Our last couple days in southern Utah were spent having some fun. We went on an adventure hike to Johnson Mountain in Zion National Park (below), visited the Kolob area of Zion, and went to the Canyon Country Western Arts Festival in Cedar City.
Johnson Mountain Hike
All winter we've been hearing about the fun that the "adventure hikers" at our RV park had been enjoying. Our fellow "snowbirds" in the RV park spent the winter teasing us about how much we worked. They often asked if we ever came out to enjoy the wonderful sights, so we decided to surprise them and join one of their hikes.
The Hike Up
This hike began at the Springdale City Park parking lot at the base of Watchman and Johnson Mountains (on left).
We walked across the bridge and up an old gravel road before heading east and straight up the mountain side.
The views were awesome with mountains in every direction as far as we could see. One of the best views was of The West Temple peak and other peaks to the west (below).
When we arrived the base of the Johnson Mountain cliffs, we stopped at an overlook to eat lunch. Our views included the the Shunesburg Valley, Canaan Mountains, and Eagle Crags to the south; Smithsonian Butte and Gooseberry Mesa to the southwest; and Pine Valley Mountains to the west. After lunch, Annette led a group to a huge boulder for a group picture.
On the way back, she took some photographs of the mountains to the north and west in Zion National Park. She had to hustle to catch up with the group as they continued the hike.
The Hike Down
The hike got exciting after lunch. Jim, our leader, had promised a hike down an "impossible" mountain (left). He was almost correct. It looked straight down and we had to work our way step by step over boulders and through rocky, sandy, terrain. It felt like being left at the top of a steep double black diamond ski slope filled with moguls. Boy, was it fun! Larry came down slowly with a guy who needed a little help, while Annette flew down the hill. She was doing great until she got to the bottom and slipped on a loose rock. Jim (below center) missed the fall with his camera, so Annette cheerfully created an re-enactment for the photograph. Luckily she escapes with a bruised arm and sore shoulder. Her legs weren't so lucky after hiking through the brush during the next section of the hike. That will teach her not to wear shorts on "adventure hike."
When we reach what we thought was the top of the last hill, we were shocked to find another huge ravine and sand hill to navigate. Climbing in loose sand and gravel is hard work after 6 miles of mountain hiking (above left).
We all made it back alive and in pretty good shape. The scratches and bruises are healing nicely.
Kolob Canyon - Zion National Park
On our last Saturday before leaving, we decided to head to Cedar City for a festival. On the way, we stopped at the Kolob Canyon entrance to Zion National Park. Although we'd stopped at the Visitor's Center before, we'd never driven up the canyon road. The views were stunning. We spent some time at the top photographing the peaks including Timber Top Mountain (shown in the photo). These are the mountains we've seen from the east side in our trips up Kolob Road. The hiking trails were still muddy so we decided to save those for another time.
Canyon Country Western Arts Festival
For years we've enjoyed the cowboy poetry of Baxter Black and others in books and on CD. We've even talked about going to the Elko Cowboy Poetry festival. Although we haven't made it to Elko yet, we did get as far as Cedar City, Utah and the Canyon Country Western Arts Festival. The event celebrates the culture of the American West including the American Cowboy.
We enjoyed an afternoon browsing arts and crafts, watching demonstrations, and listening to western music. The stage in the demonstration area was fun because they had a number of children participating. The little boy above was both a poet and singer. After his session, he was joined by his older brother with a guitar and younger sister playing the fiddle.
The best group we saw was the Durfee family. The group consisted of a father (an economics professor at SUU) and two daughters.
In the evening we enjoyed a great program. It started with the local MC Curly Syndergaard. He introduced two cowboy poets: Ken Romriell and Deanna McCall. The main acts were "The Cowboy and the Kid," Waddie Mitchell and Brenn Hill. Singer/songwriter Brenn Hill started with great western music. Then, Waddie Mitchell joined him on stage to create a blend of western music and cowboy poetry. Brenn Hill played his guitar in the background.
For more information about cowboy poetry, check out the following websites.
Western Folklife Center
Western and Cowboy Poetry at the
Go to Lamb & Johnson Menu