Saturday, August 7, 2021

Podcast about 'Detour Utah Mysteries, Legends and Peculiar Places,' a new Utah history book


with a magnificent landscape, Utah also abounds with secrets and peculiarities. Most are unaware that the Beehive State has its own rocky Noah's Ark or a hidden hoodoo Chinatown. Many have never seen a peak reminiscent of an Egyptian pyramid or visited Pando, one of the world's most ancient living things. Off-the-beaten-path wonders have fascinated Utah natives Lynn Arave and Ray Boren all their lives. Both authors spent decades seeking out the overlooked, uncovering the unusual and separating fact from legend. Join them as they outline the state's most unique expeditions, from its lowest point at Beaver Dam Wash and to its highest peaks and the intriguing locales in between.

-To watch a podcast interview about this new Utah history book, "Detour Utah 
Mysteries, Legends and Peculiar Places," go to, or copy the link below and hit the replay button..... Podcast is courtesy of Kings English Bookstore.

ALL photographs above from Ray Boren.

Friday, August 6, 2021 equals the only real time travel

Newspapers, like the Deseret News, have a wealth of information in their archives.

 HAVE you ever dreamed of traveling through time?

 OLD newspapers are the only known way to do this. offers an almost endless archive of old newspapers from across the country -- and even some foreign entries.

Just search by name or keyword and it is amazing what can be found about parents, relatives and others.

Until the late 1970s, EVERY speeding ticket and fender bender were usually printed in local newspapers. Also, coverage of weddings used to be very detailed with the names of the entire wedding party. 

Some former classmates or friends, who one has lost track of, might be able to be located through old newspapers. At the least, it is almost always possible to find out what they did before the year 2000 or so. (Not everyone is on Facebook.)

You don't have to rely on library shelves for historical information these days, just the Web.

If a person is in their 50s or more, they will especially be excited about what can be found about relatives and friends. Even some of their own accomplishments, that they didn't know were even in a newspaper back in the day, might be discovered.

But be warned! These searches can create some family mysteries that may not be fully solved, because key people involved might have passed on. So, don't wait too long to do newspapers searches.

The author personally found that an uncle had survived a head-on collision with a gasoline tanker; that his great-grandfather constructed the first bridge in Morgan, Utah -- and much more. also offers a free, seven day trial.

                            One of the original Deseret News presses, from the 19th Century.,

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Hooper, Utah Cemetery boasts the grave of "The Last Leaf on the Tree'



                              The modest Mary F. Garner grave at the Hooper Cemetery.

THE Hooper, Utah Cemetery can rightfully brag about having the grave of “The Last Leaf on the Tree” –  Mary Field Garner ---- The last person in mortality who was acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, first president in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Is this not significant? 

After all, Clarkston, Utah, in Cache County’s key claim to fame is that “The Man Who Knew” – the last home for Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, is buried in that City Cemetery.

                                      The elaborate Martin Harris Grave in Clarkston, Utah.

A Deseret News story on August 21, 1943, by Bishop Marvin O. Ashton of the Church’s Presiding Bishopric is the source of “The Last Leaf on the Tree” comparison.

Mary Field Garner was born in England on February 1, 1836. She died at age 107 on July 20, 1943. At the time, she believed to be the oldest ever member of the LDS Church.

“At the time of the (Prophet’s) martyrdom she was eight years old and remembers vividly the day that people rose in their seats, when Brigham Young, as it were, was transfigured into the personality of the prophet,” Bishop Ashton wrote in the Deseret News.

Ironically, she also had a rather embarrassing confession about that transfiguration story – she was tending an infant on her lap in that meeting. Her parent’s had brought a tin cup along as a plaything for that baby and yet just as Brigham Young rose to his feet, the tin cup fell to the floor and created an embarrassing noise.

Sister Garner had lived in Slaterville, but moved to Hooper and resided there for many years, where her last five of 10 children were born, and where she passed away.

                         A view of the Hooper Cemetery.

Of course, with 107 years of life, Sister Garner has a long, long story to tell of traveling across the plains to Utah and of the territory and the State of Utah’s early history. 

This writing will not delve into all of that, as the detail is substantial – but can be accessed on other sources listed below:


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Kanarraville Falls -- A Local Secret for Decades


                                               The sign at the edge of the parking lot.

                             The station where hikers are checked in and permits are taken.

THE Kanarraville Falls, a 5-mile roundtrip hike, is the hottest scenic rage in southwest Utah these days.

Indeed, in 2021, the hike sold-out for most of the summer in early May ...

Fueled by Kanarra Creek, this small slot canyon named Kanarraville Canyon, was a secret known to only locals for many decades. (Kanarraville is a small town about 13 miles southwest of Cedar City, along I-15.)

                        The first section of the trail is a brisk uphill on an old road.,

An exhaustive old newspaper search on the waterfalls reveals nothing until the 21st Century.

     Looking down on the trailhead parking lot, with 2 sections and the restroom in between.

Indeed, "Best-kept secret becomes nightmare," was a June 25, 2017 Associated Press story in the Daily Sentinel newspaper of Grand Junction, Colorado and many other western newspapers that summer.

The S.P. story said the first time that town members noticed that their little slot canyon was no longer a secret was on July Fourth weekend of 2004, when 75 cars were crowded into the trailhead's parking lot.

                 Twin Kanarraville City water tanks after the trail levels out for a bit.

               Another warning sign about being cautious on the rugged trail.

  The Bureau of Land Management Sign, just before the first chance to cross the stream.

                                      The first time the trail crosses Kanarra Creek.

How did the community keep it secret for so long?

"Very carefully," responded the ticket taker/security guard at the gate to the trailhead.

A hiker from Ohio said he was told that when the Zion Narrows were closed due to high water in 2004, that's when National Park Service , who knew about the smaller canyon, referred hikers to Kanarraville -- and it took off from there. The secret was out and social media exploded its popularity.

                 The early trail has some uphill, downhill, etc., as it goes back and forth.

                                        Finally! The actual mouth of the canyon.

Kanarraville Falls is indeed a mini Zion Narrows experience.

                    The second stream crossing and where most walk in the water.

                       The final sign along the trail, adjacent to the fenced-off City's well.

                                         Walking in water is now a complete necessity.

                                            The first mini Zion Narrows experience!

Kanarra Creek is the town's main source of drinking water (along with a spring near the creek)  -- and therein lies a big concern regarding pollution. Gates were placed along a road leading to the mouth of the canyon, to prevent parties from being held there, where some had hauled couches and other amenities up the mountain.

                                  Narrow going here and an excellent experience.

The ladder is reached here. It is not as bad as it looks, but go slow and make sure you have both hands free when climbing. There is a sturdy chain to grab and hold onto near the top. Mist may hit you.

A closeup of the ladder, with metal rungs. Be sure to slowly descend on the return trip, turn around, with your face facing the ladder.

                                  A view when the ladder is a crowded place, with a line.

                                                Looking down on the ladder climb.

By the end of the 2015 hiking season, more than 40,000 people had been counted as visiting the falls. Then, Kanarraville City decided to pay for an actual parking lot at the trailhead. Then, they charged $10 a person to hike the trail, to fund the improvements.

In 2016, the parking lot grossed $95,500 in fees.

As of 2021, that fee is $12 a person and there is a limit of 150 hikers per day. Finding the trailhead is easy, as the City has road signs posted in town.

This is actually the most dangerous part of the Kanarraville trail. You have to scale the logs and scramble up large boulders above that. Not only can the timbers and rocks be wet, but there's only a rope on the very bottom section to hold onto.

                                                                        Going up!

Restrooms are water are available at the trailhead. Sturdy sandal shoes or aqua shoes with good tread are a plus along this path, because you are walking in water most of the time along the upper route. Also, the taller a hiker is, the easier some of the scrambling on this hike is.

One hiking pole a person, is also a wise idea, to help maintain balance and test the depth of the water ahead in the deeper pools.

A considerable amount of scrambling is required along the upper portions of the trail. Thus, children 10 and under, require assistance and supervision along the way. In fact, though much shorter than the Zion Narrows, the 700-foot elevation change and the scrambling make Kanarraville a harder hike than the Narrows.

                           The second and final waterfall. Do NOT attempt to go above here.

Personally, I would not take any kid under 12 on this hike, all the way to the second waterfall vs. Kids age 8 and older usually do fine on a day hike of the Zion Narrows.)

The first 0.8 of a mile along the Kanarraville trail follows an old canyon access road and crosses the stream twice. With its up and downs, that is endurance wise, a very difficult portion of the trail.

                                                     A closeup of the second waterfall.

The first waterfall is 1.6 miles up the trail. A 15-foot ladder with metal rungs, but no handrails, must be scaled to continue from this point. Although it may appear challenging, the ladder is firmly secured in place, though nearby rushing water splashes over the ladder. (Returning hikers will best descend this ladder backwards and feet first.)

At 1.7 miles out is a spot with several logs and a tall boulder that must be climbed. This is where many injuries from falls have occurred on the trail. There is a rope attached to the lower portion of this spot, but not the upper part. (Having an anchored chain there could reduce injuries, but the City has no done that.)

The second waterfall is 1.9 miles up the trail. It is preceded by the narrowest section of the canyon, that also has the deepest water.

          With one hiking pole, traversing up and down  on the stream walk is so much more sturdy.

(In a mid-May of 2021 Kanarraville hike, the water depth never quite reached my knees. With a lot of photo taking, the hike lasted 4 hours for my group.)

Hikers should not try and go beyond the second falls.

Some sections of the trail have multiple path options for short stretches. Sometimes it is also a gamble on which is easier -- walking in the stream, or taking a rock side path.

In addition, to dangers from falls, rattlesnakes also live in the area and so look out for them. (My group heard a rattler on the hike nearby at about 1.4 miles up the trail, but did not see the reptile.)

Prior to the public discovery of Kanarraville Falls, the town of Kanarraville's claim to fame was that in the early 1960s, some California residents camped near the mouth of Spring Creek (one canyon south of the Falls Canyon). The group of some 26-plus residents, spent more than six years there, pioneering and living off the land.

Starting the hike by mid-morning means you will have some sun shining down to highlight your photographs, assuming you reach the narrow sections by early afternoon.

Small gold deposits were also found in the mountains east of Kanarraville in 1939, according to the Salt Lake Tribune of Feb. 3 that year.

-Kanarra Creek also caused some flooding in town during the spring of 1912, according to the Iron County Record newspaper of May 17, 1912.

                                Two people can barely walk by one another in these narrow sections.

-Kanarraville is named for a local Piute Indian leader from the 19th Century. This band of Native Americans frequently camped near where the town is today.

 -Kanarraville Falls is on Bureau of Land Management terrain, though the City administers it, because of watershed concerns.

-No dogs are allowed on the trail.

-Kanarraville residents also have no easy access to the trail. They must, like everyone else, secure a reservation and pay the fee. (However, we observed two different hikers, both with dogs, who were allowed access through the gate and yet only went less than a mile up the trail. They might have been locals?)

        Even with only 150 hikers a day allowed on the trail, it can be crowded at times ....

For trail fees, information and reservations, go to:

AND, yes accidents have happened to hikers on the Kanarraville Falls trail. So, be careful there.

Some examples:

-"Teen falls 60 feet at Kanarraville Falls," was a May 16, 2013 story in the Daily Spectrum newspaper of St. George. The 16-year-old Las Vegas boy had to be rescued out of the canyon and suffered several broken bones. The boy was attempting to hike up a slippery slope to see where the water originated above a rock.

-"Injured hiker expressed gratitude for search and rescue's response," was an Aug. 3, 2004 headline in the Spectrum newspaper.  A young woman from Arizona broke her leg after falling near one of the canyon's two waterfalls.

                        Take only photos on your Kanarraville hike and haul out any trash.

Box Canyon -- A Geographical Delight

                                                           The mouth of Maple Canyon.

SANPETE COUNTY boasts a magnificent slot canyon that is still relatively unknown.

Box Canyon, an offshoot of Maple Canyon, southwest of Fountain Green and northwest of Manti, is a geographical delight and has been since it was first characterized as such in the 1930s.

                                              The entrance to Box Canyon is almost hidden.

Where Roger Arave is pointing is where Box Canyon branches off northward from Maple Canyon.

Indeed, an October 2, 1936 report in the Ephraim Enterprise newspaper stated that Snow College students  annually visited Maple Canyon and especially studied Box Canyon.

Snow College Professor H.R. Christensen gave students a geology lecture in Box Canyon, since its narrow width and 200-foot high canyon walls was an oddity for the area.

                               One of the many side scrambles awaiting hikers in Box Canyon.

The students also explored upper Maple Canyon, which contains an arch. Their visit was concluded with a bonfire program and a cookout.

FINDING Box Canyon can be tricky. To best locate it, drive 0.8 of a mile up Maple Canyon after the pavement ends and then park on either side of the "washboardy" road. Walk less than 100 yards up the dirt road and look north for the almost hidden entrance to Box Canyon. Cross a small stream and then you enter the slot canyon.

                                       Like to scramble up boulders? You'll love Box Canyon.

Box Canyon contains conglomerate rock and features a lot of scrambling opportunities over giant boulders. The canyon walls also contain some pitons, evidence than many advanced rock climbers have scaled the walls there.

The canyon is rocky and usually dry. The canyon ends about 600 yards up, where in early spring or wets spells, a sparse waterfall might be flowing down from above. Otherwise, a few wet areas in the upper canyon are all the moisture that is visible, as most of the water runs underground.

Hikers have to decide if they want to scramble up a large boulder in the upper canyon in order to continue until its end.

                                        One of the pitons left by rock climbers in Box Canyon.

Kids age 8 and up will love all the rocks here. Younger children, may need assistance over the rugged terrain.

                           Roger and Taylor Arave are dwarfed by the immense rock walls of Box Canyon.

Is any of the area in Maple or Box Canyons private property? There were 2 makeshift wooden donation boxes near the head of Box Canyon spotted on trees in mid-May of 2021. USGS maps show Bureau of Land Management property solely in the area. Private land here may be possible, but unlikely.

                            A makeshift donation box at the head of Box Canyon.

-To reach Box Canyon, go the Fountain Green, Utah. This small town is east of Nephi's middle I-15 exit. In Fountain Green, turn right on 400 South (west) and then head south down West Side Drive. You will pass through the extremely small towns of Freedom and Jerusalem. After about 6 miles, there  is a prominent sign for a turnoff to Maple Canyon.

The road then curves by several turkey farms before entering Maple Canyon. 

                                              One of the turkey farms near Maple Canyon.