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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 6: St. George, UT (Leg: 0, Trip: 1,099.7)

It's mid Saturday afternoon here in St. George. Before going into today's activities, let me tell you about last night's doings.

Our friends, George and Vickki, picked us up to go to dinner and we went to a place called "Gun Barrel" which has "steaks and game." The food was great and if you are ever in St. George, I highly recommend it to you. After dinner, before bringing us back home, George & Vickki took us on a brief tour of a couple of the great sites in St. George.

First we went to a place called Tuacahn (pronounced two-a-can). This is actually an arts high school built by a guy deep into one of the red rock canyons. They have a modern school building and an outdoor theater with a backdrop of the red rock cliff walls. They do a large number of major shows (musicals, live theater, visiting musical groups, etc) and after the show, when it is dark, they shoot off fireworks and have a light show on the canyon wall. We didn't have time to catch a show this trip, but since Carol is already scheming on how & when to come back for longer, we'll probably catch one that trip.

Then we drove to the entrance of Snow Canyon State Park. We didn't go in because it costs, but were able to get a brochure so we could plan our Saturday events. Then we went to a couple of roadside parks and overlooks. Thanks for the great tour George and Vickii!! They could have second careers here for the local chamber of commerce if they wanted!

This morning, we played pickle ball for a while. Pickle ball is played with a wooden paddle and a plastic ball about the size of a softball. You usually play it on a court much like a tennis court, but half the size. It is sort of like tennis, but for geezers! (I can see the emails coming on this already!)

Then we drove back to Snow Canyon Park to ride bikes. There is no snow in the canyon, but it is named after someone with that last name. We parked in a trail head area and took off on the bikes. It turned out to be a hard ride. First we were up at about 4,000 feet, it was warm, and the trail was very hilly which made it hard to ride and a real effort. We didn't ride as long as we might have because it really wore us out and wasn't as much fun as we would have liked.

Here is a picture of the red rocks. I'm really wondering how that rock on the top got there. It was probably formed there, but the process must have been interesting. The red coloring is from iron oxide (rust) in the soil.
The rocks are actually sandstone and, according to the geology experts, actually blew here as sand many years ago. As you can see, they are hundreds if not thousands, of feet deep of this sandstone. As the sand got wet with the sparse rains here (less than 8 inches per year, the sand hardened into rock (like cement). And that's how it was created. For those of you who have golfed at Green Mountain, the sand traps there are undergoing the same cementing process!

Sometimes the hills are white and not red, yet they are still sandstone. That's simply because there is no iron in that soil to rust, so it stays white. But it still hardened into stone.

You also notice how clear and blue the sky is here. It provides a stark contrast to the white and red of the mountains. Sunsets here with the last rays lighting up the red rocks are spectacular.

This area also has some lava flows from old volcanoes. You can see three different flows here in the St. George area. This is one up near the source at "Cinder Cone", about a mile or two north of Snow Canyon park.

Tonight we are having dinner with George and Vickki and Terry and Sally out at their country club. Tomorrow I'll play golf with George, Vickki, and Sally. Maybe Terry will ride with us again. While I'm doing that, Carol will probably be doing some more exploring to line up activities for our next visit.

There are many great places to eat here in the area. In fact, you can eat so much, that there is direct van service(see below) to a location for dealing with all the excess weight you will gain. We saw two of these vans in Snow Canyon park. (OK, so they weren't trolling for customers, but it makes a great story!

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