We drove south from Salt Lake City through perhaps 40 miles of continuous housing, A bull-boat shopping and business developments, our road threading like a river along the edges of smart new home clusters, through Sandy City and Draper and Orem and past Provo until we suddenly found ourselves heading east up a canyon and then just as suddenly out in the open Utah country, with flocks of sheep, occasional cattle and horses. It had snowed last night and this morning along the road, but it was warm enough that the road was still clear over the 7400 foot summit.
The other side of the mountain was immediately dry, and now it was mostly sunny, a brilliant blue sky flecked with cottony white clouds, covering million-dollar views of buttes and mesas with snowy mountain peaks in the distance.
We passed many trains of coal cars coming and going from the huge coal mining operation just northwest of Price, Utah. The mining museum was closed for Veterans' Day. A Powell expedition boat
The bridge in Green River, Utah has just worn out, according to the locals, so now to get across the river, say from the west bank, you drive two miles west, hop on the freeway, drive four miles east, exit and then two miles back west and you're on the opposite side of the river watching the men rebuilding the bridge. Or perhaps you could wade across, since the Green River is as low as it's been in years. Anyhow, we performed the freeway maneuver to find our motel on the east bank just across the street from the John Wesley Powell River History Museum.
This is worth a stop for people interested in the history of the Colorado and Green Rivers, or those who love white-water boating. The Green River Trappers and mountain men hunted beaver and other animals, selling their pelts to traders farther east. They traveled the river in a bull-boat, a primitive circular raft-like shell made from branches and covered with waterproof animal skin (probably buffalo). Later, Powell rode in a more elaborate, wooden boat, sitting up above the two oarsmen (he had lost his right hand and forearm while a soldier in the Civil War, so he wasn't much good at the actual transportation. Although he is associated with the geography and popularization of these rivers, he only made two actual explorations; most of his career was spent as a professor at the University of Illinois.
Another historic figure was William Manley, who had more initiative than sense. He and his party, discovering the Green River, decided they would try to float all the way to the Pacific Ocean. He wore out his first boat, built another and smashed that before giving up. On a later, overland, expedition he and his party gave Death Valley its name.