Monday, February 17, 2014

St. George and vicinity

Friday after school we all headed south to St. George for the Icebreaker Soccer tournament combined with a mini-vacation. It seemed as if half of Utah was heading south too. For Presidents Weekend St. George hosts all kinds of sporting tournaments (soccer, softball, baseball, lacrosse). We spent three nights at my cousin Betsey's vacation home in Hurricane. Saturday Joel's Utah Storm team played in two games. In between we got some lunch and did some shopping. The boys played hard, but lost both games. Afterwards we enjoyed the Lego Movie and then dinner at Panda Express (remind me not to eat there again).

Supportive families of Utah Storm.

 Joel's favorite stance.

Sunday morning we all slept in, watched the Tabernacle Choir Broadcast and then attended a very crowded 11:00 sacrament meeting at the Hurricane 21st ward.  We then headed out to do some Sabbath exploring. Driving to Zion National Park we drove through aptly named Rockville. There we passed a home where last December a couple was killed while asleep in bed when big rocks from up above came crashing down from the top most layer of rocks totally demolishing their home. Sad.

Last year we also visited Zion where we bought a year pass to the National Parks thinking we would spend the summer exploring other southern Utah parks. Those plans were altered by surgeries for Sarah and Marie. Happily that pass did not expire until the end of this month so we at least got some additional use out of it. We decided to hike the Canyon Overlook Trail. Not too hard for Joel's tired legs and not too dangerous for Marie's motherly instincts, but with areas to explore and a final great vista.

What a root anchor.

Top center: Altar of Sacrifice with it blood red drippings (better seen in morning light).

 West Temple

We then drove east to Mt Carmel Junction and then south to Kanab. From there we headed west on a road I don't think I have ever traveled (I am always looking for new roads to travel). First stop: Pipe Spring National Monument. I had never heard of it. I only knew about it from the road atlas. We arrived just ten minutes before five (which we were told was closing time) so it was a quick visit. Will, who decided he had done his one hike for the day, stayed in the car with Marie, while the rest of us hustled to see what there was to see.  Come to find out the Monument was located in the midst of a reservation for the Kaibab band of the Paiute Indians who once spent summers living in impromptu (they were nomadic) huts like this.

Now they live in homes like this.

And benefit from services like this. In the distance is tribal land heading south across the Kaibab Plateau towards the north rim of the Grand Canyon. This land was once covered with tall grasses ideal for grazing.

In this arid land flowed a rare spring--Pipe Spring. To it came Spanish Fathers Dominguez and Escalante, John Wesley Powell and Mormon ranchers. The Mormons grazed Tithing Herds (cows donated to the LDS Church for tithing) on the tall grasses (until overgrazed). Milk was made into cheese that was then wagoned to St. George to feed temple builders. To protect the spring and its settlers a stockade was built.

Inside the stockade where Mormon families lived and passer-bys were housed--including Mormons traveling the honeymoon trail from Arizona to the St. George Temple. At one point plural (polygamous) wives were hid here.

Additional cabins.

Cow corral

Water is channeled out from under the stockade to ponds that were then used to irrigate gardens and orchards. 

The cottonwoods (middle right) surround the Pipe Spring. Next time we pass this way, I'd like to stay a little longer. 

Further to the west is another spring (Deep Creek) where polygamous followers of the the FLDS Church (led by imprisoned Warren Jeffs) have built up the border divided towns of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. I have long been aware of problems associated with this town--the raid in the 50s that removed children from polygamous homes, the lost boys who are forced from the community because there are not enough girls to go around, the horrors of teen brides being married off to older men, the tight control Jeffs wields on the community etc. We drove though town to take a look. Other than two girls (in long dresses) and then two boys walking through town all we saw were big homes behind tall walls.

We returned to the comforts of the Holley home where we enjoyed frozen lasagna for dinner followed by a delightful evening cuddled on the couch watching the Olympics. We all went to bed with the plan to rise early for Joel's 7:30 game. That plan was thwarted by a mid-night attack of the stomach flu on poor Joel. He was up most of the night and was in no shape to play soccer so we called it good and headed back to Springville.

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