National Geographic : 1952 Jun
706 Stone Pillars Capped Like Mushrooms Dwarf Two Explorers in "Goblin Gulch" The Four Corners Country, where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet, is a geological museum. Rock strata lie exposed in towering buttes, deep canyons, and lonely monoliths. Visitors to the Valley of the Goblins, near Hanksville, Utah, find themselves in a Halloween fantasy (page 726). Lateral erosion has whittled a mushroom forest in the gulch. Hard umbrella caps give protection to these formations. As I handed the last Ute his bottle, he sang out cheerfully, "Danke schon!" The trader laughed at my astonishment. "Manager of the post here used to be a Ger man," he said. "The Utes got so they did a lot of their trading in Deutsch." Outside the post, dozens of Ute women and curious youngsters had gathered (page 728). The minute I produced a camera, however, they scattered like quail. To entice them out again, we set up a lure, a jug full of green collared lizards I had caught out on the desert with a fishing rod and a noose. Shyly, the Utes reappeared and clustered about the bottle (page 739). But when I started to pull out a lizard for a close up, Utes of all ages vanished. This puzzled us. The Utes are accustomed to the desert and its creatures. Surely they must have known that this little green lizard, Crotaphytus collaris, is harmless. We could put down their fear only to superstition perhaps some notion like that of the Zufii and other southwestern tribes, who believe that the breath, not the bite, of the lizard is evil and poisonous. Exploration, however, and not conversion, was our mission. For years I had wanted to make a pack trip into the spectacular and rarely visited Needles country to the north west. Ross Musselman, I knew, was the man to get me there. We pushed on to his 4-M Ranch, 16 miles southeast of Moab, Utah.* In Search of the Needles Though born and brought up in Pennsyl vania, Ross knows the Needles like a dog eared book. In 1933 he and his brother took a two-months' saddle trip into this section after a pack of wolves. So impressed was Ross that he bought a ranch and moved his whole family out to Utah. From Ross's ranch our party backtracked for 40 miles toward Monticello at the base * See "Utah's Arches of Stone," by Jack Breed, NA TIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1947.