Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mormon Country

Much of the landscape in the southwest seems so unforgiving that I am fascinated by the people who actually settled in this region and scratched out an existance. Many, if not most, of the early settlers were Mormons who spread out across the area soon after arriving in the Salt Lake City area. Utah is considered Mormon country as is much of northern Arizona, including the Arizona Strip which runs between the north rim of the Grand Canyon and the Utah state line. So, on our trip to Vegas (NOT Mormon country) we detoured through the Strip and visited a few sites.

We used Page, AZ as our jumping off point. Rte 89 beyond Cameron has some unbelievable scenery. About 20 miles south of Page, the highway rises up to give a great view across the plateau toward the Grand Canyon...>

Judy overlooking the plateau...

Remnants of a storm...

Then goes through the a cut in the rocks....

Outside Page there are great views of Lake Powell, formed by the Glen Canyon Dam...

We stopped at the Big Water Visitor Center and got some information on Pipe Springs.

Pipe Springs is a natrual spring whose source is the mountains of Utah. Water has leeched down through layers of the earth only to pop out at this spring near Freedonia, AZ. It has been used over the centuries by natives, Spanish and travellers. The Mormons used this site as well and Brigham Young spent time here. Some of the fundamentalist sects are located near this site.

Here are the rebuilt bunkhouses for the ranch...

Ranch house with the spring...

Another visitor...

From there, our next destination was Mountain Meadow. On the way, we passed through Colorado City, a fundamentalist community, and St. George home of the 2nd largest LDS temple in the state.

Here's Judy having her lunch at a scenic overlook north of St. George.

We arrived at Mountain Meadow and had plenty of place to park. I don't think this is a heavily visited site.

But, we weren't the only visitors...

The monument marks the grave of 100+ men, women and children who were massacred by a band of Piaute and local Mormons. The Mormons were paranoid of anyone passing through this area at the time especially people from Arkansas where the Mormons had been persecuted. After all the investigations, one person, John D. Lee, the person who built Lee's Ferry across the Colorado at the "official" beginning of the Grand Canyon, was executed for the crime. More details can be found on-line.

Before heading to Vegas, we made one last off-road trip on the Joshua Tree Road. This scenic by-way runs through the Shimvits-Piaute reservation. Many of the Joshua trees were burned in a fire a few years ago, but it was still an enjoyable ride.

It is hard to find a sign out in the boondocks that isn't riddled with bullet holes.....

Some of the trees have sprouted new growth...

We did make one wrong turn and ended up here. Doesn't look much like a road. It is the way to an old mine that has been closed

And, oh yeah, some of the cactus were in bloom...

From there we found I-15 and headed to Vegas. We were too late for our reservation at Mon Ami, a French restaurant we like, but made it to the David Spade show (a good show if you like David Spade. I do.)

For me Vegas is like Building 19. It seems like a good idea to go there, but once you are there, you say "what am I doing here?" But, I'm sure I'll be back.

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