A Night on the Wedge

For March, I had penciled in a camping trip with all my kids "somewhere in Southern Utah".  As the date for it grew closer, I settled on a spot on my list of places I had yet to see that was still kid friendly...a place in Emery County out on the northern flanks of the San Rafael Swell known as The Wedge.

- Day 1 -
Friday - March 16, 2018

As usual, we arrived later than I had hoped.  There always seems to be last minute things to pack for these kinds of trips.  Fortunately, when we arrived at the campsites at the Wedge, at dusk, only one was occupied, so we had no trouble finding one to settle into.

Somehow I ended up with just my boys because the girls wanted to stay home with mom and have a "girls night in".

It was pretty windy when we arrived, but by the time things were set up, the wind had died down enough that it was suitable for a campfire.  While the boys stayed warm by the fire, I made us all dinner in the form of some grilled cheese sandwiches.  After that, it was time for s'mores, something they always look forward to.  Contrary to how the routine goes at home, they were more than ready for bed once their stomachs were satisfied.

Lennox, however wanted to build a little leprechaun trap before going to bed.  It would be Saint Patrick's Day the next day, after all.  Once the boys were in bed, I stayed up a little longer to play with the camera.

- Day 2 -
Saturday - March 17, 2018

While the boys slept it in a bit, I walked a couple hundred feet away to check out the morning light cresting down into the San Rafael River's canyon.

Back at camp, I found the boys waking up for the new day.

They were eager to get out and check the Leprechaun trap.  There was no leprechaun to be found, but they did end up with some Lucky Charms and some green candy.

After breakfast, it was on out to the Wedge Overlook for the boys to have a look into the beautiful canyon.  We then drove on down the road a bit to check out the view from the Little Grand Canyon overlook.

Ready to move on and see more stuff, we drive on over and down Buckhorn Wash a ways until we arrived at the big pictography panel down there where lots interesting Barrier Canyon style figures can be found.

Perhaps the most interesting set of figures to be found at the panel are ones that appear to have wings on a couple of persons.

From the Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel, we drove on up the road to check out another rock art site we had seen a road sign for.  This one was all petroglyphs, most being bighorn sheep and elk, carved by the Fremont people.  

Our last stop along Buckhorn Wash would be to search out a dinosaur track.  There were no road signs for this stop, just the coordinates I had found and saved for where to pull over and start looking.  We found a social trail and started following it.

There was a point where it appeared to keep going and as I started to scout it out Lennox shouted out he had found the track in some bedrock I had passed right by.  I turned around and sure enough, he had found it!

Back in the car, we made our way back up to Price.  We had hoped to visit the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry on the way out, but saw signs along the road saying it was still closed for the season, so we kept our course for Price.  On the way out, I spotted an antelope not far off the road out doing some midday foraging.

Back in Price, we stopped at Sherald's Drive-In for some lunch.  Little did we know that the community was also celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a noon parade.  Of course, the boys were happy with that bonus.  Lunch and a parade.

They couldn't resist partaking in some of the spoils from the parade.

We then spent the better part of the afternoon at the USU Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price.  Half of it features dinosaur exhibits and the other half features exhibits on local prehistoric peoples and culture.  We started with the dinosaur side.

After getting our fill of dinosaurs, we moved over to the other half.  Some of the exhibit reminded the boys of the movie Ice Age.

It's always nice when museums like this provide hands on activities and interactive displays for restless kids.

Of course, I was fascinated with many of the ancient artifacts.

Lastly, we found on the upper level, the primary purpose for our visit here.  For those that have followed my posts over the years will know that my wife, Jessica, is a great-great granddaughter to Ephraim Pectol who is credited as being the father of Capitol Reef National Park.

As a resident of Torrey in the early 1900's, prior to laws like ARPA, he would spend much of his spare time out roaming and exploring the surrounding area.  Fascinated by not only with the geology and wondrous landscape, he was also fascinated with the ancient culture that had also once dwelt in the area, the Fremont people.  He had amassed quite a collection of mostly Fremont artifacts and took very good care of them.  As the owner of a local store (now known as Austin's Chuckwagon General Store) he would often put a few of the relics out on display as a mini-museum.

The collection became known as the Pectol-Lee collection and remained with Pectol descendants who had loaned the bulk of it to the Capitol Reef Visitor Center for the safe care and keeping of it until a better plan for the collection could be agreed upon by the family.  Parts of the collection had been featured as exhibits over the years in not only the Capitol Reef Visitor Center, but also the BYU Museum of Ancient People and Cultures, USU-Eastern's museum (what was then CEU or College of Eastern Utah), and elsewhere.

Last year, the family made arrangements for the ownership of the collection to be turned over entirely to the USU-Eastern Prehistoric Museum in Price.  It is the largest known collection of Fremont perishables and other artifacts.

One part of the collection had been three shields made of hide, but they became tied up in a bit of controversy a couple decades ago and under the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (NAGRA), were ultimately handed over to the Navajo Nation who had laid claim to them and provided the Federal government the most plausible explanation for their origins among other local living tribes.  Those shields remain with the Navajo Nation today.  So all the museum can do is post photos of these.  They had once had them on display prior to the hand over to the Navajos.

The shields were found preserved in this little 'cave' near Torrey.

The other significant and unique relic in the collection is a cradleboard containing a clay figurine.  The cradleboard is now on display with a number of other artifacts from the collection at the museum.  It is the only known cradleboard to have ever been found holding a figurine.

After acquainting the boys with a bit more of their family history and their great-great-great grandfather, we returned back to Sherald's where we indulged in some St. Patrick's treats and drove back home to Provo.

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