Posts tagged ‘Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument’

October 16, 2012

In defence of Utah

“Why do you want to go to Utah?” said the scornful man at the immigration desk at San Francisco Airport.

“What are you going to Utah for? Just go straight to Vegas and have some fun instead,” said the lady at the alien-themed diner in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.

“Isn’t it all Mormons?” said everybody else, derisively.

I can’t vouch for Utah’s Mormon content, because I didn’t really encounter any*. I haven’t been to Salt Lake City or environs, and I understand that is that is where most of them congregate. If forced to stereotype the Utahns I did meet, they could either be categorised as dreamcatcher-manufacturers, or extreme sports enthusiasts.

My husband and I have twice visited America’s tenth least densely populated state. The second time was this Easter, and the first on our honeymoon last year, a 3,500-mile road trip from southern California to the Pacific Northwest via as many national parks as we could handle.

Through deserts, beaches, rainforests, mountain ranges, calderas, cities, we saw many incredible things – an Eccles cake the size of a dinner plate; a hot-tubs-and-taxidermy-themed motel; London Bridge; a Bavarian themed town wherein lived 5,000 nutcrackers; the menacing glint of cops bearing speeding tickets, twice. But out of a catalogue of wonder, it was Utah that really smacked us in the face and left us reeling.

We knew it would be quite something before we even got there. Eating supper on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, our weary waiter, Eric, said, “This place is alright, I guess…”

[Fig.1: Grand Canyon. S’alright. Inoffensive. Humdrum.]

“…but Utah, Utah is really beautiful. You gotta go to Arches and Canyonlands. My wife and I used to go hiking there all the time.”

Cool! We’re going there in three days’ time.

“But my favourite place is Dead Horse Point. It’s amazing. I scattered my wife’s ashes there last year.”


“Which one of you was having the soup?”

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