National Geographic : 1952 Jun
730 The Author Surveys a Wagonful of Equipment. Lawrence Monahan What a Repacking Job He Faces! Among the items are tools, extra parts for the engine, first-aid kit, double bed, gas stove, fishing tackle, seven cameras, and more than $1,000 worth of film. a-box. The outer box was the main rim of the Colorado gorge, some 2,500 feet above the rim of Monument Canyon. This rim, where we made our camp, forms the inner box. Set within that inner box is Monument Canyon, its floor some 600 feet below the rim. Perhaps just because it was a relatively small canyon, Monument's great reefs of pin nacles seemed all the more impressive. Even more striking, however, was something that wasn't there-noise. The canyon was silent with a silence that was almost tangible. The cry of a hawk echoed the full length of the canyon, and even the beat of its wings could be heard for nearly a mile. Then all would be as still as if Nature herself were hold ing her breath, until a big chunk of capstone would break away from its pinnacle top and crash to the floor with the roar of a dozen thunderstorms. May is a treacherous month in southern Utah. Great storms build up over the Kai parowits Plateau and come bellowing up Glen Canyon with torrential cloudbursts and sting- ing winds. Such storms drove us at last from Monument Canyon. Back in Moab, Bates Wilson, superintendent of Arches National Monument, and his son Tug joined Ben Cornwall and me for a jaunt down to the Natural Bridges country. Taking U. S. Highway 160, we sped south past our old turn to Indian Creek and on to Monticello. Atomic Age Comes to Back Country Long the isolated seat of San Juan County, this cool, green little Utah town-founded by Mormons-has now become the center of an oil and uranium boom. Huge mills at Monti cello and in Colorado and a new pilot plant at Hite, on the Colorado River, work night and day to process ore hauled in by truck from all parts of the Four Corners sector. Oil companies, using airplanes and heli copters, are mapping many locations from the air. Teaming up with the Atomic Energy Commission, the State, and the county, they are now striving to improve existing roads and to lay new ones.