Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jukebox Cave Wendover, Utah May 14, 2013

                                     Petroglyph showing a person on horseback with a lance

Location: Jukebox Cave is located near Danger Cave in western Utah. Inquire at the Wendover Welcome Center for more detailed instructions on its location. Remember just like Danger Cave, Jukebox Cave has an iron gate in front of it. A short steep trail takes visitors up to the cave entrance. This trail is steep and rocky so watch your step.

Jukebox has an interesting history. The Desert Archaic People lived in the cave 8000 to 2000 years ago. They lived in the cave because of its location near Lake Bonneville which supported a wide variety of wildlife.  Jennings and his team of archaeologists have uncovered many different artifacts including bones of animals, stone tools, and basketry. Unlike Danger Cave this cave has rock art which depicts people on horses with lances, and bows and arrows. In 1943, soldiers at the Wendover Air Base constructed a concrete dance floor. For many years serviceman and women came up here to dance at night.

Sadly, vandalism and funding have been problematic. In the cave someone spray painted over one of the petroglyphs ruining it. Visitors have also dug underneath the dance floor and in other parts of the cave hoping to find artifacts. With this gate vandalism has come to a halt. Second, funding for state parks in the state has been cut drastically. As a result, Utah has not been able to put up more informative signs on the grounds, create a good trail up to the cave or been able to offer regular tours.  (Information from Utah State Parks brochure).

                 My favorite petroglyph. Shows an individual on horseback hunting Bighorn Sheep. 

                    Closer look at individual on horseback

               Looking outside the cave

                     Looking east toward the Salt Flats from the cave entrance

                               Cave entrance

Danger Cave Wendover, Utah May 14, 2013

                 Danger Cave with fencing

Location and Information: Danger Cave (originally Hands and Knees Cave) is located outside of Wendover, Utah, in western Utah. To get to the cave take the Boneville Speeway Exit off of I-80. Follow dirt roads going west toward Wendover. The cave has a metal gate on it now so visitor will need to inquire about tours through the state of Utah.

Danger Cave is an important archaelogical site for the Great Basin.  Because it is a dry cave artifacts have been preserved for 1000s of years. During the years of 1949-1953 Jesse Jennings and his team from the University of Utah uncovered a large amount of artifacts from the Desert Archaic people who lived in Utah 8000 to 2000 years ago. Items recovered include leather, basketry, wooden artifacts and bones from many wild animals. Within the layers of soil, archaeologists have even found evidence of campfires lit 6000 years ago. Many of these artifacts are on display at the University of Utah. The cave has a low temperature all year long making it a great place to escape the desert sun.

Sadly this cave has a history of vandalism. For decades residents of Utah and Nevada were able to wonder into the cave freely. Most visitors treated the cave with respect however, a small number dug into the ground ruining precious artifacts and some people even spray painted on the walls. The BLM created the iron gate to keep vandals out. Make sure to respect our natural heritage or more sites such as this will be fenced off. (Information from Utah State Parks Brochure).

                Closer look at the cave. If you look closely you can see the vandalism I talked about

                                  Tags from the archaeological dig; showing the different layers in the soil.

         Looking back toward the front of the cave. Visitors need to climb down a ladder into the space.

                           Jesse Jennings and his team working in the cave.

Fielding Garr Ranch Antelope Island May 12, 2013

                            Horse in field  with Grain Silo and Stables in the background

Location: The Fielding Garr Ranch House is located on the southern end of Antelope Island. After crossing the seven mile causeway, turn left onto the road that follows the eastern shoreline of the lake. Follow this road 11 miles to the Ranch which will be on your left. Keep an eye out for Bison and other animals as you drive south along the road.

General Information: Admission is free because it is on state park land. Please realize that upkeep of the grounds and buildings is expensive so donations are encouraged. Highlights include a museum with artifacts and history of the ranch, Grain Silo, Ranch house, cellar and stable. The grounds themselves are beautiful with large Cottonwoods and flowers. A large picnic area offers a great place to eat lunch or dinner with plenty of shade from trees.

Short History: The Fielding Garr Ranch has a number of distinctions. First, the ranch house is the oldest "Anglo" structure still standing on its original foundation. Second, the ranch was in operation from 1848 to 1981. Cattle and sheep were the primary livestock managed by ranch hands. In 1981 Utah bought the southern half of the island ending operations.

                  In 1848,  Fielding Garr had been commissioned by the Mormon Church to establish a ranch on Antelope Island to manage the churches tithing herds (livestock to fund the Perpetual Immigration Fund). (Church members created the fund to aid in the relocation of Mormons to the Salt Lake Valley). Fielding Garr chose this area because of its location on the strong Garr Spring which supplied ample water. The Mormon Church operated the ranch until the late 1870s.

                 The next owner was John Dooley Sr. who purchased Antelope Island for one million dollars. Under his direction the newly created Island Improvement Company introduced 12 bison to the island in hopes of creating a commercial hunting venture. Under John Dooley's direction the ranch would also have one of the largest industrialized sheep and cattle ranches in the west. It would be a large working ranch until 1981. (Information from Fielding Gar Ranch Informational Booklet Produced by Utah State Parks).

                            Even though this photo was taken in the middle of day; I like its layers with the Irises in the foreground, historic cars and Wasatch Mountains.

                                        Me on the grounds of the Fielding Garr Ranch

                                           Beautiful grounds

                                  Wheel and other artifacts used on the ranch