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Moab Archaeological and Hiking Adventure

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I am back from a very wonderful vacation. I went with my SF SpunkyLB on an archeological survey trip near Moab Utah. This was a volunteer service trip through the Sierra Club, working with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) archeological staff. Very fun, very active adventure!

We drove two full days, stopping occasionally to walk. When we arrived near Moab, we went to Canyonlands National Park to see several sites.

We hiked the Mesa Arch loop in Canyonlands and loved the hike.

Mesa Arch
SpunkyLB & me under Mesa Arch

View through Mesa Arch

He walked up the Arch, I got vertigo just looking at him!

The next morning, we got up early and went to Arches National Park. We were lucky and were able to hike to Delicate Arch. This trail is very popular, and last year we could not hike there. It is a steep hike up slickrock, but very beautiful.

Hikers on route to Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch (this lovely Arch is on the Utah license plate)

Desert wildflowers were blooming.

Indian paintbrush in the sandstone

Globe mallow

Our archeological survey work was very interesting. We split into 3 groups, and each group was assigned to work with an archeologist. We surveyed large areas for evidence of early habitation (this area was populated by Anasazi Pueblo 1 & 2, Fremont, Ute, and others).

First point

I found this broken spear point! Our archaeologist said it was over a thousand years old

We also surveyed an area for fossilized dinosaur bones that were discovered in the 1850s; the District paleontologist was trying to locate the site. We did locate the site, but it will require technical equipment to access the fossils.

Surveying for dinosaur fossils

Can you tell we had cold and rainy weather?

The La Sal mountains got fresh snow

But our campground in the Needles area of Canyonlands NP was beautiful!

On Wednesday, we had a free day. Spunky LB and I drove to Moab to sleep in a hotel Tuesday and Wednesday nights, it was luxurious to sleep in a nice bed. I had to work in the morning (several crises at work that had deadlines); but in the afternoon we hiked in Canyonlands again. We hiked up to Upheaval Dome, which was short but steep.

Upheaval Dome

Schafer Road winds up and down the steep canyon walls in Canyonlands. The Park Service says drivers must have all wheel drive, and should allow 2 days to travel the road (100 miles total).

Our group had a real treat on Thursday after the dinosaur hunt was successful in locating the general location of the fossils. We drove to Mule canyon, and hiked to Anasazi ruins. House on Fire ruin is names for the flame like red rock overhang.

House on Fire Ruin

On our last day, we visited Needles Overlook

View from overlook

I really loved this active and exciting adventure! It was a great; physically and mentally challenging, and a total change from my everyday sedentary job.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My kind of vacation and I love archaeology and history! So glad you shared this with us! Loved the arches and would love to visit one day too! emoticon emoticon
    1741 days ago
    These are beautiful photos. You are so blessed to be able to see such beautiful places. I appreciate you for always sharing them with us. I have cd and books with places like those. It makes it very special to see them from a friend that has been there. Thank you!
    1743 days ago
    Wow - what a wonderful experience. The photos are beatiful. The next time Peter and I go to the south-west, we want to visit Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. After seeing your pictures, I can't wait to go there.
    1746 days ago
    Thanks for sharing your adventure! The photos were so beautiful. I have always wanted to see this country. I am making it one of my longterm goals to get there and hike the area. emoticon
    1746 days ago
  • OOLALA53
    I love red rock country!
    1747 days ago
    What a wonderful trip!! I love archaeology and what fun! I lived in Utah in the 1980s and have been to Moab. Also, I visited Mesa Verde in Colorado and the Fire ruins reminded me of that. There are "houses" built into the cliffs in Mesa Verde that are just fascinating that look a lot like your photos.

    Thanks for sharing and reminding me of my trip. Fun, fun!! Love, Chelsea emoticon
    1748 days ago
    Great pics! Loving on the Mesa Arch view.
    1748 days ago
  • DR1939
    This area is one of my favorite places. We've never made it to Delicate Arch. We've had to turn back twice due to the heat. I love the petroglyphs in the area. I've always wanted to do an archaeological dig. Glad you had the opportunity and took it. emoticon
    1748 days ago
    emoticon The views are breathtaking.
    1748 days ago
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