“Greatest Earth on Snow”

This past week I took our traveling science museum to Orderville, a town of almost 600 people nestled alongside the Muddy River. We were out of range of cell phone service, but we were just a short drive from some of the most spectacular land in the nation: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Escalante National Monument, Cedar Breaks, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon… in fact, some 96% of the county is public land. I also learned that after Brigham Young established this city in the 1870’s Orderville become one of the most successful and long-lasting examples of the United Order in Utah. It was a completely self-sustaining, egalitarian community.

It’s still quite the lovely place. The custodians (who cordially helped us unload and re-load our science carts from our ice-covered cargo trailer) knew every kid in the high school by first and last name. AND, get this: the town is participating in a DONKEY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT in 2 weeks. They will ride around on their donkeys right inside the high school gymnasium! That might just merit another drive to the bottom of the state.

I just wanted to share some pictures from some hikes my coworker and I took after our school visits were over. They include snow-covered Zion, Moqui Cave, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. I was most struck by the latter. I had no idea there where pink sand dunes right outside of Zion National Park. It was amazing to traverse the fine-grained sand, knowing that millions of years ago the surrounding cliffs of pink Navajo Sandstone were once just as free-flowing. I love how the wind writes its history in the cross-bedding. This land carries the tag line: “Greatest Earth on Snow” – my footprint here showed that it is absolutely true.

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4 Comments on ““Greatest Earth on Snow””

  1. Lydia says:

    I can’t wait to go on more adventures with you. Love the photos!

  2. Amanda says:

    My aunt Judy and her family, my Grandma, my Mom, and various other assorted family members live in Orderville. I spent my childhood summers and spring breaks in Orderville. Now I am down there at least every other month (twice this past month alone) visiting family. Judy’s address is my permanent address, so I actually have an Orderville driver’s license. (That means I get into Zion for free whenever I want. :))
    I love that little community! Some of my ancestors lived the united order when the town was founded.
    Two of my cousins go to that high school, so you probably talked to them over the course of the day. There is nothing like a community where everyone knows everyone and there is no such thing as a stranger.
    Any time you want to head south and play, let me know. I promise a place to stay, great food (from my aunt’s and grandma’s kitchens), and unlimited fun! We also need to get together and play here in our own territory. I miss you! 🙂

    • ani says:

      yeah! yes please, let’s play in Orderville some time. I had no idea you were so well connected and had so much history with the place. This week I am at schools in Escalante and Tropic. Such lovely places.


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