July 18 – Explosion on the Mesa

Left the town of Hurricane after spending the night and stopped to eat at the Stage Coach Grill. Elaborate western decor and excellent food. On to SR9 heading for St. George ranger station to check road conditions in the back country. Nobody home, so we are on our own. Head out of St. George on Old Hwy 91 (aka Sunset Blvd.) through Santa Clara, Ivans, Shivwitz-Paiute Reservation where we turn right on Lytle Ranch Road and the Lytle Ranch Preserve.

Lytle purchased the ranch long ago and years later he willed it to the State of Utah, University of Utah in order that it be protected for perpetuity. We decide to walk Beaver Wash. It’s hot, and Diane peels off after a bit to sit in the shade. Steve continues on and explores, finding a Scarlet Taniger, a fawn and doe in the grass, batch of toads, and many different lizards. On the way out we take a turn into Welcome Springs, pick up some nice rocks and watch hawks hunting. Back then on Old Hwy 91 we cross into Arizona (107 degrees!) at Beaver Dam. Go through Scenic, AZ on the Virgin River (now 109 degrees!). Left on Riverside Road to Bunkerville, established in 1877. Not much going on.

End our day in Moapa and get a tip about implosions planned for the evening of four smoke stacks at a coal burning plant nearby. After dinner we went to watch – only three of the stacks actually fell. The charges went off on the fourth, tallest stack, but it didn’t budge. Don’t know what happened next, but we went back to Moapa for the night.

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