Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 2, 2012

Looks suspiciously like a grave

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:45 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

A piece of fire-cracked rock (repeatedly heated, as for cooking fires) grabs my attention. I will call the Bureau of Land Management and inquire about this earthen mound.

Our eyes were sharpened by hours of looking at — and for — everything and anything. Clues of past occupation present themselves to the vigilant observer, and we had been hiking in canyons, scouring alcoves, poking around springs — anywhere where people would have hung out. The only down side was the heavily-used ATV trail nearby, and the tens of thousands of hoofprints and cowpies. Ranchers love canyons that have perennial water sources in them.

I was following a cliff wall, looking for lithic scatter on the ground to indicate a place where ancestral Puebloans would have knapped their points, when I came upon a curious mound of earth looking very different from its environs. About my size, it was covered with hand-picked and hand-placed stones of three types: smooth river cobbles, sharp angular chert, and tabular sandstone slabs. A glance over my shoulder revealed a clue.

In cursive hand on the sandstone wall was etched “Press” followed by a last name I couldn’t make out. Underneath, “3/4/33.”

Time for a little archival digging. Might Press have been an early 20th-century cowboy who met his end in this canyon?


  1. I find myself intrigued by each new post of yours. Your pictures and your words create a sense of the history and beauty to be found there. I am drawn in to read for sure, but also, it does make me want to visit you and the area. That’s the power of a good blog!

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — March 2, 2012 @ 9:17 am | Reply

  2. Hi Kathryn. What an amazing blog. 🙂 Just discovered it. Thank you.

    Will you be giving us updates on what you discover about “Press”?

    I’m headed your way in April and hope to hear one of your talks in person. Meanwhile, I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks again…

    Comment by Ron Carroll — March 4, 2012 @ 7:42 am | Reply

    • Yes, Ron, if I can uncover any further info it shall be disclosed. Stories without endings can be uncomfortable! Thank you for reading.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 4, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Reply

    • It’s a funny thing, but my stats page always shows a tell-tale spike when a newcomer stumbles across my blog and begins delving deeper. For an hour the hits zoom to 30 or 40 instead of a handful, and I know someone is digging through the archives. I can’t help but smile to know there’s a kindred soul out there.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 4, 2012 @ 10:18 am | Reply

      • Thanks; you made me smile too. It’s always nice to find a kindred soul, even if it’s only a virtual connection.

        Yes, I started back with your May 2009 posts and have been working my way forward. Keep writing (and you can tell your children I don’t think you write too much)…

        Thanks again.

        Comment by Ron Carroll — March 4, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  3. maybe 1833?

    Comment by superdave0002 — March 31, 2012 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

    • Anglo history in this area starts in the 1870s with a first attempt at Mormon settlement near Moab, so 1833 sounds far too early. I could be wrong, but it just doesn’t seem to jibe with a 19th-century date. Ranching took off in the late 1800s in these parts, and continued well into the mid-20th century.

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 31, 2012 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

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