Thursday, August 04, 2005
Most people are familiar with Utah's famous scenic wonders like Zion, Arches and the Great Salt Lake, but there are many lesser known places that have an allure and charm all their own. One such locale is the wild and mostly roadless Harmony Mountains which rise directly above my home to the south and west. The highest peak is a little under 9,000 feet and this range is the primary cougar habitat for the state, plus it is the source of some of the purest, most tasty groundwater you ever drank. My fountain of youth. Just ask my friends about the miraculous effects of the well water here. DD can testify.
I had a visitor from Michigan to show around, and a four-wheel-drive truck, so away we went to explore this hidden gem of our scenery rich Beehive State.
The first stop was the old abandoned Page Ranch which was a working cattle ranch, stagecoach stop and overnight inn which began operations in 1858. It is located on the old stage line from Salt Lake City to Californy. Notice the sign says Highway 91, which has been Interstate 15 now for nearly 40 years (nice antique).
Inside the old ranch house I stumbled upon a very cute metal cow which immediately beseeched me to let him out so he could relieve himself. You see, it was a very polite cow and didn't want to mess up the nice clean house.
From the ranch it is 11 rugged miles over the crest of the mountains to the little village of New Harmony. This is a very rough road which winds over the middle part of the range through beautiful ranch country set high among bare rock balds and domes of sheet lava laid down some 30 million years ago. This terrain reminds me of the southern Sierra foothill country and Tehachapi Mountains in Kern and Tulare counties in California. The monsoonal moisture this particular afternoon was creating quite an artful sky.
The final reward for ascending the heights of these mountains are the views of the west facing red rock cliffs of the Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park. Kolob is a word from the Book of Mormon which refers to the star nearest the throne of God. It is no wonder that pioneer settlers perceived a heavenly cast to these imposing temples of vertical stone. They continue to inspire such thoughts even to this day.
I don't recommend this trek without high clearance and four-wheel capability, the road was washed out in many spots after what looked like torrential flash flooding in the preceding days.
On behalf of the Utah tourism industry------visit Utah often. We like your business.