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Archive for utah

A Wrinkle on Earth

By Linda Tancs

The Waterpocket Fold is a geologic wrinkle on the earth extending almost 100 miles. It formed between 50 and 70 million years ago when a major mountain building event in western North America (the Laramide orogeny) reactivated an ancient buried fault in the region, causing the west side to shift upwards relative to the east side. This geologic wonder is the centerpiece of Capitol Reef National Park in the heart of Utah’s red rock country. Abounding with cliffs, bridges, domes and canyons, the park is also a refuge of pristine dark night skies of the highest quality, garnering it “Gold Tier” status by the International Dark-Sky Association. The most scenic portion of the Waterpocket Fold, found near the Fremont River, is known as Capitol Reef: capitol for the white domes of Navajo sandstone that resemble state capitol building domes, and reef for the rocky cliffs which are a barrier to travel, like a coral reef.

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Moab Giants

By Linda Tancs

The scenery in Moab, Utah, is otherworldly enough, but the prehistoric wonder of Moab Giants adds to it. A dinosaur park, their state-of-the-art exhibits feature the dinosaurs that roamed the area in all their life-size glory. The attractions include a trail with over 100 replicas amidst views of Arches National Park, La Sal Mountains and Moab’s geologically famous red rocks. Below ground, a prehistoric aquarium affords encounters with deep-sea creatures like Megalodon, the biggest shark that ever lived. The facility is located approximately nine miles north of Moab, on the corner of Hwy 191 and SR 313 (the turnoff to Dead Horse Point).

Pioneering in Utah

By Linda Tancs

Utah is gearing up for Pioneer Day, a state holiday celebrated on July 24 to commemorate the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in 1847 to escape religious persecution. Their trek now forms the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, a route spanning five states where 70,000 Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1869. The Pioneer Company of 1846-1847 established the first route from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, covering about 1,300 miles.

Countless Canyons

By Linda Tancs

It’s four times the size of Arches National Park, yet Canyonlands  attracts half the visitors. It’s easy to think of them as arch rivals (pardon the pun), considering that they’re located on opposite sides of U.S. 191 outside Moab, Utah, and just 10 miles away from each other. But these two national parks are hardly duking it out, each boasting its own distinct advantages. Canyonlands is less developed, a haven for hikers with a yen for accessibility (like Arches) coupled with a mix of backcountry and hardcore hiking. It offers a wilderness of countless canyons and buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into districts, the most accessible being Island in the Sky and the most remote, the Maze. The Maze district offers guided hikes in Horseshoe Canyon most weekends during spring and fall.

Utah’s First National Park

By Linda Tancs

Located on State Route 9 in southwest Utah, Zion National Park is Utah’s first national park. The 229-square-mile park is rife with history dating back 10,000 years, a land occupied by peoples ranging from prehistoric hunter-gatherers and ancestral tribes to Mormon pioneers. The best way to see an area this vast is to take a classic hike, like the eight mile climb to Observation Point. At 6,508 feet above sea level, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views that may very well include the California Condor. Released in Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona, in the late 1990s, they are increasingly being sighted in the park. Parking is limited inside Zion, and parking lots at the visitor center commonly fill before noon. To avoid parking hassles, park in the town of Springdale and ride the free town shuttle to the park.

Racing on the Flats

By Linda Tancs

The Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah is a flat expanse of white salt crust on the western edge of the Great Salt Lake basin, measuring 46 square miles.  Named for area explorer and Army officer Benjamin Bonneville, the area is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks because of its contribution to speed racing.  Welcoming trucks, cars and motorcycles, the World of Speed annual racing event takes place from 7 to 10 September.

Peeling the Layers

By Linda Tancs

The folks in Payson, Utah want you to experience the many layers of their fair city.  That includes peeling the layers at the annual Golden Onion Days event.  Taking place from 30 August to 2 September, the annual ode to allium will feature the usual cooking contest, parade, food court and boutiques.

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