Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma

Friday we left behind our Aussie friends, such wonderful hospitality and thank you ever so much for showing us just a few of the sights of Utah. Can't wait to visit again to see more. ❤ 🙂

Heading up through Arizona to Jacob Lake, we made a quick stop at La Fevre overlook – 6700ft. The snow is now rock solid ice but the scenery is sensational.


We saw a coyote through the next beautiful sections but given I was typing, missed the opportunity for photo. He was beautiful as he stood out against the snowy backdrop, looking back over his shoulder towards the other side of the road. I wondered if he had a mate close by or whether something had chased him.


Through Jacob Lake and now heading to Marble Canyon, we wound our way through the Kaibab National Park only to pop out the other side to red rock cliffs, desolate ground and straight roads again.


From Grants, I drove the rest of the day to Moriarty where we parked for the night at the usual stop – Sunset Motel. New Mexico turned on a spectacular sunset behind us as we drove through Albuquerque.

Out early this morning we stopped at Tucumcari for breakfast and hit the road again. It's 62F, sunshine, country music and highways.


Made it! We are back in Oklahoma, after another fabulous trip!

Kat xo


Zion National Park

Thursday and it's time to head out again! Yes, we are cramming in as much as possible in the few days we have here.

Zion National Park, a must see, when visiting the St. George, Utah area. A wonder of beauty, red sandstone and rugged terrain.

Winding roads lead to nine various points of interest, walking trails and many many photo opportunities. We went up through the 1 mile tunnel capturing some stunning scenery along the way including deer to the side of the road, a missed photo opportunity for those.


Returning through the tunnel we made our way along from the Zion Lodge and through to The Grotto Trailhead. The walking trail here would lead you on and up the path to Angel's Landing. A trail that reaches the summit with the final path being a mere 2foot wide and a chain fence (sorry I mean a chain between two posts and so on!) to hang on. With correct footwear, bit more fitness and during summertime I would think about attempting that one!


Onward to the Temple of Sinawava. We did the 2 mile Riverwalk trail. Ambling along the canyon alongside the river, the water and it's pale emerald colour which is in fact perfectly crystal clear and exceptionally cool. Yes of course I put my hand in! 🙂


After we got done there we headed back into Springdale to Wildcat Willie's for a great lunch, a beer and well, ended up buying some of the beer glasses!


Next it was get back into town and onto Dixie and TL's for dinner. What a fabulous evening, not only for drooling over every corner of their fabulous home, but for the exceptional company and guests – Dixie, TL, Virgil, Allie, Pat, Twelve Mile Reb, Dusty Garnet and Juan Bad Hombre.

Oh and thanks for the use of your sewing machine Dixie! Love your sewing room 😉

Kat xo

P.S. We did go past the cowboy range where Dixie Desperado's shoot at the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park! We will come back to shoot one day, enjoy your Wild Bunch club match tomorrow.


Pine Valley and Tuacahn Ampitheatre

Still on Wednesday! After the house, the temple, lunch and a quick trip into Joann's (fabric sourcing) we took a scenic drive out to Pine Valley. On Anne's wall is a painting of a small church which still exists in this quaint little community.

From one side of the red rock cliffs to snow dusted mountains, the scenery certainly is a treat. As we came into Pine Valley, having climbed in altitude, the hills are covered with more snow and there is still plenty of the white sparkly stuff on houses and shaded yards.


Now before I go on, I must share the painting as painted by Roland Lee in 1987.


Here, today hidden amongst the now grown pine trees is this little hidden gem built in 1868. According to the National Register of Historic Places, it was designed after the New England chapel pattern by Ebenezer Bryce, a ship builder who said he was building it like a ship.


Back in the car when clear across the other side of town through Snow Canyon up through some beautiful estates and can I just say, some very spectacular bronze art on the roundabouts!


Here we ended up at the Tuacahn Ampitheatre, all natural, red rock backdrop. Tiered seating and stage, home to the Performing Arts College, this place would be an awesome acoustic experience for concerts, plays and more.


Another great day!

Kat xo


Brigham Young House and Temple

We headed out to further the Mormon experience of St. George and took a tour of Brigham Young's winter home.

He would come here from Salt Lake City to avoid the cooler climate and get a little relief from his rheumatoid arthritis.

Into the little white side building we commenced the tour with Elder Johnsen.


In the beginning Joseph Smith, having written the Book of Morman, was the first prophet of the church. He had been driven out of New York into settlements in Missouri and on from there.

Haun's Mill Massacre, 2,500 men rode in and killed many Mormans, tar and feathering Smith and driving many others out of Missouri.

Whilst Smith was undergoing all this, Brigham Young was taking care of business. He sent many families north and south to settle and create missions at both ends of the spectrum. People with different skills were sent to create functional settlements.

By 1861, 79 families were established here in St George and a further 360 families were later sent down to the cotton mission. A lot of the families were from the south, and having experimented with cotton in previous years, assisted the mission in cotton production, hence where the name Dixie came from.

Cotton provided for their needs during the Civil War. Later it was more viable for them to buy rather than produce it themselves and so the cotton industry faded out. The cotton mill still exists today but has been restored and used for other purposes.


They also established a silk industry here and the tree in the back yard is one of the original mulberry trees. Young taught the people to be resourceful and to try different things, it also allowed them to decorate with the silk.


This is what St George used to look like when they first came to settle – looking towards the red cliffs. I'm sure they wondered why they had been sent here to such an unforgiving looking place at the time.


Zion, as it was called at that time, was why they came because a prophet had made the calling.

Erastus Snow was the guy who looked after everyone when Young was not here, only coming down in later years for winters.

The back section of the home is original of 1871 and in 1873 the front two stories were added. The small white office we had the initial part of the tour in was added in 1876. The office was used for selected brethren meetings. They would work up ordinances for the temple, marriages, baptisms etc.

Young named St. George after George A. Smith. When the communities were getting scurvy he taught the people to grow potatoes and to eat the skins, so they did and avoided getting sick – that's how they came to call him Saint George. When it came time to name the town they went to Young and asked it to be named St. George.

George A. Smith's rocking chair gives an idea of his stature. The Indians called him man who can be taken apart. He had a toupee, glass eye and wooden leg.


Soap, candles, cheese etc were made in the outdoor pantry off the verandah. They often lowered stores down wells to keep them cool – no refrigerators in those days!

Thomas Cottam furniture builder and master woodworker created a lot of the pieces in the house. The timber work is just outstanding and even wih limited resources they have produced beautiful work. The craftsman, used to seeing the beautiful variations of European timbers and hardwoods, only had the softer, plain pine timber from Pine Valley. So the various timber 'look' is actually grain painted and stained to create the oak and cherry.

Interesting fact: The bee hive significance means worker, industrious. And indeed everyone worked hard and they have created many industries.

Like most houses the parlour was where entertaining was done. The table in the centre – pine – was his original table but looks like cherry. The 'marble' fireplace original is also timber and painted using a feather. See! techniques we use today to create faux techniques were being used in the 1800's!!


Brigham Young passed away when he was 75 years old. A very learned man despite only 11 days of formal schooling. He is known as one of the greatest colonisers having settled 400 areas between Alberta, Canada, South California, parts of Mexico, and Polynesian islands.

He had plural wives but his wife Amelia, unable to have children, helped with various affairs, and looked after him with his rheumatism and had a wonderful singing voice. The box piano although not hers is similar to what she would have used. The box piano so named for the legs and pedal sections being removed to transport in an open wagon.


Again the fireplace in the dining room, although looking like marble, was indeed painted pine. The temple sketch on the wall was drawn from a dream Young had about what the temple should look like.


The hired help stayed in the upstairs room and were not to be called servants. They were all gods children and deserved to be treated equally.

The doll on the pedal sewing machine was one of 13 Cottam had made for the girls (he probably made tops for the boys).

The bed, armoire and chair are all original. No 'built in' wardrobes in those days as it was treated as a separate room which meant the house could be taxed more, hence armoire's were used.


The windows are beautifully detailed, Young said that the sunshine flooding the room also reminded him of the lords word flooding his life.


In his room is the chair that his portrait was taken in. The feet of the chair were lions feet – he was known as the lion of the lord. The pineapple on the back of the chair signifies hospitality. Check out this chair! Pine of course but upholstered in horse hair! Extreme resourcefulness.


All the Mormon people we came across are very quitely spoken, although passionate people. Not a lot are from the direct region as we found out when we visited the St. George, Utah Temple.

The Utah Temple was the first to be dedicated in the West. The people were given the task of building the temple and did so before ever building their own homes. It took them an amazingly short 18 months to build. It was built with red sandstone from the red cliffs and was coated with gypsum to seal it. Hence the gorgeous white we see today and it's illumination of a nighttime is a spectacle on its own! It has recently had its clean and repair so we are lucky to be seeing it in its pristine glory.

The smaller tabernacle further in town is currently being refurbished for seismic protection. None of the tabernacles, churches or temples for the Latter Day Saints have a cross on them as they believe Christ still lives among them. Some may appear to have a cross but they are in fact weather vanes.

In the visitor centre we saw how the lead filled canon was used to pound rocks and earth for the foundations of the temple – perhaps a better use for a canon. The centre also shows a timeline from 1871-1877 of the colonisation and subsequent building of the temple, all the while with full glass windows and the temple as a backdrop – today against perfect, cloudless blue skies and manicured lawns.

Into the explanation room and their are pictures of some of the rooms within the temple. You aren't allowed in the temple (as an everyday person) once it has been dedicated, unless you are a member of the Church.

The baptismal room with its full plunge pool features cows around the base symbolising the twelve tribes of Israel and are facing outward to signify the word reaching all wherever you may be.

The celestial room is a place for reflection, no phones, no clocks, no technology, and you would sit in silence or speak in humbled tones and quite voices.

All the Sisters and Elders are from all across the globe. The girls are sent on mission for 18mths and the boys 2years. We spoke with one from France, Chile, Texas, Washington, Brazil.

St. George, Utah is indeed a city steeped in religious history. Whether you are religious or not, this history formed what is today. The trials, tribulations and monumental tasks settlers undertook, makes for a very interesting and insightful visit.

Kat xo

Wednesday, 2nd March


Jacob Hamblin House

Santa Clara, part of Washington County, Utah, is the original settlement of 1854 in the St George area.

We visited the home of Morman missionary, Jacob Hamblin and had a short tour talk by Sister Bunnting.

Along with 6 other families, he was sent to the Santa Clara area by Mormon prophet Brigham Young (for those of the modern day world, you should remember that name from the Hell On Wheels series) into the Cotton Mission known as 'Dixie'.

Jacob Hamblin was a missionary and conduit to the Indians for many years, living with them and assisting in the movement of Indian trains to California. He wore a red bandana which symbolised he was a friend to the Indians.


He was trusted by the Indians and often stood up for them in dealings with the Government and other people. He was a quite shy man who never showed anger or fear as that was known as a sign of weakness to the Indians.

The fort the Mormons came to in Santa Clara was situated close to the Santa Clara River. When the great flood of the Santa Clara and Virgin Rivers occurred in the 1800's it took out 3 sides of the fort. Hamblin then built this house high up on the hillside where he hoped another flood would not reach them.


At the time he had 2 wives, one in each of the front side rooms and of the 24 children they raised (some were adopted) 10 lived in this home. Jacob would have slept in the central room.


The table setting interestingly enough is set as they used it then. Chairs were turned facing out so you would kneel to pray before eating. Once prayers were said you would turn your seat around to eat. The plates were set face down literally to avoid dust and dirt on your plate but no explanation as to why the silverware (cutlery) was placed as is.


Later a room was dug out at the back of the central room and used as their root vegetable cellar. The saddle displayed in this room was Jacob's. The pouch on the side of the saddle was for his scriptures and although he carried a gun he believed the word was mightier. The hobbles hanging on the wall were used so the horses could graze without wandering off when he was out on missions.


Into the left front room and on the mantle is pictures of two of his wives. There has been no picture of Rachel found but these are of Priscilla on the right and Louisa on the left. The furniture, quilt, rope beds and straw mattresses are all original.


Ascending a very narrow staircase into the upstairs room which was for the children for sleeping, church, schooling, teaching carding of cotton ready for spinning etc.

The central door on the front wall leads out to the slanted verandah roof where they used to lay food out for drying.


When they extended and dug out the hillside for the root cellar an additional upstairs back bedroom was added for the girls to have privacy.


Going outside the door to ground level the final piece of the tour was the rock piece displayed. When his wife Rachel died in 1865 he was away and he was so distraught that he couldn't be there to grieve with his children that he carved his name into a rock and the date she passed away. The petroglyphs on the rock are reportedly to have been there at the time of the inscription.


Anyway for a really brief bit of insight into Mormon roots and the cultural history of southern Utah this was a great little tidbit to start with.

Kat xo

For more info go to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Hamblin