In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2011 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Big Ear Cave
Great Basin Rattlesnake
Page Ranch, Grants Ranch
Although hard to see here, there is a snake under this rock and part of it's shedded skin is showing to the left of the rock. It was very hard to see when we sat down right next to him! This rattlesnake was ID'd by Martin and Jerry Feldner and Martin also gave us some very interesting info on snakes that are shedding.
"Once snakes shed, as long as they shed the clear scale that covers the eye, they once again have their normal eyesight. It's really only during the period leading up to shedding that a snake's eyesight is significantly diminished. This happens due to a fluid build up between the old eye scale and the one to replace it. If a snake doesn't shed the scale covering its eye its eyesight might be slightly reduced from having to look through two clear scales but not reduced to near the level when the fluid is present (what is often referred to as when a snake is in the "blue") prior to shedding". Martin Feldner
Short video of the Great Basin Rattlesnake after it climbed out from under the big flat rock. Very pretty snake with his new skin.
Here is slideshow of 15 photos capturing almost all of the pictographs found in Big Ear Cave. Petroglyphs/Pictographs, see the difference
Short video taken from the inside of the cave. If you turn your sound on you'll hear the approaching wind. Notice that the trees are not moving in the video. Just after shooting this video a steady wind from the south picked up and continued for quite a while. Vehicles on Pinto Road coming from Pinto could be heard from several miles away. The cave faces south in the direction of Pinto.
The first sound we heard from inside the cave sounded like a jet plane had just passed overhead at a low altitude. Then we heard rumbling, my first thought was -- earthquake, we need to get out of here. It soon passed and so did the pick-up truck coming from Pinto toward the cave hauling a horse or cattle trailer. The sound was very loud and the cave gives you a very uncomfortable feeling because of this. An almost eerie feeling.
The hiking trail up to the cave is a very easy walk with a few switch backs then a fairly straight walk to the cave. The cave is located in the rocks in the background of this photo. If your in decent shape it'll take you about 15 minutes to hike up to the cave, and maybe as little as 10 minutes to walk back down.
This doesn't look like a cave when you first approach it.You'll have to climb up a sloped rock face to enter the cave. Once inside you'll see that the cave is very elongated with a high ceiling.
View from the cave looking down at the section of Pinto Road where the above photo was taken. Pinto road continues on south (to the right) to the town of Pinto. The natural acoustics in the cave are really amazing!
When we were told about this cave in the desert we were told there are petroglyphs inside (see below). We were also told that the cave was named "Lionsmouth Cave". We've renamed it here to Big Ear Cave. I don't think many people have spent any time in the cave just sitting and listening. It's also not listed on any maps by name. It helps if you're in the cave when a vehicle is coming toward the cave from Pinto. See the video below.
Download the Garmin topo track HERE
After leaving the cave you can head south to the town of Pinto. You can then continue on to Enterprise or go west to New Castle and New Castle Reservoir. Just a little south of the cave you'll see the old Page Ranch as pictured here. This is one of the early settler's ranches and in it's time must have been quite a fine ranch home. At this point on the Pinto Road you have the option of going east toward New Harmony.
Just after you turn east at the Page Ranch the scenery changes to mountainous geography and the road gets pretty narrow in some places, but passable in a 2 wheel drive if it hasn't rained in the previous week or so.
On the first part of this road you'll see many beautiful places like this waterfall that feeds the Pinto Creek. The Pinto Creek follows alongside this road till you get just past the Upper Grants Ranch Road. See the downloadable topo track for more info.
In places you may see cattle, like we did, that are wandering along the creek bed and following the creek into these open areas that are full of new grass to graze on.
Grants Ranch is a rather large ranch and there are several buildings close to the road as you travel east. We were told this was bought by people from outside Utah. It is now closed to the public.
One of the really nice mountain meadows just above Grants Ranch and right next to the turn off to Upper Grants Ranch. The road then continues over the mountains on it's way to New Harmony. It's about 11 miles from the Page Ranch to New Harmony. Some of this road is a little rough.
As your coming down off the mountains and into Colbert Canyon you'll get to these old ruins. The Kelsy Deer Camp was here at one time. Continuing on, the road will turn into Old State Hwy. 144 and take you into New Harmony.
As you enter New Harmony you'll find yourself in the old section of town with nice older style homes and churches. The people here are very friendly and the old town is worth seeing.
This is a great way to spend a day in the desert and in the mountains of Utah. There are so many options and all will make a nice daytrip.
Interactive map of the area, from Rt. 56 to Pinto to towards