We decided to make our way to Salt Lake City to check out that capitol. Our first stop was actually in a small corner of Arizona in the Virgin River Gorge between Nevada and Utah at the Cedar Pocket campground. In 1973, that section of Interstate 15 which runs through the winding and scenic gorge was the most expensive to build at a cost of $100 an inch.
A reason we like Cedar Patch Campground
Another reason we like Cedar Pocket Campground
Ray, the camp host, attracted tiny squirrels that looked like chipmunks and All Kinds of birds to his site. He showed us the morning dove in the tree below. He thought he was fooling us until we noticed the bar code on the bird's tail.
Joshua Trees and a lone camper
This was once the home of Jacob Hamblin, an explorer, pioneer and peacemaker with Indians. The slanting front porch was used to dry fruit and herbs. Jacob grew apricot and peaches to supply the cotton-producing families who had been sent South to this area by Brigham Young. This area thus got the nickname Dixie. We had passed remains of homes and a fort that had been deserted due to drought or ravaged by torrential floods from the Virgin and Santa Clara Rivers.
Another day we toured St. George’s Historic District with its well-preserved brick buildings. Several were open with free tours available.
Another day trip was to Zion National Park. We had a picnic lunch under a tree that must have been the home for the several caterpillars that were attracted to Mike’s jacket. The shuttle was a relaxing way to see and hear about the sights in the canyon. We walked as far as the Riverside Trail was open seeing falls, squirrels and water-loving plants hugging the rocks.
On the Riverside Trail
Continuing our way north, we drove across Hwy 14 from Cedar City into Long Valley Junction. This was the first of many reminders that Spring had not yet decided to stay or come in parts of the country. We passed dripping icicles, deep snow banks, downed trees, and overflowing streams along the climb up to 10,000 foot elevation.
We made our way along the meandering Sevier River and Hwy 89 to beautiful Red Canyon. The Forest Service campground and the weather were ideal.
Hiking along a trail in Red Canyon
Having been to Bryce Canyon twice, we just looked at the hoodos from above at a few overlooks and did not hike down any trails as we did in the past.
A great description of the sights in Bryce
Bryce Amphitheater from Sunset Point
The story of the 10-mile ditch that was hand dug across the plateau to bring water from the Sevier river down to Bryce Canyon and the town of Tropic again impressed us.
Kodachrome Basin has towering sandstone spires or chimneys jutting up from the desert floor that change in color and shadow as the day progresses. Because of the colors and contrasts the park got its name in 1949 with permission from the Kodak Film Company. What would its name be today if named for today’s photo technology? Because of the heat we only walked the short nature trail, enough to get a feeling for the place.
In town we spotted the burnt ruins of what was the Provo Tabernacle. Its old wooden interior fueled a Christmas-time fire.
On another rainy day we drove to Salt Lake City to visit the Capitol. In 2004 the reconstruction and renovation involved lifting the millions of pounds of concrete onto new foundations and devises called base isolators which will help protect the 1916 building from extreme earthquake damage. Seagulls, the State bird, adorn the ceiling on the Rotunda dome as they, according to lore, appeared to eat the crickets that were devouring the crops of the new settlement. This was taken as a sign that this was a special place.
Statue of Christ - A very awesome sight!
The organ inside the Tabernacle
Inscription along walkway expressing Morman beliefs
We never made another trip to Salt Lake City so we did not get to see some of the many more attractions of this interesting city. Since many of the campgrounds further north were still closed, we decided to go south. We passed by a huge power plant near a narrow rock outcropping and then a sign for a town called Helper.
In the 1880's the railroad saw the potential of coal in eastern Utah so they purchased the land that became Helper. The coal trains were so heavy there always was a need for a helper engine, thus the name. Many people immigrated from other countries to work in the mines and on the railroad. We learned about the many mining camps that once existed in the area and the life and work of the miners at the Western Mining and Railroad Museum which was in the process of being reorganized. The museum had 3 floors of exhibits including Large Model Trains, Butch Cassidy and Outlaw History, Artifacts and Photos of Italian Immigrants, Mining Disasters and a Simulated Coal Mine.
Main Street - Helper