Friday, September 24, 2010

A Sunday Mornings Nostalgia

Sunday mornings are ones I find very peaceful and I seem to get a lot of memories coming back of quieter times when there was less hustle and bustle, at least it seems so.

I still have a strong desire for small town rural living.  It seems that the growth in this area just continues to move along and without much slowdown.  The population of the town where I live is right close to 100,000 and is still growing and over the last 15 years the north end of Utah County has grown at a fantastic rate.

Two new cities Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs have been started and they continue to grow and expand. The freeway is under going another makeover right now and is expanding.  It has been woefully inadequate these last few years with the tremendous growth that has taken place and really needs these improvements in order to handle the traffic now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Changing Leaves That Time Of Year

Here it is the 13th of September and I thought I would ride up the canyon and see how the leaves were doing on the color changes.  And I found they were not letting any moss grow on their trunks.

 I thought I would be early enough to see just the start of the color in the leaves but not so.  The change has already gotten well underway.

 I am going to watch each week to see if I can get a better view of the sequence of the changes.

Here is an slide show with a number of pictures of the canyon and also South Fork Canyon.  Watch for the next week it will be coming!

Color Changes Provo Canyon 2010-09-13

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bluff, Utah

I took a trip earlier this summer down to Bluff, which is in the southeast portion of Utah right on the San Juan River.  We went down to meet some friends who were coming up from Phoenix, Arizona, and were bringing my grandkids to my son so they could visit for a few weeks.

We made a three day trip out of it and it was a good trip but we didn't get to see all that was in the area and all that I had hoped to see.

In thinking about the area I was reminded that this area was settled by a group of individuals who were called from the areas around Cedar City and Parowan, by early church leaders, in 1879.  They made a trek across some of the wildest and unforgiving country in the West and it is an unbelievable story in and of itself.  A 6 week journey ended up being a 6 month ordeal but they made it and settled the beginnings of Bluff, Blanding and Monticello and the surrounding area.

When we arrived in Bluff we met up with the friends but in looking for a camp space we decided to go back towards Blanding.  The area in Bluff was hot, well over 100 degrees, and the mosquitos were in swarms.  So we drove north to the White Mesa area closer to Blanding and found a nice spot to camp.

It was somewhat cooler and we were in the trees.  Yellow Jack Pines no less!

There was also lots of interesting country around the campground to explore.  I found some caves in the cliffs that had the start of walls built in them.  This whole area is covered with Indian ruins and writings and these looked to be temporary shelters that had been started.

There were a large number of cliffs in the area and quite a few caves in the cliffs but I didn't have enough time to really get into the exploring.  Course we really had come to pick up the grandkids.

We were in the area for a couple of days and did do quite a bit of exploring, I found an old ski lift and we also went up to Lake Monticello.  (I would probably call it a pond) I didn't say that!  There were plenty of Crawdads but nobody wanted to cook them.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Lunch Bunch at the Gallivan Center

The Lunch Bunch at the Gallivan Center attracted me last Friday.  They have an area at the Gallivan that they set up for people to come into and sit in the shade and eat their lunch.

The Center also brings in entertainment for the lunch crowd.  

There is a pavilion set up for a stage and they have all the sound equipment to use for performances.

I decided to go Friday because my son was playing for the Lunch Bunch and the ensemble he has organized was playing also, and so we went.

They played for a little over an hour and the people in the audience would come and go as the time allowed.  It was very pleasant and the Gallivan Center is a very nice venue and it makes a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of work for a few minutes.  Click on photo below for more photos.
Lunch Bunch at Gallivan Center
The ensemble members are on guitars:  Swede Larson, Chase Steffanson, John Cedarquist, Gabino Flores; and Natalia Zhuravlova plays the cello.

Swede has undertaken a good sized recording project and for those who are interested the status of the recordings are being tracked on his website,, along with music clips and albums that can be downloaded.  

It proved to be a very pleasant experience with the Lunch Bunch at the Gallivan Center.   

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Murray City Cemetery - Half Way Camp

I was born and raised in Murray, Utah, as was my dad and the whole Larson family.  My mother was born and raised in an area called Brinton or Cottonwood, which was just east of Murray.  Today that area is right where the border between Holladay and Cottonwood Heights comes together.

It was just natural that my mother and father were buried in the Murray City Cemetery along with most of the other Larsons and a number of my mother's family.  As a result I visit there quite often to take flowers and such.

One thing I had never realized though was that the area where the Murray City Cemetery sits was the Half Way Camp for the teams and teamsters hauling the granite from the quarries in Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Temple site in Salt Lake where the Temple was being built.

One of the tasks in the construction of the Temple was getting the granite blocks from the quarries to the construction site where they could be cut to size and smoothed.

For the first 15+ years of construction hauling the granite was a monumental project and even though alternatives were tried, like a canal to float the granite to the site, nothing proved workable until the railroad was finally here and able to transport the granite to the construction site.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Undaunted, Bluff's Settlers

Bluff is a small town that sits in the Southeast corner of Utah, right on the San Juan River.  Bluff is a town of less than 300 people and Bluff along with Blanding and Montezuma Creek and that area was initially settled by a group of Mormon pioneers.

These first settlers were called from the areas around Cedar City and Escalante and Parowan and surrounding, the more settled areas to the west and north.  They were called to make that trek and establish settlements in the Bluff and Montezuma Creek locales.

At the time they began their travels this area was very wild country.  The only people in that part of the country were some Indians and Outlaws that used the area to hide and get lost in.

Church leaders hoped that by establishing new settlements in these areas it would quell the rustling and the problems that were being experienced by the northern and western settlements and stop the outlaws from using the areas for hideouts or at least diminish the problems.

The journey of those pioneers is a story of unbelievable courage and endurance crossing some of the wildest and roughest terrain anywhere in this country.  A journey that was supposed to take 6 weeks ended up taking 6 months.

Even today that area of the State of Utah is a very remote and primitive area.  Gerald N. Lund the author of the The Work and the Glory series of books has authored a new book that is on the market right now entitled 'The Undaunted' and it tells the story of these stalwart individuals and their unbelievable struggles in completing the journey.

Like The Work and the Glory the story is told through the interaction of two fictional families who are part of the group and who participate in the journey.  The story is very compelling and engaging.  Gerald N Lund is a fantastic story teller, but it must also be remembered that the events, the hardships, the harrowing experiences were real and they actually happened to real people.

Those individuals who made that journey experienced a gauntlet of wild country, shear rock walls and canyons that could test even the hardest of mountain men, but these were families, husbands, wives, and children of all ages, even one born on the trek.

I have to say that 'The Undaunted' is a must read!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Humming Bird Wars

The Moon Lake trip that we made for the week before the 4th of July was a fantastic smorgasbord of treats.  It was a trip back in time to a time of my life that was very simple and delightful.  It held a number of surprises.  The amount of wildlife that I encountered was a real surprise though.  There were the deer and and a few larger animals but the small critters were something that could not be ignored.

Humming Birds were there in force and they were not shy, they were actually quite aggressive and almost like mosquitos but I must say the were very interesting.

We camped in the campground and right next to my good friends who were the campground hosts.  They had been there for a few weeks and had their humming bird feeders out and those little birds knew it.

I have a feeder on my deck at home and have had for a couple of years.  Last year I was able to watch the humming birds towards the end of the summer but they were real shy.  This year I have only got a glimpse twice so far but I know they are eating because the food keeps going down.

That was not the case at Moon Lake.  Dan and Dorothy had their feeders out and those little birds knew it.  They had gathered and they were draining those feeders as fast as they could.  When the feeders would get empty those little guys would come right up to your face and I think they were saying  'come on fill the feeder', but I don't speak humming bird.

One of the males would sit on a limb of a tree that overlooked one of the feeders and would do his best to chase all the others away but there were just too many for him.  I couldn't believe how aggressive they were.  More than once I had a humming bird go zipping by right in front of my face not 3-4 inches away, that flash would scare the crap out of ya!