Monday, September 15, 2008

Castle Dale and Rochester Creek petroglyphs

On a Saturday last month we decided to do a daytrip down to Castle Dale, in the middle of the San Rafael Swell. It's a beautiful place, typical of Utah, and has mountains on one side and desert and sandstone on the other.

Our reason for going was the Castle Valley Pageant. But I had ulterior motives: Before we went out to the pageant, we drove south on UT-10 and visited an amazing petroglyph panel at Rochester Creek. It was a short afternoon hike there, half a mile or so, clinging alongside beautiful sandstone canyon walls. The panel couldn't have been better. We were the only ones around for miles.

The Castle Valley Pageant has been going on for years--30 years. It's a large outdoor play depicting the trials that early pioneers went through as they settled the valley. It's a little out-of-date (read: politically incorrect), but very entertaining and even humbling. Hard to just sit and realized what life is like for us, and what it really could be like.

We met our good friends and family the Adamses there (they blogged about it too--I'm just slower than them!), so we all had a buddy (hanging out with them is like a built-in buddy system). I think our favorite part of the pageant was before the show, where for two hours a pioneer village operates. There's cow milking, horse buggy rides, a blacksmith shop, rings made of horseshoe nails, homemade honey candy, fresh-churned butter (and honey butter) on bread, donkey sitting, pasta over an open fire, two huge authentic-looking Indian teepees, and so on. The skies were menacing, but it never really quite rained on us, and a huge rainbow opened up over the whole place. It ended after 10:00 and we drove home all night, getting home before 1:00. It was a worthy Saturday.

at the top of the little trailhead

Bella smelling sage (it's her favorite thing to do now on our hikes--and who can blame her!)

here's the ridge we hiked across (behind us)

the view, down into a lush valley where the murky creek flows

the Rochester Creek panel!--worth the hike

looking down at Oey and Amy

kids standing near the edge

our family photo

Bella's favorite. She called him Wall-E. Definitely a male robot petroglyph!

Bella looking cute

Jarom looking quite fine himself

we arrived

Oey didn't read the sign. This is the puddle all the horses ran through during the actual pageant. Quite the show.

turning the bellows on a makeshift blacksmith stove made from an old brake drum

exploring a pioneer-style home

churning butter

child carriers

The boys were happy atop the burro.

And the girls were a little confused.

milking a cow

lovely cousins

making ice cream

exploring a teepee

Jarom's got some sly moves here

beauty queens

This is what it looked like there. Breathtaking and fantastic. The San Rafael Swell has some real unique desert appeal. The whole night it threatened rain, but nothing ever came of it.

taking a wagon ride

the girls checking out the awesome rainbow

We could see the whole thing (which is kind of rare for me). I stitched some photos together. It's kind of obviously stitched, but still very pretty, and you can see most of the pioneer village from here too.


Glory Watts said...

Beautiful rainbow shot!

Rachel told me about the pageant and it sounded amazing. What a cool experiance. I like all the fun stuff you got to do before the show. The picture of Jarom milking a cow is so funny, it looks like he's squeezing a tube of tooth paste by the way he's holding it.

love ya!

Nielson Family said...

Wow! That looks like so much fun. It makes me miss Utah. Your family is just full of adventures. Thanks for your posts. I really enjoy keeping in touch. (And you were hiking in a dress? --very impressive!)

heather said...

man you guys are rad. i LOVE the family photo, and what a truly amazing panel of petroglyphs. there are some gorgeous animals carved there! the wall-e figure with the giant phallus really kills me.

i can't believe that blue plaid shirt already fits jarom so well (is that the one i gave him?) i thought he wouldn't be able to wear it till he was like seven! you guys all look so cute with the western touches. the pioneer village is awesome and i love the photos of kids on burros, so sweet!

this makes me just squish inside with missing you!

Chelsea said...

We got engaged at the San Rafael Swell! Mike proposed on top of one of the cliffs and the next two days we kayaked through the gorge and looked at the freemont petroglyphs. I love that you guys hvae been there and your trip looks so fun! I wish we had kids to go and do all that stuff with you. Soon enough, I guess.

The Cates said...

It looks like you had a blast! I have not forgotten about our crafty goals...I've been spending a lot of time away from home these last few days. I am more than excited to get startd though, how about after this weekend?

Momma said...

What a wonderful trip! Was this all in one day? Again you amaze me at how you find such wonderful things to go and do and see and with great friends and family. I've heard about that pageant you went to. The petroglyphs are beautiful and thought provoking. You are wonderful wonderful people and I love you all beyond words.

Life on Pelican Street said...

I have been hooked on petroglyphs ever since our last venture to the indian state park...soooo cool. Looks like another fun adventure for you guys!

Maria said...

Love the rainbow photo! You guys never stop! I love it! You need to come up to SLC soon!!