Tackling the mountain

West Wendover Travel Blog

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Snoopy (or a lion)

Part of our job out here is to walk all over the property leaving a GPS trail behind us.  This includes a huge mountain that rises over 150 m (500 ft).  The mountain has a couple of ledges that were formed by ancient Lake Bonneville which we walked on because it was much easier walking than on the steep scree slopes.  My partner took the higher level, partly because he has more experience with what we are looking for.  I walked the mid-level, which wasn't really level at all.  So far we've spent about three days out there, and we still haven't covered the mountain yet.  The locals call the mountain Snoopy Mountain because the end rock looks a lot like Snoopy (the cartoon dog) laying on his paws.  For the life of me, I can't see Snoopy, but I do see what looks like a lion.

part of the mountain with my truck for scale
 

Ancient Native Americans inhabited this area and left behind traces of their presence.  At the top of the scree slope on Snoopy is a very small opening, not quite a cave, that some ancient people spent some time in.  You can still see the smoke stained ceiling.  They also left a couple of pictographs featuring stick figure humans with antlers painted with red ochre.  These are believed to be original pictographs dating possibly thousands of years ago.  Lake Bonneville covered this area until 10,000 years ago, so these pictures could be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand years old!  Red ochre is not found in this area, so it is thought to be unlikely that some jokester painted these. 

From the top of the mountain, well not quite the top actually, you get a great view of the surrounding area.

Pictograph
  To the north and west lie the salt flats that make up part of Hill Air Force Base.  The base is significantly smaller, personell wise, than during WWII.  Much of the salt flats were used for bombing practices.  Its pretty desolate.  The former lake bed is flat and covered with white salt crystals and silt dust.  Not many plants can tolerate the salty ground, so there is no vegetation on the salt flats and few salt loving, drought tolerant plants on the edges of the salt flats and on the mountain. 

On the west edge of our mountain is the ruins of an old mine.  I'm not sure what they were mining but the surrounding rocks are a bright green.  I haven't had time to go over and explore that area yet.  All in all, its pretty amazing that I'm getting paid to hike on a mountain!

A little update - a couple weeks later:  We finished walking the mountain - it took about 5 days and we covered over 30 miles on the ground (I only walked about half that).

Me with a pictograph
  The really exciting news for me is that I reported my stone chips site and an archaeologist came out and confirmed that it was a previously un-reported archaeological site.  Cool!!!  The site has a bunch of stone chips and flakes from many different types of stone, hammerstones, and even a few broken pieces of pottery.  They are thought to belong to the ancestors of the modern tribes in the area.  I was pretty excited!  We also think the mine was for copper, hence the green color.  And we found the two large circles made of stone by the Native Americans.  I'm not sure what their purpose was, but each circle was about 15 ft diameter.  We had been warned not to disturb these. 

bkretzer says:
Wow, you made an archaelogical find! I can't even find my glasses! Good job, and another great blog!
Posted on: Jun 21, 2008
Sunflower300 says:
Way cool! That's really good news. Well done!
Posted on: Jun 21, 2008
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Snoopy (or a lion)
Snoopy (or a lion)
part of the mountain with my truck…
part of the mountain with my truc…
Pictograph
Pictograph
Me with a pictograph
Me with a pictograph
Yay!  Off-roading!
Yay! Off-roading!
Top ledge and middle ledge
Top ledge and middle ledge
My partner is up near the top left…
My partner is up near the top lef…
...in the circle
...in the circle
Keeping an eye on my partner
Keeping an eye on my partner
our truck and an impact crater
our truck and an impact crater
Oops - I guess the self-timer wasn…
Oops - I guess the self-timer was…
Me making tracks on the mountain
Me making tracks on the mountain
chips from making arrowheads?
chips from making arrowheads?
Just need to make it to the truck
Just need to make it to the truck
Salt flats (and our road) from nea…
Salt flats (and our road) from ne…
dust flying on the salt flats
dust flying on the salt flats
view towards Wendover to the north
view towards Wendover to the north
salt grains and bullet shells
salt grains and bullet shells
See the line about 2/3 up?  Thats…
See the line about 2/3 up? That'…
Copper Mine
Copper Mine
poor guy!
poor guy!
One of two rock circles
One of two rock circles
X marks the spot (survey marker)
X marks the spot (survey marker)
West Wendover
photo by: X_Drive