Happy to announce that my image of Thompson Pass looking toward Moab was used as the cover image to a great new book published by The University of Utah Press. The book is Roads in the Wilderness Conflict in Canyon Country by Jedediah S. Rogers who is the winner of the Wallace Stegner Prize in American Environmental or Western History. It can be ordered through Amazon and University of Utah Press. Over the Holidays I had time to read it and found it very enlightening. For example I had no idea how deeply entrenched differing views of the landscape are and how roads play directly into those views. As a new westerner (from Ohio) and avid vehicle based explorer I found Roads in the Wilderness to be welcome change from the trail guides I read on the area. After reading Jedediah Rogers book I have a deeper understanding of how the roads came to be, what they represent to various parties in Southern Utah. I can highly recommend this book to fellow explorers of southern Utah. I am grateful to have one of my images grace the cover of this fine book.
From the back of the book: “A fresh and engaging contribution to environmental history, especially for its interpretation of the Mormon cultural heritage as a driving force for the economic development of the Utah hinterlands. Rogers’s work shows how cultural imperatives arising out of the nineteenth-century settlement period, including memories of the 1879 to 1880 Bluff–San Juan expedition, gave roads their lasting and significant meaning in the minds of many contemporary residents.”
—Frederick H. Swanson, author of Dave Rust: A Life in the Canyons
On your way to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah on the top of the first hill you will pass by a small ghost town with a locked gate and a sign over the entrance that says Maries Place. Most people will hardly notice and just pass by this desolate and nondescript grouping of buildings without ever knowing the colorful story of what happened here. Above: the Inner Portal of the Home of Truth. The story of these buildings can be found in the wikipedia entry “Home of Truth, Utah”. Above: The locked gate. Respect private property and photograph the Home of Truth from the road. Hopefully in the future it will be open for visitors to explore.
Above: Abandoned buildings at the Home of Truth. I would love to someday tour the facility and see the view from that wrap around porch.
Above: The largest building at the Home of Truth photographed in early morning light from North Flats Road. The area around the Home of Truth is great for scenic driving with many striped rock outcroppings and the occasional corral.The better part of an hour south of Moab it is usually passed by as visitors are on the way to the famous newspaper rock petroglyph site.
Above: I-70 road cut at the San Rafael Reef in Southern Utah. To avoid a snow storm on Soldier Summit I decided to take I-70 for my return route from Moab last month. What a good decision it was. The San Rafael Reef is visible from my usual route (Utah 191 from Price) but I had never been this close. If you are traveling I-70 through this area plan extra time to stop at all of the scenic overlooks, they are well worth it. Taking this route greatly expanded my desire to explore Southern Utah. Expect more information and photos from this amazing part of the state.
Above: Detail of the road cut at the San Rafael Reef. Didactics at the rest area explain the massive project to widen a slot canyon into the modern highway we travel today.
Above: I-70 Rest Area at the base of the San Rafael Reef. Photographers would be crazy not to stop.
Above: Looking toward the Book Cliffs from the San Rafael Reef.
How many of you have been to this part of Southern Utah?