Eastern Mojave Vegetation Field Notes (Continued)  

Tom Schweich  

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2008 Tour de Swertia albomarginata
Mono Lake, August 2008
Literature Cited
 When I first read the field notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg, I was fascinated by the descriptions they wrote about the places they went and the plants and animals they found there. By publishing my field notes on the Internet I hope to follow a little bit in their tradition.



October, 2017




Saturday, October 7th

Golden, CO, to Green River, UT

Other articles: Cisco Road at RR Xing Utah Highway 128 at Cisco Rd

Locations: Cisco.
Full Size ImageEast end of Cisco siding, near Cisco, Grand County, Utah.  

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Interpretive panel for the Dinosaur Diamond

Other articles: Utah Highway 128 near Dewey Bridge

Locations: Dewey.
Full Size ImagePoint of rocks along the Colorado River.  

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Highway 128 near Dewey, Colorado
Near Dewey Bridge.

Other articles: Utah Highway 128 near Richardson Amphitheater near Fisher Towers at Rocky Rapid

Locations: Fisher Towers. Rocky Rapids.
Full Size ImageLa Sal Mountains from the side of Highway 128  

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Fisher Towers from Utah Highway 128
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Unnamed butte near Rocky Rapids.
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Stand Up Paddleboards in Rocky Rapids.
Near and in the Richardson Amphitheater.

Other articles: US Highway 191 near Crescent Junction

Locations: Book Cliffs. La Sal Mountains.
Full Size ImageBook Cliffs near Crescent Junction.  

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The La Sal Mountains south of Crescent Junction.
Moab to Green River, Utah.



Sunday, October 8th

Green River, Utah, to Saint George, Utah.

Other articles: Utah Highway 24 near The Notch Utah Highway 95 in Hanksville

Locations: Hanksville. The Notch.
Full Size ImageHollow Mountain Gas Station  

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View across Well Draw in the direction of Capitol Reef and Boulder Mountain.
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Rocks near The Notch
Green River to Hanksville.

Other articles: Utah Highway 24 bet. Hanksville & Cainville
Full Size ImageCapitol Reef with Boulder Mountain in the background  

Capitol Reef.

Other articles: Utah Highway 24 in Capitol Reef NP
Full Size ImageCanyon in Capitol Reef National Park along Utah Highway 24
Full Size ImageCanyon in Capitol Reef National Park along Utah Highway 24  

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Canyon in Capitol Reef National Park along Utah Highway 24
in Capitol Reef National Park

Other articles: Utah Highway 24 at Capitol Reef Nat'l Pk

Locations: Capitol Reef National Park.
Full Size ImageNear Park Headquarters.  

Capitol Reef National Park Headquarters.

Other articles: Utah Highway 24 at Capitol Reef Nat'l Pk
Full Size ImageCliffs at Panorama Point
Full Size ImageSmall mesa near Panorama point.  

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Small mesa near Panorama point.
At Panorama Point.


Literature Cited:
- Smith, Beatrice Scheer, 1994.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 at Larb Hollow Olook
Full Size ImageInterpretive panel at Larb Hollow Overlook.  

Larb Hollow Overlook

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Turning aspens at Larb Hollow Overlook
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View across Waterpocket Fold to San Rafael Desert

Early Explorers: Filling in the Blanks

Ellen Thompson, Expedition Botanist

Ellen Thompson, wife of A. H. Thompson and sister of John Wesley Powell, served as botanist on the sedond Powell Expedition. She collected hundreds of plants, many of them new to science. Several were named in her honor, including Thompson's Penstemon (Penstemon thompsoniae) and Thompson's Woolly Locoweed (Astragalus mollissimum var. thompsoniae). Mount Ellen, in the Henry Mountains, is also named for her.

“I never felt more exultant in my life ... I was looking on the most wonderful scenery I ever beheld.”

Andrus Expedition, 1866

“... as far as the Eye can see a naked barren plain of red and white Sandstone crossed in all directions by innumerable gorges ...” -- Franklin B. Woolley, Andrus Expedition, 1866.

Several years before the Powell Expedition, the Andrus military expedition patrolled the Aquarius Plateau region, providing the first written descriptions of this area.

Mapping the Last Uncharted Lands

By 1870, the continental United States had been mapped and surveyed, except for one area -- the vast region that surrounds you. From the Colorado River to the Aquarius Plateau, and from the Virgin River to the Green, this rugged landscape was uncharted territory.

Though the Fremont Expedition passed through Capitol Reef during the winter of 1853-54, they were desperately low on provisions and did not linger to survey the region. In 1872, John Wesley Powell launched his second expedition down thw Green and Colorado Rivers to chart the Rivers and surrounding lands. Over the next four years, his brother-in-law, Almon H. Thompson, led the land survey of southern Utah, during which he explored and charted Boulder Mountain and the rest of the Aquarius Plateau. The expedition also named and mapped the Escalante River and the Henry Mountains, respectively the last-mapped river and mountain range in the lower 48 states.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 along highway
Full Size ImageTurning aspens on Boulder Mountain  

Wide spot in road

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 along highway

Locations: Point Lookout.
Full Size ImageView south from Boulder Mountain  

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Interpretive panel
Viewpoint, south slope of Boulder Mountain.

Lay of the Land: Across a Vast Horizon

“To a life that accepts Nature's hand in sculpting an individual expression – Nothing is exempt.

From the mellifluous rhythm and tome of the wid chime, to the transitional form of the cloud – Nothing exists alone.

All things thrive and whither in confluence with one another.

So it is; the paradox of our divinity.”

– Dave Buschow

Waterpocket Fold

The 100-mile-long Waterpocket Fold forms the backbone of Capitol Reef National Park. Here, geologic rock layers drape over a steeply dipping fault plane. Over millennia, water and wind have eroded the soft layers, sculpting the Waterpocket Fold's intricate contours. Along the Fold, water collects in sandstone basins, forming “waterpockets.”

Circle Cliffs

Within this section of Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument lie huge petrified wood logs, some nearly 90 feet long. These rocks formed from trees that grew some 210 million years ago. The logs were buried in river sediments and became “petrified” as silica from volcanic ash gradually replaced organic cell tissue.

The Heart of the Escalante

“The Aquarius should be described in blank verse and illustrated upon canvas. The explorer who sits upon the brink of its parapet looking off into the southern and eastern haze, who skirts its lava cap or clambers up and down its vast ravines, who builds his camp fire by the borders of its snow-fed lakes or stretches himself beneath its giant pines and spruces, forgets that he is a geologist and feels himself a poet.”

– Clarence Dutton, 1880

The wild heart of the Escalante River drainage spreads before you – a labyrinth of canyons, mesas, and rolling slickrock. Remote peaks grace the horizon. On the far left lie the Henry Mountains, the last-named mountain range in the continental United States and home to one of the country's few free-roaming bison herds. Follow the horizon south, and you'll reach the rounded dome of Navajo Mountain on the Utah-Arizona border.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 near Calf Creek

Locations: The Hogback.
Full Size ImageBoulder Creek below Utah Highway 12  

Utah Highway 12 traverses the New Home Bench and then the Hogback on the way to crossing Calf Creek.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 in Escalante
Full Size ImageEscalante Outfitters, supplies and food
Full Size ImageWestern end of Escalante  

Lunch in Escalante at the Outfitters.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 on UT Hwy12

Locations: Powell Point.
Full Size ImagePowell Point from Utah Highway 12 (2017)  

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Interpretive plaque on the Second Powell Expedition
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Interpretive plaque about the Kaiparowits Formation
Powell Point.

Second Powell Expedition: Charting New Territory

Powell Point Recollections

“We still keep Table Mountain (Pink Point) to our left this singular mountain suggests a monster melon, sliced and standing on end. It is exactly the color of a ripe, red core; the pines that grow on ledges and benches, black specks at this distance, look like weeds.”

– Walter Clement Powell, member of the Second Powell Expedition of 1871, describing their ascent of the Blues Formation to the base of Powell Point.

The Topmost Stair

Powell Point reveals the topmost layer of the Colorado Plateau's Grand Staircase. This brilliantly colored layer, known as the Pink Cliffs or Claron Formation, is the same geologic layer that forms the spectacular, pinnacled landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park and Red Canyon, farther west on Highway 12.

Last Blank Spot on the Map

In 1871, this region was part of the last uncharted territory in the continental United States. That year, Major John Wesley Powell launched the Second Powell Expedition to explore and map this frontier, continuing the work he had begun three years earlier. Powell led the expedition safely through the wild waters of the Green and Colorado Rivers to the Paria River. He then instructed his brother-in-law Almon H. Thompson to lead the expedition overland to map what they called “the unknown country.” In 1872, expedition members climbed the slippery slopes of the badlands on which you now stand. Thompson then scaled the brilliant pink formation above you to view the surrounding country. Over the next four years, Thompson's explorations filled in this last blank spot on the U. S. map. In 1879, surveyor Clarence Dutton named this spectacular landmark “Powell Point,” in honor of Major Powell. Highway 12 now follows the 2nd Powell Expedition's exact route from Henrieville all the way to Head of the Rocks, east of Escalante.

Digging for Dinosaurs: Treasure in These Hills

Why Here?

The Kaiparowits Formation's stunning fossil record results from a perfect combination of circumstances. First, during the Late Cretaceous, this region was a lush, subtropical, coastal plain where an enormous number and variety of animals lived. Second, abundant rivers and coastal storms moved great volumes of sand and mud, so animals that died were sometimes buried quickly, preserving their remains. Lastly, uplifting of the Colorado Plateau over the past 60 million years has brought this deeply buried treasure to the surface.

Scientific Frontier

In a region famed for once being the last unmapped frontier in the continental United States, the Kaiparowits Formation remains a largely unexplored frontier. By protecting the fossils of this formation through proper collection and study, Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument conserves a vast storehouse of knowledge available nowhere else on earth.

Kaiparowits Fossil Bonanza

There's treasure beneath your feet. Not of the gold-and-rubies variety, but rather a treasure of fossilized bones, eggshells, and other paleontological gems, buried in these gray rock formations some 73-77 million years ago. Known as the Kaiparowits Formation, these sedimentary rock layers lie at the top of what is perhaps the best and most continuous record of Late Cretaceous terrestrial life in the world.

Forty-foot long crocodiles, rhinoceros-like horned dinosaurs. tyrannosaurs, and velociraptors – all lived here. Scientists have surveyed only a small fraction of the Kaiparowits Formation, and have unearthed more than one hundred species of vertebrates. Excavations are revealing a long-lost ecosystem inhabited by a fantastic array of animals, including some of the earliest marsupial and placental mammals ever found. These disoveries are helping to explain the origins of our present world.

Other articles: Utah Highway 12 in Tropic
Full Size ImagePowell Point from the roadside near Tropic  

Stop near Tropic for a photo of Powell Point.
  Monday, October 9th.

Saint George, Utah, to Laguna Hills, California

  Tuesday, October 10th.

Laguna Hills, California



Wednesday, October 11th

Laguna Hills, California.

Other articles: Alta Laguna Boulevard Alta Laguna Park

Locations: Alta Laguna Park.
Full Size ImageView from Alta Laguna Park  

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Laguna Canyon, Laguna Beach, and the Pacific Ocean
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We're the Heckawii!
Drive to Laguna Beach, Alta Laguna Park, and Niks for dinner.



Thursday, October 12th

Laguna Hills to San Luis Obispo.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 101 at rest stop
Full Size ImageGaviota Rest Stop  

Drive to San Luis Obispo from Laguna Hills. Stopped for coffee in Oxnard, and at the rest stop in Gaviota Pass.

Locations: San Luis Obispo.
Full Size ImageHouse I lived in while attending Cal Poly
Full Size ImageMarket where I worked, formerly called the New Park Grocery  

Places in San Luis Obispo.

Locations: San Luis Obispo.
Full Size ImageLine for F. McLintocks barbeque at the Farmer's Market
Full Size ImageOne reason the SLO Farmer's Market was so pleasant  

San Luis Obispo Farmer's Market
  Friday, October 13th.

San Luis Obispo.



Saturday, October 14th

San Luis Obispo and San Luis Obispo High School 55th Year Reunion.

Locations: Port San Luis.
Full Size ImagePort San Luis after lunch  

Lunch in Port San Luis

Locations: San Luis Obispo.
Full Size ImageStill functional 50+ years later  

Dinner at the Madonna Inn.



Sunday, October 15th

San Luis Obispo, Atascadero, Paso Robles, and Duckies in Cayucos for late lunch/early dinner.

Other articles: California Highway 41 83900

Locations: Atascadero Pine Mountain Cemetery.
Full Size ImageGrave marker of Paul Schweich  

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View from Atascadero Cemetery
Atascadero Cemetery

Other articles: Adelaida Road at cemetery

Locations: Adelaida Cemetery.
Full Size ImageGrave marker in Adelaida Cemetery  

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Adelaida Cemetery
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Grave marker in Adelaida Cemetery
Adelaida Cemetery to find grave of Kathy Thompson.



Monday, October 16th

San Luis Obispo to Gualala, by way of Hayward and Alameda.

Full Size ImageGrave of Jacob Schweich  
Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward.

Other articles: Fairview Avenue near Southwood
Full Size ImageThe Old House  

Drove by the ol' house and got a burrito at Taqueria Ramiro & Sons.

Other articles: California Highway 1 in Gualala

Locations: Gualala.
Full Size ImageEstuary of the Gualala River in Gualala  

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Schoenoplectus, perhaps S. californicus in the estuary of the Gualala River
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A sunset I was forced to watch in Gualala
Stayed the night in Gualala. The SurfsInn was a little disappointing.



Tuesday, October 17th

Gualala, California, to Gold Beach, Oregon.

Other articles: California Highway 1 in Fort Bragg

Locations: Fort Bragg.
Full Size ImageThe Emerald City out back of Egghead Omelettes Restaurant  

Breakfast at Egghead Omelettes Restaurant in Fort Bragg.

Other articles: Bald Hills Road at Lady Bird Johnson Grove

Locations: Lady Bird Johnson Grove.
Full Size ImageLooking up through the trees  

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Interpretive panel for “Saving the Redwoods”
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Backlit view of redwood forest.
Visit to Lady Bird Johnson Grove of redwoods.

Saving the Redwoods

As spectacular as these redwood forests are, their protection was slow to gain broader support.

One of the earliest organized efforts to save the redwoods was led by the Sempervirens Club. In 1902, they convinced the California legislature to appropriate funds for the purchase of the first state redwood park. Congressman William Kent also joined the effort. He personally bought and donated 295 acres of redwoods outside San Francisco to the federal government. His gift led to the creation of the Muir Woods National Monument in 1908.

Save the Redwoods League was founded in 1918 to purchase redwoods and convert the land to public trust. Numerous groves were protected and redwood state parks created through the League's efforts, including Del Norte Coast Redwoods, Jedediah Smith Redwoods, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks.

A renewed effort to establish a national redwood park began in the early 1960s. These efforts were augmented in 1963 when a National Geographic survey team discovered several trees along Redwood Creek that were taller than any previously known. This discovery helped lead to the establishment of Redwood National Park in October of 1968.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 101 at Bandon

Locations: Bandon.
Full Size ImageTsunami Evacuation Map for Bandon, Oregon  

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Face Rock
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Location code for use in case of emergency
Face Rock State Park in Bandon, Oregon
  Wednesday, October 18th.

Gold Beach to Albany.

  Thursday, October 19th.

Albany, Oregon

  Friday, October 20th.

Albany, Oregon, to Boise, Idaho.

Other articles: US I-84 at Rooster Rock

Locations: Rooster Rock (historical).
Full Size ImageInterpretive panel at Rooster Rock State Park  

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Rooster Rock
Rooster Rock and State Park.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

Rooster Rock

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the two great American explorers who made secure the claim of the United States for the Oregon country, passed along this stretch of the Columbia River with their Corps of Discovery on their way to the Pacific Ocean on October 31 -- November 2, 1805. They brought their boats through the “Great Shute” (now covered by the waters of Bonneville Dam) and recorded “a remarkable high detached rock stands in a bottom on the stard side ... [it is] 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call [it] the beaten rock.” A later journal entry called it Beacon Rock.

The captains described “great numbers of sea otters” and “a high clift of black rocks” (Cape Horn) on the north shore. Clark wrote “here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each side ... passed a rock near the middle of the river, about 100 feet high and 80 feet diameter [Phoca Rock] ... we encamped under a high projecting rock on the lard [Rooster Rock].”

The expedition camped in this area April 6-9, 1806, on their return journey. They noted that Beacon Rock “may be esteemed the head of tidewater.”



Saturday, October 21st

Boise, Idaho, to Rock Creek, Wyoming.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 91 bet. Zenda and Red Rock Pass
Full Size ImageView south to Red Rock Pass
Full Size ImageLooking north towards Zenda (in the trees)  

Between Zenda and Red Rock Pass.

Other articles: U. S. Highway 91 Red Rock Pass

Locations: Red Rock Pass.
Full Size ImageHill with monument  

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Interpretive Panel for Red Rock Pass
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Interpretive Panel for Red Rock Pass
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Memorial plaque to Captain Jefferson Hunt
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View from top of hill

Red Rock Pass Geological Site

About 14,500 years ago, ancient Lake Bonneville overflowed at this site. A dam of alluvial fans between Oxford Mountain to the west and the Portneuf Range to the east suddenly eroded releasing Lake Bonneville from the Great Basin into the Snake River system. The Peak flow was about one million cubic meters per second at the pass, or about 500 times the maximum discharge on the Snake River at Idaho Falls, Idaho. Ancient “bathtub ring” shorelines up to 1,000 feet above the valley floor are readily visible in the Salt Lake Valley. Evidence of the flood is visible thoughout southern Idaho with areas of scoured bare bedrock (“scabland”) and deposits of boulders (“melon gravel”) marking the flood path. After about 11,000 years, Lake Bonneville receded to become the Great Salt Lake. Highly saline and only 40 feet deep, it is but a shadow of giant fresh-water Lake Bonneville.

Red Rock Pass is the geographic northern extremity of the Bonneville drainage basin, and was also designated by the early Latter-day Saint leaders as the northern edge of the proposed State of Deseret. North of here, water flows to the Snake, Salmon, and Columbia rivers, on the way to the Pacific Ocean, but south of here it flows into the Great Basin and the Great Salt Lake.

South of the monument in Red Rock Pass, the house-sized limestone blocks were jostled during the breakout of the Bonneville flood. The uneven topography northwest of the monument is a landslide which flowed into Red Rock Pass after it was deepened about 400 feet during the flood. Ancient cave formations are found in the flat-lying limestone of Red Rock Butte immediately north of the monument.

Red Rock Pass

You are standing in the outlet of ancient Lake Bonneville. A vast prehistoric inland sea, of which Salt Lake is a modern remnant.

Covering over 20,000 square miles when it overflowed here about 14,500 years ago, its winding shoreline would have stretched from here to New Orleans if it were straightened out. This pass was deepened considerably when Lake Bonneville began to slow into Snake River. For a time, a torrent several times larger than the Amazon was discharged here. Finally, with a hotter, drier climate that slowly emerged about 8,000 years ago, Lake Bonneville gradually disappeared.

No 119

Erected October 2, 1950

Captain Jefferson Hunt, Soldier, Pioneer, Churchman

Charles Jefferson Hunt served in the Mormon Battalion as captain of Company “A” and as assistant executive officer, in its historic march from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California, 1846-47. His service won the commendation of all who served with him.

Under appointment by President Brigham Young in 1851, Captain Hunt was guide for the pioneers to San Bernardino, California. His pioneering service included also Provo, Parowan, and Huntsville (which bears hus name), in Utah, and Oxford, Idaho.

A convert to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints he was loyal, obedient, and faithful to the end.

Erected by descendents of Captain Hunt and the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association.

Other articles: UT Hwy 30 90000
Full Size ImageWelcome to Wyoming!  

Into Wyoming; only one state away from home!
  Sunday, October 22nd.

Rock Creek, Wyoming, to Golden, Colorado.

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Date and time this article was prepared: 4/6/2020 10:18:55 AM