Flagg Point and Seaman Canyon

St. George Jeepers Trail Report - October 25, 2016

Flagg Point and Seaman Canyon

Our ride this morning was greeted by a glorious sunrise. Below, Pine Valley Mountain. 

Kolob of Zion National Park 

Eighteen vehicles assembled at the Apple Valley store. Our excellent venture was once again expertly led by Joan Hayes. 

Wally Shearer and Elden Erickson wait for departure.

Scenery along highway 389 rolling toward Fredonia and Kanab.

Old dilapidated set of the TV western, Gunsmoke, on Johnson Canyon Road.

"Gunsmoke is an American radio and television Western drama series created by director Norman Macdonnell and writer John Meston. The stories take place in and around Dodge City, Kansas, during the settlement of the American West in the 1870's. The central radio character is lawman Marshal Matt Dillon, played by William Conrad and James Arness on television. When aired in the UK, the television series was initially titled Gun Law, later reverting to Gunsmoke.

The radio series ran from 1952 to 1961. John Dunning wrote that among radio drama enthusiasts, "Gunsmoke is routinely placed among the best shows of any kind and any time." The television series ran for 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, and stands as America's longest-running prime time, live-action drama with 635 episodes. In 2010, Law & Order tied Gunsmoke for most seasons for a live action drama series when it finished its 20th and final season, but the show finished 179 episodes short of Gunsmoke's final total; in terms of prime-time scripted series with continuing characters, The Simpsons is the only program to exceed 20 seasons. At the end of its run in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote: "Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp western as romanticized by Ned Buntline, Bret Harte, and Mark Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend." This Johnson Canyon movie set, is perhaps the largest movie set of many constructed in the Kanab area. It can still be viewed from the road but is not accessible due to its state of general disrepair." 

View along Johnson Canyon Road 

Air-down off Johnson Canyon Road

We experienced an incident at air-down that could have been a big inconvenience and expensive to remedy. The keys to one of the Jeeps got inadvertently locked inside. Fortunately, with the use of a "Slim Jim," Jay Malinowski was able to get the door open and with absolutely no damage to the vehicle.

Scenery along the trail. The group traveled through deep sand which was firm due to recent rain.

This was an unusual Jeep trip with neither dust nor mud. 

Stunted, almost bonsai looking big sage shrub surrounded by moss. This moss is normally dry and black. However, with rain it changes almost immediately into brilliant greens.

Our first stop was to visit some pit houses and pictographs. It was at least a mile hike to see the artifacts. All the small pieces in this clearing are shards of Native American pottery.

Alan Sheppard examining a Native American pit house.

Remains of another pit house.

Mike Hess exploring what is possibly a granary artifact.

The center portion with the mud mortar is authentic, the side parts reassembled more recently.

View inside the granary. It is not known whether the fires inside were prior to, during or after most recent Native American habitation and use as a granary. Lack of charring on this interior wall suggest that the charring was from some time prior to use as a granary. It's possible that at one point it was used as a kiln, suggested by the numerous pottery chards in the area.

Shards of pottery that previous visitors had collected. Remember that it is illegal to remove any such artifacts. Note the piece that had been painted.

Social hour-lunch. 

After lunch our next destination was Flag Point, 37, 3.798' N; 112 , 16.675' W.

Plenty of broad, expansive vistas. 

Alan Sheppard plants a flag at Flag Point.

A view looking back to the west and Zion in the distance.

Another panorama from Flag Point. 

Below, the quarter and the boot give this dinosaur track some size reference. The length of its stride was about 7 feet. Tracks were plentiful in the area, even on slabs that had slid down the slope. The 'Thunderbird Footprints' at Flag Point may be one of the few or only known sites in North America with convincing imagery showing the ancient peoples' thoughts and beliefs about dinosaur tracks. It is easy to imagine that they attached some religious or mythological meaning to them, but hard to imagine that they knew what the creature really looked like. As the site name suggests, they might have thought it resembled their depictions of the Thunder Birds.

Mike Hess and other Jeepers check out the pictographs at the Flag Point site. 

Mike Hess discovers a nice but somewhat faded little petroglyph panel in the area.

An interesting petroglyph that wraps around a sharp corner. Best guess is that it was some sort of map or directions to some destination.

Another bit of artwork wrapping around an inside sharp corner. The artwork here appears to be very old.

Vista looking toward the southeast and the Kaibab Plateau in the distance.

View along the trail.

Proceeding on down Seaman Canyon, we got into a bit of somewhat challenging Jeeping!

It's a beautiful canyon with its redrock sandstone geology.

From here it was back to Highway 89, Kanab, and home. Another wonderful day in this scenic southern Utah wonderland!

Submitted by: Bud Sanders