The dark side of Zion


The desert was a hard place, and the settlers were hard people.  The Mormons had a communal ethic that helped them work together and survive locusts, Indian attack, and isolation.

There was a time of fear when the Mormons of Utah nearly went to war with the rest of the US to keep their plural wives.  Later, when polygamy was abandoned, pockets of polygamist holdouts hunkered down in the desert, where they remain.

Zion National Park is an upbeat place where retired admirals in crisp white baseball hats climb on the shuttlebus to see the Hanging Gardens.  Mainstream Mormons in Springdale present a cheery facade, while their dark cousins scratch out a living in the outback.   Back in the slot canyons where the sun seldom shines, secrets from the past--best forgotten--lie hidden.

Thirteen ways to die in Zion
  1. Automobile mishap--off the switchbacks on the way to the tunnel
  2. Struck by lightning on Angels Landing
  3. Fall from trail on your way to Angels Landing
  4. Heart attack on the trail to Angels Landing
  5. Lost without water
  6. Flash flood, trapped in the narrows
  7. Wildfire traps you on mesatop at Observation Point--it's jump or burn

  1. Domestic violence in a trailer too small
  2. Depression and suicide after reading this blog
  3. Snakebite or bee sting, scorpion or tarantula--your choice
  4. E. coli in your burger
  5. Cougar chews on your leg while a California condor eats your liver
  6. A motorcycle mishap...
      ...after a quick smoke--then a fast ride through Zion.

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