Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.

In 1879 when a group of Mormon pioneers began the now famous Hole-in-the-Rock expedition, the San Juan region of southeastern Utah was one of the most isolated parts of the United States. The rough and broken country is characterized by sheer walled cliffs, mesas, hills, washes, slickrock, cedar forests, and sand. Certainly the ruggedness of the country accounts for its colonization coming so late in the Mormon settlement effort. The Mormon hierarchy's need to improve relations with the Indians, ensure Mormon control of the area, open new farmlands for cultivation, and build a springboard for future colonies to the east, south, and north provided the impetus behind church president John Taylor's "call" for colonizing mission to the San Juan.

Those who answered his plea demonstrated remarkable faith, courage, and devotion to the Mormon cause and persevered even when confronted with the challenges of southeastern Utah's physical environment. They cut a wagon passage through two hundred miles of that inhospitable corner of the state and ultimately succeeded in establishing permanent communities in its remote expanses.

Hole-in-the-Rock expedition.

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