Saturday, February 07, 2009

Utah Places: Nine Mile Canyon

Nine Mile Canyon is another of the obvious places. I don't need to say much, it is simply a museum of rich heritage with ages of rich culture from timeless past to yesterday’s industry. Every culture enters and leaves their marks -- and their scars. It is fascinating to witness. An archaeologist or cultural anthropologist could easily spend a lifetime of study there, in the canyon and its side canyons, and not exhaust the material or the endless mine of fascinating stories.

A couple of stories of my own, from my Rocky Mountain Research days.

At one study, we were in Nine Mile, scaling the canyon wall with no trail, for several miles nearly straight up. I had two women partners, much younger than me, and they grew tired of waiting for my ever lagging pace slogging up the mountainside. They decided, against forest service policy I might add, to abandon me, and strike out together to leave me to fend for myself as best I could manage. One of them thoughtfully gave me her "rape" whistle so I could ostensibly signal them when I got lost or in trouble.

Well, they pushed on ahead, and I trekked on at my own pace. But I was tracking them pretty closely. They located our survey site, and were just getting work started when I showed up, not needing the "rape" whistle after all. They were surprised to see that I made it to the site at all, and even shared some of the duties. I was able to demonstrate my usefulness by hefting single handed a dead trunk in our survey site that needed to be cleared out for survey purposes, but the two women could not heft together. They were impressed, but tried not to show it. In order for me to be their equal, I had to do everything twice as well.

On a subsequent day, we we supposed to work on the plateau above Nine Mile, but as we approached, there was too much congestion from construction vehicles, mostly from the oil exploration outfit that was working in the area. We joined the queue that was waiting, and learned that two 20-ton boulders had parted company from the canyon wall sometime during the night, and taken up new station in the middle of former roadway through the canyon. Thus, our egress to upper plateau was effectively cut off for the day, and we retreated to the hotel in Price, to wait for the heavy drag line to be brought in that could build new roadway around the rocks. Turns out they tried to move them, and decided it was easier just to go around them for now. Just to big to move.

I suppose they have since used blasting to reduce the big rocks, and restore the road. I don't know. Have not been back since. Some things nature does by caprice are just too heavy for man to undo, even if he would.

A very funny incident. My female partners were sensitive about body odor. In the canyon one day, as we were leaving one evening, we passed through a particularly dense cloud of sulfur dioxide. My female partner wrinkled her offended nose, got that irritated look on her face, and demanded very self righteously, "Did YOU do THAT???"

She rolled down all the windows, ana put on a show like she needed air, fanned her face, etc...

Well, I figured I was already damned by the question, so I said nothing, and even tried to fart on purpose, all the way back to Ogden. (I am pretty good at it when I really try, if I do say so myself.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always admired and/or been so annoyed at your passive aggressive style. I just blunder right in without any veiled flare at all. I've heard your tales of those women you worked with, and I can tell you, I would have clawed their eyes out.