Our first stop there was St. George. It's a cute little town next to some spectacular mountains. It's a reasonable drive to Zion National Park. What a beautiful place. There's a reason it's one of the top destinations. The pictures can't do justice, but I'll try anyway:
|Zion National Park|
|Zion National Park|
|The dune buggy we rented|
|The kids by our dune buggy|
|Erin climbs a rock formation|
Fillmore also has a territorial capital museum. Fillmore was once the capital of Utah Territory. They built a big statehouse. But the federal government was suspicious of Utah territory (too independent) and broke it up into Utah, Nevada and parts of some other states. And Fillmore was no longer central to the state, and was a long trip from Salt Lake City, so after just one legislative session they moved the capital to the bigger city.
As if that's not enough...
I have a nephew who lives in Salt Lake City. We met up with him in Provo, and did a hike up a mountain to some hot springs. They were amazing. The trail was along a windy creek with lots of minor waterfalls along the way. As you get close to the hot springs, the smell of sulfur gets stronger and stronger, and the water temperature in the creek keeps going up. There are a series of pool by at the hot springs. There is strange algae, and lots of weird colors in the water from the minerals. The temperature of the pools range from 'comfy bath' to 'uncomfortably hot hot tub'. A short hike further there is a falls, and just above that, there were some undergarments hanging in the bushes, marking another hot spring that was probably occupied by people who didn't want to be interrupted. (Oh, the choices: respect their privacy, or make them internet famous....)
|Daughter Erin crossing the stream on a fallen tree|
|Son Ethan on a cliff at the top of the waterfall|
|All of us hanging out by the hot spring pools|
|The hot spring pools|
|A cool waterfall just above the hot springs|
As if that wasn't enough for one stop... there is a lava bed near Fillmore. You go out into this barren, flat landscape, and the rocks keep getting weirder and darker as you go. The road gets rougher and rougher. Finally, there is this huge field of lava. As you explore it, it gets more bizarre. There is one sort of gorge feature with lava walls that is about 30-40 feet deep. Me and my daughter Erin went down into it, and there is a cave at the bottom that comes out the other side into a circular hole. So you end up 30 feet below the ground in this hole with sheer rock walls. It's a really an amazing place. It should be a well-known destination, but instead it is just a barren road in an unknown town.
|This trench is 30-40 feet deep with lava sides|
|Go through the cave, and come out on the other side in a giant hole|