhumane way, they had a horrible death. 
A trip over the pass in the middle of the Thomas range took you too the geodes.  It was not hard to find but they eventually made a mess of it.  They were mining it with front-end loaders picking up hundred at a time and selling them. 
The greedy buggers were crushing thousands with their heavy equipment.  Then they had the guts to place “No Trespassing” signs all over the place.  The BLM would sell old grandma if they could.
Kangaroo Mouse
David loved to camp there, the stars and moon were so big and shiny but most of that’s when the kangaroo mice came out to play.  They had small front legs that was only used to eat with, their hind legs were just kangaroo legs made for hopping, they hopped from six inches to a foot high.  David couldn’t stand it, they were so cute and tame, and he just had to have some.  So, he caught about a half a dozen and put them in a box.  The next morning they were all dead, they killed and ate each other, what a mess.  Poor things.
Horn Coral
My Wagoner had two gas tank underneath and one sitting on top, about 60 gallon and I could drive for days out in the West Desert, but at times I was lucky to get back as far as Vernon.    The Thomas range was a long way out but there were other mountains even farther out.  I found springs here and there and even a large fresh water pond under a cave just north of Delta.  Water meant chuckers and other wildlife and no mater where we camped my dog was forced to stay inside at night or he would be eaten. 
One I remember the old abandoned mining town called Joy, ugly little place.  But it did have some Chuckers there.  There was evidence of old Spanish mines and rumors of gold still here.  We were hunting and exploring and lost at times.  The roads never seemed to go where we wanted or sometimes they dead ended.  Roads that seem to go somewhere but didn't.  one day I traveled half the morning straight to a large mountain then the road turned and went somewhere else but it did not go where I wanted to go.  Good maps were hard to find sometimes useless day.  Maps were sometimes useless.  The old roads sometimes had a fence across it when a new road was built.  This was a real problem nearer to Eureka and other cities.  But out there you were on your own, you used what you found.  There was the Keg, House, Big and little Drum and many more and all far Away. 
6000 Poisoned Sheep
My road to the Desert usually crossed Lookout Pass, near Vernon.  Just over the pass was a favorite camping spot we used at Easter time.  It was a great rabbit hunting area but there was a great deposit of Horn Coral left over from the Great Bonneville Lake time.  The coral is now sold for $50.00 a pound. The lake was a prehistoric land locked lake that covered much of Utah, Idaho and Nevada about 32,000 years ago, 
From there we drove to Simpson Springs where there once was the remains of an old C.C.C. Camp made with rocks.  There was a brass mile post marker for the Pony Express, but of course vandals had shot It to pieces.  If we follow the Pony Express rout we will be on the pass over the Thomas Range and out to Fish Springs, going just south of Dugway Proving Grounds and their secrets.  There are places there that will kill you just by walking over the poisoned ground.  By going around the point eastward just past Death Canyon you will see what their third poison gas dropped by aircraft did to six thousand sheep on ranches near the base.  Mile after mile along the road you can see  thousands of bones deliberately killed just for a test.  The sheep herder and others did get buried at home. 
North Korea is still waiting for an apology for the bacterial bombs dropped on them.
Pismire Canyon
Death Canyon was a good place to hunt Chuckers and a place to camp.  At the head of the valley was a cute, well maintained House with a very green Lawn.  I always parked a ways away from it.  I wondered if they knew they had company but I never ever seen anyone there.  This was even before prospectors found Barium deposits for our spaceflights.  Later I found a kind of a green colored rock along its journey to Delta. 
Farther along east was Ericson’s Pass going over the mountain to Look Out Pass and home.  But sometimes I continued on to either Eureka or Jericho.  Simpson Mountain was a high mountain 9/10,000 feet with streams in most gullies. If I noticed any large Cottonwood trees in the valley there was water and wildlife.  It was always a steep climb but beautiful.  At first it was brush and cedar trees and then pines and Quakies for a while until you got to the top and walked into a barren flatter round top mountain with a grassy sagebrush hill top and few trees of any kind.  Over the mountain was Little Valley and Vernon Creek.


Farther along east was Ericson’s Pass going over the mountain to Look Out Pass and home.  But sometimes I continued on to either Eureka or Jericho.  Simpson Mountain was a high mountain 9/10,000 feet with streams in most gullies. The Lookout and Sheeprock Mountains separate you from the Vernon and Little Valley parts of these are steep and rugged and some are rounded at the top.  These seem to be my favorite mountainsIf I noticed any large Cottonwood trees in the valley there was water and wildlife.  It was always a steep climb but beautiful.  At first it was brush and cedar trees and then pines and Quakies for a while until you got to the top and walked into a barren flatter round top mountain with a grassy sagebrush hill top and few trees of any kind.  Over the mountain was Little Valley and Vernon Creek.

Petrified wood 
The low flat Cedars healthy thick were quite a challenge to hunt.  The sand was soft and difficult to walk in but made tracking easy.  I would walk back and forth until I found the tracks of a big buck that was chased off the top.  I would follow the deer round and round, and he would follow me.  I had to mark the trail to keep track of who was following who.  If I was lucky enough to see him he was caught watching me.  These were 200 pound deer with big horns.  

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