Woodside Anticline

Woodside AnticlineYesterday I had another amazingly good time in the Swell, but this time my wife and kids were with me, and my sister and her family came along too. We’d been planning this trip since late last week, but at first it seemed like the weather was going to keep us from going. I woke up at 2:30 Monday morning to the sound of thunder and rain. I slept sporadically the rest of the night, all the time worrying that we wouldn’t be able to go on our trip. My alarm went off at 6:45 a.m., though I was already quite awake. I got out of bed and went outside to check out the storm that was still rolling through. It was raining very heavily, and for as far as I could see was a flat, gray blanket of clouds. The storm appeared to be pretty set in and there was no clear sky on the horizon.
My sister called me a little after 7:00 a.m. to see if the trip was still on, but I had to concede defeat. I was sure that there were spots in the road that we wouldn’t be able to pass if it was raining this heavily all morning. So, with the trip canceled, I was left wondering what I was going to do with my day. I got on my computer, and for the hell of it, decided to check out the current weather in Green River. Perhaps there was a chance that this storm was isolated to the Price area. According to the National Weather Service it wasn’t raining in Green River, so that was somewhat promising. After mulling it over for a little while longer, I decided that I’d regret at least not trying to go ahead with our plans, so I called my sister back and we talked about it for a minute, then decided it was on.
We left town an hour later than we’d originally planned, but at least we were going. We ran rain for most of the drive on the highway toward Woodside, but by the time we turned off the highway there was quite a bit of patchy blue sky visible over the Swell. The clouds were still black and raining over the Book Cliffs just a couple of miles away and to the east. As soon as we hit the dirt road, Mark and I both had to stop to lock in the hubs and shift into 4WD. We kept a slow and steady pace as we drove west and climbed up the eastern edge of the Woodside Anticline. The road was snotty and muddy, but the rain had stopped and, to my surprise, we hadn’t gotten stuck yet. At one point where the road follows the bottom of a relatively deep canyon through the Cedar Mountain and Morrison formations, the leading edge of some red muddy water began flowing pretty heavily through the canyon bottom. It wasn’t exactly a flash flood, but it was some pretty swift moving water. We had to cross it several times as we continued the drive.
We made our first stop at a place I’d seen about a month ago when I drove through there. It looked like a good place to go camping, and I wanted to make sure I could get my camp trailer there if I ever decided to try that spot out. It was a nice spot, and we stayed there for a bit while the kids played around on the enormous conglomerate boulders. Mark had taken a short walk and found a big pile of cut firewood, so I decided to back my truck up to it and load it all into the bed. It saved me from having to go cut wood before our next camping trip. 😀 We pressed on for several more miles, and the road gradually dried out as we moved west. The rain must have only hit the outer edge of the Swell because the interior was barely wet. After a fun 4WD drive through Summerville Wash, we arrived at our first major destination, the ruins of an old stone cabin. There was a geocache nearby that was placed there in April, but nobody had yet found it. It was a very interesting place, and I wish I knew more of the history behind it. After the cabin, we backtracked a bit and made our next stop at Entrada Point. We ate lunch there, then I placed a new geocache. Then we headed off to Summerville Point and placed another geocache. The road to Summerville Point was pretty gnarly, and we had to drive right through somebody’s camp to get there. A family on dirt bikes looked like they were just getting ready to leave their camp trailer as we began approaching them, and they must not have expected anybody to drive up the road next to their camp because they just stared at us with bewildered looks.
We made another stop on a road that runs parallel to an uplifted ridge of Morrison Formation, and we looked for dinosaur bones for about an hour. Nobody had any luck finding fossilized bones, but Traci and I loaded up quite a few interesting rocks to use for landscaping our yard. Our last stop for the day was at the bottom of a hill of Summerville Formation to look for jasper. We didn’t spend as much time there as I’d have liked, but we did take home several pocketfuls of jasper, mostly red with some yellow mixed in. Traci and I eventually hope to buy a rock tumbler to polish our rocks, and this was our first purposeful collection of polishable stones.
We got home well after our normal dinner time, but we had brought enough junk food to keep the kids from complaining during the drive home. We barely had time to hurriedly feed the kids and bathe them before their normal bed time, since it was a school night. Normally even after long weekends it doesn’t seem like it’s been long enough when it’s time to go back to work, but this weekend was very fulfilling and it actually felt longer than it was. It’ll be hard to top this one.

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