Oral Histories

Kent & Fern Frost


Kent & Fern Frost

Interview with Kent & Fern Frost on 12 February 1994. Interviewers are Gary Cox (Q1) and Bill Booker (Q2)(Questions)



Q1 (Gary): Okay we’re here in Monticello with Kent Frost, Fern Frost, Gary Cox, Bill Booker is here with me and this is Saturday, February 12 and we’re talking about the history of the Maze and Robbers Roost area. Well, I’d just like to talk about those early trips in there into the Land of Standing Rocks and Doll House. What first attracted you to the area? Had you seen it from the needles or…?

Kent(K): Well, Fern and I had made several trips over in that area, soon as they made them bulldozer trails down off from that Land’s End country and down off that Shinarump rim and through that part. And we had done quite a lot of exploring there and we were alwys curious about going over toward the Doll House. And I had hiked on that horse trail that goes through there over to Spanish Bottom. I hiked over it to Lizard Rock and I knew about it. And so we worked throught the winter time getting organized for the trip. And we were going over there to take our vehicles in there and explore the country. And, anyway, we invited Randall Henderson to go with us and he was the publisher of Desert Magazine. And we’d been advertising for several years about our jeep tour business in his Desert Magazine. And a lot of the people who came with us on our tours were reading our advertisements. And they were the type of people who liked to go out camping in rugged country and explore things. So that was just a natural place for us to buy commercial advertising. And we started the jeep trips business in 1953. And so by the time we got goin’ pretty well why then we organized this trip in 1957 to go over there to where the Doll House is, as far as we could with our jeeps. And so we had it all arranged with dates set and everything. And apparently Lert Knee was down there in southern California. He went to visit Randall Henderson. And so Randall told him he was comin’ up here with us on a jeep trip in a couple of weeks. And so Lert he got on the telephone I guess down there at that time, and he phoned me up and wondereded how I was goin’ in there, if I knew a good route. And I said, oh yeah, I think it’d be easy enough to go in along that old horse trail. I walked over through that, most of it, and you can get through that. And so anyway I guess it was just a few days after that, why him and Joe Muench and his wife come up there and went charging off out there in the Doll House area in their Jeep station wagon. And so anyway, after they’d got back from there, why Joe Muench, he came here to our house one day and told us they’d just been there and they thought it a nice place and everything. And so anyway I guess with the instructions that Lert Knee got from me (I didn’t know he was planning on goin’ down there just a few days later, or else I probably wouldn’t have given him the instructions)… But anyway he was around braggin’ at first how he was the first one to go to the Doll House area with his… makin’ a road over there. But then the word got around that he’d got all the information from me just a few days before he went in there – a few days before we went. And so then I guess he kind of got censored or something about all his big exploring trip down there. But we had been in a lot of times and figured out the route and how we could get in there. And so we did have a real good trip going in. And then after that we did run a lot of our commercial trips to the Standing Rock country. And in our tour business we generally had 6-day camping trips scheduled and we’d generally take a circle route – take in a big part of the country around on a 6 day trip. And we did get a lot of good people. And at that time the only ones who’d think about going on that kind of a trip were the ones who were interested in getting out and seeing new country. And they were able to explore places where there hadn’t been lots of people going before also. And so we did start up a business and we enjoyed it and we run that Kent Frost Canyonland tours for 25 years before we retired. And another thing, while we were in that business along and after we had got a little better aquainted with the Maze country, then Melvin and Rosalie Goldman from Chicago came out on a jeep trip in 1959. So we took them and their three kids on a trip down into the Needles country and Canyonlands area. And then they were the type that wanted to do some real extreme exploring. So I took them on a lot of rough hiking trips. And the first hiking trip we went on was down through Grand Gulch to see the Indian ruins and all that beautiful stuff that’s in Grand Gulch and see how it was. And they liked that one so well that we planned a trip hiking through the Maze area. And I had found a way to get down into the… from Elaterite Basin down into Horse Canyon close to where the Maze overlook is now. And anyway I found that route down there the way the trail goes into the National Park Service unit at this time. And I think I was the first one to take photographers down to see the harvest scene to take pictures of that one. And I still say that’s one of the most spectacular pictographs that I’ve ever seen. It’s a great one.

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