Tag Archives: national park

Camp Sumter

This is not a good place. This is Andersonville.

Between February, 1864 and the end of the Civil War Camp Sumter confined Union prisoners of war. Forty-five thousand came here, but only thirty-two thousand left. Thirteen-thousand died of malnutrition, exposure and rampant disease – a 29% death rate.

During the fourteen months Camp Sumter held prisoners, it was known as “Andersonville.”

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I Hiked the Hoodoos

Hoodoos are a geological formation when erosion attacks a hard rock layer over a much softer rock. Some are small and others as tall as a 10-story building. Because of the minerals in the rock they can have spectacular colors. They are found all over the world, typically in dry, hot areas, and the most impressive are in Bryce Canyon National Park. If you want to know more about how they are formed, the National Park Service has a good explanation. As you can see in the photo below, as the mesa has eroded over the eons, freeze/thaw cycles and erosion has removed the rock, leaving spires of varying height – as if they were dug from the ground.

Tropic Falls along the Mossy Cave Trail

North from the entrance to the National Park you will find the trailhead to Mossy Cave and Tropic Ditch. In 1892 pioneer setllers of the town of Tropic worked for over two years digging a canal to divert water from the Sevier River, over the cliffs of Bryce Canyon and into the Tropic valley, a distance of 15 miles and a drop of 1,500 feet. To reduce the labor, they followed natural courses where possible. Except for the drought of 2002, the water has flowed continuously for 130 years, giving life to the people and crops of Tropic Utah.

I spent two full days here, hiking through this magnificent landscape.

Canyonlands Dark Sky


CanyonLands is a relatively new National Park opened in the 60’s. It is a 90 minute drive from Moab; rugged and minimally developed. Ninety-five percent of the park can only be reached by hiking or 4×4 trails, many of them considered “high technical difficulty.” ATV’s are not allowed. There are no amenities like food, gas or cell phone service. The only flushing toilets are in the visitor center. The campsites are paved, but primarily to keep vehicles from damaging the surrounding desert.

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