This is my second post about southern Utah. It’s just too awesome to be covered in one post, and you may see more about it in the future….. The link to the first “Awesome Utah” post is at the bottom. It contains details of the journey, links to websites and a variety of fascinating facts. You can also scroll down to find it. This post is mostly photographs in no particular order. See below for a link to a collage card I made of nine Utah iconic views. Utah Collage Card from Zazzle.com All photographs are copyrighted. Some are available as greeting cards and other products at “It’s a Beautiful World!”
The terrain changes quickly and dramatically in Utah. Near mountaintops, aspens and evergreens take over from shrubby cedar and sagebrush. In early November, when we visited, all of the aspens had lost their leaves. According to the December 2008 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, aspens are suffering “sudden aspen decline” in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and elsewhere in the Rocky Mountains. We didn’t see any sign of that, but it would have been hard to tell whether the aspens were in an early state of disease or insect infestation.
Aspens grow in “clones,’ or groups of genetically identical trunks, Smithsonian reported. Some clones are thousands of years old, but the individual trees usually don’t live longer than 150 years. Scientists have confirmed that a clone of aspens in Utah covered 108 acres and is thought to be the world’s heaviest, largest or oldest organism. This particular clone is known as “Pando,” after the Latin for “I spread.”
Zion had the most tourists of any of the parks in Utah that we visited, probably because the weather was the mildest in November. A trio of rock climbers was slowly ascending a sheer thousand-foot cliff while we were there. The cliffs of Zion are second in popularity after Yosemite National Park for rock climbers to tackle. Rock climbers are sometimes restricted from certain cliffs In Zion because of nesting peregrine falcons.
It rarely freezes in the city of St. George, Utah, which is less than an hour drive away from Zion. We stayed in the historic district in a house built of adobe bricks in the 1870s by Mormon pioneers. Across the street was Brigham Young’s house and grounds, which is open to free tours. During the summer, a variety of crops are harvested in small amounts on the small Brigham Young estate, such as pomegranates, almonds and cotton. A huge mulberry tree shades the house, planted by the Mormons more than a hundred years ago. The mulberry leaves were used to feed silkworm caterpillars. Cotton was an early crop in the area, which was nicknamed “Dixie.” Rosemary hedges are common in the historic district, which must be irrigated to maintain its oasis-like quality.
We saw more wildlife in Zion than anywhere else. We saw a pair of California Condors, an endangered species (more on them in “Awesome Utah”). The Zion ranger pointed out a pair of rare golden eagles, too, but I wasn’t eagle-eyed enough to see them. There were Mule deer near a couple of the shuttle stops and along some of the trails. They didn’t seem to mind human visitors, as long as we didn’t get too close. A tarantula scuttled along one of the trails. Tarantulas are rarely seen in Zion, because they are reclusive and nocturnal. But sometimes, the males can be seen in late summer and early fall when they are out cruising for females. We saw the pictured tarantula along a trail during the day on November 6. Click here to see my Collage Card of Nine of My Photographs of Utah.
- California Condor
- Joshua Tree
- Tarantulas in Zion National Park
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- St. George, Utah
- Zion National Park
- Brigham Young
- Seven Wives Inn, St. George, Utah
- My first post on Utah, “Awesome Utah”