I had a map laid out on the kitchen counter for a few days. Dad got the message and we followed my plan and my map. Here's the write-up;
San Rafael Swell (from Wikipedia) is a large geologic feature located in south-central Utah about 30 miles west of Green River, Utah. The swell is 75 miles by 40 miles, consists of a giant dome-shaped anticline of sandstone, shale, and limestone that was pushed up during the Paleocene Laramide Orogeny 60 - 40 million years ago. Since that time, infrequent but powerful flash floods have eroded the sedimentary rocks into numerous valleys, canyons, gorges, mesas and buttes.
The history shows evidence of Native American cultures, including the Fremont, Paiute, and Ute, and is common throughout the San Rafael Swell in the form of pictograph and petroglyph panels. From about 1776 to the mid -1850's the Old Spanish Trail trade route passed through the Swell. There are many native plants occurring that are nowhere else in the world.
Both the San Rafael River and Muddy Creek drain out of the high Wasatch Plateau and cut directly across the uplift of the Reef, which marks them as 'superimposed streams', pre-dating the time of the uplift. Part of the Swell has geographic features that resembles Mars. The Mars Society decided to set up the Mars Desert Research Station in the area as a Mars analog for such reasons.