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Home ::> Events ::> September Mini Vacation

Sept 16 - 19, 2006, we took what we call a “mini-vacation.” We travelled to Southern Utah, stopping to see Historic Cove Fort, spent some time in the city of St. George, and visited Zion Canyon in Zion National Park. While we were in St. George, we adopted a puppy.

A night in Scipio

We departed early in the evening on Friday, 15 Sept and decided to stop somewhere for the night instead of going all the way to St. George. I figured someplace close to Fillmore would work best and settled on a Super 8 in Scipio, UT.

This motel/hotel (really a “hotel” because the rooms were accessed from the inside corridors) was a pleasant surprise. It is relatively new, was very clean, and featured a nice, warm indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. There was a halfway decent complimentary breakfast which featured an assortment of carbohydrate-loaded items like waffles, muffins, toast, and cakes.

Definitely a good choice for lodging.



Doran and Christine
Here we are soaking our bones in the hot tub at the Scipio Super 8.

Lucy and Dad
Lucy and Doran in the hot tub.

Maya caught... being Maya... in the swimming pool.

Eli carefully observes
Eli has been going through a phase where he doesn’t want to go swimming. Instead, he opted to come along and watch.

Historic Cove Fort

Our first stop after leaving Scipio was the Historic Cove Fort visitors center which lies between Fillmore and Beaver, just off I-15 north of the I-70 interchange.

The historical significance of Cove Fort is this: In 1867, Mormon prophet and church president Brigham Young called Ira Hinckley to go and build a fort on Cove Creek to serve as a way station between settlements.

Because the fort was established in an area which was frequently travelled by native American tribes, some of which were hostile or had unknown dispositions against the Mormon, settlers, the design of the fort was adapted with an emphasis on protecting its occupants.

Eighteen foot mortared rock walls with spaced out rifle ports at the top surround the fort. Our guide told us the rifle ports were never used and Ira Hickley and his family established good trading relationship with area indians.

The fort and nearby outbuildings were owned privately for most of the 20th century. However, in the 1990s, the LDS Church was given the property and has turned it into a tourist attraction fully-staffed by Mormon missionaries ready to give you all the information you might want about the fort, its history, or the meaning of our existence on this world.

Maya took pictures at Cove Fort with our older Canon PowerShot S10. She took some great pictures, as you’ll see below.


Pictures from Cove Fort

The mailboxes at Cove Fort
Near the parking lot for Cove Fort is an extraordinarily long row of mailboxes. Maya asked Christine, Eli, and Lucy to pose for a picture with them. Oh, hey! You can see our van in the background!

Inside the fort
The fort consists of a rectangular-shaped rock structure with an open courtyard in the middle. Living and working quarters were built into the edges.

Furry bench for stagecoach passengers
In the telegraph office, stagecoach passengers would often rest while their new horses were being hitched up to the coach. This animal-fur bench looks comfy.

Secretary desk
Here is a secretary desk in the telegraph office.

Telegraph station
The telegraph office had a replica of the telegraph machines that were used when the fort was in operation. The territorial government and the Mormon church had telegraph lines running from Logan to St. George.

Covered wagon
An example of a covered wagon that would have been used by Ira Hinckley to travel to the location where Cove Fort was established.

Fiesta Fun Center

This trip was, admittedly, hastily planned at the last minute. I used Google to try to find places and activities for us to do while we were in St. George. A couple visitor-information sites recommended the Fiesta Fun Center as a fun place for kids of all ages.

Fiesta Fun CenterThe FFC features an arcade, soft-play area, bumper-boats, miniature golf, kiddie go-karts, regular go-carts, and a small restaurant.

For our visit, we did miniature golf, soft-play, kiddie go-karts, and the arcade.

The miniature golf was clean and well-laid out, but kind of bland. Some of the holes were somewhat challenging, but none featured animatronic obstacles or anything fancier than a “loop-di-loop.”

Writing this prompted me to learn a little about the history of miniature golf and it seems modern (post-1990) miniature golf attractions have lost much of the artistic elements frequently featured by parks in the years before.

The kiddie go-karts were slow-moving, fun-decorated, battery-powered bumper cars that went around an L-shaped track. While I thought it couldn’t possibly be fun going so slow, our kids didn’t seem to mind that the cars were only moving at 2 miles per hour. Their tickets bought them a long time in the cars.

The arcade had a nice mix of ticket-dispensing games and traditional modern arcade games. There were also a couple air-hockey tables. Our kids concentrated on the ticket-dispensers and managed to tally up over 200 tickets from 45 tokens with which they redeemed for some plastic flutes, rubber balls, candy, lip gloss, and a couple other novelties.

The soft play area was smallish in size and seemed aimed more at kids in the 2-4 age-group.



Our kids driving the kiddie-carts
Maya, Lucy, and Eli on the kiddie-carts course.

Lucy and Eli
Lucy and Eli on the kiddie-carts course.

Lucy and Eli
Lucy and Eli on the kiddie-carts course.

Maya in her kiddie-taxi.

Christine proudly watches as her three kids very slowly round the track.

The arcade
Maya and Lucy work their hardest to earn tickets by wacking alligator heads or stomping on intermittently lit buttons.

Eli playing air-hockey
Eli plays his dad in an exciting game of air-hockey.

Eli and Doran playing air-hockey
Eli plays his dad in an exciting game of air-hockey as some presumably slow-witted kid stares, mouth-agape, at Doran.

Zion Canyon

Christine and I had never been in Zion Natioal Park or Zion Canyon despite having lived in Utah either all our lives or since childhood, so we decided to go check it out.

I knew the way, for the most part, because I was alog for the first FloydShow Sons Of Nothing put in 2002 on at a private party in Rockville which is just west of Springdale where the south entrance to Zion Canyon is.

Again, by virtue of Google, I knew about an IMAX theater at the south entrance to Zion Canyon and I knew about a big-screen feature they played there called Treasure Of The Gods which was about Zion Canyon, so we planned to do that and then see what else we wanted to do.

The film was awesome. Very entertaining and informative. It should have been in 3D, though.

The Zion Canyon Theater is located within walking distance from the entrance to the park, so we talked to a guy standing at an information booth and he told us: $20 would get our whole family into the park (for 7 days, in fact). The National Park Service operates a fleet of shuttle buses that carry visitors up and down the canyon and the free shuttle service is the preferred way of getting from place to place in the park.

We mulled it over and decided to make a day of it and ponied up the $20 to enter the park.

Our first stop was the Zion Canyon Human History Museum where we watched a superlative-filled 22-minute video on the park.

Our next stop was the Zion Lodge. On our way, the shuttle bus stopped at a couple stops to let people out and bring other people on. As we approached one of the stops, I recognized someone standing next to the stop. It was Pete Ashdown — Utah democratic candidate for U.S. senate. Pete appeared to be working with a cameraman to videotape something - maybe a campaign spot.

Why do Pete and I keep crossing paths? Maybe it’s just because he’s very busy campaigning.

At the Zion Lodge, we had a quick lunch and then set out for a short hike to the Emerald Pools.

After we got back from the hike, we boarded the shuttle bus again and went up to the shuttle stop at the top of the canyon: Temple Of Sinawava. We walked the paved trail north for about 1/3 mile before deciding the kids had enough of the walking and hiking. We headed back to the shuttle stop and then back to the visitors center at the bottom of the canyon.

It was early evening when we arrived back at the Zion Canyon Theater parking lot. We went back to St. George, had a late dinner, and went to sleep.



The Barton Family at Zion
A passing fellow park visitor from Salt Lake City offered to snap some pictures of us when he overheard me mentioning I could set up the camera on a timer. This is in the top area of the canyon near the Temple Of Sinawava.

3 kids on a rock
Our kids pose on a rock ledge jutting out from the path to the lower Emerald Pools.

3 kids on a rock
Another shot of those dang kids.

Lucy and Eli
Our two younger kids pose for a photo in the beautiful scenery of Zion Canyon. Maya was off searching for interesting looking rocks.

Lucy and Eli
Another one of Lucy and Eli.

Maya and Lucy
Maya and Lucy posing on some rock steps next to a bridge over the Virgin River by the Zion Lodge.

Family on bridge
Here’s the family (sans me) on the bridge across the Virgin River by the Zion Lodge.

Family on bridge
Another one.

Walk by the wall
Christine, Lucy, Eli, and Maya on the hiking path around the lower Emerald Pools. Two waterfalls dump water into the pools here and the pathway goes under and behind both falls.

Angels Landing
One of the landmarks in Zion Canyon, Angels Landing is a large plateau in the middle of the upper part of the canyon. There is a maintained hiking path to the top of it.

I know one of the shuttle drivers mentioned the name of the arch cut into the side of this rockface, but I can’t remember what it is. It has a reputation of being a spectacular visual when the sun is setting.

The Great White Throne
This plateau is apparently the tallest in the world and is seen here rising up and over the “saddle” of Angels Landing.

Jutting Rock
While we were on our hike to the lower Emerald Pools, we noticed a large rock jutting vertically out of the mountainside above us.

Other stuff

We also spent some time swimming at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, doing laundry at a laundromat, and visiting Sue’s Pet Castle where we met our new puppy that we named Spike.

Misc photos

The view from the Travelodge
The kids took a picture of the view from the balcony of the Travelodge motel we stayed at. This is looking south at St. George.

Here’s our puppy, a male cocker-poodle.

I guess the kids thought it would be funny.