Monday, March 26, 2007

Utah: Rivers and Canyons

We have spent the last several weeks in Utah's Cedar Mesa area, backpacking through canyons and looking at Ancient Basketmaker and Anasazi ruins. The Basketmaker and Anasazi people lived in the four corners area about 2000 years ago until 1300 AD, when they migrated out of the canyons en mass, possibly because of drought conditions. They left behind buildings crafted of stone, wood, and mud, art panels painted or chiseled into the rock, pottery, stone weapons, baskets, grinding areas, corn cobs, and other artifacts that have been beautifully preserved because of the dry climate. The buildings and rock art can still be viewed in their original locations, but the other artifacts, with the exception of some pottery shards and corn cobs, have by now mostly been placed in museums and private collections.

In addition to our 12 day backpacking trip, we also spent 3 days river rafting in five pound inflatable pack rafts, something like an inner tube with a floor. During the 3 days, we managed to take only one dunking, about one-quarter of a mile after launching! Tim actually managed to stay in his raft, but my grandfather and I both swamped in a large hole and ended up swimming to a sand bar after desperately trying to grab all our stuff as it floated away. We only lost a water jug, which was recovered on a sand bar the next day.

Next on our itinerary, we drive to the Grand Canyon, then Las Vegas, where my grandfather flies home. Then Tim and I will try to find some adventure in California before we fly out of Los Angeles. I will probably post again while we are in California or London, towards the middle or end of April. Take care everyone!