Saturday, May 8, 2021

Short Creek Dream Center in Hildale, UT

On Thursday, we visited our friend Jan who is volunteering at Short Creek Dream Center in Hildale, UT.

On the drive over (I think we were in Arizona at this point).

Front door of the Dream Center

View from outside of walled area which was previously Warren Jeffs' compound and is now the Dream Center.

This compound was previously the house of Warren Jeffs, leader of FLDS, and of his wives. It is a horrific story that God is currently redeeming. I think the video on this page may be helpful to tell the story:

More information about the Short Creek Dream Center can be found from links available on that page as well. 

One interesting thing -- it seems that most of the properties in Hildale, UT and Colorado City, AZ were owned by a trust that Jeffs controlled. He directed the FLDS members not to "complete" their houses so taxes could not be assessed against them -- so nearly all the buildings that we saw there had windows and siding missing, just plywood on some part of the exterior walls -- which would make some parts of each house uninhabitable. I don't exactly understand why that means that they would not have to pay taxes... maybe there is some provision that a house under construction doesn't have taxes assessed against it? But, it seems that there would also be no occupancy permit allowed? I don't know...

We passed by the Coral Pink Sand Dunes on the route there, so we stopped on our way back to take some pictures.

The sand was so fine, which made it difficult to climb...

A view of the dunes from the top

For perspective, there are two black figures in the right middle of the picture -- that were two other folks who were hiking out on the dune while we were there. The dunes were pretty massive.

It was an interesting day. We enjoyed our visit with Jan and found the information about Short Creek Dream Center very encouraging, though the darkness that still is all around them in the area is horrifying. We are praying for their success in helping the folks there who are otherwise helpless and hopeless. Jan is doing a great job managing their food preparation / kitchen area -- she is a huge blessing to them. We look forward to seeing her again at the Christian Fellowship Rally at Welcome Station in a couple of weeks!

Friday, May 7, 2021

Wednesday moving to new campsite

Our stay at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary ended on Wednesday, so we planned to move to a dispersed camping site in land managed by the Bureau of Land Management that we had found during our drive around in the Jeep on Monday( I drove the Jeep to the location that we had decided was our first choice, and then called Carl to let him know that the prime location there was available and he should bring Gracie. Miss Kitty was mightily confused as she had no lap on which to sit while the rig was being driven, but she finally settled on the passenger seat by herself.

Carl got to the location (less than 10 miles from Best Friends) and we got Gracie parked.

First order of business, clean up those solar collectors!

A view out from the roof of Gracie

Behind Gracie

In front of Gracie -- those two driveways lead to route 89 -- just a short distance away.

Climbing down the ladder after finishing cleaning the solar panels

Looks pretty idyllic!

View on Google map here

We took a walk around our area -- these are the mountains toward the east...


north west

This is a panoramic shot of the area below where we are parked -- it is like a gravel pit. Not sure whether they just excavated and used gravel or whether they made flat areas for RVs to park -- either way, there are nice flat areas for parking (though we didn't think they had as nice views).

Coming down the hill, looking back toward Gracie (there is a 5th wheel between us and Gracie, but she is the furthest one in the back).

We decided to go out later in the day to take pictures at sunset.

Such pretty colors (I had a "sunset" filter on the camera, so it is a little technology-aided, but makes it look more like what our eyes were seeing!).

No clouds so no gorgeous sunset in the west.

But still pretty toward the east.

Carl had said that he didn't think we would find a spot that he liked better than where we stayed in the Kaibab National Forest (, but he thinks this might be even better!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Tuesday to Zion, part 2

After our hike on the Riverside Walk and lunch at Big Bend (, we took the shuttle bus to The Grotto to take a hike from there. Carl had figured out that we could put a couple of hikes together and end up at Zion Lodge, so we decided to do that.

There was a ranger at the point where the start of the trails were at The Grotto, and she had this nice map on her table that I could take a picture of so we'd have a reference while on our way. We planned to take the Kayenta Trail, go up to the Upper Emerald Pool, by the Middle Emerald Pool, and take either the Middle or Lower Emerald Pool Trails back to Zion Lodge.

Checking out other information on the trails...

The trails for Angels Landing and West Rim also started from The Grotto, but we did not want to try either of those!

Another map - this one shows that a left turn takes us on Kayenta, a right turn on West Rim toward Angels Landing.

So, we crossed the bridge over the river...

Beautiful view down the valley from the bridge!

Even after noting "turn left", we almost missed the turn onto the Kayenta trail (it wasn't right off the end of the bridge as we had thought). But, we figured it out pretty quickly and got on the right path.

The pictures don't begin to show the magnificence.

There were rock walls all around.

Ok, we could go down to the Lower pool here... we started to go down there...

... but this is also where we would split to see the Middle and Upper Pools...

So, after going down a little ways, we decided to do the Middle and Upper Pools first, and then to use the Lower Pools Trail to get back to Zion Lodge. Carl commented on how nice it was that the rocks were naturally sculpted into a staircase!

Carl at the Middle Pool

The view out from the Middle Pool.

Heading on up toward the Upper Pool

Some perspective of how big that rock face was...

At the Upper Pool -- after a very warm hike, we came into this cool, shady, almost like a room -- and it was like a party atmosphere there!

Obligatory selfie -- we had found a couple of rocks to sit on that were *almost* like a couch with a back...

Rock face at the back of the Upper Pool "room"

After I got up, Carl tried using the "couch" for a nap... I think the people sitting just behind us found him pretty funny!

On the hike back down

Water falling from above to feed the Lower Pool

Lower Pool

Lower Pool

Hiking on back to Zion Lodge

The day was just about perfect with highs in the mid 70s and brilliant blue skies.

A cautionary ad on the shuttle bus -- we were glad that we had not required being carried away!

I have been writing about us riding on the shuttle buses -- this is the line up at the Visitor Center -- the main buses are two units connected together.

I think the front one held 14 passengers and the rear 19, for a total of 33, and they would not allow any more than that to board. There were rows of seats removed to ensure social distancing.

We had a wonderful day in Zion National Park. It may have been more enjoyable if we had split it over a couple of days (we were **exhausted** by the end of the day), but, given the distance we drove and the challenge of getting shuttle tickets, we felt that getting all we wanted to see completed in one day was the best option.

We talked with a few folks while there (the couple who had rented the wet suits and another couple who had rented e-bikes)... another couple that we chatted with on the trail were staying at Zion Lodge. Unfortunately, staying at the Lodge does not give you shuttle tickets, and, though the lady of the couple had tried to get tickets the day before (when they were leaving the Grand Canyon), her phone internet service gave up and she missed out. So, she was going to try to get tickets for the next day so they could take the shuttle to the Riverside Trail and do that before they left the park. So... we were glad that our day worked out the way it did.