Sunday, November 27, 2016

St. George, Utah and Zion National Park

Yesterday I wrote about St. George, our downtown walk about and beautiful Snow Canyon. Following our return from Snow Canyon we dined on the patio, watched the lizards across the road, the sun set, and we drank in the silence.

Morning breakfast at the Egg and I, and we both agreed it was an excellent choice. As we were finishing our meal, a mother across from us, stood and told her young son to hurry up, we are going to be late. As I watched them go outside, she grabbed her right ankle, pulled it toward her buttock for one second, and the son did the same; she pulled the other ankle up, one second, and that was again mimicked by her son. Left arm up, right arm up and she was off... running. I had a chuckle as I recalled many years ago (in my younger days), a group of us would run in a 5K or 10K most weekends. Once we decided to have breakfast before the event. It was a cold and blustery day and with a wind chill below zero. About 20 minutes into the race I began feeling nauseous... and yes, I did_ a lesson learned.

While it was slightly overcast during our visit to Snow Canyon, today the sky was relatively clear as we headed toward Zion National Park. We were told by several that the park had become so popular that it is generally bumper to bumper, so we decided to head out early. By the time we reached the park the temperature was 5 C (41 F) so it was cold in the canyon. As the morning progressed 9 C (48.2) felt a bit better except for the occasional wind. And to our great surprise, we were able to drive and pull aside to take photos with ease. Elevations in the park range from 3,600 to 8,700 feet.

Court of the Patriarchs
The Grotto
We were now at the end and turnaround point. As we stood engulfed within the narrow perimeter of walls of towering cathedral-like structures, we were somewhat stunned at the amount of vegetation growing on the rocks. 




The photographs don't really tell the tale_ the scale of what we experienced. Look at the cars at the base of the mountain relative to the surrounding in the last two photos. We returned to St. George by mid afternoon and a very pleasurable 16 C (60.8). 

 Enough chicken and salad for another evening meal, and tomorrow we fly.
Mt Hood

Saturday, November 26, 2016

St. George, Utah and Snow Canyon

Dixie Drive, Dixie Highway, Dixie University... makes one think you are in the south, and you would be correct, but in southern Utah.

Self-sufficiency and economic independence was the goal as Mormon settlers moved south of Salt Lake City due to a milder climate. Over a period of years families with varied skills were called to move into a number of settlements in order to "grow cotton" (the Cotton Mission), and although somewhat successful for a period, difficulty with the Indians, a lack of irrigation knowledge, malaria, increased process and operations, tithing, taxes, poverty... eventually led to the abandonment of it.

St. George, Utah was named after Mormon Apostle George A. Smith, founded by Apostle Erastus Snow as one of the cotton missions in 1861, and was called Dixie by Brigham Young, who was then the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church).

As we drove past Dixie University, my husband read the sign "Founded 1911", and to which he responded: "105 years old, no 115, no... "
Me: "I'm not going to fight with you. You are doing a great job all by yourself." (smile)

As you get within about twenty miles of St. George, the flat and nearly barren desert of Nevada transitions into a gradual climb, and the highway snakes it's way beneath the mammoth canyon walls until you reach 2880 feet in elevation. Rainfall is less than 8 inches per year.

We arrived, settled in and enjoyed the view outside our unit. 
As best we could tell, the only things stirring were a couple lizards

This sprawling city is surrounded by a network of highways, ease of access, and new construction in all directions. The city population is over 80,000 and the county is estimated at over 155,000 and growing, and we were delighted with what we saw.

Our first morning was breakfast at a place we have never been_ Cracker Barrel. Eggs and bacon were good, sausage_rather spicy, while the gravy was tasteless (didn't need it anyway) and the grits were not properly cooked. As we might say, "been there twice now, first and last". But all was well.

A lightly overcast day, we walked about the beautiful and friendly city_easy access, wide streets, no paid parking, clean, inviting... very welcoming, including the crisp and chilly air.

The St. George Tabernacle (opened in 1876) was covered with scaffolding and with sand blasting underway, there was no access.
The clock was made in London

We made our way to Brigham Young's winter home which was occupied by him for only about three years. According to the Elder that showed us around the house, Brigham Young had 55 wives and 56 children. (Later I read he even married women who were already married.)

 He was a skilled cabinet maker, carpenter and painter, and all the wood trim and furniture in the house was made of pine (the only wood available and hauled from Pine Valley), and was hand grained to look like hardwood. The fireplace itself was hand painted to look like marble.

The servant's room
The wife's room
Brigham Young's room
He dined on the right, work table on the left, and at times seldom left the room due to health issues

St. George Temple

Following a return to our lodging and a lunch reheated from a so-so Mexican dinner of the previous evening, we decided to shop for our evening's meal: a roasted chicken and salad would work perfectly.

Snow Canyon State Park (originally Dixie State Park and later renamed after Lorenzo and Erastus Snow), northwest of St George in red-rock country and just a short jaunt from our lodging, was our afternoon adventure. From sand dunes, petrified dunes (a slight reminder of cow patties) and Navajo sandstone, to ancient lava flows and cliffs of burnt orange, sienna and white, it is a natural wonder and a site to behold... along with the thrill of seeing a roadrunner. 

Jenny's Canyon


Petrified Dunes

 Continued... here.