July 19 - Goblin Valley & Mines


On Thursday, I got up early to see the rocks of Goblin Valley State Park in the morning light. "Goblins" of all forms were created by erosion, and are excellent for clambering and photographing.

Goblin Valley (panorama) (7/19 8:04 AM)Goblin Valley - rock window (7/19 8:27 AM)Goblin Valley - rock saddle (7/19 8:41 AM)

Then, I headed north into the hills, where there were plenty of old uranium mines to investigate. On one building was a legal document called "Affidavit of Improvements" dated this year. It seems that perhaps people can keep their claims to these mines (on public land) if they prove they've made some kind of yearly "improvements" to them — even though these mining shacks don't look like they've changed in 50 years!

inside old mining cabin (7/19 10:55 AM)Affidavit of Improvements on old mining cabin (7/19 10:53 AM)

Sign: "NOTICE - Old mines and mining claims may contain radon, radioactive material or abandoned explosives. DO NOT TOUCH - report findings to the nearest BLM or Sheriff's office." I brought a Geiger counter with me in order to check for radioactivity. Sure enough, there was sufficient remaining uranium ore on the floor of this leaning shack to indicate 20x background radiation when the Geiger counter was placed on the ground. I proceeded to explore, checking for radiation everywhere. When I drove up the hill to the actual mine sites, I learned that the radioactive uranium tailings looked gray, while the safe ordinary dirt looked red. (Stay on the red dirt!)

leaning mining shack (7/19 10:56 AM)Geiger counter on floor of leaning mining shack (7/19 11:03 AM)Geiger counter shows 20x background radiation (7/19 11:01 AM)checking other objects for radiation (none) (7/19 11:06 AM)uranium mine structure (7/19 11:37 AM)road down from mines (7/19 11:47 AM)rusting car (7/19 12:07 PM)uranium mine entrance (no, I didn't go inside!) (7/19 12:38 PM)

Just before reaching to Interstate 70 again, I visited the partially restored historic Swasey's Cabin and then followed the road north as it passed under the interstate to Dutchman Arch. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.87227, -110.7877  When getting back onto the interstate, there were no merge ramps — just a gate with a "please close gate behind you" sign!

Swasey's cabin (7/19 2:35 PM)road under Interstate 70 (7/19 3:19 PM)Dutchman Arch (7/19 3:27 PM)entering the interstate (7/19 3:39 PM)

Five miles west, a road south from exit 114 leads to the old Copper Globe Mine, and then Link Flats where I camped for the night. On the way to the copper mine, I ran across a curious recently-carved plaque (known as "Sheperd's End"), apparently written about a shepherd who was killed by bandits. The copper mine site had several mine shafts and old buildings to investigate (but no radioactivity). One vertical mine shaft had been recently fenced off, and had a new warning sign indicating its depth to be over two tenths of a mile! Pebbles chucked into this mine shaft certainly took a long time to stop making sounds as they bounced their way down, getting fainter and fainter for several seconds. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.8025, -110.9128 

Henry H. Jensen of Mayfield, Utah was found dead Dec 16, 1890. Blood and trails in the snow showed he had walked and crawled a mile after he was shot. He still held to his rifle. Herding sheep for the Witbecks. It is said the Robers Roost warned all sheep to "Stay out of this herding mesa" He was carried out on a pack horse to the brink of Eagle Canyon to a buckboard 7 miles. He was found by Will & Otto Witbeck. Otto was killed in the Lopez Massacre west of Utah lake. 1913copper mine entrance, at base of cliff (7/19 4:49 PM)looking into copper mine (7/19 4:54 PM)inside copper mine (7/19 4:53 PM)copper ore (not radioactive) (7/19 4:55 PM)short vertical mine shaft (7/19 5:01 PM)short vertical mine shaft (7/19 5:02 PM)inside miners cabin (panorama) (7/19 5:10 PM)inside miners cabin - "Kand-Ice" (7/19 5:11 PM)Copper Mine Sign: "Copper Globe Mine Area - Caution - Safety First - 1100 feet deep"1100 ft deep vertical mine shaft (7/19 5:15 PM)

I camped for the night at the south edge of Link Flats, with a panoramic view of the Red Canyon below to the southeast. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.762, -110.931 

campsite at the edge of Link Flats (panorama) looking southeast (7/19 6:39 PM)sun behind clouds (7/19 7:20 PM)camp at sunset (7/19 7:31 PM)the next morning - cliffs below Link Flats, where I was camped (7/20 6:51 AM)