Oral Histories

Kent & Fern Frost


Kent & Fern Frost

F: Same thing down the Mormon Trail.

K: And down the Mormon Trail at the Rincon, when the prospector moved out of there, there was a barrel about half full of diesel fuel so I put that on the bumper of my jeep and hauled it up to the top of Grey Mesa and cached it underneath a juniper tree and I used that all up for a little bit of extra fuel.

Q2: When you’re in the Rincon, you look across the river, now you look across the lake, there’s still a bunch of roads on the Chinle. Do you know how they got in there? How’d you get into that side of the river?

K: There was an old oil drilling rig or something that the early miners moved up in there in the early 20s or sometime. And I never did know much about it. And somebody wanted to go down and rescue that old rig as the lake was coming up but the Park Service wouldn’t let ‘em because …I don’t know why they wouldn’t let ‘em.

Q1: Did they come in from Hite on the north side? Was there a north cable across the Rincon that they could get across the river. That’s a long ways down from Hite and I wasn’t sure if they had a road.

K: Oh, I think they ferried that up from Lee’s Ferry. Because down there, just on the west side of that Water Pocket Fold where it got down to the river bottom, there’s some oil seeps along there. And I was down there on a trip to Glen Canyon one time and here was a little drill stem that was about twenty feet long layin’ there and then there was a little bit of other old oil drilling equipment layin’ at that place. And see that was a long ways up from Lee’s Ferry that they’d had to bring that.

Q2: You know on the White Rim, when you get out to White Crack, that road that goes way out…it’s a long walk. We’ve walked out there and then got over to look at the confluence from that side and then there’s an old sled that looks like it might have had a shack on it that they drug out there and a bunch of drill pipe. Do you know what that is? What were they drilling for out there?

K: Oh, they found a little bit of uranium in the Moencopi formation, I think, just below the Cedar Mesa sandstone and they might have been interested in drilling for that.

Q1: When you took your trips through Horseshoe, did you ever see anybody out there at the Tidwell Ranch? Were there sheepherders out there?

K: Yeah, there was a sheepherder that camped there in the winter time. And that old cabin was in pretty good condition when I first went through there.

Q1: That was in the ‘50s?

K: Yeah, and then down in the bottom, by that spring where they had that pump, water pump, they had an old Studebaker truck. They had a van body on the back of it, big van body, and they used that for storage for grain and stuff like that for livestock. And the road wasn’t too bad goin’ right on across that Horseshoe Canyon and up past that…uh…

Q1: Did you see that pumphouse in operation? Were they using it?

K: No, I was never there when they was pumping. But I was there when they had sheep in the area and they’d run the sheep right on down the bottom of the canyon.

Q1: Did they dredge it out? Did they dredge it out and make a dam? Did you ever see anything like that by the pumphouse?

K: Well, yeah, they did have a little sand bank there and the water was probably only three or four feet deep in it. In the springtime when we got there they would… it was probably about the time they got through pumping.

Q1: Somebody told me recently that they used to drive their jeeps up into The Alcove there in Horseshoe Canyon, the big alcove about halfway between the pumphouse and the Great Gallery? Did you ever do that or see anybody doing that? Right now it’s a cut bank about ten feet.

K: I noticed that when I was down there a few years ago and no, but, on that there smooth rock just below there, we camped there a few times and then the people carried their sleeping bag up to the inside of it. But I don’t remember seein’ any jeep tracks inside that cave.

Q1: Did you ever see any jeep tracks going up from the Great Gallery, upstream, south?

K: Yeah, I’ve driven up there to a rough area, a narrow place in the canyon. And there’s spring water there. I’ve been up to that far.

Q1: But you didn’t see anybody going…

K: No, not as far as I know. I camped up in there one night. We used to camp quite often under that big gallery on the gravel bottom there.

Q1: Did you go down the canyon toward the Green?

K: I’ve walked down as far as where it got real rough one time and then I seen that..oh, it looked like an old horse trail goin’ down the side of it. And I never did get a chance to go on down.

Q1: I’ve always wondered if they took horses all the way down through there. Right now there’s no evidence of any trails on down in there, maybe because the floods have washed everything out. They’ve had some pretty big floods in there.

K: Well, I thought Ted Ekker told me that they’d run some of their commercial trips down that.

Q1: I heard that too and was just wondering.

.Q1: Well one other story I’d like to get on tape if we haven’t talked too much. Ward Roylance was saying that maybe in the early ‘60s you were driving over Elephant Hill and you got to the bottom and had some medical problem? He said to make sure to ask you about that.

Read the other Oral Histories