Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Just got back from an awesome spring break trip to Moab. After packing the car and starting to drive out of town to go to Red Rocks we found that our favorite coffee shop wasn't open, we had a small freak out and decided to stay in Flagstaff and cook dinner. The result of more in depth discussion that evening resulted in us deciding only to go to the Moab area for spring break and save some money. The first day of our drive put us in Moab around lunch time and afforded us time to climb at Potash road for the rest of the day.

We then continued on to Castle Valley a place I'd been once before, and consider one of the most amazing places I've been. This small town of around 370 was once a booming mining and farming town. Their website says

"Fremont and Ute people were in the area of Castle Valley long before white settlers arrived in the region. Arrowheads and shards have been found throughout the Valley, particularly around the unique "stone pile" located on the grounds of the old ranch house. Some claim this was a meeting place.

Up until the 1920's, the focus of the Castle Valley farming community was towards Castleton, then a small mining and sheepherding boomtown, and the post office/general store in Richardson, an outpost in Professor Valley. With the decline of Castleton and the disappearance of Richardson, Castle Valley's isolation led to the selling and consolidating of land into large ranching parcels. The "old ranch house" near the large cottonwood tree was the homestead of what eventually became the McCormick Ranch.

A monument located above Castle Valley to the southwest marks the spot of the 1881 Pinhook battle, in which eight posse members, two Moab cattlemen, and possibly as many as two dozen Native Americans lost their lives in a confrontation over land and misinformation.

When Castleton and Miner's Basin were "real towns" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Castle Valley was a farming area. Brothers Mat and John Martin owned large spreads in the Valley, and Mat's son, born in 1886, was probably the first non-Native American child born here. The Martins' sister was married to Tom Parriott, who was a road worker and mail carrier and gave his name to Parriott Mesa."
The campground was nothing less than stunning and afforded us an amazing view of the climb we'd be doing the next morning.

We did the N. Chimney route on Castleton which was amazing. Good rock, adventure, and an incredible summit. The approach to Castleton is probably one of my all time favorite hikes.

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