Archive for January, 2010

Sliding to the river.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

The launch date for our Grand Canyon trip is galloping toward us. I am making as much pottery as I can so I’ll be able to fire before we go. I have a client who wants dinnerware so I need to throw enough to make a firing. Hands on clay, mind in the ditch….a very big ditch.


Here are some of what I have been making.

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Why I am not going to NCECA.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Last April Lee and I went to NCECA in Phoenix together. We had a great time. We had a show together at the Marshall Gallery in Scottsdale. We had talked about attending the 2010 NCECA Conference in Philladelphia, PA. Then this letter came two weeks ago:
The letter starts like this:
Dear Joseph Bennion,
Thank you for submitting an application in the Grand Canyon National Park noncommercial river trip lottery. We are pleased to inform you that your lottery application was successful and we have scheduled a Standard trip for you to launch from Lees Ferry on February 26, 2010.”
Though the trip is listed as “Standard” (up to 16 participants) Lee and I are not taking anyone besides ourselves on this trip. We will launch on the date specified and run for 28 days to Pearce Ferry at mile 280 on the river. We have been sceming on this one for about three years, ever since we went down Cataract Canyon on a similar one boat, two person trip. It was one of the best things we had ever done and we decided then that we would do a trip like that in the Grand Canyon.
We submitted to the 2010 river permits lottery in February of 2009 and finally got lucky on January 9 this year. We have five more weeks to get ready. I’ll be throwing and firing a lot of pottery and going through gear. Lee is handling the logistics of gear rental, car schuttle arrangemnts and finding a house sitter. It will all come together on time.
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I’m sure you get the picture. We will be taking a commercial trip through the Canyon in June that still has seats open. Click here for details. See you there.

Looking for the Shaman’s Gallery

Monday, January 18th, 2010

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Thirteen years ago Louisa and I went into upper Tuckup Canyon in the Grand Canyon looking for a rock art site called the Shaman’s Gallery. We had a pretty good map to go by that was annotated and got us into the area. It was early January. We hiked down into the canyon but were unable to find the sitr. That was mostly because we didn’t know exactly where the site was or what it looked like. We only knew that it was in the upper part of the canyon. It was a nice hike in the canyon with one of my favorite people.
Last week I went back with several friends. We had down loaded and printed a cowboy map from the internet. Having been in the upper Tuckup area before I figured the map, drawn by mule/horse packer Gordon Smith who claims to have “discovered” the site in the 80’s. Never mind that there is old cowboy graffiti at the site.
The Smith map says that after turning left off of the Toroweep Road you just “stick to the main path”.
Can anyone guess which is the “main path”? This fork is right past the first cattle guard, corral and ponds shown on the map. We stuck to the left fork as it looked most traveled and wound up after some pretty extreme 4 wheeling on a hilltop about two miles from the canyon rim.
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After hiking to the trail head we discovered by checking the GPS that one of my hiking friends had brought that we were at The head of 150 Mile Canyon, about 6.5 miles from the trailhead in Tuckup as the crow flies. Of course we are not crows and would have had to drive back to the corrals and then another 10+ miles back out to the canyon rim at Tuckup.
Cowboy relics encountered along the trail into One Hundred Fifty Mile Canyon.

It was a nice day and the country was beautiful. The Shaman’s Gallery will have to wait for another day….again. Next time we bring real maps. Here are some of what we saw while camped out at Toroweep.
Looking west from the Toroweep overlook at the end of the day.
Lava Falls is awe inspiring even from 3k’ up.
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More scenes around the Toroweep area.
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There was an old cowboy camp on the rim at Saddle Horse Canyon. Here is a stove, watering tank and a pipe line going to a water source below the rim.