Tour of Utah: Hole in the Rock

In case you didn’t know already, Utah is home to some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In case you also didn’t know already, I am LDS. As such, I’ve been taught about the history of the church’s founding, the persecutions the early members faced, their various relocations in order to build their Zion, and the fun they had settling Utah.

By Charles William Carter; American (London, England 1832 – 1918 Midvale, UT) – Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library, 119.1976.1501

Upon reaching the barren, harsh, dry, uninhabitable area now known as Utah, the Mormon pioneers knew they’d found a winner. Not long after establishing Salt Lake City, Brigham Young (their leader) sent groups off to set up nearby areas. I learned that he sent those groups about a wagon’s ride away from each other, but can’t find a source for that information. Whether he did or not, there are towns all down our interstate and this makes present-day gas station stops very convenient.

What does that potentially-inaccurate history have to do with a hole in a rock? I’m glad you asked!

Sometimes, the early settlers of Utah faced challenges. Hordes of crickets threatened crops in the Salt Lake Valley in the first full year of planting. Tropic, Utah could only get irrigation after building a ten-mile long canal. And, weary members of the San Juan Expedition attempting to find a route to the southeastern corner of Utah found impassable cliffs -then, miracle of miracles, stumbled upon “a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river” (Wikipedia).

By G. Thomas at en.wikipedia – Own work, Public Domain

They named it Hole in the Rock. Promptly thereafter, they began chipping away in order to move 250 PEOPLE, 83 WAGONS, AND OVER 1000 HEAD OF LIVESTOCK through this hole. I kid you not.

Six months later, they were “ready;” for, the wagons still needed assistance. They used ropes, plus wooden beams supported by posts jabbed into holes they drilled in the rock walls to carefully lower the wagons.

This is another famous site I have not visited, but my son has. His youth group camped nearby and hiked the area, reimagining and experiencing what their pioneer ancestors did. If you want a similar vacation adventure, Hole in the Rock is about seven hours south of Salt Lake International Airport (or 100 hours if you walk).

Author’s note: there is also a tourist destination called Hole N” The Rock, located near Moab. It’s worth a kitschy gander.

—–

Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 16: “Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake.” It’s iconic!

Thursday, September 17: Wrote an example of funny poetry for that week’s contest: “Chuckie Bob and His Award.”

Friday, September 18: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Hobbo.

Saturday, September 19: Opened the A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is seasonal haiku (senryu). Results to be posted soon!!!

Sunday, September 20: Scratched a nagging discomfort with “R.B.G. and Why It’s Difficult to Be a Woman.”

Monday, September 21: Shared a quote about not worrying about The Joneses.

Thursday, September 24: Wrote my own seasonal poetry, “A Mused Seasonal Haiku…” for this week’s theme.

The winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest will be posted by this evening!

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: the Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake is one of the most well-known features of Utah. After Arches, Mormons, and Mormons; nearly everyone associates Utah with “[t]he largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere” (Utah.com).

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

In elementary school, I learned that it is what’s left of an ENORMOUS Lake Bonneville that covered Utah, Nevada, and Idaho a mere 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. I also learned of its salinity (about 12%, more than the ocean) and that people used to float in it as a recreational gimmick.

I’ve been there; from biking across the causeway (Antelope Island Road) to the lake’s main attraction, Antelope Island, to touring the island’s bison reserve and trying to enjoy the island’s beach.

Photo by Erin on Unsplash

Yep; trying.

You see: the Great Salt Lake is really cool, but is home to some unpleasantness in the hotter months. I’m talking brine flies and mosquitoes. If you’re not far enough inland or far enough water-bound, they’re gonna bite ya.

The Great Salt Lake has a smell. In winter, we refer to it as “The Lake.” Catchy, I know. The light stench is a mix of moldy sea and salty brine flies.

It’s not all flies and stink, however. The lake is pretty amazing. Utah.com claims that swimmers can still float. Their website reminds us of the countless animal (mostly bird) refuges in the marshes of the lake’s edges. We Utahns enjoy amazingly beautiful vistas, whether hiking East of the lake or on Antelope Island itself.

The Great Salt Lake’s science facts are also nifty:

  • “Four rivers and numerous streams empty into the Great Salt Lake, carrying dissolved minerals. The lake has no outlet so these minerals are trapped. Continual evaporation concentrates the minerals. Several businesses extract table salt and other chemicals from the lake water” (Utah.com).
  • In winter, Utah experiences a Lake Effect similar to being near the ocean; problem is, this creates poor air quality when coupled with the Rocky and Oquirrh Mountains.
  • And, as mentioned, it is the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world, nicknamed ‘America’s Dead Sea.’

Bonus fact: because of the lake and its surroundings, Utah has the really awesome, surreal Bonneville Salt Flats nearby.

Here’s this week’s breakdown:

Wednesday, September 9: “Tour of Utah: Flaming Gorge.” Try the river-rafting.

Friday, September 11: Announced the winner of the A Mused Poetry Contest, Richmond Road.

Saturday, September 12: The second A Mused Poetry Contest! The subject is Warning Labels. Let me know if your poetry submission doesn’t work.

Another COVID-19 update. We’re all in this together.

Sunday, September 13: My entry for Carrot Ranch’s prompt, “Time in a Radio.”

Monday, September 14: Shared a quote from Linda Andersen.

And, “Science Fiction?” Is it?

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Flaming Gorge

Utah is home to a lot of recreational areas. According to our current governor, “Approximately 75 percent of the state, more than 35 million acres, belongs to the public.”

Thanks, Utah.com

There’s a lot to do, from hiking through a desert to skiing down a mountain to boating on a lake. What many do not know is that most of our water recreation is thanks to reservoirs. Hey; it’s a desert.

One such reservoir is Flaming Gorge.

“On a spring day in 1869, John Wesley Powell and nine men boarded small wooden boats at Green River, Wyoming to embark on a daring exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Powell and his men slowly worked their way downstream, successfully completing their journey in late summer. It was on May 26, 1869 that Major Powell named the Flaming Gorge after he and his men saw the sun reflecting off of the red rocks.”

Utah.com/flaming-gorge

A large percentage of the reservoir runs through Wyoming, our neighbor to the northeast. Way back when I was a young ‘un, our church youth group went whitewater rafting through an area below the dam; according to their website: “Our Green River float trips originate below Flaming Gorge Dam. The Utah whitewater rapids span out over seven miles down the Green River.” So, the area I am familiar with is in Utah.

Take that, Wyoming.

I haven’t been rafting since but still remember the precarious movement of the raft, the splash of churning water, the thrill of impending doom, and the great achievement I felt in making it to the shore alive. Ah, youth.

If you’re vising the state and wish to have a similar experience, Flaming Gorge Resort lies a mere 3.5 hours East of the airport.

Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

And, here’s what I wrote for the last week:

Wednesday, September 2: “Tour of Utah: Evermore Park.” Let’s hope it lasts the year.

Thursday, September 3: Wrote up a quick update. Let me know if you’d like to be interviewed for a published work.

Friday, September 4: “What I Hear,” in response to Rethinking Scripture’s “Summer 2020 – What I Don’t Hear.”

Saturday, September 5: Announced our NEW poetry contest: A Mused Poetry. Word is that the site might be having issues, so do me a solid and put your entry in the comments if the form (i.e., Doesn’tWorkPress) fails you.

Sunday, September 6: My entry for Carrot Ranch’s prompt, “Bring On the Rain.

Monday, September 7: Shared a ubiquitous internet quote.

©2020 Chel Owens

Tour of Utah: Evermore Park

If you have an inner medieval knight, just waiting for his chance at a noble quest; if you’re a damsel in a dress, seeking an archery lesson to deter beaux; if you are a DND nerd inside and out, and wish for the ultimate LARPing experience….

I give you: Evermore.

©2020 Evermore.com

“Themed like a European village with its own buildings, citizens, and epic story. Guests interact with characters, go on quests, and become a part of the world of Evermore. The village of Evermore is a growing entity with changing themes, buildings, citizens, and quests.”

-From Evermore’s website

We heard about its opening a few years ago. The great Tracy Hickman told me he’d been hired to help create it*. Friends went. My former supervisor went and wrote about it. Yet, we’ve not tried it.

They have themes and special events. They also list:

  • Archery
  • Axe throwing
  • Bird & Reptile Show
  • Evermore Park-Themed Cuisine
  • Guild Memberships
  • Horse & Pony Interaction
  • Themed Train Experience
  • In-park Exclusive Merchandise
  • Mini Productions of Evermore’s History & Storyline
  • Musical Character Performances
  • Games & Quests
  • Storyline Discovery
  • Gothic Antiquities

(From their site)

© Kelsie Foreman and Utah Business

It’s located in Pleasant Grove, about 40 minutes south of Salt Lake City Airport. You’d better go quickly; I just read a followup article that says they’re facing lawsuits on unpaid construction projects….

Those cursèd knaves.

*Tracy Hickman gave me that information back when the park first opened. I haven’t spoken with him since.
©2020 Chelsea Owens

Tour of Utah: Deseret Industries

Today’s episode of “Sites to Visit in Utah” features a retail store most of the world is not familiar with: Deseret Industries.

The next question on your mind is So, what is Deseret Industries?

D.I. Closed

Currently closed, due to COVID-19.

Started in 1938, Deseret Industries (D.I.) is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s goodwill store.

But, why would we want to visit there?

D.I. may be a place to sort through and pay for donated ‘treasures,’ but it’s also much more!

For one thing, the LDS church uses D.I. as a job training resource. Those needing skills work in receiving moccasins someone’s been walking in, sorting some Pro Wings, pricing a fur fox skin, stocking the shelves with flannel zebra jammies, and even ringing up your purchase of your grandad’s clothes.

I …am a D.I. addict. I love going there. At least, I loved going there. Once The Scary Coronamonster drew closer, I eschewed my thrift shop stops. Before that point, however, I was a regular.

Mostly, I use D.I. to feed a gnawing bibliophile appetite. Sometimes, I find signed copies.

Besides books I’m interested in, I also uncover valuable literary treasures.

1800 Books

This is one of many valuable antique books in the locked case that day.

…And, less-valuable, less-literary discoveries.

Pizza!

Yes, this is a plush pizza.

I shop for luggage, lunch bags, bicycles, fake ficus trees, antiques, Halloween costumes, VHS and DVD films, tools, furniture, toys, vases, decorations, banana split dishes, and random crap I didn’t even know I wanted.

It’s similar to what I’ve heard flea markets are like. I think.

D.I. is all over the place in Utah. I even have my favorite locations, depending on what I’m searching for. It’s not just me, either; my former sixth-grade teacher used to show up at our lunch dates (when I was older, naturally) with her latest book finds from her favorite D.I.

It sounds crazy; but if you’re in the area, you should hit one up!


For no cost to you, here’s what I donated to the internet last week:
Wednesday, May 13: A virtual tour of Capitol Reef National Park.

Thursday, May 14: “Dear Teacher,” after reminiscing on my school/home experiences.

Friday, May 15: Announced that Charles won the Weekly Hilarity Contest.

Saturday, May 16: Announced this week’s Hilarity Contest. Write a response to the quote from good ol’ Kephart.

And, another update on the Coronavirus Home Life.

Sunday, May 17: “What’s in a Name?” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, May 18: Shared a quote by Norman Cousins.

Tuesday, May 19: “Going Postal, X.”

Wednesday, May 20: Today

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Sleep, the Unattainable Dream.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens, including pictures (excluding the front image of Deseret Industries and YouTube’s video).

Tour of Utah: Capitol Reef National Park

Utah has a LOT of national and state land. It’s a recreational paradise if you like hiking, biking, camping, skiing, fishing, feeling dry almost all the time, walking, and a bit of boating or canoeing.

I haven’t been to all of the government parks, but I have visited Capitol Reef. When I was a child, my mother used her local library and a telephone device to book us a week’s stay at a vacation home nearby. The owners had a farm and built the guesthouse as an extra way to make money. Their kids played with us and even let my brother come along on their ATV to move sprinklers.

As to the park itself: I don’t remember much. I take Utah’s scenic destinations for granted and did so to a greater degree as a child. I remember thinking, “Oh, great. More red rock. Oh, great. More big, open spaces where deer and antelope roam.”

Okay -I didn’t think those phrases exactly. I did mentally yawn over yet another hike through sagebrush and sand.

I mean, what’s so fabulous about this?

CR1

Navajo Dome, from Capitol Reef’s website.

Or this?

CR2

Looks like the Fruita Schoolhouse, also from their site.

Or this?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Okay, I stole this from Wikipedia.

…Maybe we ought to go back with our own family.

Wanderu outlines the attractions and explains the meaning of its name, below:

“Located in Utah’s south-central desert, Capitol Reef National Park is defined by the Waterpocket Fold – a unique geologic landform extending from southern Wayne all the way to northern Kane counties. Some of the park’s highlights include the Chimney Rock pillar, the Hickman Bridge arch, the towering monoliths of Cathedral Valley, and, of course, the Capitol Reef. The latter is an extremely rugged segment of the Waterpocket Fold famous for its whitish Navajo Sandstone cliffs with dome formations.”

They also provide a live webcam and a few YouTube tours. If you go in person (by car), it’s 3 hours 39 minutes from ye olde airport to a pricey lodge near the park entrance.


 

And, here’s the writings of the Chelsea before this point:
Wednesday, May 6: An update on home life during Coronavirus.

Thursday, May 7: “Going Postal, VIII.” The plot thickens…

Friday, May 8: We toured Beehive House. You know, virtually.

And, announced that Ellen and her cheeky tits won the first Weekly Hilarity Contest.

Saturday, May 9: Announced this week’s Hilarity Contest. Think of a not-too-shocking caption.

Sunday, May 10: “Love the World” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt.

Monday, May 11: Shared a quote by Charli Mills.

Tuesday, May 12: “Going Postal, IX.”

Wednesday, May 13: Today

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What the Frick?” and a haiku.

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Pictures ©2020 Capitol Reef National Park, and By Axcordion at English Q52 – Own work, Public Domain

Tour of Utah: Beehive House (AKA Brigham Young’s House)

Today, we’re ‘traveling’ to a historic site in Salt Lake City. Not only is the Beehive House in SLC, it’s about a good stone’s throw from the exact center of Salt Lake City.

The front of the house, with plaque. Thanks, templesquare.com.

The Mormon leader and Utah governor Brigham Young wanted some order to the settlement of Deseret. As such, there is a starting point for all of the addresses in its principal city. Since I live in Salt Lake County, my house address measures from that point. Young also ordered the streets on a grid and made them wide enough for a carriage to turn fully around.

compass

See? Mormons are organized folk. Thanks, waymarking.com.

Besides those accomplishments, Brigham Young was quite the family man. Wikipedia says he had 55 wives (some, he only sealed his name to); The Church stops at 27ish. Understandably, all those women and children needed housing. Beehive House is one of his residences.

Built back in 1854, he and his family (families?) lived within it and the extremely-adjacent Lion House from 1855 to his death in 1877.

Why visit Beehive House?

In 1959-1960, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revamped the thing and opened it as a tourist stop. Visitors may see how the Young family (families?) lived, ate, slept, and passed their time.

beehive_house_kitchen

This looks like a kitchen, although 56 children would not have fit at that table. Maybe they took it in shifts? (Care of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.)

The last time we visited as a family, the cute old lady conducting our tour told us about Brigham Young’s favorite wife, Amelia, throwing a new sewing machine down the stairs because she didn’t like the brand.

“On one occasion he sent her a sewing machine, thinking to please her; it did not happen to be the kind of a one which she wanted; so she kicked it down stairs, saying, ‘What did you get this old thing for? You knew I wanted a Singer.’ She got a Singer at once.”

Ann Eliza, two wives after Amelia, from Ann’s book Wife No. 19.

Be that a lesson to you, gents: don’t gift your 37-years-younger woman anything less than a Singer.

We like the blast to the past, the interesting stories, the neat architecture, and that it’s close to The Lion House Pantry (a cafeteria-style restaurant with dang good rolls).

Staircase

That’s a mighty fine beehive, c/o The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Unlike Arches National Park, our last designation, Beehive House is about half an hour East and a titch North from the airport. There’s some on-street (metered) parking and a few underground spots (possibly able to get validated) beneath the nearby City Creek Mall.


You get two weeks of writings!:
Thursday, April 23: Wrote about Arches National Park.

Friday, April 24: Obbverse won the Terrible Poetry Contest for that week.

Saturday, April 25: Announced the final Terrible Poetry Contest. It was a good ‘un.

Monday, April 27: “A quote by Robin Sharma.

And, “How Much is That Love in the Window?” for Carrot Ranch’s prompt last week.

Wednesday, April 29: “Going Postal, VII,” in which we meet Marty Mennet.

And, got excited that Pam sent me her new book!!

Friday, May 1: Winner of the last Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Trent! We’re still working on rapping…

Saturday, May 2: Introduce the new Weekly Hilarity Contest! I’ll post the winner tonight.

Sunday, May 3: Shared Nitin’s opening line contest. He intends to do more funny contests, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 4: An inspirational quote by the internet.

And, “Longboard Records Are Meant to Be Broken,” for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Wednesday, May 6: An update on home life during Coronavirus.

Thursday, May 7: “Going Postal, VIII.” The plot thickens…

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “What the Frick?” and “Mother of Four.”

 

©2020 Chelsea Owens

Tour of Utah: Arches

I’m the sort of person who could be next-door neighbors to Leonardo da Vinci and neglect to bring him a plate of cookies. Ohhh- I might do so when he first moves in. I’d definitely bring him one at the birth of his child(ren). I’m certain I’d also wave whilst driving to carpool when I saw him out painting his house.

On the whole, though, I’m not good at appreciating and utilizing resources I live near to. This is not the case for my blogging friend, Lisa, who not only lives in the paradise of the French Alps, but takes beautiful walks and hikes.

Since spending so much time indoors recently, I’ve resolved to change. I’ve resolved to GET OUT once getting out is safe and to visit what is right next door (figuratively). In the meantime, I’ve resolved to ‘visit’ the places virtually. I will use this as a guide for where to go once going is a good option.

So… first on our list is Arches National Park.

tom-gainor-P5Y0jG2FqMo-unsplash

I’ve hiked around the area twice, I think. I remember seeing a photograph of my family from when I was a child. We stayed in a motor home (RV) borrowed from my grandparents and hunted for our Easter eggs in places like the shower, compact fridge, and foldout table.

My memory’s fuzzy since creating and caring for children, but I’m fairly certain Kevin and I returned to Arches as newlyweds. We encountered a boisterous family group from Utah and a much smaller family visiting from France. The large family thought teasing the French couple to be quite funny. “Yep; I’m the dad,” one of the men said. “These,” he gestured to cousins, daughters, and his wife, “Are all my wives.”

The French couple had one or two children, as I recall, and joked right along. Oh, how I wish I were proficient enough in a foreign language to understand subtlety and humor.

All of this tells you nothing about the park itself.

josh-soriano-Aydu-0d4Iwc-unsplash

Arches National Park is located out in the middle of nowhere, very near to a very small city named Moab. A college roommate of mine came from Moab and explained that (polygamy or no) they were all related. “My family tree’s like a family wreath,” she joked.

Strangely enough, she ended up marrying a local and they still live there…

To get to the park, you drive and drive and drive and drive. If you were a tourist, the drive from the Salt Lake City International Airport to Arches National Park is 3 hours, 43 minutes (thank you, Google Maps).

Once you arrive, you realize you have driven and driven and driven and driven …out in the middle of nowhere. It’s hot (unless it’s winter). It’s dry (we are a desert). It’s red. It’s windy. It’s also slightly radioactive, but they don’t really want that in the brochures.

You and I will need sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, good hiking shoes, and lots of water. We’ll eat rattlesnake for food -or, also remember to pack in food.

The park is BIG. According to Wikipedia, it’s about 76,000 acres. It contains “more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches.” And, yes, those arches are really cool to look at. You just have to hike to them (good thing we brought hiking shoes).

The trail to Delicate Arch, the one you’ve likely seen pictures of the most, is three miles roundtrip. With a toddler, that takes about 6 hours. After that, you pick him or her up and hike the rest of the 2.5 miles without complaint.

The area has neat-looking land forms and geological striations visible from the road and the Visitor’s Center as well. Not bad, eh?

jaxon-lott-d91KFAekDtQ-unsplash

I recommend trying to find lodging nearby so as to enjoy the hikes and area on a fresh night of sleep. RV companies rent vehicles out for limited-time use. Locals have Bed and Breakfast options. One of my neighbors offers an on-site, parked RV for paid use as well.

Supposedly, this link will bring you to a virtual tour of Arches National Park.

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Last week’s schedule, a little closer to home:
Thursday, April 16: “This and That and a Blogging Schedule,” a mix of thoughts and ideas for a blogging outline.

Friday, April 17: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to DumbestBlogger! We’re working on the special prize, I promise!

Saturday, April 18: Announced the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a humorous end to a useful object. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, April 19: “In the Mind of Crazy Rhyme,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt.

Monday, April 20: An inspirational quote by the internet.

And, another update about home life c/o COVID-19.

Tuesday, April 21: “Going Postal, VI.” Gotta love “Lucy.”

Wednesday, April 22: Today.

I also posted on my motherhood site. I wrote “Mom Time in the Closet.”

Photo Credits: Tom Gainor
Josh Soriano
Natalie Chaney
Stephen Leonardi
Jake Nackos
Jaxon Lott

©2020 Chelsea Owens