Earthquake Lake Visitor Center

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in blog, Events, Historical

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is open! This provides a panoramic view of the mountain that fell during an earthquake in 1959 and the resulting lake that was formed. Located in West Yellowstone, which is surrounded by some of the country’s top trout streams and some of the best float and deep water trout fishing on nearby Hebgen and Earthquake Lakes. This is a wonderful place to stop before headed out on the river to fish or simply enjoy the views with the family. Be sure to remember your camera!

Hebgen Lake 1959

Hebgen Lake 1959

The Facts: “Near midnight on an August night in 1959 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide forever changing the landscape.  Twenty-eight people lost their lives.  In 1967, the Forest Service’s Earthquake Lake Visitor Center opened its doors for the first season of operation.  Today, the center provides interpretive services for more than 50,000 visitors annually.  The natural attractions and the easily- seen effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky mountains has made this area one of the outstanding scenic and geological study areas in the west.”

National Park Service Celebrating 100 Years!

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Events, Historical

2016 marks the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebration with special summer events planned in Yellowstone and the neighboring gateway communities. Come join the festivities in West Yellowstone on July 4 as we celebrate with the “100 Years of Transportation into Yellowstone” parade, free music in the park, and a fireworks show. 
Yellowstone will not be the only one participating in this note worthy event, For more information or to see if the Nation Park you are going to be visiting next is a part of this, visit : www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial
fireworks

The Secret Is Out

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Historical, Travel

The Other day I typed in US 191 on my Google search just to see what other information is out there regarding this beautiful stretch of US Highway. I was actually slightly surprised seeing that CNN Money had released the following article almost a year ago. When I started this website in 2012, there was nothing that came up in my google search about US191 besides the standard wikipedia definition. I think it is crazy awesome that a big company like CNN is giving it the recognition that it deserves.

Fell free to read about what they had to say about US191 on here, but also click the link to see what other American  road trips made the list!

http://money.cnn.com/gallery/pf/2014/07/16/road-trips/

Canyon De Chelly National Monument, Arizona

A photo I took of Canyon De Chelly four years ago

6 Great American Road Trips

U.S. 191: Utah to Arizona

  • Trip length: 197 miles from Moab, UT, to Chinle, AZ

The scenery along Route 191 is spectacular any time of year. This red-rock country is a geological fairyland of arches, slot canyons, natural bridges and balancing rocks.

The road bisects the Colorado Plateau, which boasts one of the highest concentrations of national parks, monuments and recreational areas in the country. Just off 191 are Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; a short drive away are natural bridges, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon.

Outside Chinle, Ariz., lies Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “shay”) National Monument. This Navajo land features old cliff dwellings and Spider Rock, a thin sandstone spire that soars 750 feet from the canyon bed.

The scenic trails in Utah’s national parks lure many hikers. Be sure to wear some red to attract hummingbirds. There’s also whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking.

Some History of Moab; Sunset Grill

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in blog, Historical, Travel

The Charlie Steen Story

The Sunset Grill is in the former home of Uranium King Charlie Steen.  In the early 1950s Moab was a small farming community.  Arches and Canyonlands were places only a lucky few experienced.  In 1952 Charles A. Steen, geologist and prospector, put Moab on the world map.

The Atomic Energy Commission was offering a $10,000 reward for finding domestic uranium. Charlie had the knowledge and skills it would take to locate the uranium. While other miners were content gathering small amounts of surface deposits around Moab, Charlie wanted more. After three long years of searching with his family nearly destitute, and his resources expended, he made his final attempt to extract ore samples 240 feet beneath the earth’s surface.

Having broken his drill bit at 180 feet, he went into town.  He stopped for gas, not realizing what lay in the back of his jeep, ore samples he found at 70 feet.  The attendant approached the jeep with a Geiger counter.  They were both surprised by the activity it created.  It was July 3rd, 1952 and Charlie had finally hit his “paydirt.”

Life of course changed dramatically for the Steens.  They went from using a washboard in the river to having their laundry flown by Charlie’s private pilot to Grand Junction, Colorado.  Every year there was a new red Lincoln Continental, and because of poor television reception in Moab, Charlie put a television in his plane, and would fly his family over Moab to watch their favorite shows.

Charlie was a generous person.  He donated property to local schools and churches.  He built “Steenville,” a housing development for his employees, and offered low interest mortgage loans.  Charlie also bought a mountain and built his dream home.  Complete with green house, servants quarters, and the largest swimming pool in the state.  Roses lined the street below and flowers grew everywhere.  Longtime locals can tell of his $50,000 poker game, rubbing noses with celebrities like Henry Fonda, or even an “I Love Lucy” episode, where Lucy tries to get Ricky to join her in the hunt for uranium.

After 9 successful years, Charlie moved his family from Moab to a 22,000-sq. ft. house in Reno, Nevada.  After years of living in a true millionaires fashion, Charlie and his wife M.L., moved from Reno to Colorado.  They have passed on now, but will always be remembered as Moab’s most famous millionaire.

Charlie’s former home is now the Sunset Grill.  Come up and see the the “Million Dollar View” he created.   On display at the restaurant are 3-foot replicas of Charlie’s discovery boots, cast in bronze.

The Clayton family invites you to join us for an enjoyable evening at Charlie’s.  So come up and experience “Dining above the Rest.”

sunsetgrill

Mesa Verde National Park

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Historical

Mesa Verde National Park was founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 ” to preserve the works of man”. This was the first park of its kind. The Park is home to 4700 archeological sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

When I toured the park in November of this past year I couldn’t help but feel like I had hopped into the  DeLorean and traveled back in time. To be able to look thousands of years back to how the pueblos lived and survived was awe inspiring.

 On my tour of the Spruce Treehouse, the conservation officer was discussing what a barren desert climate has to offer in the way of food. Amongst the short list was blue corn (not the corn on the cob that we usually enjoy today) and juniper (not used for gin) . Not only was the food supply nothing extravagant, but the water was a good distance away from most of the dwellings. Surprisingly I was also informed that gathering the water was usually the woman’s job. Being that neither plants or is animals can survive with out water, also led into the one of the theories as to why the pueblos left; a draught.
On the tour of the Spruce Treehouse I was also shocked by its size. Most cliff dwellings have 10 rooms or less, while this one had 130. These dwellings are some of the biggest not only in the park, but in the world. Also see the Cliff Palace and Long House (150 rooms each), and the Balcony House ( 40 rooms).
The Pueblos occupied this space for almost 700 years. The first 600 years were actually spent on the 52,000 acres of the colorado plateau. It was only on the last 100 years that they moved in to build their dwellings amongst the  alcoves of the canyon walls.
Mesa verde means green table in spanish. Perhaps  it was names this because the view of the miles of green trees and desert from the top of the park (park point 8427 feet) has a 360 degree panoramic view that is one of the most beautiful i have ever seen.
Mesa Verde is just a short drive off 191 onto 160 East from Utah into Colorado and is definitely a must see!

 

Cycle Montana Road Tour

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Events, Historical, Travel

We often miss so much of the world that surrounds us because we are moving too fast.  It’s not just the sights to take in, but the culture, the history of the land, nature; the circle of life that unnoticeable to most of us fuels our land and our bodies. Sometimes it’s a good idea to slow down for a moment to actually slow down and appreciate all of these things.

When I was searching for upcoming events of US 191 today, this came up on the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce page:

Starting June 21st , spend a week bicycling through the scenic valleys and over the mountain passes of western and southwestern Montana. Beginning in Adventure Cycling’s hometown of Missoula, follow the Bitterroot River upstream before climbing over Lost Trail and Chief Joseph passes. After crossing the Continental Divide, descend into the Big Hole Valley, a basin that is so sparsely populated that you may occasionally feel as if you’ve ridden back in time a hundred years.

All I can say is, what a great idea! I hope I see many people out there participating in this fun, amazing, eye-opening experience! bitteroot river montana

Geysers of Yellowstone

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Historical, Travel

Yellowstone contains the majority of the worlds geysers.  Much of Yellowstone Par is inside an ancient volcanic crater that exploded over 600,000 years ago. Even though the explosion took place that long ago, reminisce from the heat is still seen on the surface today in the form of geysers and other thermal features such as hot springs, fumaroles, and mudpots.

Geysers of Yellowstone

Geysers of Yellowstone

Geysers in fact are a form of a hotspring. They are most hot at the deepest points that are closest to the hot rock at the bottom of the geyser. The cooler water above doesn’t allow the boiling water to simply steam out because of the weight of the water above. Therefore, the boiling water is released in channels which is why we see eruptions  and overflow of these geysers.How hot springs and geysers differ is that hotsprings do not need to “boil” or erupt to release heat. The underlying hot water of a hotspring is close enough to the surface that it can release it’s hot water in the form of steam/vapor or runoff.

The real appeal to these majestic beauties is not how they operate, but rather how they look. It gives me the accurate feeling as if I have gone back in time and entered some sort of alternate universe like the Land Before Time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth. The geysers are indeed that old and a great look into the history of our planet. As natures wonders go, these are a must see any time of the year.

Arizona The Beautiful

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical, Travel

Most things that naturally occur can become petrified over time, but the sight of petrified wood is something of beauty, history, and wonder. In northeastern Arizona, just a short drive off US191 on highway 40, is the Petrified National Forest. The park covers about 146 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands in the Navajo Nation. The northern part of the forest is a gateway into the Painted Desert. From beautiful colored wood to beautiful stone, the properties of both aid the other in thier creation.

The vast landscape of the Painted Desert features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges and even pinks. The desert is composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone and shale of the Triassic Chinle Formation. These fine grained rock layers contain abundant iron and manganese compounds which provide the pigments for the various colors of the region. Thin resistant limestone layers and volcanic flows cap the mesas. Numerous layers of silicic volcanic ash occur in the Chinle and provide the silica for the petrified logs.  An assortment of fossilized prehistoric plants and animals are found in the region, as well as dinosaur tracks and the evidence of early human habitation.

The Painted Desert is not where this adventure stops;  it is so close to the Grand Canyon National Park, you would be a fool not to press on to see the largest canyon in the US. Geologists say that over the last several million years the Colorado river has carved the canyon to what it is today

Three Beautiful Sights, one amazing state..

It is not the deepest canyon in the world (Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal is far deeper), nor the widest (Capertee Valley in Australia is about 0.6 mi/1 km wider and longer than Grand Canyon); however, the Grand Canyon is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape.

While writing this I wondered to myself “How Long Does It Take For Wood To Petrify”. I googled that very question and came up with an article by John D Morris that was titled just as such.  His explanation below about the difference of petrified would in Yellowstone National Park vs those found in the Petrified National Park I found most interesting.

“In the first type of petrification, the wood decays in a hot, silica-rich environment. As each molecule of wood decomposes and is carried away, it is replaced by a molecule of silica. Eventually the replacement is complete, with the mineral impurities in the silica being responsible ”
“The other type of petrification involves the total infiltration of the porous wood by silica-rich water. The silica (or in a few cases calcite, or a combination of both) plugs up the pores, preventing complete decay. This allows individual cells to be remarkably well preserved, and in many cases the tree ring pattern can easily be seen. The petrified trees in Yellowstone Park are of this type, with tree rings readily visible.for an array of beautiful colors in the final product. This type of petrified wood can be polished, and often becomes an object of incredible beauty. Once silicification is complete, there is no organic material remaining, but since on occasion the light and dark portions of the tree’s growth rings may decay at different rates, hints of the tree rings may be preserved if the minerals present change over time. Many of the petrified trees found in the Petrified “Forest” of Arizona are of this type.”

“Wood can also be petrified in field settings. During one field experiment, researchers dangled a block of wood down inside an alkaline spring in Yellowstone Park to see what effect this hot, silica-rich environment would have. In just one year, substantial petrification had occurred. I recently read an advertisement in a magazine for real “hardwood floors.” The company was petrifying wood commercially. The point is, it does not take long ages to petrify wood, it just takes the right conditions.”

 

Three Very Unique Stops in Blanding Utah

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical, Travel

Blanding, Utah is located in San Juan County of southeastern Utah, 21 miles south of Monticello on US 191, and only 75 miles south of Moab, UT which is rapidly becoming one of the most visited cities in the United States.  The town is surrounded by pastures with easy access to mountain recreation. Edge of the Cedars State Park is located in Blanding. The park holds an extensive collection of ancient Pueblo artifacts. Blanding is also within what people call the dinosaur triangle which is one of the few remaining places to unveil real dinosaur bones. That is why in Blanding you will find the Dinosaur Museum where visitors can see what dinosaurs really looked like. In addition to being a major part of ancient history, Blanding is also the gateway to the 100-mile Trail of the Ancients.

Blanding is a great place to come and take a look into the past, or be a part of your future. Like Moab, Blanding is rich in endless miles of trails to hike, bike, four-wheel; explore however you prefer. On these paths of dirt and red rock, keep an eye out for artifacts. You never know what you might find in Blanding!

Among the amazing sights that I found in Blanding where three very unique store fronts . Each of these places I was greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff  that clearly had something rare to contribute to the community.

Blue Mountain Trading Post and RV Park

Inside of Blue Mountain one will find high quality, hand crafted, locally made Indian crafts and arts. The trading post gets their turquoise directly from local mines and each piece is then crafted individually. Apart from jewelry, Blue Mountain also houses rugs, skins, their own rock shop, dinosaur bone,

Blue Mountain Trading Post and RV Park petrified wood and even petrified dinosaur poop!!! It’s no wonder they have been in business over 4o years. In addition to the trading post, Blue Mountain is also and RV Park. They pride them selves in an exceedingly clean facility and fair rates. The park has 43 spaces that range from 28-32 dollars a night depending on the size of your RV. Blue Mountain is definitely a place I would recommend to those who are looking to stay in Blanding or pick up a high end treasure/souvenir on your way through.

 

 

Lickity Split ChocolateLickity Split Chocolate

This hidden gem was “started by a group of children trying to figure out how they were going to earn money to go to the movies. Little did they know the birth of their idea to start a chocolate company would have a profound impact on their lives, the community,and inspire the world!” The bakery not only does chocolate though; I enjoyed a delicious cinnamon role during my visit and couldn’t help but be intrigued by the story of Lickity Split. The Navajo children that created this tasty bakery specialize in treats that are both meaningful and a beautiful representation of their culture. With chocolates that have an array of different symbols and pictures on them, they are almost too stunning to eat (unless you are a chocolate lover like me). “They are recognized internationally for their can-do spirit” and I felt honored to support such an amazing quality and idea. Lickity Split ships all over the country if you too would like to  support such an inspirational idea!

 

Hunts Trading Post (and ESPRESSO)
This was the last of my stops in Blanding, but certainly not the least. I was greeted by both a sincere smile and the sweet aroma of espresso as I walked through the door. All day I had been craving a good cup of Joe, but couldn’t find one. Hunts Trading Post I was told is the only place in Blanding for great coffee. After a look around the store, taking note of the fair prices, I decided I must indulge. My final decision was swayed when the owner informed me they also had Chai! Being that Chai is my favorite and it was a hot day, I had it on ice. It was a yummy refreshing treat that put a smile on my face for the hot car ride ahead. When I am back in Blanding, I will be stopping by again:)

 

Hunts Trading Post and Espresso

Hubbell Trading Post National Historical Site

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical

As I traveled north up US 191 and pulled into the Hubbell Trading Post I looked down at my phone and noticed that the time had dropped back one hour. At first I thought that my smart phone may have been a little confused until I realized that in the Navajo Nation they do not practice the same time as the rest of Arizona. There was a sign on the way in that reminded me and gave me a sense of how special this land and piece of history is that I was now Entrance to Hubbell Trading Postentering .

Hubbell Trading post is located in Ganado, AZ and has been serving selling groceries, grain, turquoise, hardware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878.  The squeaky wooden floor greets your entry into the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. Among the unique items the historical site houses is animal skins, rugs, beautiful native american paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewlery and much more!

A look into history….

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is a meeting ground of two cultures, the Navajo and settlers who came to the area to settle in what is now northeastern Arizona in the late 19th century. These settlers came from Mexico from the south and eastern United States. In 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased this trading posEntrance to Hubbell Trading Postt, ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to their homeland from their U.S.-imposed exile in Bosque RedondoFort SumnerNew Mexico. This ended what is known in Navajo history as the “Long Walk of the Navajo.” The park is located in Ganado, Arizona. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.