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.