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The Rough and Rugged Honeymoon Trail…

There’s a rough and rugged trail that meanders from Snowflake Arizona to St. George Utah. Well, the rough and rugged trail used to be the only way to get from Snowflake to St. George, now it only takes about six hours to traverse the distance, back in the 1800’s it took 4-6 weeks. There’s a nice smooth highway for most to the distance now that allows you to take in the majestic scenes along the way with ease. The original rough and rugged trail is still mostly intact, though you’d need a four-wheel drive vehicle of some kind to travel on it, (I’m sure they would’ve loved to have a four-wheel drive back in the day as well.) That rough and rugged trail was dubbed the Honeymoon Trail back in the 1800’s, and is now a part of the western history I love to visit and write about.

A sign along the Honeymoon Trail.

There’s over four hundred miles of the rough and rugged trail that holds not only beauty but many dangers for those brave enough to take on the challenge. The settlers in the 1800’s would take on that extreme challenge because they wanted to get married (plurally or monogamously, I’m not prejudice either way) in the St. George Temple, thus the naming of the trail, The Honeymoon Trail.

The Pipe Springs Monument, that I wrote about last week, is one of the stops along the Honeymoon Trail. I’ve visited several points of historic interest, to me, along this trail. Hopefully I’ll visit a few more soonish. The Vermillion Cliffs was one place I was particularly entranced with. I wrote about an experience I had there in my book New Parish:

“… They spent a few moments enjoying the rare scenes of what was like a bygone era, then the plane flew past, and Brother Michael said, “There they are, the Vermillion Cliffs.”

            He was pointing to a range of mountains that were almost completely barren of vegetation. The cliffs had a rich purple hue with some of the coral earth tones of the New Parish mesas. They were much larger and longer in range, “Wow…” thought Sarah. The plane flew closer and closer and went along the whole of the cliffs giving the passengers an incredible view of the beauty that was there.

            Sarah jumped as her dad suddenly shouted, “Oh, oh! Look! There’s one!”

            Everyone looked to see the giant bird he was so excited about. It was circling just above the top of one of the cliffs. It flew slowly around and around spiraling higher and higher. They all watched as the condor ascended into the sky, at times looking like a kite hanging on the wind, frozen in time. The condor gradually soared out of sight… Sarah had been so wrapped up in the experience that she’d almost forgotten to breathe. She thought to herself, “Wow, they’re amazing…””

Seeing that condor soaring above the Vermillion Cliffs was truly an experience I’ll never forget.

 

Below is an article from True West Magazine about the Honeymoon Trail if want to know a bit more:

http://www.truewestmagazine.com/honeymoon-trail/

Gene Autry and Ann Rutherford Singing the Honeymoon Trail… I love old westerns!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKhAtgk5Ax4

There is Beauty All Around – Pipe Spring National Monument

Plural Wives Row House

One of the wonderful things about living in the “West” is the absolutely beautiful vistas. I’ve been awe struck almost on a daily basis at the grandorous, breathtaking murals of prairies, mesas, and mountains that are ever present. I can only guess what the early cowboys and pioneers experienced out here in this place that has retained most of its allurements.

A while back I visited an amazing place, not too far from where I live, called Pipe Springs National Monument. That place is almost like an oasis in the middle of a desert. It has tall trees and lots of green around, it kind of reminded me of back home. The reason for the green is that it has a natural spring that has been used by the Native Americans, pioneers, and many weary a traveler for as long recorded or verbal history can tell. There’s a large house/fort that covers the spring, which was built in the 1800’s, they used the spring to keep things cool out here in the middle of the desert. There are also some outbuildings and rustic corrals along with covered wagons. They keep a few animals, a couple of horses, a donkey, and a long-horned bull with horns longer than I am tall.

This place also holds a special bit of western history, it was a hideout for some unique outlaws, these outlaws weren’t bank robbers, murderers, nor did they ride with the “James” gang. They were plural wives who needed a place to go so their husbands (or themselves) wouldn’t get put in jail for polygamy. Many of them came there while pregnant, and had small children with them. One of the out buildings was a sort of plural wife row house. I could just imagine how they lived next to each other with their own little one room, dirt floor, apartment. This must have been a very difficult time for them, one can only imagine…

In my books the women have it so much better, and also have the freedom to live their lives the way they choose… in loving, safe, encouraging, environments.

I’m providing links so that if you’re curious you can see what it’s like there and read some of the history for yourself. There’s even a quote from one of the lady’s journal that I thought showed a since of humor and an incredible snapshot of what things were like in that time period. “One plural wife said of her move to Pipe Spring, “So about the year 1886, I moved to Pipe Spring. In other words, I went to prison to keep my husband out.””

Pipe Spring National Monument link:

https://www.nps.gov/pisp/index.htm

The virtual tour is really good, they provide loads of information and pictures.

Virtual Tour of Pipe Spring National Monument:

https://www.nps.gov/pisp/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtour.htm

YouTube also has some pretty good videos of Pipe Spring:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Pipe+Spring+National+Monument+

This is a link to some pictures that were taken back in the 1940’s.

Link to old pictures of Pipe Springs:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Photograph:%20az0047&fi=number&op=PHRASE&va=exact&co%20=hh&st=gallery&sg%20=%20true

Long Horn Bull at Pipe Spring

Freedoms and Rights

I’ve never been a preachy person, I believe what I believe and don’t mind sharing that if someone wants to know about it, but I don’t try to judge others by what I believe or by what they believe.

The recent legalized discrimination bill HB99 is simply a way to judge a group of people by someone else’s religion. We have laws in our country to prosecute people who assault, abuse, or illegally use others. In most parts of our country these laws work just fine, in Utah, there are some who feel the need to persecute others because they don’t believe the same way they do, so they create laws to legalize their discrimination of people who don’t believe the same exact way they do.

Recently Utah Representative Mike Noel said, “They’ve hijacked my religion and I actually resent that.” This is the man who sponsored the HB99 bill, exhibiting his prejudice against others who believe differently than he does, even though, they believe the same way as Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church.

It appears that he thinks his religion is a tool to judge others by and that others don’t have a right to believe anything else than what he believes. Our Constitution states, in the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When asked what he believed, Joseph Smith wrote 13 Articles of Faith, in the eleventh one he wrote, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Think what you want about Joseph Smith, and I’ll think what I want. But, I believe vehemently in our constitutional right to have a belief system of our own choosing and conscience, and in respecting the rights of others to have that same right.

There’s no pretense here, I believe that everyone, (consenting adults), has the right to believe what they choose. I believe everyone, (consenting adults), has the right to choose how they want to live their lives, raise their families, and whom they will love. I also believe that no one has the right to discriminate against them for those choices… It’s my hope that when my books get published, a more favorable light can be shown on this lifestyle and the people who live it.

These men, Theral Ray Dockstader and Virgel Y. Jessop along with many others were charged as felons in 1944, and put in prison for doing nothing more than being a husband and father. They were living their religion, each had more than one wife, all of whom they loved and took care of, along with the children that love brought into the world. They never hurt anyone, or robbed a bank, or even broke any laws, except the ones put in place by those who were discriminating against them because of their religion.

Beautiful Places to Create Scenes Around

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These pictures are the inspiration for a scene in my next book, Return to New Parish, the sequel to New Parish. 

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It was so very quiet in this place, the only noise I could hear was a soft trickling sound from the stream.

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My characters sit on this bench like rock and share a special moment. 

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Special places bring life into a story. 

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I can’t wait to share the whole story with everyone!

One of my favorite poems…

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

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The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

Synopsis for New Parish

Harvey Beach for websiteSarah the main character is a 27 year old, graphic artist. She lives in Atlanta but is originally from Savannah Georgia. She’s had too many bad dates over the years with guys that just weren’t quite what she wanted.

She does volunteer work at a children’s center, which she enjoys and it gives her a way to spend time with children while she longs to have her own. She meets a new friend at the children’s center, this new friend comes from a polygamous community which arouses Sarah’s curiosity, her new friend tells her about a different way of finding a companion which sets Sarah on a quest to find out the truth about this lifestyle as a viable option to dating. This leads her to consider making a decision that will affect the rest of her life… go live out west in a community where they live plural marriage or continue to date hoping to eventually find someone, maybe.

Through her investigations she finds out that the people living in the polygamous community use an old form of matchmaking. Their system sounded similar to what her grandmother described when she married her grandfather, only it involved prayer and church leaders not just parents.

She goes to New Parish to visit and asks some of the women in the polygamous community to tell her the whole story “warts and all” so she can make her decision with all the information possible. She hears some difficult stories about women who had been mistreated but also sees how happy other women living plural marriage are. Sarah struggles with both sides of this coin and finds it difficult to focus on work or anything else after she returns to Atlanta. The distraction of her new knowledge is so much that she needs to take a few days off from work and go to her family’s condo on Tybee Island to sort it out…

More later…

Writing Again

 

It’s like finding an old friend that I haven’t seen in a long time. I didn’t realize just how much I missed writing until a while ago. I’ve been working so hard on finishing my masters program, (still not finished) that I had not taken time to do the one thing I really love doing. I must remember to not get so caught up in “things” and forget this very important part of my world. Edits are coming along for Farquhar’s Family Secret: Fairy Notes Book 1 Part 2 and hopefully in another month it will be available. I have started book 2 for Fairy Notes and I’m also working on another book that is entirely different. I do love to write…