Friday, July 10, 2020


Moab, UT

79.1 F

    Castle Valley Comments: Nov. 21, 2019

    Featured Stories

    Tales of Trails: Savor spectacular views from thrilling Shafer Trail

    In the 1890s, Moab pioneer brothers Frank M. And John S. Shafer developed the route from what had been a Native American pathway connecting what is now Canyonlands National Park to the river below.

    At 99, Moab man is knighted by France

    “The French people will never forget his courage and devotion to the great cause of freedom,”

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 4: ‘A year in the land of eternal spring’

    Though I planned to return someday, whether as a Peace Corps volunteer or not, this experience proved that even the best-laid plans go awry.

    Leaving Guatemala, Part 3: Sudden departure came with painful goodbyes

    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.

    Leaving Guatemala Part 2: There wasn’t enough time to say goodbye

    To say I woke up on the Monday morning of the evacuation...
    Ron Drake
    Ron Drake
    Times-Independent Columnist

    The Castle Valley Fire Department was called twice last week to assist Grand County Search and Rescue. Last Thursday, Dec 14, GCSAR was paged out to retrieve a woman from a ridge between Ida Gulch and Professor Valley known as Sister Superior.

    The climber had serious head and spinal injuries, which required the services of helicopters to get her off of the ledge. A landing zone was established on a gravel pit on State Road 128 just east of the turnoff to Castle Valley.

    A Classic Air Medical helicopter takes off Nov. 14, carrying first responders away from a climbing area where two climbers were injured on consecutive days last week. Photo by Grand County Search and Rescue

    When the first helicopter landed in the gravel pit to ferry Grand County EMS and SAR personnel to the victim, the aircraft raised a tremendous and potentially dangerous amount of dust and gravel into the air. Incident Commander Frank Mendonca requested that the fire department respond to dampen the area with water to alleviate the flying debris caused by the helicopter.

    The following day GCSAR was paged out again to the exact same area for a 20-year-old woman that fell and sustained injuries. The same landing zone was used again to land the helicopter and Castle Valley Fire Department responded again with an engine to wet the area down for a clean landing.

    The Grand County Search and Rescue website describes the incident: “Both climbers fell while attempting the routes in the Sister Superior Group bordering Ida Gulch and Professor Valley. They were each evacuated via helicopter. While the second subject was able to walk to a waiting Classic Air Medical helicopter, the first climber had to be lowered in a litter via a rope system to a location far enough from the rock face where she could be picked up by a hoist helicopter from Intermountain Life Flight.

    Classic Air Medical responded to both incidents, providing initial medical care and transporting rescuers, equipment and members of Grand County EMS to and from the accident site from a staging area on Highway 128. Both subjects were on a narrow ridge at the base of the vertical Wingate sandstone wall on the south side of Sister Superior, at the top of a hazardous 1,500-foot talus slope leading down to Ida Gulch on one side and Professor Valley on the other.”

    In addition to the Castle Valley Fire Department, Grand County Sheriff’s deputies, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service were involved in the rescue efforts.

    I was reminded recently about an incident that occurred 60 years ago at this time of the year. On a Facebook page, “I grew up in Escondido, CA” Jim O’Neill posted a copy of a grocery ad and a short news article about the ad. The grocery store was running a special on hams for the 1959 holidays and requested ham-scented ink for the full-page, two-color ad. The Daily Times-Advocate ordered the special ink and ran the ad in the Thursday edition of the paper but they weren’t prepared for the unintended consequences.

    Is this ham-scented paper? Or paper-scented ham? Photo by congerdesign/Pixabay

    The ham scent in each individual paper was probably effective but in the pressroom where the Goss rotary press was churning out 20 or so thousand copies per hour, the stench became overwhelming.

    The pressmen were getting sick and taking turns leaving the pressroom to get some fresh air outside. I was working on the press as the “fly boy” after school that day. My job was to take the papers as they stacked up at the end of the conveyor belt and count them out for each individual paper route. There was nobody to take my place so I had to stick it out for the entire press run despite the headache and nausea.

    Another unintended consequence according to the circulation manager was that there was an unusual amount of people complaining that they didn’t get their paper that evening. Apparently the neighborhood dogs were taking the papers after the paperboy delivered them to the front porch. Their nose was telling them that there was a tasty treat inside the paper.

    According to the ad, Morrell’s Famous Chef ham was .79 per pound and New Armour Star ham was .69 a pound and you got Orange Stamps, too. I think I urged my parents to opt for turkey that year.

    Thirty-five years ago this week I wrote about old nostalgic windmills that were making a comeback in Castle Valley. Three residents were using the windmill to draw water from the ground into a pond or tank then the gravity pressure fed the drip irrigation fixtures for the plants. At that time, three residents were considering more windmills. These folks were off the electrical grid and using the windmills for water and solar and propane for lights and appliances. I think two of those windmills remain in the valley today.

    Share this!

    - Advertisement -

    Latest News

    County: Mask mandate is official

    Southeast Utah Health Department Director Bradon Bradford modeled the local order after those in Salt Lake and Summit counties.

    Lionsback Resort project begins on Sand Flats Road

    The City of Moab will have oversight of the project, which was not something that was always on the table because state law allows SITLA to develop projects without input from local authorities.

    Drought conditions grip Utah; stats are grim

    It’s unlikely things will improve this late in the water year.

    State provides 75,000 more facemasks for Moab businesses, visitors

    Local businesses may pick up free face coverings at the Canyonlands Copy Center, 375 S. Main St., in Moab.

    County approves letter opposing September gas lease sales

    The oppositional letter asserts that the lease sale “threatens the core of our tourism economy by locking in long-term oil and gas leases on and around popular recreation areas that are vital to our local economy.”