April 28, 2007
Steamboat Rock... a Virtual Vacation
If you need a vacation... but can't take one, there's always Google Maps to take you away on your virtual travels... floating, as you will, like a cloud over the desert landscapes.
Amazing new places can be visited... and you can also return to places you've been. All without leaving the comfort of one's computer.
It was with a real sense of adventure that I searched out Steamboat Rock. It's on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument, bordering both Colorado and Utah.
First I found the Green river... then I followed it along until I arrived at the unmistakable shape of Steamboat Rock.
I wanted to go back... I've been there twice on camping trips. Once by raft, going down the river and once I drove in by truck, down a winding hairpin road. It's a magical place. Peaceful, timeless, forgotten, almost inaccessible. A very difficult place to get to except via a Google Map instant tour.
There are Anasazi Petrogyphs that are high up on the cliff side... 40 or 50 feet up. No telling how the artists climbed way up there to paint those mysterious figures.
Steamboat Rock itself is an amazement. At sundown, the deep swirling river whirls in eddies under the cool shadow of the rock. You might be lucky enough to see a couple of mule deer swimming across to the other shore. But just basking in the immensity of space and time is fine too. Sometimes a person just needs to sit on a hot rock in the middle of nowhere and try to forget everything else.
There's signs up warning about rattlesnakes... wouldn't want to be bit way down there, in the middle of nowhere.
Steamboat Rock is carved by the Eons from Navajo sandstone. It's a beautiful light smooth sandstone that weathers into gently rounded shapes. Navajo sandstone covers most of southern Utah, where it has created lots of magical places. I don't imagine anywhere else I've been has the same sense of eternity... where one can feel and see the ages of time.