Vamoose Utah April 2020

Page 1

VOL.6 NO.4 • APRIL 2020






MY OWN CAPITOL REEF April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 1

We need your help. The coronavirus shutdown in Utah has put a dire threat on City Weekly’s ability to keep the city informed. We have weathered many storms throughout the years, but this crisis is different. We have been free and independent for over 35 years because we are blessed to have the support of so many great, like-minded Utah merchants. Most of them are hurting badly right now. City Weekly’s entire existence is directly tied to people getting together in groups -- in clubs, restaurants, and at concerts and events -- which are the industries most affected now. The coronavirus pandemic has essentially wiped those sources of revenue overnight. At a time when Salt Lake City needs independent journalism more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support the continued coverage of everything important to all of us in our state, from life to lifestyle. We’ve stood by each other for 35 years, making Utah the great place it is today. We can’t say enough how much we appreciate you. You can support us by making a one-time or recurring donation on, which is our 501(c) (3) non-profit dedicated to help fund local journalism. We can also accept checks made payable to City Weekly.

Mailing address: City Weekly P.O. Box 2755 SLC, UT 84110




We Are



Thank you. 2 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 3





To experience national parks like a pro, get yourself a hub.


This is the place for ‘social distancing’ BY JARED BLACKLEY


Lodging options near Zion National Park just got a lot more interesting BY JARED BLACKLEY


A winter’s day traveling in Capitol Reef ignited new love for the national park

Just imagine Edward Abbey’s response to Arches’ congestion


Community supported seed culture helps bring better vegetables to your garden BY ARI LEVAUX


Joshua Tree National Park is a gem even during peak season BY REBECCA CHAVEZ-HOUCK



Bryce Canyon National Park

4 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

first sign of Spring

It’s agreat spring Your favorite garden center since 1955 3500 South 900 East | 801.487.4131

n o o S l l e W Get

� the art floral

801-363-0565 | 580 E 300 S SLC |

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 5

VOL.6 NO.4 • APRIL 2020














Pete Saltas Michael Saltas

Jerre Wroble Lance Gudmundsen, Kass Wood Jared Blackley, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Ari LeVaux, John Rasmuson, Chris Vanocur, Megan Wagstaff

When Jared Blackley is not fulfilling the tasks of a loving husband and father, you can find him with his dog on a trail a number of miles from the nearest road. He is also involved in long-distance love affair with France. You can follow his exploits on Instagram @jredwblack .

Sofia Cifuentes Chelsea Neider, Jennifer Terry

Paula Saltas David Adamson, Samantha Herzog Bryan Mannos

Eric Granato

Trina Baghoomian Doug Kruithof, Kathy Mueller Kelly Boyce


Ari LeVaux writes Flash in the Pan, a syndicated weekly food column that appears in more than 100 newspapers nationally. He lives in Missoula, Montana, where he hunts, skis, hunts on skis and skis while hunting among other pursuits.

JOHN SALTAS On the cover: A backpacker takes in the view at Zion Canyon Photo by Presley Roozenburg Distributed free of charge throughout the Wasatch Front while supplies last. Additional copies of Vamoose Utah are available at the Vamoose offices: 175 W. 200 South, Ste. 100, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 801-716-1777

Editorial contact: Advertising contact: COPPERFIELD PUBLISHING, INC • COPYRIGHT 2020 • ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


6 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020



John Rasmuson spends his days trying to put the right words in the right order. He wrote a column for City Weekly for 12 years that won awards every now and then when he got the words just right.





ever downplay Utah’s outdoor splendor. Place any of our eye-popping majestic parks up against Utah’s quirky liquor laws, politics or air inversions—and it’s no contest. This is the place for lovers of public lands. In all, Utah boasts 13 National Park Service units that include five national parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion), six national monuments (Cedar Breaks, Dinosaur, Hovenweep, Natural Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and Timpanogos Cave) as well as Golden Spike National Historic Site and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. In addition, there are three BLM-managed national monuments (Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Jurassic—the newest monument in Utah, designated through the John Dingell Jr. Act on March 12, 2019) as well as the BLM-managed Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. These unique and awe-inspiring lands represent a worthy bucket list. And we so wish we could urge you to embrace them this spring. In fact, the theme of this issue was intended to recognize National Park Week slated for April 18-26. Sadly, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sweeping the planet in the spring of 2020, numerous national parks, including Yellowstone, America’s first national park, are now shuttered. In Utah, at press time, Arches and Canyonlands national parks have closed with others threatening to follow suit. Even those national parks that remain open have closed trails, access roads, visitor centers, lodging facilities and even restrooms, so visitors should not expect to have the “full” park experience. Thus, readers would do well to visit in advance of any park visit for the latest updates. Bryce Canyon National Park remains open, at press time, but the visitor center and campground are closed. The public can access trails at Capitol Reef National Park, but the visitor center, bookstore and Fruita campground are closed. Most park facilities and services in Zion

National Park are closed including the visitor centers, campgrounds, park shuttle service and the popular Angel’s Landing Trail (due to crowded conditions and the difficulty for visitors to practice social distancing). It is also worth noting that entrances to Joshua Tree National Park, which Rebecca Chavez-Houck wrote about in this issue, are closed to cars but the park remained open for bicycle and hiker access. On March 27, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert directed state residents to stay at home except for essential travel. While his order allows for residents to partake in recreational and outdoor activities, it comes with the following guidelines: Individuals and household groups should remain 6 feet apart; should avoid congregating at trailheads, parks or other outdoor spaces; should refrain from contact/team sports; and should not travel to state parks outside their county of residence. “The availability of national parks will be determined in consultation with the National Park Service and the county in which the park is located,” the directive reads. In other words, unless you live in a county that is home to a national or state park, you should refrain from visiting these areas until the pandemic subsides. Indeed, at the moment, perhaps a better way to appreciate these stunning lands may be by reading about them in the following pages. It won’t be long until we can return to our favorite parks and trails. And the guidance and tips offered by our exceptional writers—Megan Wagstaff, Jared Blackley, Chris Vanocur, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, John Rasmuson and Ari LeVaux—will be useful whatever time of year you visit. If there is a silver lining to park closures, it’s that our well-loved public lands are getting a break from the onslaught of humanity. Maybe, post-social distancing, we’ll better appreciate the fragile wonders in our backyard as well as the work done by those who act as their stewards. —Jerre Wroble

Bryce Canyon National Park April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 7

Hiking in Kolob Canyons at Zion National Park


To experience national parks like a local, get yourself a hub. BY MEGAN WAGSTAFF


imagine if I lived in Anaheim or Orlando, the novelty of Disney parks would wear off quickly. Yes, the attraction is in my backyard, but is it worth fighting the crowds to visit each year? As a Utah local, I feel the same way about the state’s national parks. Yes, Zion is amazing, but is it worth battling crowds on trails so packed that I feel I’m in a fanny-pack parade? In the spring of 2019, I mapped out a local’s guide to visiting Utah’s national parks that included lesser-known hot spots. Affordable? Absolutely. Crowded? Not so much. And the food … dare I say “gourmet”? Without further ado, here’s a four-day weekend itinerary that gives you an alternative national park experience.

8 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

THURSDAY Make Cedar City your hub for the weekend. From Salt Lake, the small town in Southern Utah is a straight shot down Interstate 15 that takes about 3 ½ hours, provided you avoid rush-hour traffic. Check in at El Rey Inn (80 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-6518,, a comfortable hotel with free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool. The best part about El Rey Inn is its walkability; you’re located in the heart of historic downtown Cedar City. Try booking through the hotel for best rates (most hotels in Cedar City are under $100/night). Once you’ve checked in, stroll down Main Street to Bulloch Drug (91 N. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-9651,, a pharmacy with unique gifts, clothing, treats and decor. If you’re in the mood for a snack, belly up to the old-fashioned soda

fountain and order an ice cream sundae or float. Alternatively, skip the dairy and book an adults-only wine tasting at IG Winery and Tasting Room (59 W. Center St., Cedar City, 435-867-9463, With its exposed brick and hardwoods flooded by natural light, IG Winery is an ideal place to taste the fruit of the vine while awaiting dinner time. You might be surprised that one of the best pizzas you’ll ever eat is found in Cedar City. Centro Woodfired Pizza (50 W. Center St., Cedar City, 435-867-8123, is so good you might end up eating here every night of your trip. I won’t judge; I’ll be jealous. Try the pancetta and grape pizza with Gorgonzola and fontina cheeses, red grapes, pancetta and pistachios. Then put your carbfilled belly to bed—you’ve got a big day tomorrow.




The Larson Cabin on the Taylor Creek Trail

rather than a Saturday or Sunday. About 4½ miles long, Kanarra Falls is a moderate trek that can be challenging due to the amount of time spent in water and climbing the falls with ladders, ropes and chains. Unlike Taylor Creek Trail, the water here can be much deeper—and colder! Neoprene or wool socks and hiking boots make smart choices, as is bringing an extra pair of dry socks and shoes for later. By now, you’ve earned yourself some tacos, and a giant margarita or two. On your way back to the hotel, stop for dinner at Don Miguel’s (435 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-6855, Enjoy authentic Mexican dishes—owners Carlos and Lilia Leon’s family recipes hail from the southern region of Jalisco—such as the tostada de nopales, molcajete and the to-die-for chile verde.

FRIDAY The hike culminates at the Double Arch Alcove, but on rainy years (and this has been a pretty wet one), if you continue about 100 yards past the alcove, to the left, you may see a beautiful waterfall showering down between a wall of red rock. It makes for a refreshing rinse before the hike out. On your way back to Cedar City, make a detour for Hike No. 2 at Kanarra Falls. To get there, take I-15 northbound from Kolob Canyons for a ½ mile, then exit onto U.S. 91. Take a right on 100 North and head to the trailhead. Passes for Kanarra Falls should be purchased in advance (visit KanarraFalls. com). The fee is $12/person. This hike is weather-dependent, and heavy snow runoff can cause unexpected closures. Visit the website for up-to-date information on current conditions. This popular spot sees fewer crowds on weekdays, so opt for a Friday hike

Kanarra Falls


Grab continental breakfast at the hotel (or a cold slice of leftover pizza) and hit the road. You’re headed to the backside of Zion National Park, where the crowds are lighter, and the trails are arguably prettier. To get there, take I-15 southbound out of Cedar City. In about 25 minutes, take Exit 40 to Kolob Canyons, where you’ll find the Taylor Creek Trail. Pay at the visitor’s center. (Yes, you still have to pay the Zion Park fee, but the hike is worth it, and your parking pass is good for the whole week.) The Taylor Creek Trail is a 5-mile hike that only gains about 500 feet in elevation, so it’s relatively easy and totally doable for little hikers. It crisscrosses Taylor Creek about 30 times each way, so wear hiking shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Keens or Tevas are good options if soggy socks aren’t your style.

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 9

SATURDAY Toquerville Falls


Raspberry crepe at The French Spot

Perhaps skip the hotel breakfast and walk across the street to The French Spot (5 N. Main, Cedar City, 347-886-8587,, a tiny gem owned by Lyonese chef Michel Attali. His daughter, Leah, often works the counter serving up butternut-squash quiche, homemade croissants and fresh crêpes. Seating is patio-only, and the cold brew coffee is a must. Options abound for Saturday, so outline your plan over the morning meal. Whatever you choose, first head up the street to Lin’s Market (150 N. Main St., Cedar City, 435-586-3346, and shop picnic provisions before embarking on your excursion. If you have four-wheel drive and high clearance, Toquerville Falls should be at the top of your list. Take I-15 south out of Cedar City to Exit 27 in Toquerville and follow Spring Drive to the rocky four-wheel trail up to the falls. It’s 8 miles of four wheeling, which accounts for the majority of the hour-long drive; you’ll be rewarded with a double waterfall ideal for cliff jumping and soaking up the rays.

10 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020



The Iron Hills Trail System is a favorite of bikers and hikers


Bike riding the Iron Hills Trail System



Saying ‘how do you do’ to Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos

SUNDAY No four-wheel drive? You could head back to Kolob Canyons and try another hike, since your Zion pass is good for the week. La Verkin Creek Trail offers a full-day, 11-mile route that loops past Kolob Arch. Rock climbers find fewer crowds up Finger Canyon off the South Fork of Taylor Creek. A third option is to check out Thunderbird Gardens, a series of newly developed trails right in town that link up with the Iron Hills Trail System. Take your pick from several routes, ranging from 1 to 4 miles long, with options for hiking, horseback riding, ATV, rock climbing, mountain biking and dirt biking—a great way to enjoy national park-like beauty without the restrictions. Head east from Lin’s Market to 200 East and follow the road to Highland Drive. Take a left, then turn right on Skyline Drive to the parking lot. Whatever adventure you opt for, leave enough time for dinner at Porkbelly’s Eatery (565 S. Main, Cedar City, 435-586-5285, It’s hard to miss the smell of smoked meat wafting down Main Street in the evening, and the selection is first-come, first-serve, with rotating options on the chalkboard menu. The Chickenerones—crispy fried chicken skin—is always tempting, and the pulled pork is simply unforgettable.

Before you check out of the hotel, walk down the street to The Grind Coffee House Cafe (19 N. Main, Cedar City, 435-8675333) to grab a Caffe Ibis espresso drink for the road. With your bags packed and coffee in hand, you’re off to Bryce Canyon National Park, located a 1½ hour drive east through Dixie National Forest. To get there, take Utah Highway 14 east from Cedar City. In about 40 miles, turn left onto U.S. 89 North. Continue on for 20 miles before turning right on Utah Highway 12. Traveling east 13 miles, turn right onto Utah Highway 63 and follow signs to Bryce. There are hiking options for every ability in Bryce, and it’s typically less crowded in spring than Zion National Park. With their stunning views of hoodoo formations, it’s hard to pass up the combined 2½-mile hike along the Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail. If you are “hiked out,” Bryce offers numerous viewpoints and vistas that you can easily park and walk to, or simply drive past, so at least you’ll have cool pics to show around the office on Monday. When you’ve had your fill of hoodoos, head north on U.S. 89 until you reach Utah Highway 20. Hang a left, and head to I-15 to Salt Lake. Plan for a four-hour drive home. April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 11


l e i s a r e r v T ZIONTra This is the place for ‘social distancing’ BY JARED BLACKLEY

12 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020



’s not until the trail turns and the famous narrow rock fin of Angel’s Landing comes into view—approximately 35 miles into our hike—that we realize just how few people we’ve seen over the past three days. Dozens of hikers are now scrambling up the crux in front of us; dozens more are making their way back down. Hundreds more are somewhere on the trail. More than 4.3 million nature lovers descend upon Zion National Park each year, making it almost impossible to experience the solitude and stillness of wilderness. However, after a couple of friends and I discovered the Zion Traverse hike, we found these qualities in abundance. The traverse, located near Kanarraville is actually a series of interconnected trails that run almost 50 miles from Lee Pass in the Kolob Canyons to Zion’s East Rim Trailhead (or vice-versa, depending on your preference). Navigating the trails is easy. But the logistics of the hike, usually done between April and September, can be complicated. There are, for instance, few reliable water sources along the way. What few springs there are may dry up. One solution is stashing one gallon of water per person near the Connector Trail or Wildcat Canyon Trailhead before you begin the hike. Just make sure to write something on the container, such as “Don’t drink this water—I need it to survive.”

STORE ★★★★★

l a c o L Buy ocal tL r o p p u


Friends don’t let friends

pay full price! Become a member & save an additional 30% on already discounted items in the store!



Some of our best friends are saving over $1,000 a year using their unique discount code. Go to

Monday - Saturday 8-6 • Closed Sunday • 9275 S 1300 W 801-562-5496 • April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 13

Look for desert bighorn sheep on high rocky ledges


Kolob Canyons picnic area

And always inquire with the visitor center when you pick up your permit about the flow status of springs along the way. Getting a permit is a competitive process. You’ll need at least two campsite reservations: one for the Kolob Canyons and another for the West Rim. Reservations can be made online—beginning at 10 a.m.—on the fifth day of the month, two months prior to the month of your hike. For example, permits for June become available on April 5. If you plan to book your permits online, secure the more popular West Rim campsite first, as there are only four campsites per night that can be reserved online. They will be gone by 10:05 a.m. If you aren’t fortunate enough to secure reservations online, you can book them in person the day before the start of your trip. Because there are only five in-person campsite reservations available for the West Rim, it’s best to be at the visitor center before it opens. Be prepared to adjust your schedule, if necessary, as there will be others trying to secure permits the same day. Therefore, you may need to spend two nights in 14 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

Kolob Canyons in order to secure a campsite on the West Rim. Once we had our permit, we set out from Lee Pass on a sunny morning in early May. Patches of snow are still visible on the basaltic caps at the top of the breathtaking Finger Canyons. We follow Timber Creek south for approximately 3 miles, slowly descending to La Verkin Creek, where the trail turns east. The first few miles of any long backpacking trip are filled with laughter, conversation and excitement, but a rhythm soon sets in. The final 3½ miles to the camp are usually hiked in silence. Unless you’re spending two nights in Kolob Canyons, try to book a campsite numbered from 7 to 11, as the other sites are far from where the La Verkin Creek Trail meets the Hop Valley Trail. (Only two of those campsites can be booked online). After setting up our camp, we made the short jaunt—1-mile roundtrip—to the second longest natural arch in the world, Kolob Arch. The next morning, we filtered water from the creek before starting the climb over the large landslide that dammed Hop Valley several thousand years ago. The next 6 miles is sublime. A small creek meanders along the valley floor, which is mostly sediment from a lake that dried up only 700 years ago.



We don’t see another person until we exit the valley and begin a steady, 1½ -mile climb to the Kolob Terrace Road. We hike another 7 miles, with sweeping views of the West Temple Pantheon to the south and Job’s Head to the north, followed by long stretches of Ponderosa forest before we set up camp in the at-large camping area near Wildcat Canyon. Day 3 takes us around the rim of Wildcat Canyon and up near Lava Point lookout. From there, we begin the crown jewel of the hike— the West Rim. The first 4 miles are relatively flat traveling across the northern end of Horse Pasture Plateau. The trail then drops into Potato Hollow, where you see remnants of a fire that burned through this area several years ago. As you climb out of Potato Hollow, the scenery becomes world class. And it stays that way for the next several miles. Gentle vegetated slopes dramatically give way to steep sandstones cliffs that drop deep into canyons. Some cliffs drop 2,000 feet, while some canyons, one after another, are even deeper. It is an incredibly impressive jaw-dropping sight. Superlatives to describe what you’re seeing will be inadequate. The vistas along the West Rim are, simply put, some of the best in the world. Early the next morning, we begin the 6-mile, 3,400-foot descent to the Grotto. The views are so extraordinary along the way, we rarely speak. We had made plans to hike Angel’s Landing, but when we see all the people with the same hike in mind, we forego it. When we reach the road, we immediately regret our decision to bypass the final 10 miles along the East Rim. We weren’t ready for our journey to end, but we’d made arrangements to be picked up in Springdale. Because the hike is point to point, we needed a shuttle to return to our car near Lee Pass. A friend from St. George was kind enough to meet us in Springdale, but we thought it a tall order to ask this person to drive up to the East Rim park entrance to pick us up, so we cut our trek short. I’ll return soon, however, to complete the traverse and hike to the East Rim Trailhead. The adventure is worth every single step.


Collared lizard basks on a rock in Zion National Park


Each campsite requires its own reservation and a $5 nonrefundable deposit. Multiple reservations will be combined into one permit at the time you check in at the visitor center. There are Zion National Park visitor centers at the south entrance near Springdale and the entrance to Kolob Canyons. The cost for permits is $15 for 1-2 people, $20 for 3-7 people and $25 for 8-12 people. Visit backpackingreservations.htm


If you don’t have enough people in your group to justify bringing two vehicles or a friend who is willing to shuttle you, Red Rock Shuttle in La Verkin can help. Reservations must be made in advance. Red Rock Shuttle 435-635-9104


Download a map at: Wilderness-Guide-MAP-2019full.jpg

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 15


EAST ZION RESORT Lodging options near Zion National Park just got a lot more interesting

East Zion Resort yurts

16 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

A yurt with two kingsize beds and a pullout couch



odging near the east entrance of Zion National Park is quieter and sleepier than at the park’s western gateway in Springdale. Most lodging on the east side has tended to be standard motel fair—cheap rooms with two queen beds and a bathroom, neighbors on either side of the wall as well as above or below you. But that standard is starting to change for the better, and East Zion Resort is a prime example. Located in the small town of Orderville—approximately 25 minutes from the east entrance to Zion and an hour from Bryce Canyon National Park—the resort consists of two properties. The first, known as the Escape, has six tiny homes and a treehouse built atop the stump of a 100-year old Cottonwood. All the tiny homes are connected to utilities, have two bedrooms, a kitchen and can accommodate up to five people. Four have a king-size bed and a loft with two twin beds. The other two, which are larger, have two king-size beds and furnished rooftop terraces. All have their own laundry facility. The owner, Micah Young, originally built these tiny homes on his property to supplement his income as a high school science teacher. The treehouse was built for his kids, but he soon realized there was a demand to rent it out, too. Young’s friend Aaron Bonham knew the Escape was special.



“It was a unique idea,” he says. “I believe it is the future of resort accommodations. It is luxury but [intended] for the average person, and it can accommodate a whole family.” After driving past Young’s property daily for several months, he decided to stop in and discuss the idea of a partnership and, he says, “taking this concept to the next level.” Bonham and Young bought a prime 10-acre property just


The treehouses are the most popular lodging option

down the street. Originally envisioned in the 1980s for a trailer court that was never built, the site climbs up the mountainside on three tiers that were excavated but then covered by overgrowth. It’s now home to 10 yurts, 10 treehouses and 10 rectangular canvas tents. All face west and have open views of the valley. “Our vision was for everyone to have a great view of the sunset,” Bonham says. Eight of the yurts are 24 feet in diameter and have two kingsize beds and a pull-out couch. Two of the yurts are 20 feet in diameter with a king-size bed and a pull-out couch. Wood for the tables and vanities was locally sourced and milled. All lodging options, including the canvas tents, have kitchenettes and bathrooms en suite. “Most canvas tent glamping options have bath houses or showers that are adjacent to the tent” Bonham says. “We wanted to provide something with more privacy, so we included full bathrooms in each tent.” The most popular lodging options are the treehouses. Built on large stilts, they provide a sensation of being high above the ground. A king-size bed is in the loft. Windows on the west side of the treehouses are on the main level, where there’s a pull-out couch, and up by the loft, where they offer unob-



A king-size bed in the loft of the treehouse provides the sensation of being high above the ground.

structed views of the western horizon. Above the bed is a skylight. Light pollution in the small town of Orderville is minimal, and stargazing on a clear night is incredible, especially from the comfort of a king-size bed. All accommodations are climate controlled—even the tents. Tents can be rented seasonally, from March through October. An on-site pool is open from mid-March through October, and two Jacuzzis operate year-round. There is also a guest laundry facility at the poolhouse. And every yurt, tent and treehouse have their own gas grill and firepit. “We have a lot of people book for one night and then want to stay longer,” Bonham says. “They realize just how great it is here. You can explore the area for months and not even scratch the surface of possibilities. And then, in the evening, you can come back and stay at a unique place with a lot of luxuries.” East Zion Resort 490 E. State, Orderville 435-668-3955 April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 17



East Zion Resort makes a great base camp to visit either Zion or Bryce national parks ( It’s a 20-minute drive to Zion and an hour’s drive to Bryce.


Red Hollow Slot Canyon is a short, kid-friendly hike that’s only a mile from East Zion Resort, and it’s only about mile round trip—so, it’s well worth the effort. To get there, head southwest on State Street and turn left onto 100 E. Drive to Red Shadow Drive, where you will turn left again. Continue up the dirt road for approximately half a mile to the trailhead.


At 3,700 acres (with an additional 33,000 acres leased from the BLM), Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (5001 Angel Canyon Road, Kanab, 435644-2001, is the largest animal shelter in the United States. Housing more than 1,600 animals— including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs and birds—this no-kill refuge is worth stopping by, either as a visitor or a volunteer. Open every day except Christmas from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., tours are popular and often book out months in advance, so plan ahead.


Located 20 minutes from East Zion Resort, the eroded dunes of pink-colored Navajo sandstone make Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (435-6482800, a heaven for recreational vehicle enthusiasts. Most of the park—90% in fact—is open to ATVs, OHVs and motorcycles. The park is also ideal for boarding or sledding down the sand. There is a day use fee of $10 per vehicle and the park is only open during daylight hours. 18 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

Bryce Canyon National Park


One of the most beloved desert landscape painters of the 20th century, Maynard Dixon and his third wife, Edith Hamlin, built a log-cabin in Mount Carmel in 1940 and the couple lived there off and on until his death in 1946. The property is now the Maynard Dixon Living History Museum (2200 S. State, Mount Carmel, 435-648-2653, ThunderbirdFoundation). Guided tours cost $40 and self-guided tours are $20.


In addition to co-owning East Zion Resort, Micah Young runs East Zion Experiences (125 S. Center St., Orderville, 435-668-0930,, a canyoneering company that offers access to two privately-owned slot canyons. One of the canyons has seven rappels between 10 and 60 feet and will get you into a slot canyon that towers hundreds of feet above your head. They also offer a shorter canyoneering option without any technical rappels.



Sammie’s Chuck Wagon restaurant and gift shop (115 E. State, Orderville, 435-383-8700, first opened its doors in 2017, but it has become a sort of institution in town. Known for pizza and espresso, the kitchen is flexible. Craving something that is not on the menu? Tell your server. If the ingredients are in the kitchen, they’ll cook the meal you want.

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 19

MY OWN PRIVATE A winter’s day traveling in Capitol Reef ignited new love for the BY CHRIS VANOCUR



Capitol Reef campsite


magine having one of Utah’s national parks all to yourself. Admittedly, it’s a crazy thought. Yet, this is pretty much what happened to me. As I drove around the practically deserted Capitol Reef National Park in mid-February, I kept asking myself, “Where are all the people?” Capitol Reef is one of Utah’s Mighty 5 national parks (Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion). As I and others have noted before, the “5” may be in danger of becoming too mighty, drawing more and more tourists every year. But in terms of attendance, Capitol Reef only receives about a million visitors a year. Zion, by comparison, gets four times as many. In other words, when it comes to the Mighty 5, it feels like Capitol Reef gets snubbed a bit. One is tempted to call this “mighty” omission a “slight-y” (I will now show myself out). 20 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

Seeking absolution here—I must admit I’ve overlooked Capitol Reef myself. On several Vamoose Utah assignments I’ve driven right by the Reef. Each time, I marveled at its beauty and wondered why I wasn’t stopping and writing about this park instead. The background photo on my computer is even a black and white image of the Capitol Reef area (taken from a scenic turnout as I was once again headed somewhere else). It is one of the best photos I’ve ever taken. At first glance, though, Capitol Reef may not awe you in the same way something like the Grand Canyon does. But visitors can find continual delight in the array of stone colors, the rich history of the Fruita settlement and in deciphering its mysterious petroglyphs. As I drove around the park that cold, late winter morning, I found myself thinking about President Teddy Roosevelt and the naturalist John Muir. I strongly believe these two legendary park proponents would have loved what I was seeing, unspoiled vistas and a paucity of people. One episode perfectly captured the lack of tourists and cars in the park. I happened to see a cute little deer foraging a few


REEF national park


Capitol Reef National Park

feet from the road. It was just beckoning to have its picture taken. So, I did something that likely would have been unthinkable in another more congested park. I simply stopped my car right in the middle of Utah Highway 24 (which runs through the park). I got out and spent several minutes snapping a few dear pics of the deer and then got back in the car. Now, I certainly don’t advocate stopping in the middle of a national park road to snap wildlife photos. But it was mildly astonishing I could make this photo pit stop and not be disturbed by any other motorists. It also made me realize that on this particular morning, I had seen more deer than people. In fact, when I was motoring on Capitol Reef’s Scenic Drive, I saw only one other car. And I was on that road for an hour! This kind of isolation allowed me to drive as leisurely as I desired. I was able to soak in all the grandeur without ever feeling rushed. Next year marks the 50th anniversary of Capitol Reef’s establishment as a national park. Although I am a devout

Richard Nixon hater, I will begrudgingly give him some credit for signing the 1971 act that transformed the Reef from a monument into a park. But this anniversary also makes me wonder what the future holds for this sometimes overlooked gem. Even though Capitol Reef is one of the least visited of the Mighty 5, attendance has been rising the last few years. While locals I talked to wouldn’t mind a few more people coming through, they also don’t want hordes of tourists. It seemed to me they know they have something special on their hands and don’t want to lose its unique isolation. All of which brings us to a (mildly) heartwarming ending. My visit to Capitol Reef National Park took place on Feb. 13, mere hours before Valentine’s Day. While it was a bit chilly, the timing was perfect. Not only did it feel like I was in my own private national park, but romance also was very much in the air and in the sandstone. As I admiringly toured the Reef, I could feel myself falling deeper and deeper in love. And for a few solitary hours, she was all mine. April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 21




dward Abbey was hired as a seasonal park ranger campgrounds and the fact that most of them have never even at Arches National Monument in 1956. He was 29. heard of Arches National Monument.” Part of his job was to man the entry station. It stood But as every sandstone arch attests, change is as inevitable as alongside a dirt road 20 miles north it is consequential: Pave a road and they of Moab, which was “the uranium will come. The first nine miles of asphalt capital of the world” at the time. On were laid at Arches in 1957. A visitor center most days, no visitors showed up. By with running water opened in 1969, a year the end of the year, just 28,500 people after the publication of Desert Solitaire. By had navigated rough roads for a look at the time Arches became a national park some of the 2,000 redrock arches they in 1971, more than 200,000 people a year had heard about. were making the long drive to check it out. —PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY “Motorized tourists stay away by The park’s 18-mile loop road was resur“OZYMANDIAS” the millions,” Abbey wrote in Desert faced in 2017, a boon to the motorized tourSolitaire, his classic memoir of the two ists who preferred to see the park’s treasummers he worked at Arches. “They stay away because of sures through the windshield. the unpaved entry road, the unflushable toilets in the three Visitors to the park reached the 1 million mark in 2010. Nine

22 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020



Supermoon at the Windows in Arches National Park

years later, boosted by the Utah Office of Tourism’s Mighty 5 advertising campaign, more than 1.5 million people now visit annually. Some weekends, a line of idling cars back up on U.S. 191 as hundreds of tourists queue at the entrance. On Oct. 18, 2019, at 1 p.m., the National Park Service (NPS) had to close the door. “Arches National Park is currently full,” it tweeted. Abbey, who died in 1989, would have recoiled at motorized tourists gathering like barbarians at the gate. He would have fumed. Then despaired. Then cussed. “Goddamned industrial tourism!” he would have ranted. In his mind, a cabal of car makers, road builders, developers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and gasoline retailers posed an existential threat to the national parks. The car-bound tourists he objectified were at once “the consumers, the raw material and the victims of industrial tourism.” Abbey would have also disparaged Utah’s tourism office as being a running dog of the soulless industrialists. Its $3 million promotion in 2013—featuring curated images of Arches, Zion, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Canyonlands—included TV commercials in Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Within five years, the number of visitors increased by 68%.

To protect Arches’ fragile landscape from the onslaught, Abbey advocated a ban on cars and a repurposed NPS to deliver the backpacks of walkers and cyclists to campgrounds. The radical plan won’t be adopted anytime soon, but the need to manage the growing, peak-season crowds is urgent. The NPS at Arches borrowed on the experience at Maine’s Acadia National Park to propose a reservation system and 2,000-carsa-day limit between March and October. The proposal was met with brickbats. Should vehicle-entry reservations be required, critics said, the annual cost in lost tourist dollars would exceed $20 million. The NPS quickly withdrew the proposal and took up a study of mandatory shuttles and a second entrance to the park. At the launch of the Mighty 5 campaign, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said, “Utah’s five stunning national parks contribute to Utah’s economy in a meaningful way by creating much-needed jobs and impacting local economies in gateway communities and surrounding areas.” Herbert, whose lack of support of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments caused the Outdoor Retail Association to take its business to Denver, made no mention of Abbey’s assertion that “wilderness is not a luxury April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 23

but a necessity of the human spirit and as vital to our lives as water.” Neither did it come up in a recent letter to the secretary of the interior from the Utah congressional delegation about crowd management at Zion National Park. With its 4-million-plus visitors a year, Zion is one of the busiest parks in the country and “a pillar of the local tourism economy, helping support jobs and generate revenue.” The letter, signed by Utah senators Lee and Romney and four congressmen, expressed “strong opposition to any reservation system” because it would “likely result in reduced visitation and negative economic impact,” they wrote. “We strongly urge the department to find solutions that will preserve access to Zion National Park while enhancing the visitor experience.” Abbey would have scoffed at the mere mention of unrestricted crowds enhancing a wilderness experience. Where is the point of diminishing returns? he would ask. Five million visitors annually at Zion? Three thousand cars a day at Arches? At what point do parking hassles, toilet lines and congested trails dominate the memory of a sunset hike to Delicate Arch? How crowded does it have to get before visitors simply go elsewhere? Motorists no longer stay away by the millions as they did in Abbey’s day. The Mighty 5 promotion has been mighty successful, no question about it; and no question that politicians side with the moneyed interests of industrial tourism. The nascent interest in building a second entry to Arches found a voice in the 2020 legislative session. Proposed by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, a new state park, named for the Utahraptor dinosaur, is configured such that access to Arches is possible. An investment of $10 million would fund roads, parking lots and restrooms on a 6,500-acre site

straddling U.S. 191, Eliason said at a press conference with a smiling Moab mayor. Besides the Dalton Wells Quarry, the source of the first fossilized bones of a Utahraptor, the terrain is crisscrossed with ATV and mountain bike trails, Eliason said. Were Abbey alive, he’d be thinking about monkey-wrenching a project that would bring more vehicles into Arches. In his famous 1975 novel, Abbey made a verb of a plumber’s tool, the monkey wrench. In writing, he tapped the lexicon of lawyers to describe himself as Arches’ “usufructuary.” The word refers to the long-term use of someone else’s property with the proviso it remain intact and undamaged. Thus, the usufruct of another’s orchard requires care of the trees and replacement of any that die. Hints of usufruct can be found in the Office of Tourism’s latest strategic plan. In privileging “the quality of visits rather than the quantity of visitors,” the nine-page plan promotes “responsible visitation” even in its avowal to leverage “the equity of the Mighty 5 brand” for statewide economic growth. From the tourist office point of view, overcrowded national parks pose “a significant risk to the future of Utah’s tourism industry.” For Abbey, the crowds at Arches are symptomatic of industrial tourism run amok. He would despair that “wilderness” was missing from the pages of Utah’s strategic tourism plan just as it is missing more and more from Utah’s redrock landscape. Abbey wrote Desert Solitaire as an elegy for wilderness lost, but the book is also intended as an enjoinder to us—usufructuaries all—to steward what wilderness remains for the benefit of those who follow.


Bryce Canyon National Park

24 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 25


A BETTER BREED OF SEED Community supported seed culture helps bring better vegetables to the garden BY ARI LEVAUX


hen planting seeds, it pays to think about recipes you will make with the produce. Plans for pesto call for Genovese basil. A mojito enthusiast needs a big ole’ mint patch. One should have five recipes, minimum, at the ready for each zucchini plant. My garden this year will pivot around a Filipino sauté of corn and spinach. It’s a colorful combination, like green trees under the summer sun, and my family crowds the pan when I make it. My garden plan includes enough corn to eat some and still have a few quarts to freeze, so that by this time next year I’ll have frozen corn for my sauté. And I will finally plant my spinach patch, which will overwinter, so that this time next year I’ll have fresh spinach for my sauté. As my seeds have not yet arrived, much less planted or harvested, I still have plenty of time to mess around with my sauté using pre-grown ingredients. I have tweaked and modified the original recipe so many times that its original creator may no longer wish to be associated with it. But nonetheless, a shoutout to Liza Agbanlog and her blog Salu Salo, which means “getting together to eat” in Filipino. 26 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

I replaced her shrimp paste with anchovies that in turn were replaced by sardines. The hoisin sauce and cheese came later. This year’s seed order includes a variety of yellow and white corn called “Who Gets Kissed?” and a spinach by the name of “Abundant Bloomsdale.” Both varieties were developed via a process called Participatory Plant Breeding, in which breeders seek input from a wide variety of stakeholders. These advisors include the likes of farmers, plant disease specialists, seed companies, chefs and consumer tasters-anyone with an interest in helping improve a seed. For as long as humans have been planting seeds, we have been seeking to customize them for our own purposes. Today the tools are sharper, but modern seed breeders still follow the basic protocols established when plants were first domesticated: namely, to save and replant seeds from favored plants. Nowadays, breeders can mix and match traits from different individuals and combine them in a seed with impressive dexterity. Participatory Plant Breeding adds a new level of input by, essentially, connecting a network of brains together to program a vegetable plant.

SAUTÉED SPINACH AND CORN Serves 2 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ large onion, chopped 2 cups frozen corn 1 5-ish-ounce tin of sardines (or anchovies, anchovy paste, shrimp paste or non-fishy protein like bacon, stewed meat or lentils) ¼ teaspoon salt ½ pound fresh spinach 2 ounces mild, meltable cheese, cut into cubes Optional: hoisin sauce, ground black pepper, hot sauce

Process Heat the oil on medium and brown the garlic. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in the corn and salt and spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Cook five minutes or so, then stir and spread again. Layer on the sardines, and then the spinach, followed by chunks of cheese. Cover and cook until the spinach wilts, then remove the lid and cook off any remaining water. Turn off the heat when you smell the corn start to brown, and leave it on the hot burner to rest until it cools to room temperature. Serve with freshly ground black pepper, a spoonful of hoisin sauce and your favorite hot sauce.


This dish is extremely flexible, forgiving and accommodating. Feel free to add whatever proteins, spices or extra vegetables you can think of, and otherwise adapt the recipe to your home kitchen environment. Here I offer one variation, but if sardines, cheese and hoisin sauce aren’t favored at your household, don’t select those traits. Like seeds in the hands of a breeder, this recipe may take a few incarnations until you have it where you want it.

“Who Gets Kissed?”, named after a game once played by young cornhuskers, was developed for vigor in cool soils, resistance to certain corn diseases and high yields. It has a rich, sweet flavor and is one of only a handful of open-pollinated sweet corn seeds on the market, according to Kiki Hubbard of the Organic Seed Alliance, a nonprofit that supports the development and use of organic seeds. “Open-pollinated” refers to seeds that grow into plants, the seeds of which can be saved and replanted-as opposed to hybrid seeds, which won’t grow up to resemble their parents and aren’t worth saving. Over time, farmers who select and save their seed may become de-facto breeders, helping their seed stock adapt to local conditions. The Organic Seed Alliance’s support for organic seed is rooted in a similar concept of adaptation: that seeds developed under organic conditions are better suited, genetically, to be grown organically. Hubbard says that seeds bred for organic farms, which prioritize soil health and biodiversity, have different needs than seeds bred for conventional agriculture systems, and face dif-

ferent challenges. “Seed provides genetic tools with which a plant can meet these challenges, and breeding plants in the environment of their intended use can deliver these beneficial genetics.” She told me about another Participatory Plant Breeding project, a cucumber strain called DMR 401 that shrugs off downy mildew, a disease that is currently terrorizing cucumber growers in the East and Midwest. The strain is so resistant that non-organic growers are seeking out DMR 401 seed. “Pesticide controls are losing their effectiveness against this ever-evolving pathogen,” she said. But breeders, with the assistance of Participatory Plant Breeding projects, are able to breed their plants faster than the pathogen itself can evolve and stay ahead of the disease. As for that “Abundant Bloomsdale” spinach, Hubbard’s experience is more anecdotal, but equally impressive. Bred for its dark, glossy and thick leaves and slow-to-bolt temperament, it’s also so irresistibly sweet that last year her young son pillaged the spinach patch on a daily basis. April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 27




Joshua Tree National Park is a gem even during peak season BY REBECCA CHAVEZ-HOUCK

few months ago, I purchased one of those wall maps of all the parks in the National Park Service (NPS). You know, one of those where you scratch off a decal when you’ve been to a park, which exposes a green pine tree underneath. As I scratched off decal after decal, I see how we’ve benefitted from living in Utah where we not only have six national parks, but also the benefit of living within driving distance of so many others, most a day or two from the Wasatch Front. As I look at all of decals we scratched off our new map, I reflected on the incredible diversity of our country’s beautiful national parks, from the peaks of Glacier National Park to the hoodoos of Bryce and, how I’ve learned what makes redwood trees different from the giant sequoias. We really enjoy these spaces and appreciate the NPS staff and volunteers who inform and educate us as we learn what makes each of these natural places special. We’re mindful, too, of the challenge that the NPS faces. It’s a paradox of plenty, where there have been so many efforts over the decades to encourage visitation, but now the NPS struggles to assure that its mission of conservation hasn’t been compromised by a groundswell of people coming to see the wonders of each park. Since my husband and I now have fairly flexible schedules, we try to visit parks during their off seasons. An exception was our recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park ( in California, which we opted to visit during the busy season, from October to May, in favor of the better weather. Perhaps best known for its iconic Yucca brevifolia, this national park is located in the desert east of Los Angeles at a nexus between the Mojave and Sonoran desert ecosystems, where the arid low desert meets a vegetated high desert. The park is quite hot in the summer months but wonderful to explore when the snow flies here in Utah. The days still get hot, and you need to keep yourself well hydrated, but the nights can get quite cold. We had frost on the interior of our RV’s skylight even with the insulation that we prop up there at night. There are no campgrounds with hookups so you can’t depend on electric heat of any sort. We were there in October, and it was our first visit, which is surprising given how frequently we travel between Utah and California and the number of other national parks we’ve visited in the western U.S.


Cyclist at Joshua Tree National Park

28 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

Downtown’s Preferred Broker for All of Your Commercial Real Estate Needs RETAIL | OFFICE | LAND | INDUSTRIAL | MULTIFAMILY 801.355.0600 | 51 EAST 400 SOUTH, SUITE 210 SLC, UT 84111 | IPROPERTIES.COM April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 29



Keys View overlook

Keys Ranch house


We stayed in the Jumbo Rocks Campground ( planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm), and like most campgrounds in the park, it was available on a first come, first served basis (although the Black Rock and Cottonwood campgrounds do have reserved sites). True to its name, Jumbo Rocks provides an interesting landscape for a full moonrise, which we enjoyed until the bitter cold set in, and we jumped back into our RV to hunker down for the night. While the campground had few vacancies, and we arrived at the start of the peak season, we enjoyed our time there because we didn’t feel overwhelmed by crowds that usually pervade more popular national parks. For example, while we arrived in late afternoon, we were able to easily find a place to park at the Keys View overlook, which is pretty breathtaking, although the poor air quality (courtesy of the Los Angeles Basin) does limit the extensive panoramas that a visitor could see there in years past. We highly recommend taking the Keys Ranch tour (NPS. gov/jotr/planyourvisit/ranchtour.htm), which provides insight into the life of area homesteaders. It’s a National Historic Register Site. The park’s website notes that “the ranger-guided tour of the ranch includes the colorful story of the 60 years Bill and Frances Keys spent working together to make a life and raise their five children in this remote location. The ranch house, schoolhouse, store and workshop still stand; the orchard has been replanted; and the grounds are full of the cars, trucks, mining equipment and spare parts that are a part of the Desert Queen Ranch story.” Reservations are required for the tour, which runs from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday during the regular season of October through May. Now that we’ve enjoyed so many of the more popular parks close to home, we are looking forward to visiting locations like Pinnacles, Channel Islands, Saguaro and Denali National Parks, ready to discover the natural wonders they offer. Plus, there are parks we hope to explore in the Midwest and eastern U.S. Someday, when we can take a month or two away from commitments at home, I especially would love to visit Acadia National Park in Maine and the Everglades in Florida. See you at the campground!


The Milky Way seen from Jumbo Rocks Campground

30 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020


LOOK Arches National Park Photo by Joel Pilger on Unsplash

April 2020 • Vamoose Utah | 31

VOL.5 NO.6 • AUGUST 2019












We Are






August 2019 • Vamoose Utah | 1


Devour Utah • february 2019 1



JULY 2019




The best spaces, places and faces in Utah real estate BEST OF UTAH 2019 | 1

BEST OF UTAH Real Estate 2019


A Utah Family Business Offering media solutions for your digital, print and event endeavours. The mining community of Copperfield was set in world famous Bingham Canyon, high in the Oquirrh Mountains. In 1906, the Saltas family joined those Copperfield residents in the steep hillside, shanty area, called Greek Camp. Copperfield was home to thousands of melting pot immigrants including Greeks, Japanese, Mexicans, Germans, Swedes, Brits and many other ethnicities all bound to common American values of family, faith, education, hard work and community. They shared many good times, often tempered by the frequent bad times derived of dangerous mining work. Copperfield is now gone, scraped away by mining.

But the Copperfield spirit remains alive in everything we do, from newspapers and magazines to events and digital services. We work hard for each other and for the large communities of readers—online and in print—who value honesty and stories told well. We will keep telling stories—your stories—as long as people keep reading. And wouldn’t it be a shame if they didn’t read? We don’t think that will happen, so meanwhile, turn a page, or many pages, in one of Copperfield Publishing’s growing catalog of Utah award-winning publications. We are all the community of Utah. Enjoy.  John Saltas Founder

32 | Vamoose Utah • April 2020

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.