St. George, Utah
We were pleasantly surprised by St. George. Neither of us had ever spent any time in St. George. Its always been a place we drove through to get somewhere else. The town was larger than we thought and had a cozy feeling to it. I could see the appeal to living here if you liked a small town that still had lots of things available to do.
On the way to St. George we stopped in a tiny town for the night. In the morning I looked on Google maps and found a way down to the river so we could let Xander out to run and play. As we got closer to the route that I thought would take us there, it seemed to be a pedestrian path. I told James to just turn on it and drive off on the dirt shoulder. About 5 seconds after he does this we hear the dreaded sound of sirens. Yep, sure enough we were getting pulled over for driving down a pedestrian pathway. Luckily the police officer was cool and told us that the way we were headed would have got us stuck and gave us directions on how to get to the river. No ticket for us!
One of our stops in St. George was Snow Canyon State Park. The fee was only $6 to enter and it had a couple of pictures of a slot canyon that we wanted to check out. The first stop in the park was a very short, small slot canyon. Next we wanted to stop at the one trail that dogs were allowed on so we could get Xander out for awhile. I decided on way back to do some running with him to help burn off some energy.
This park was pretty small. We walked to Pioneer Names rock, which was a rock that had a bunch of pioneer names and dates written on it with axle grease. We did another hike that led us to a lava cave. The cave entrance had collapsed in so you couldn’t get in it. The hike that caught our attention for this park was not on the map they gave us at the ranger station. Upon more research we discover that the park discourages people from doing this hike. I think it might be because of the petroglyphs that are not protected from people doing harm to them.
After finding some very vague directions on line we wandered around the desert for a long time. We did find two sets of petroglyphs but started to think that it was a lost cause looking for the slot canyon. Finally we decided to throw in the towel and head back in the direction of the van. Boom, wouldn’t you know it, we stumble upon the slot canyon. After we gave up on it, there it was.
There is a lot of petroglyphs on the tight canyon walls. Some are hard to see because the canyon is so narrow. Right in the middle of the canyon there is a tree growing tall up through the top of the canyon. Eventually the canyon gets so narrow that it is impassable. We made it back to the van and had a good laugh about how we managed to find this slot canyon in the middle of nothing.
We stayed the night on BLM land and had a wonderful campfire all night. You could hear the frogs croaking all night down by the stream. It was a perfect night. This apparently was the parking spot for the vortex hike that we wanted to do. Upon returning from the hike we walked up to what looked like a parking lot. Spending a second night was not so appealing anymore.
This hike was another one that wasn’t marked. Again, we followed random internet directions to the vortex. It was unmistakable once we found it. Right in the middle of the huge mass of rock is a giant hole that looks like a corkscrew made it. The bottom of the vortex had a little bit of water in it. People somehow had climbed down in there and etched their names in the rock. James and Xander hiked up higher to get a better vantage point. The drone was able to get a picture of three different vortexes, the giant one and two smaller.
One the way back we stopped at the stream that we had to cross, and put our feet in the water and cool off. It didn’t take long! The water was freezing. Xander played around, blowing bubbles in the water and jumping back and fourth across the stream. After getting back to the van we had lunch and headed out.
St. George has some pretty great hidden gems. Small towns often hold wonderful surprises. It just goes to show that you shouldn’t always pass through the little guys. Take some time to experience something different on the way. I love how our life affords us to do this now.