Scenic Sunday comes to you today from Beaver, UT. This past weekend was the opening of the deer hunt and also the 2nd annual Gillins’ Family Reunion. This event started last year as a way to spend some quality time with the Steve & Becky and all their children. Last year we gathered “Out West” (as it is referred to by people from Minersville), but this year we enjoyed the beautiful Beaver Mountains.
The Beaver Mountains are located about 30 minutes away from Minersville and the drive through the mountains can be quite amazing. It features about 1 1/2 hour “loop” that circles around the mountain. The most beautiful part is getting to the top of the mountain and seeing Big John’s Flat, an open meadow with trees on the edge. It’s as though the mountains stop, the world stops, and there is a calm serenity. I really wish we had a picture (all I was able to find is a information sign on the internet), but the “looped” road to Big John Flat is currently closed and it would have taken 2 hours just to get up there.
The Beaver Mountains are also known as the Tushar Mountains which has the 3rd highest peak in Utah. The hunting season was currently going and many hunters took the weekend to hunting throughout the mountains. Our family had 4 tags this year and as of today as yet to get anything. They were able to see a few and a couple members got a shot or two off, but nothing hit.
The family reunion always features some good eating, bonding, and various leisure activities. The reunion site was just close enough to a lake with kayaks that stay up there all year. The family was able to kayak across the small lake while the kids seemed to enjoy just jumping in and splashing everyone. The days were also filled with hiking, scenic drives, and some “horseshoe-ing.” The weekend was a fun-filled event and we look forward to next year. The Beaver Mountains are filled with different campsites, lakes, and beautiful scenery that shouldn’t be missed. Hopefully we can get back up there in the fall as the leaves start to change.
The name of our campsite.
Part of the family going on an afternoon hike.
Steve and Clayton playing horseshoes
The lakes aren’t all this green in the mountains…
We are back! Sorry we took the last two weeks off becuase of busy schedules, but we are back.
Sand Hollow Resort
Sand Hollow is one of Utah’s newest State Park. This is located about 1 hour 30 minutes away from Minersville, UT and about 15 minutes away from St. George, UT. This State Park is filled with red rock, red sand, and beautiful blue water. The day we travelled there the park was filled with numerous boats and people trying to get to the water. Sand Hollow features everything from water for swimming or boating, cliffs for jumping, camping grounds, dunes for ATV-ing, or a brand new golf course.
Sand Hollow has become known as a wonderful place to get away and experience the water. The water stays at a great temperature the whole year round because this part of the state doesn’t get very cold. The biggest downfall to Sand Hollow resort, however, is swimmer’s itch. Swimmer’s itch seems to come back every summer and it is a parasite that some people are allergic to. I have yet to experience swimmer’s itch, but others have. With that in mind, it never stops the thousands of people who visit this State Park every year. Just swim at your own risk and all it does is give some annoying itching that goes away after about 1-2 days.
Sand Hollow has become a great spot for people to get away and have some fun, but be careful which time of day and time of the year you go. This was the temperature when we drove there:
Even with the 111 degree temperature there were numerous cars pulling in and plenty of boats to show the temperature wasn’t scaring anyone away. The only part that it hurt was the golf course and the dunes. We didn’t see much going on during our visit there.
Sand Hollow is one of the most popular places in Southern Utah and this new State Park that was created several years ago have provided Southern Utah with a water-based park that is found many other places in the state with this many activities. The Park stays open all year and for the most part the temperature never drops too low. Sand Hollow features many attractions that keep people coming back and many take several visits a year there.
Cedar Breaks National Monument is located a little under 1 and 1/2 hours away from Minersville, UT. Cedar Breaks offers some spectacular views while you stand above 10,000 feet on a cliff edge and look into a desert amphitheater 2,500 feet deep. There are 2 scenic look-outs at the top of the monument and one that they call sunset. The Indians called Cedar Breaks the “Circle of Painted Cliffs.” Cedar Breaks stretches 3 miles and resembles the look of Bryce Canyon National Park. This site is not visited as much as the other National Parks nearby and the visitors station is very small compared to these same parks, but hundreds of thousands of visitors see this natural amphitheater every year. The visitor center is open June-October, but their headquarters at a lower elevation is open year round.
One of the neat things about this monument, is the fact that it is surrounded by the Dixie National Forest. The Dixie National Forest occupies almost two million acres and stretches for about 170 miles across southern Utah. There is a loop from Parowan to Brian Head to Cedar City that is about 45 minutes that provides a quiet, serene drive through the forest and Cedar Breaks. There was a landslide that wiped out part of the road right outside of Cedar City last October that they are just barely getting repaired. The road up to Cedar Breaks from Cedar City has only been open for certain hours during the day, but will open up continuously starting August 1st. Elevations for the Dixie National Forest vary from 2,800 feet near St. George, Utah to 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. These two National sites provide a breathtaking views of two very different sites.
Most of these pictures were taken in the morning hours during a quick ride to see this National Park. The orange and reds flow through this canyon and it really is an amazing site to behold. I don’t know if these pictures do justice to how far down the canyon’s go and how far it stretches, but we hope you enjoy!
We may be taking next week off for Scenic Sunday, we are not sure yet. We will keep you informed.
The Parowan Gap is located about 20 minutes from Minersville. It is right off Minersville Highway, halfway between Minersville and Cedar City. The Parowan Gap features beautiful petroglyphs that have been around many years. Some people consider the petroglyphs to be just random drawings, but it seems there is something much more to these writings than that. The most notable of the geometric forms is the Zipper Glyph:
They say the Zipper Glyph illustrates a map of travels. This petroglyph is said to feature a map symbolizing the time taken and the journey path taken. People who have studied the petroglyphs have declared that the petroglyphs are solar and lunar calendars. There is nothing official about the marks, but they are still under the theories are still under review. The entire gap features many of these petroglyphs that can be seen up close.
How it was created:
Approximately 15 million years ago, a long slender section of sedimentary rock sheared from the earth’s crust along parallel fault lines. This up-thrown block, later name the Red Hills, began to inch its way above the surrounding valley floor. At the same time the block was rising, a stream was cutting a path perpendicularly across the ridge. For millions of years the uplifting of the ridge and the down-cutting of the stream remained in equilibrium.
Eventually, the relentless rise of the ridge and the drying of the region’s climate combined forces to defeat the stream. The stream disappeared and the valley became a waterless wind gap. Continued erosion by wind and rain have shaped the gap into the pass seen today.
In 1849 Parley P. Pratt led an expedition from the north into what is now known as Parowan Valley. The expedition was to scout out places for new settlements. They set up camp for winter and while exploring the canyons in the area, discovered the petroglyphs. The discovery was recorded by Robert Campbell in his journal. Chief Walker told these explorers that the place was “God’s Own House”.
Parowan gap was soon used by white settlers as an access route. Just west of the gap narrows and about five miles south was a marshy lake that was important to the Indians and white settlers. This lake became known as Rush Lake. A spring flowed out from the lava mountain providing fresh water for a host of water fowl and other small animals.
For some time the gap narrows was used as a rock quarry and a single lane road was built though it. Eventually, improvements needed to be made and in 1963 many of the large stones were cleared away and even one large boulder covered with petroglyphs and known as the “Hotel” was blasted into pieces. A number of others were also blasted destroying a number of choice drawings. It has been estimated that as little as one half of the cultural record was destroyed since the time of the Parley P. Pratt expedition.
The gap from Minersville Highway (if you can see it. It’s on the right hand side of the road on the mountain side).
There are very few days out of the year that the whole town of Minersville gets together to celebrate. The 4th of July is one of those days and many people come back to their hometown of Minersville to participate in. This is not a grand celebration, nothing big or fancy, but much rather just a small town get togehter that celebrates this great nation and a fun little town built on heritage.
The morning starts off with canons being fired at 6 a.m. right in the middle of the town that everyone can hear. The day slowly moves along and starts with a small town parade. The parade is never anything glamorous, no big floats or fancy decorations, but a simple parade that only lasts about 20 minutes (22 minutes this year). This year seemed to be bigger this year than last and featured a female lawnmowing group. Now to say bigger means that it lasted 22 minutes instead of 18 minutes. The biggest part of parade is always the kids with their bikes, four-wheelers, and motorcycles cruising throught the back part of the parade.
Next the town moves to the program which was at the park instead of the church this year. The outside performance featured songs, dances, a brief history lesson on the nation and the small town of Minersville. Every year there is a small tribute to the veterans of Minersville and the town gives a standing ovation to the wonderful men and women who have protected this country from Minersville. After the program the town celebrates the 4th of July in the park with a lunch that feeds the whole town for a small price, games and events for the kids, and the biggest events of the kid’s races and the raffle. The kid’s races start the events in the park and the race starts with those under 1 year who can crawl. The little kids are always fun to watch as they race to be the fastest. They continue up in age and the boys will race and the girls will race. The town gathers along the outside of the ropes to watch the children race down the park. During this time, the drawing is going on where there are many prizes donated to the drawing. The biggest prize this year was a big screen tv, but it features many different gift cards, prizes, crafts, and services that are given to the lucky person. After the races comes the kid boxing. Yep, that’s right, the kids get a minute boxing each other for fun. There is never any real damage done and only about 1 or 2 will end up crying, and the rest leave with a small on their face.
The day continues on with the free swim (yes Minersville does have a swimming pool). This is a 2 hour swim where the kids swim for free and dive for quarters that are thrown at the bottom of the pool. The night continues with bbqs and family gatherings before the fireworks show. This year the fireworks were cancelled because of the dry weather and the increasing fires around the state.
This celebration is not glamorous or fancy, but it is a time to get together with the ones you love and celebrate this great nation. It is a time for kids to play and for people who have moved out of town to come back and reconnect with people from the town. It’s a fun simple event that people try and make each and every year.
Minersville Royalty - These are the kids who are going to be seniors at Beaver High School the following year.
The Dairy Princesses with Cory Gillins driving
The park before the events kick off
The program at the park this year
The footraces at the park.