While traveling across the Utah desert, it’s easy to feel alone in its vastness. Mormon pioneers were the first to forge a living in Utah, and groups such as the Swasey Family and the Kofford Party headed the whole lot. Remnants of their plots are still around today; found just North and South of Utah exit 131 in the San Rafael Swell. Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Homestead Act of 1862, which motivated men and women of 21 years or older to populate the far reaches of the high desert. More details on the Act can be found HERE. These hearty souls attempted to dry farm and raise cattle, but extreme arid days and frigid nights eventually stomped out their slow progress. To this day, not a single man can call the San Rafael Swell his permanent home.
In the early 1920’s, oil companies began leaving their mark on the San Rafael Swell. While prospecting for leads, they built rugged roads in Black Dragon Wash, Cane Wash (pictured above), and all around Temple Mountain. Close on their heals were other prospectors who mainly searched for Uranium deposits. Examples of these sites are Temple Mountain and the Hidden Splendor Mine. Click HERE for further oil and mining info.Check back later this week for more details and images from © Rodeonexis Photography…brought to you by Jeremy Weir