Tuesday morning, October 14, we headed back the way we had come and then turned left to go up to Dead Horse Point. However, first, we needed to see if we could get a campsite at BLM’s Horsethief Campground which was on the road to Dead Horse but 5 or 6 miles this side of it.
We puled into the campground about 10:00 AM or so and found quite a few empty spots. There were even more that looked empty but were, in fact, occupied. The campers were, no doubt, out exploring the area. We got a real nice, level site at one end of Appaloosa Loop. Near to the bathroom, neighbors not too close, and a great view.
We parked our camp chairs on the site to show it was occupied, and then headed up the road to Dead Horse Point SP. The only thing I knew about this place was that I had read in Trailer Life Magazine that it was like a “miniature Grand Canyon” and definitely worth a stop. I’d never even heard of it before that. But, the guy who wrote the article was right. It was definitely worth a stop. The photo below, having nothing in it to show scale, doesn’t even begin to do justice to the awesomeness of this place.
We decided to leave Flipper parked at the visitor center and take the hike around the rim of the point. This ended up being about a 5-mile hike all told but there was very little change in elevation anywhere along the route.
Those blue things are potash (potassium chloride) drying beds. They are located on private property and aren’t part of the park.
Lulu did a lot of standing out on the edge of the precipice which, she knows, gives me a serious case of the willies. No way I’m going that close to the edge.
That’s the Colorado River which, along with some displacement (uplifting) is the cause of all this awesomeness.
Dang it! She’s doing it again.
The story of how Dead Horse Point got its name is pretty gruesome. Back in the late 1800s there were a number of cowboys trying to make a living raising cattle in this area. There were also large herd of wild horses. Now you’d think that cowboys would love wild horses. Free for the taking and, dealt with right, capable of making the cowboy a few shekels. And they did pick off a few to break and use in their trade as well as probably a few to break and sell. However, there were more horses than they could use and, since horses and cows both need forage and water, these wild nags were in competition with the domestic cattle and, therefore, stood in the way of the cowpokes making the profit they wanted. So, at some point, someone rounded up a bunch of the horses and drove them out onto the point which is surrounded on 3 sides by nothing but a lot of air before you hit terra firma again. They fenced off the one side and the horses were trapped. After picking off a few that they chose to keep, they just rode off and left the rest. Well, the remaining horses ended up dying of thirst in plain sight of the unreachable Colorado River hundreds of feet below. Or, if you prefer, you can choose the story that says the point is named after some rock that looks kind of like a horse’s head. Yeah, sure.
Pretty gruesome story but an amazingly beautiful place.
Sunrise over our campsite at Horsethief Campground.
Tomorrow: Canyonlands National Park.