January 11, 2012

Sand Dunes and Canyon Views

After passing Sam's Mesa Spring, we continue across the desert dunes.
Steve notices a skull marking a hilltop rock and climbs up to explore.  The cow skull was on top of a section marker, apparently to make the section corner easier to find.
Farther along, we spot a few fallen stakes and this mining claim, wrapped in foil.  As you can see, it is still readable.  The claim does not say what the claimee proposes mining for.  Uranium, maybe?  Uranium mining was common in the canyon country in the '50's.  This claim was made in 2007. 
Our destination is the Dirty Devil River overlook.   The view behind Steve looks down the Dirty Devil's canyon.
The river was given its name by one of the Wesley Powell expeditions in 1869-1871.  As they floated down the Colorado River, they came to the inlet of an unnamed river.  "How is she, Jack?" someone shouted.  "Oh, she's a dirty devil!" was the reply. 
That same expedition named the Bright Angel Creek farther down the Colorado.  Bright Angel is now part of the Grand Canyon National Park.  Perhaps the Powell group thought they should give homage to the forces of good to counteract naming one stream after the devil...
Steve and Daisy approach the edge. 
The horses wisely hang back, probably wishing for some good grass to munch during their break.
There is no way into the canyon and it doesn't look all that inviting from this vantage point anyway. 
Heading back toward camp, we have nice views of red sandstone canyon cliffs in the distance.


  1. So good to see you, Janie. Happy 2012 to you and Steve! What a awesome post. Your canyons and landscapes look like paintings. Interesting names of the rivers. Blessings, Jo

  2. I've heard that Powell story. Such rugged country throws insurmountable obstacles in the path of many explorers. Thanks for taking us to the head of the canyon.

  3. I'm so glad Steve and Daisy went to the edge so I don't have to! I like seeing the canyons in your photos - we see them from the road when we travel but your photos show what's really in there. That far-away hazy view is magnificent. We got snow today, and it's blustery right now. Only 5-6" on the mountain, but we'll take it!

  4. Wonderful country. I am happy you share these photos. I like your take on the naming of canyons and creeks. I too have come across mining claim stakes like these in my walkabouts. 35mm film canisters wired to a post are a popular way to preserve the papers.

  5. Steve appears to be so close to the edge of the canyon. It looks kind of scary!

  6. Before reading this I would have found it hard to conceive of snow in the desert, but it obviously happens. The stark beauty of this area is marvelous. I'm glad Steve and Daisy didn't venture any nearer the edge of the cliff.

  7. I got shivers just looking down the chasm from the photo ... I can't imagine the feeling of seeing it in real life. By the way, I am currently reading "Into the Unknown," an account of John Wesley Powell's voyage "into the unknown."

  8. Wow---what a fabulous place... Loved the name Dirty Devil's Canyon... And I remember the name, Bright Angel, when we visited the Grand Canyon last June....

    Great pictures... Glad you all didn't get TOO close to the edge...

  9. Amazing views of your trail ride toward Devils Canyon and the red sandstone canyon cliffs.
    What a neat surprise to find a mining claim.
    Thanks for the journey, Janie.
    Pam :)

  10. Such a breath of fresh air! I can smell the brush and feel the sunlight. Awe inspiring!

  11. I think I would have stayed back with the horses, too.
    Beautiful big skies and gallons of fresh air - marvellous.

  12. great ride today. I love the canyons the rivers have carved into our beautiful desert.

  13. Mining engineers here say we're on the verge of another big uranium boom. Oh boy.

  14. Wow...so many neat things you find out there in the wild! Dirty Devil River? You'll never catch me in that one! :)

  15. That claim is interesting. So 19th century. Staking a claim with paper on site.

  16. That claim is interesting. So 19th century. Staking a claim with paper on site.

  17. Oh, I am soooooo there! Gosh I just love seeing these views! Thanks for including the history.

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