Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Parks and Ghost Towns

Headed southeast from Green River, we make our way along I-70 to US-191 and head southward to Canyonlands National Park. However, before we arrive we make a detour at Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park. There, we peek down some 2,000 feet to the Colorado River as it winds its way from the continental divide in Colorado to the Gulf of California. A baby Grand Canyon, the view is spectacular, but the winds are so high and so cold, we make it a brief stop and move on towards Canyonlands National Park.

The park preserves a colorful landscape eroded into countless canyons, mesas and buttes by the Colorado River and its tributaries. We see many more spectacular views, but believe it or not, we are just National Park "wiped out" and look forward to a different type of scenery. After having lunch in Moab, we skirt the Arches National Park along the Colorado River, making our way to our first ghost town of the day - Cisco, Utah.

Cisco started as a watering stop for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad in 1866. Before long, a number of businesses sprang up to accomodate travelers and the area became a ranching community as well. In 1924, oil and natural gas were discovered in the area and the town continued to grow, reaching a population of about 400 in the 1940s. However, when the town was bypassed by I-70, it declined rapidly. Today, it is filled with numerous closed businesses and crumbling houses. We spied just a few late model vehicles, but during our visit, saw nary a single person, not even a roaming dog. For whatever reasons, Dave is "creeped out," sure that some hairy beast is going to come crawling out of one of those many abandoned buildings, kidnap us, and have us for dinner (or something.) Me thinks he watches too many scary movies, but we're off!

Back to I-70, we're headed westward to Thompson Springs, where we plan to travel north to Sego Canyon for a view of Indian Petroglyphs and onward to the old mining town of Sego. We are in for a "treat" when we find that Thompson is also a ghost town. Though there are people that live here, the town is just a shell of its former self and sports no open businesses. We continue through town to Sego Canyon for a view of the petroglyphs, then to the Sego Cemetery, and the remains of Sego, itself.

The old coal mining town has a number of ruins including the stone general store, the crumbling boarding house, and a number of other outbuildings, mine shafts, and bridges. It was a great stop and much needed for these National Park weary travelers. Isn't that terrible! Utah has so many national parks in this part of the state, that we've grown bored with them.

On to Price, Utah for the night and more ghost towns tomorrow.

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