Sunday, August 12, 2018

A Visit to Rock Corral Recreation Area, Milford, Utah

The kids and I wanted to go to Cedar City, so we left the afternoon before so we could go camp someplace interesting. I wasn't exactly sure where we were going to camp, but as we approached Milford with the beautiful sunlight on the granite rock of the Mineral Mountain Range, I decided that would be the place.

I had been wanting to check out The Rock Corral Recreation Area for many years, but had always just gone by this sign along Utah Highway 21 on the south side of Milford.

It was a Friday night, so we were expecting to see lots of people up there. But it turned out we didn't see anyone else! We found a nice place to camp that even included a bathroom.

The moon was rising early, so I tried to get a photo of an awesome tree in the camping area with some of the stars showing.

The next morning I woke up early and wandered around. Even though I was in flip flops, I couldn't resist scampering to the top of a ridge for this view.

We left our camping area and headed to the day-use area.

We found more amazing rocks--and no one else!

The end of the road has a nice picnic shelter. 

We took a social trail from there and went by some maple trees.

And some oaks! We don't have oaks by us, so I'm always excited to see them.

We wandered for a bit, admiring the rugged scenery.

Then we headed out and actually saw one other person! We also took a short walk out a ridge, and down in the ravine next to a spring saw a deer.

We also stumbled across a Utah Life Elevated Geocache.

There are lots of opportunities for rock climbing and rock hounding in the Mineral Mountains. We didn't come prepared, so we headed on to Cedar City, taking the scenic way across the mountains. Some cows joined us on the road.

We didn't know where we would end up, but eventually we got to a tiny town with some interesting ruins.

Our morning explorations got us to Cedar City about lunch time, where we ate at the Hong Kong Buffet, which has really good sushi. Yum, yum.

Our next stop was to the Mastermind Room Escape. Desert Boy had gone for his birthday with my husband and Desert Girl, and with some hints, they had made it out of the Ski Lodge in 65 minutes. I had made a snafu ordering the tickets, so had the ones that I had gotten on Groupon that were only valid during the open hours (meaning you might be paired with another group). The snafu meant that I had the opportunity to go too, so we signed up for the Detective's Room.

While waiting, we worked on some other puzzles.

Well, I'd like to say we were awesome detectives and got out in 39 minutes, but we didn't. We didn't get out at all. But it was fun (for the first half hour) and then a little frustrating (when we couldn't figure out clues).  Overall it was a good experience, and we learned some things about ourselves (like we need to be a lot more thorough searching).

On the way home, I snapped a photo of this wildfire that had burned right across the highway near Minersville. The retardant drops were really obvious.
It was a fun short trip, and I always enjoy checking out new things!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Everyone Needs Darkness Art Exhibit

There's a super cool art exhibit at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center in Great Basin National Park called "Everyone Needs Darkness." School kids from across the Great Basin were invited to do art for this theme, and the results were quite impressive. I took some time one day to enjoy the exhibit.

Next to the artwork are displays with the artists' names, title, and description. Here we have "Children Need Darkness" by Elle from Layton, Utah and "A Mirror in the Darkness" by Burklie, Sam, and Rylee from EskDale, Utah.

Some exhibits were three-dimensional, like the bottom one in the photo below titled, "Draw Back the City, Let in the Night."

I didn't know what this was at first, but then read the title, "Embraced by the Night." The description is precious: "We wanted to show how important the night is to the world. We made the earth being hugged by the night sky..."

In this textile piece, each student decorated a piece of fabric and they stitched them all together.

There are too many pieces of art to show them all in this post, but here you can see the theater wall covered.

More artwork is shown out in the lobby.

Finally, three more pieces, with descriptions at the bottom. Check out this 3D owl from Eureka, Nevada student Scarlett.

This Great Horned Owl by Henderson, NV student Athena.

And this "Moonlight Dance" by Henderson, NV student Adina.

The show runs through September 8, which happens to be the Astronomy Festival at Great Basin National Park. It's worth a visit!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Night Shoot on the Ranch

 One clear night I couldn't resist getting up and taking some Milky Way photos. And what better models than some farm equipment? I think it looks extra cool at night. What do you think?

I finished by going out into the fields. Each pivot has a bright light on it to show that it's working, so I wasn't sure how that was going to turn out. Plus the moon was rising. Fortunately the effect was pretty cool!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Trip to the "Magic Grove"

 In June I took the Nevada Conservation Corps crew I had been working with on thinning projects plus some Rangercorps interns up Mt. Washington to apply verbenone to limber pine seed trees. Seeds were collected several years ago to test for resistance to white pine blister rust. In case these trees are resistant, we want to keep them safe from mountain pine beetles. When mountain pine beetles enter a tree, they send out a pheromone called verbenone to signify when the tree is full of pine beetles. So if we apply a synthetic verbenone, then the beetles are fooled and go to other trees.

The first obstacle getting up Mt. Washington is a very steep and curvy road. We also came across a log down, but fortunately the NCC crew had a saw and was able to take care of that.

The views are marvelous! This is looking into Spring Valley and the Schell Creek Range.

We summited Mt. Washington and then went down the other side.

It's kind of steep. Steep enough there are very few plants.

But there were a few of these gorgeous Nevada primrose (Primula nevadensis).

Then we got down to the "Magic Grove" of bristlecones. These tortured trees live with extreme winds, few nutrients, and a short growing season. Despite that adversity, or maybe because of it, they manage to live for millennia.

This natural area is delicate and not visited by many. Those who do visit are reminded to be gentle.

We posed by the "Quarter Tree," which is featured on the Great Basin quarter.

There are a lot of other cool trees up there too.

After applying verbenone to the selected trees,

it was time to climb up Mt. Washington from the other side.

This little tree is raising the treeline on the mountain.

You can actually find pieces of old bristlecone wood even higher, indicating that when the climate was warmer, the forest moved up the mountain. Dendrochronologists have taken sections and tagged these pieces of wood to find out exactly when the trees lived. There's lots more info stored on these mountains than might appear at first glance. That's also why campfires above 10,000 feet aren't allowed in the park--these wood fragments are too valuable to be burned up.

And before we left the mountain, I had to get a photo of the highest elevation cave in Nevada--that slit on the mountain. It just goes down to some snow, there's not much to it. But the scenery is spectacular!

And what better way to end a gorgeous day than at Kerouac's, listening to the Front Porch Pickers.
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