Monday, April 10, 2017

Part the Fifth: Scenic Rte 12

After watching the sun rise over Bryce Canyon, we set off for Moab.  We'd gone back and forth about taking the scenic route vs. the interstate, but the presence of a small museum in Boulder, Utah tipped the balance.  We quickly found out how it earned the tag 'scenic'.

The road crosses parts of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through some of the wildest and most desolate terrain to be found in the southwest.  Informative placques (have I mentioned lately how much we adore informative placques?) told us that this was the last part of the continental US to be completely surveyed and mapped.
The road was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1935 and 1940, and it took not just 5 years but tons of dynamite to blast a road through the rocky landscape.

The town of Boulder was the last place in the US to get mail by mule train, and it wasn't until 1947 when the CCC finished their road that they got electricity.    We stopped there to see the Anasazi State Park Museum.   The museum was interesting, but the real attraction is the ruins of an Anasazi village, that was occupied by about 250 people between 1160 to 1235 AD.  The rooms with firepits in the center were living spaces, and the ones without were used for storage.
Grinding stones would have been used to grind corn.
And pit dwellings provided relief from both the coldest and the hottest temperatures.
The logs would have been covered with branches and clay.  The ladder giving access through the roof is believed to reference a creation myth wherein humans emerged from the ground.

From the museum, the road continues up over the shoulder of Boulder Mountain, into aspen and pine forest with amazing views out over the Escalante river valley.

And all this was just the morning- we arrived in Moab in time for lunch.  But that's another post.

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