Les Patterson??Ÿ?¦Ÿ??s Monday Morning Boost: Cool, clear water

Life exists, but for the want of water. This nugget permeated my thoughts as I meandered up Sam Stowe Canyon in search of a rumored waterfall. We had gathered over the weekend at the group campground in the canyon for my mother’s Christiansen family reunion. As my mom’s sisters prepared breakfast I shoved a bottle of water in my back pocket and headed out.
Nestled on the southern edge of Sevier County, and perpendicular to the winding Clear Creek Canyon, Sam Stowe Canyon lies largely within the confines of the Fremont Indian State Park. Named after pioneer settler Sam Stowe who raised cattle in the canyon in the late 1800s. The canyon offered good shelter and a year-round water source.
The canyon still bears the marks of those early efforts. The ruins of a stone cabin, one side built into the canyon wall, lies at the canyon mouth. A worn out dirt road takes us deeper into the canyon. Remains of a livestock corral butt up against the west wall of the canyon. Where the creek once ran an old rock dam lies dormant, a testament of early pioneer irrigation efforts.
Life struggles without adequate water, a hard fact those in the West have always been keenly aware of. Early pioneers calculated trips based on distance between water sources. Wells were dug, springs protected, dams built. Natural rivers and streams were enhanced with irrigation canals and ditches. The barren desert did blossom as water spread.
My Dad loved the art of moving water. He never called it art, of course. Those are my words.  Dad simply just irrigated. But there was nothing simple about it. Dad learned to stretch water further than others thought possible. Water was rarely in abundance, and Dad considered his water shares almost as being sacred.
The dam no longer holds water, and cattle are no longer penned in the sagebrush-filled corral. Yet the creek still flows, and not far past the rock dam, I found the waterfall. It was smaller than rumored, but a waterfall nonetheless.
As I trace my steps back, the canyon seems to carry the whispering chants of a people older than the pioneers, and older than the American Indians.
“Campers in the Castle Rock Campground have heard them. The mountain men have heard them. And even paranormal investigators have heard them. Who are they? They are the Old Ones of the Fremont Indian State Park. They still whisper, sing and play flutes upon the laughing winds of today but they also carved and chipped their histories upon the rocks of yesteryear. Would you like to hear the Tribal legends about the Rock Writings of Clear Creek Canyon? They speak of Ceremonies that were performed, they tell of personal sacrifices made, they warn about the Evil One that wanders the canyon, and the tragedy that came upon the People that lived within the canyon for so long.”
Have a great Monday. Thanks for letting me share!
p.s. Take 15 minutes today to learn about the Fremont Indians and enjoy the Sons of the Pioneers singing Cool Water.


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