Saturday, June 24, 2017

Panguitch Utah Be sure to read about the Quilt Walk

On Friday we had a short trip from #7 Escalante to  #8 Panguitch. When we got up the sky was completely clear of smoke where we were. Beautiful blue sky for our trip. It was only 70 miles between the two towns, but all kinds of scenery. 
Road was not quite as curvy as coming to Escalante. But it wasn't a road to drive fast on either. 
 Always strange to have a red/green light out in the middle of no where. Road work ahead, but just a 1/4 mile on flat land. 
 One of the little farming/ranching towns we went through. Pretty hills in the background. 
 Just an old barn on outskirts of town. 
 We went through a tip of Bryce Canyon.

 And then through Red Canyon. And it surely was red. 
 Had to go through two very short tunnels.
 Just more scenery. 

Getting near Panguitch we can see the Brian Head fire burning. Luckily the wind was blowing the smoke away from where we were going. 
Panguitch is a town of about 1500 people. Founded in 1864. One of the founders of the town was Jens Neilsen. He was quite a man. He was Mormon and originally came to Salt Lake as part of the Hand Cart Trail. Here is some information about the handcart pioneers.

Handcarts: 1856–60

In 1856, the church inaugurated a system of handcart companies in order to enable poor European emigrants to make the trek more cheaply. Handcarts, two-wheeled carts that were pulled by emigrants instead of draft animals, were sometimes used as an alternate means of transportation from 1856 to 1860. They were seen as a faster, easier, and cheaper way to bring European converts to Salt Lake City. Almost 3,000 Mormons, with 653 carts and 50 supply wagons, traveling in 10 different companies made the trip over the trail to Salt Lake City. While not the first to use handcarts, they were the only group to use them extensively.
The handcarts were modeled after carts used by street sweepers and were made almost entirely of wood. They were generally six to seven feet (183 to 213 cm) long, wide enough to span a narrow wagon track, and could be alternately pushed or pulled. The small boxes affixed to the carts were three to four feet (91 to 122 cm) long and eight inches (20 cm) high. They could carry about 500 pounds (227 kg), most of this weight consisting of trail provisions and a few personal possessions.
All but two of the handcart companies successfully completed the rugged journey, with relatively few problems and only a few deaths. However, the fourth and fifth companies, known as the Willie and Martin Companies, respectively, had serious problems. The companies left Iowa City, Iowa, in July 1856, very late to begin the trip across the plains. They met severe winter weather west of present-day Casper, Wyoming, and continued to cope with deep snow and storms for the remainder of the journey. Food supplies were soon exhausted. Young organized a rescue effort that brought the companies in, but more than 210 of the 980 emigrants in the two parties died.
The handcart companies continued with more success until 1860, and traditional ox-and-wagon companies also continued for those who could afford the higher cost. After 1860, the church began sending wagon companies east each spring, to return to Utah in the summer with the emigrating Latter-day Saints. Finally, with the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad  in 1869, future emigrants were able to travel by rail, and the era of the Mormon pioneer trail came to an end.

Jens Neilson also was one of the first settlers of Panguitch. 
Click here to read more about Jens Neilsen. He lived to be 85!
This weekend is the Balloon Rally. Didn't know that when I picked this RV park. Lots of vendors and music going on in the downtown area. Quiet out where we are a couple miles north of town. At 6:30 the 30 or more balloons go up. Hope I wake up in time to see that. And I hope the smoke has cleared and the wind let up. 
Tomorrow night is the Balloon Glow right downtown. Sure want to see that. 
The Paradise RV park where we are. Good WiFi, level gravel spot only $15.50 a night. We're going to be here until Monday if the altitude doesn't bother Bill too much - 6500 feet again. And if the smoke keeps blowing away from us. 
 The smoke from the campground. On the map at the beginning of the post you can see where we are and were Brian Head is- lower left corner. About 25 miles as the crow flies. 
Some pictures of downtown. We went in to the grocery store and to find out for sure where the balloons go up. 

Saw this statue in the Quilt Walk Park. Then I remembered reading about the walk. The settlers of Utah were amazing. Jens Neilsen first went to Paragonha [also showing on map above] before coming to Panguitch. He left Panguitch and went to Escalante then his family was one of the families that were on the Hole in the Rock trail.
Click here to read about the Quilt Walk. Very very interesting.
 Here is the state of Utah's map of the fires. lower left is the Brian Head fire. 
About 5:00 smoke is getting worse. So far it has burned 28,000 acres. And about 8 buildings, but it is burning around a lake with a lot of homes. 

The fire has grown over night. Continues to be lots of smoke in sky. Still south of us, though I can now smell it.
We went to the balloon festival this morning. LOVED IT

Friday, June 23, 2017

History from town of Escalante, UT

Started this yesterday but didn't finish it. No reason, just didn't. 
Our stay in Escalante is ending, tomorrow morning we'll be on the road again. Only 70 miles to Panguitch. We're supposed to stay the weekend but with an altitude of 6500 feet we may cut our time there short. 
Escalante was settled by the Mormons in the late 1870s. 
The RV and Willie in the Canyons of Escalante RV Park. Level spaces and good WiFi. Fine place to spend a few days. We didn't get out too much as it was just too hot to be driving or walking around the desert. 
A little about the town. Over 50% of its historically and architecturally significant buildings are relatively intact. The town was laid out following the Zion Plat System. All blocks were 5 acres divided into four 1.25 acre lots. Each property in town had a home, barn, granary, root cellar, chicken coop, one of more sheds, a garden and an orchard. We picked up a little map of the older buildings and drove around checking them out. One of the few wooden homes left standing. Built in 1911. 
A mural on one of the buildings. 
Not sure about this, but thought it deserved a posting. Is that supposed to be John Wayne?
The early buildings were built of locally produced lumber, sandstone, volcanic boulders, sun-dried adobe bricks and fired red clay bricks. One of the older homes that has been kept up and occupied. 
This one is boarded up. Built around 1890.

The wind was still blowing while we were driving around, see the dust blowing across the street.  Glad we weren't on the road in the RV.
This one has also been kept up and occupied. 
Another one that is falling down. I wonder how much it would take to restore it. The doors, windows, hardware and household were brought in by horse drawn wagons over hundreds of miles of dirt roads. Most manufactured in the Midwest and Eastern factories. 
Nice view from town. 
We visited the Hole in the Rock Heritage Site. When we were in Bluff a couple of weeks ago we visited the Hole in the Rock Museum. Click here to read about their history.   Escalante is where they began their six month trek. Amazing people. And they did it in winter. Go back and read the whole story. 
The orange line is their path. They averaged 1.7 miles a day. Where it says Hole in the Rock they had to chisel and blast a path through a narrow steep canyon down to the Colorado River. 
The decent now ends at Lake Powell. We watched a video on how they did this. 
I can't even imagine doing this. Not one life was lost on this journey and a couple of babies were born.

I guess there had to be a "last wagon."
Good advice.

A cabin in Escalante still standing. But not being taken care of. 

Downtown Escalante. 
About 5:00 in the evening it got dark outside. Really really weird looking. Spooky. 

 There is a big fire about 60 miles away just outside of Cedar City. The winds were carrying the smoke our way. Couldn't smell smoke and no ashes. Thank goodness.

 The sun trying to shin through the smoke. 
By about 9 the winds shifted and the sky cleared.