The Southwest Scene

Where Rocks Have Names- Running Rapids on Western Rivers

Where Rocks Have Names- Running Rapids on Western Rivers

A rock is a rock is a rock, unless it is in the middle of a fast flowing river and you are about to smash into it with the front of your boat. In which case you’re apt to give it a name. River runners have been christening rocks and rapids for more than a […]

New Threat to the Grand Canyon- A Proposed Tram to the Bottom

New Threat to the Grand Canyon- A Proposed Tram to the Bottom

  On previous raft trips down the Grand Canyon I have seen summer rains bring roiling muddy water from the Little Colorado into the deep green of the Colorado River and dramatically change it to a silt brown color. This June was different. We tied off our rafts at the confluence and walked upstream beside […]

Culture Clash- Tourism Vs. Oil & Gas in Moab

Culture Clash- Tourism Vs. Oil & Gas in Moab

As a benefit for the San Juan Mountains Association, we had organized a canoe trip on the Green River near Moab to paddle 60 miles from Geyser Springs to Mineral Bottom.  Colorado’s Centennial Canoe Outfitters claims this is “part of the longest stretch of quiet wilderness water in the western United States.” We had plans […]

The Antiquities Act and the Conservation Legacy of Republicans

The Antiquities Act and the Conservation Legacy of Republicans

  Why is it that the Republicans continue to ignore their own conservation heritage? The latest chest-pounding, finger pointing grandstanding has been by Utah Rep. Rob Bishop whose H.R. 1459 passed the House. His bill attempts to gut the 1906 Antiquities Act signed into law by my hero Republican President Theodore Roosevelt who used it […]

Grand Canyon by Water- 14 Days Below the Rim

Grand Canyon by Water- 14 Days Below the Rim

By Andrew Gulliford It had been 105 degrees in the sun, but luckily I was in the shade when the rocks rolled and I tumbled downslope with my right foot firmly wedged between a large boulder and a 50 lb. stone. My body upside down, my hat off, my left arm bleeding, I was getting […]

Recapture Canyon: An Illegal ATV Trail and a County Request

Recapture Canyon: An Illegal ATV Trail and a County Request

                                          In Utah, the Bureau of Land Management is seeking comments on what could be a precedent-setting mistake. In 2005, Blanding residents illegally constructed a seven-mile-long, 4-foot-wide, all-terrain-vehicle trail in Recapture Canyon, damaging archaeological sites. […]

For the Birds- Eyes to Skies Hawk Watching the West

For the Birds- Eyes to Skies Hawk Watching the West

  Adventure is not just what you do, but also what you observe. I love watching hawks, especially Red-tails in the Southwest and peregrines, ospreys and eagles wherever I can find them. Imagine scanning skies with binoculars looking for raptors and then catching the wild birds to tag and test them–even drawing blood samples! Utah […]

Jones Creek, Utah: An Oasis in the Desert

Jones Creek, Utah: An Oasis in the Desert

Vernal, Utah A perennial stream in the desert is a blessing, and across the Colorado Plateau there’s nothing quite like Jones Creek on the Utah/Colorado state line in Dinosaur National Monument. To raft the Green or Yampa Rivers and to come out of the glare of canyon walls into the cool lush shaded banks of […]

Canyon Country Canine- My Public Land Pup

Canyon Country Canine- My Public Land Pup

  My dog is the best dog in the world. Now, he hasn’t always been that way. He’s a Springer Spaniel/Labrador or a “Springador” and he was the puppy from hell. He chewed three pairs of reading glasses and the top off of one of my cowboy boots. He didn’t do too well in puppy […]

Dinosaurs are Back!

Dinosaurs are Back!

Jensen, Utah   Dinosaurs are back! Well, maybe not from the Cretaceous Age 150 million years ago, but they’ve returned again on display at Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, Utah. Actually, the large lizard bones never left, but the quarry exhibit building had been closed for five years because it had broken free of its […]

Butch and the Boys in Robber's Roost

Butch and the Boys in Robber’s Roost

One of Utah’s most famous sons was a thief. For stealing a $5 horse, Butch Cassidy spent two years in the Wyoming State Prison. He learned his lesson, though. He never got caught stealing horses again. Instead he turned to robbing trains. Butch figured they’d pay better. He was right. Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, […]

Utah's Canyon Country Place Names: An Essential New Book

Utah’s Canyon Country Place Names: An Essential New Book

As a young canyoneer and backpacker, Steve Allen wanted to learn more about the red rock canyon country of southern Utah. He began a desert quest that took him into some of the wildest country in America. Forty thousand hard-hiking, boot-busting, knee-wrenching miles later he shares his knowledge in Utah’s Canyon Country Place Names, a […]

Blood Red Rock Art on the San Rafael Swell

Blood Red Rock Art on the San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell, Utah Of the thousands of Indian rock art panels in the Southwest, none are older than Barrier Canyon pictographs found throughout the San Rafael Swell. From tiny five-inch animal figures to stunning seven-foot tall human shapes with no arms or legs and alien-like bug eyes, Barrier Canyon style images are almost always […]

Last of the Desert River Rats

Last of the Desert River Rats

    I came out of my room at one of the lodges near Lees Ferry, Arizona and there he stood in the parking lot. Eyes crinkled. Hair white.  Faded blue, quilted coat with duct tape on the sleeve. As a young man he had walked thousands of miles through canyon country, often alone. As […]

Handprints in the Canyon

Handprints in the Canyon

The shadows grew long. I knew I had to get off the slick rock and out of the canyon soon or I’d never cross the wash in the proper place, find my way through the mud and the tangle of tamarisks, and up the other side to my truck. Shadows lengthened. Impatient and a bit […]