Oral Histories

Kent & Fern Frost


Kent & Fern Frost

F: Yeah, but when you crossed the river you had to wade it and use a stick to hold in your hand.

K: Yeah, the river was quite deep there, up to our knees and swift. It was real wide. And so we got a staff and held that with one hand and held hands with the others that was wadin’ across that ice cold water. Our feet was about froze when we got on the other side. There was some big dark colored slabs of rock layin’ there so we stood on them and our feet warmed up and then we went on across there.

F: To the Rincon to get the Jeep.

Q2: You say in the book when you worked for Norman Nevills I believe that you got to the mouth of the San Juan and the San Juan was dry. Is that true?

K: Yeah, that was on a trip my cousin and I… We walked to the top of the mountain here at the head of Spring Creek Pass and from there on westward pass the Natural Bridges and then down White Canyon and come out at Hite. And that’s where Art Chaffin built this little boat for us and we floated from there down to Lee’s Ferry. And when we come to the San Juan River it was completely dry. I’ve been down through the San Juan River and down to Lee’s Ferry the year before on the Nevills expedition as a boatman. And so I knew what it was like from there. And when I come to the San Juan River and there it was…it was dry. We walked up it a quarter of a mile. We thought we might find a pool that had some fish in it or something to catch but there wasn’t any pools of water or anything. It was just dry sand.

Q2: It’s hard to imagine the San Juan drying up. I’ve read accounts where that’s happened.

K: Well it was sure dry that time.

F: Nobody’s had the experiences that he’s had.

Q1: Well, on these long treks what did you do for water? Did you carry some with you or did you just count on finding the water?

K: I generally found it along the way.

Q1: So you didn’t even have a canteen?

K: Well, later I started carrying a canteen.

Q1: Wow

F: When I married him he didn’t even know what an air mattress was, or a sleeping bag. He got so he got an air mattress and then a little more and a little more.

Q1: You must have had quite a knack for finding water in this country.

K: Well, I’ve drunk water that didn’t taste very good.

F: That’s why he’s always been so careful when he come to water. Didn’t wash his feet or something in it for fear somebody else would come and drink it.

K: Well, yeah but I drank a lot of that water that the cows had washed their feet in and that’s definitely not clean.

Q1: Cows aren’t very careful.

F: These city people they don’t know beans about camping. And finally I got to the point I said, “Kent, you’re gonna bring those people in here and sit ‘em down and tell ‘em a few rules and regulations before we go so that you don’t have to get after ‘em out there. They will know what’s goin’ on.” So he’d bring ‘em in and have his little shovel, and he’d say “Here’s a shovel. When you go behind a bush now you dig a hole and bury it.” So he was real particular about that country out there.

Q1: That’s a big problem that we’re struggling with in the Park. How to deal with the human waste situation. In The Maze, particularly, you can’t go easily go and pump out a toilet.

F: Well, these people they don’t know nothin’, from the city. They just don’t know anything.

K: Where are you guys headed for now when you leave here?

Q1: We’re headed back. Thanks a lot for talking to us. We really appreciate it.

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