Friday, October 29, 2021

Southbound Days 6 & 7

Here's a recap of Wednesday & Thursday.

On the 27th we headed out into Cathedral Valley. That road is about 20 miles from camp.  It had been closed due to storm damage which was still very apparent.  The road was considerably rougher than we expected so we only went about 5 miles in.  It was very slow going, often less than 5 miles an hour so we bagged that idea and slowly worked our way back out to Utah 24.

We then did a drive-by of Caineville for our "On The Trail of Port Pectol" video series.

After lunch at camp we headed off to our Phone Booth under true Blue Bird Skies. This Reef Country is mighty nice under any light but it's especially fine with crisp, cool blue sky.  The snow-covered Henry Mountains really stand out in that kind of light.

The cell signal booster turned one very weak bar into three strong bars and we were able to post a lot of stuff. I consider myself above average tech savvy but it simply never ceases to amaze me that a video can somehow travel through the air from a pimpy $50 phone through some voodoo booster and wind up visible to the world.  I am dazzled by that kind of stuff.

After Susun's Nap Time at camp we drove out to Grand Wash and thence to the Slick Rock Divide before calling it a day.  Once again Susun's newfound cribbage success prevailed and I was forced to eat crow in two losses.  When the cribbage pendulum swings to another corner, it stays there for awhile.
Thursday got off to a quick start...well, if you can call leaving camp at 10 AM "quick". 

First, we tramped around the edge of Sulphur Creek trying to get a photo match of the  Clair Bird Ripple Rock Mine.

Then we headed into Torrey Town in high hopes of getting some decent WIFI. HAHAHA!  The Visitor Center claimed to have WIFI but it didn't work so we used our  phones once again.

The NPS gave us an address for their digital archives but they weren't useful to us.  Luckily, the Visitor Center had a copy of the Wayne County History and we struck paydirt by finding THE 1937 photo that we desparately needed.

We learned from the woman at the Visitor Center that there was "NO WAY" we could gain access to the inside of the old Torrey log Church.  Typing the "NO WAY" in ALL CAPS gives you an idea of her raised voice emphasis that such access wasn't ever going to happen.  Period. Case closed.

Yes, that's rather odd but we accept local realities, especially when we're in Utah.  It goes with the turf.

After leaving the Visitor Center, we went to the Torrey Town Cemetery and found Port & Dottie Pectol's graves.

The Visitor Center "NO WAY" woman told us that Port Pectol's old Wayne Umpire store was alive and well as The Chuckwagon so we headed there.  Sure enuf, the surly clerk showed up photos of the old store and even took them down off the wall to let us photograph them.

Why do I say he was surly?  Well, Susun loves to ask a lot of questions and one of her questions to the clerk didn't go over so well.  She asked, "What do you do during the winter?  The surly clerk snaped back, "Whatever I want."  Okie, dokie, we got that.

Actually, the guy warmed up a little bit when I showed him the old photo of the inside of The Wayne Umpire.  Man, he wanted that photo BAD!  So, he actually gave me his email and I sent it to him right at the counter.  High tech stuff in low tech Torrey Town.
After another longing visit to the log church, we headed back to camp to stage for our Discovery.  We knew we had a smoking gun photo in hand that would help us find the site of the September 25, 1937, gala National Monument dedication ceremony attended by 2,500 people.

Stuff tends to get lost over time, especially in a bureaucracy like the NPS.  We found it exceedingly odd that no one could tell us where the dedication took place.  Wouldn't YOU think that was odd, too?

At first as we drove down Grand Wash, we couldn't see a photo match and we were getting bummed out.  But we turned around at the Capitol Gorge trailhead and, BINGO!  The photo match leaped right off the cliff wall at us.  

We were SO excited. It's difficult to explain that type of excitement but it's very tangible and very, very real.

And then....

And then we found the echoes.  WOW!  Talk about excited!  It was an exhilirating experience and one we will not soon forget.
After grabbing some videos of the echoes, we beat feet back to the Visitor Center and rallied up Thann, the Cultural Resources Manager.  He caught our buzz, too, when he realized we had truly documented the lost site of the 1937 dedication.  It was so awesome to have someone to share the news with who really understood and appreciated what it meant and how fun it was to find it.

Then the three of us went outside to ponder the location of the Clair Bird Ripple Rock Mine.  More fun.

Finally, it was time to call it a day and we returned to camp.  Naturally, SUsun's Streak of Cribbage wins continued unabated and I skulked off to sleep with my cribbage tail between my legs.

Today is our last full day at Capitol Reef.  Once the sun rises high over the sheer cliffs here, we will head back to the 1937 Dedication site and deliver a short Eulogy for Port Pectol.  Eulogies R US.
We're heading back into Torrey Town to try to meet us with Ann Torrence at the Etta Place Cidery.  Maybe Ann will know the Secret Handshake that could get us into the historic Torrey Log Church.

Thanks for reading.

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