With all the cold, wind, rain or snow for two months; my wife needed to get out of Rexburg. Her friend, Kathy had invited us to stay with her for a few days in St. George, Utah; and promised that the weather would be warm with no wind and plenty of sun.
Since we visited Zion’s National Park a year ago, we wanted to explore Snow Canyon and the Red Cliffs for a future place to take our family. We were not disappointed with the experience, it even made fighting traffic through Utah not so bad.
Our main target was to visit Snow Canyon and find the three-foot wide slot canyon containing petroglyphs from the Anasazi or Paiute Indians. Friday morning we found it by following unofficial and official trails marked by cairns placed on the Navajo sandstone. I was impressed by the way the petroglyphs were created by pounding a harder rock into the sandstone walls. The walls also gave me a hiding place from the hot sun and the mid 80s heat.
After enjoying the decorated walls we moved out to allow others to enjoy it. One of the groups we met was led by a local resident and invited us to follow them to other interesting areas. He led us across the ups and downs of the red sandstone, watching lizards scurry for cover only to occasionally pose for us as we moved to the Sinking Ship Rock to study other petroglyphs.
It was fascinating looking at the creations that were exposed to the elements, which showed the devastating effect of wind and rain as some had nearly been erased by time. Then on to the Newspaper Rock where it appeared that modern day graffiti-challenged humanoids had added a few of their own by grinding instead of the stone-on-stone work.
In the waterless terrain we saw no birds, only little lizards, however, signs indicated the existence of desert tortoises that required visitors with dogs to keep them on a leash. mall holed fences around the park have been created to keep the endangered inhabitants in the park and off the nearby roadways.
I was impressed by the sandstone cliffs capped with black lava rock from nearby eruptions about 27,000 years ago that redirected ancient water flows that carved out the sandstone figures.
After a hardy breakfast on Saturday we had one more hike on the way home to enjoy the sun. It was a bit chilly and breezy as the reported cold front from Idaho and northern Utah was bringing in some backwash. The short Red Cliffs Hiking Trail near Leeds was our destination.
The trail follows a natural stream through giant cottonwoods filled with spring birds, small waterfalls and pools where forgotten shoes, shirts and hats were evidence of the previous day’s visitors. A huge cave carved out by the stream must have been used by native peoples to hide from the scorching summer sun that we were enjoying.
The campground was nearly full of visitors, some of which we met on the trail. They were there to make a full day hike up through the cliffs, crossing the creek numerous times, then up to the mesa before coming back to soak in the pools.
It was a beautiful experience to finish our trip to enjoy the sun and warmth from a typical Idaho spring. Leaving the red sands of southern Utah was necessary and it did not take us long to realize how enjoyable it was as we hit the wind, rain and even snow from the town of Meadow to Pocatello.
Seven hours of fighting heavy down pours, speeding cars, wreck delays and wind almost made us turn around and head back; but we’ll probably go next April again.
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