Hole in the Rock topic of May 10 lecture
May 07, 2014 | 1193 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hole in the Rock topic of May 10 lecture
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Pre-Lake Powell aerial view of the Hole in Rock, where the first permanent settlers entered San Juan County in 1880. Lamont Crabtree will disuss the trek on May 10 at the Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum. Courtesy photo
The trek that brought the first permanent settles to San Juan County will be recounted at a May 10 presentation at Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum in Blanding.

In “The Hole-in-the-Rock Trail – A Real Pioneering Experience!,” Lamont Crabtree will convey the pioneer journey and the history of the trail through images and stories. The free event begins at 2 p.m.

Lamont Crabtree has been searching out and documenting the Hole-in-the-Rock trail over a 39-year period.  He is particularly interested in the unknown or lost portions of the route.

Crabtree has authored trail guides and produced documentaries on the subject. He has worked on marking and interpretive projects throughout the Hole-in-the-Rock trail, and restoration and development projects at the Bluff Fort Historic Site.  

Lamont is a descendant of Hole-in-the-Rock pioneers, Sarah and James Riley.  He and his wife Leslie who reside in the Salt Lake area, have four children and nine grandchildren

The Hole-in-the-Rock Trail was named after a crevice the colonizers utilized to gain access to the Colorado River gorge and some of the most broken terrain in North America.

The 250-mile long trail runs from Parowan in southwestern Utah to Bluff and Montezuma Fort in southeastern Utah. The road was blazed during the winter of 1879-80 by 70 families who were answering a call from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to establish a settlement in the Four Corners region.

The first 85 miles of their route from Parowan, UT, to Escalante, UT, was over established wagon roads. From Escalante, Utah, the last established town along their route, the colonizers blasted a trail through the Colorado River gorge, descended crevices, and crossed deep ravines, mountains, deserts, and forests - terrain so inhospitable many of their own scouts deemed it as impassable.

By the time they reached their destination, they had been en route twice as long as it took some the same participants to pull handcarts 1,300 miles to the Salt Lake Valley.

Once completed, the wagon road provided a vital access and supply link. The road was utilized in its entirety for one year.

In 1881, Charles Hall, who operated the ferry at the bottom of the Hole-in-the-Rock, moved his ferry 30 miles upstream, where he established Hall’s Crossing. Although Hall’s Crossing bypassed the Hole-in-the-Rock crevice, major sections of the original wagon road were utilized in conjunction with the new river crossing.

The Hole-in-the-Rock journey stands alone in its difficulty in the annals of western pioneering. With many sections of the trail blasted out of solid sandstone, nearly no vegetation and little modern development, the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail is very well preserved. Many of the trail’s most challenging sites are as the pioneers left them.

This program is free and everyone is invited to attend.  The Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum is located at 660 West 400 North in Blanding.  The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.  For additional information about this or any future events, please call 435-678-2238.
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