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Category: hiking

Ironman Running

Ironman 70.3

Described as an early-season race with breathtaking American Southwest scenery, and fresh, crisp spring air, the Ironman 70.3 in St. George, UT is considered, “the toughest race I have ever done. I did a full last year and it was easier than this half. I have done three difficult ones, but St. George is so much tougher. I was good until Snow Canyon … about killed me for the run.  They say St. George is the second toughest race there is and I believe it, but what could possibly be the number 1 toughest??? Love the town and the people!!”

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Happy, Happy & Happiest

Based on 28 key metrics – ranging from emotional health and income levels to sports participation and volunteerism – Utah came out on top in a comparison of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2016’s Happiest States in America, according to WalletHub.com.

Utah was ranked #1 in several areas, including lowest divorce rate (15.97% compared to the District of Columbia which has the highest rate at 31%).  Utah also topped the charts with the lowest rate of heart attacks (2.7% which is 2.7 times lower than in West Virginia, where the rate is highest at 7.4%) and as the state with the highest volunteer rate (45.2% compared to Louisiana with the lowest at 18.2%).

In other comparisons, Hawaii has the lowest number of depressed citizens (Oregon has the nation’s highest); the District of Columbia is doing something right with the lowest suicide rate per 100,000 residents in the U. S. (Montana has the highest); and North Dakota has the lowest long-term unemployment rate compared to the number of citizens looking for work in the District of Columbia.

To see where your state or the District of Columbia ranks, click here.

Hmmmmm, we wonder if WalletHub also took into consideration amazing scenery, great weather (except in June, July and August), really nice people and comfortable, affordable vacation resort rentals in their analysis?  If you are looking for your “happy place” while vacationing in Southern Utah, you’ll find it at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online at stgeorgeresortrentals.com or laspalmasresortcondos.com.   Come stay with us for a week or a month and let us put a smile on your face!

20 Years Protecting Tortoises

In the early 1990’s, a committee was formed in Washington County, UT with a mission to create a plan to protect the endangered Mojave desert tortoise, threatened by rapid development and habitat loss here in southwestern Utah.  The committee included members of the Washington County Commission, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the Washington County School District, environmental and equestrian groups, local land developers and government officials from around Southern Utah, Salt Lake City and even from Washington, DC.

Their combined efforts resulted in plenty of media attention – some positive, some not so much – but also a lot of gaffaws and chortles from the community and many disgruntled and unbelievably vile letters to the editor of the local newspaper.  “Why spend all this time and money to protect the descendants of turtles my grandparents brought home to St. George in the trunk of their car?” queried more than a few.  “They’re not anymore native to this area than some of our new residents,” said others. Ultimately, the Washington County Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) approved in 1996, created the Red Cliff Desert Reserve setting aside more than 62,000 acres of scenic wildlife and protection for the Mojave Desert tortoise and other rare plants and animals, at the merging of three ecosystems:  the Mojave desert, the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau.

Two decades later, the reserve contains – not homes, condominiums and golf courses – but, some of Washington County’s most spectacular scenery, the most northern healthy populations of the desert tortoise, Gila monster, sidewinder rattlesnake, and chuckwalla – as well as other reptiles, critters and plants, some which occur no where else in the world.

The Reserve, approximately 20 miles wide and 6 miles deep, spans the beautiful red rock country along both sides of the I-15 freeway in the north central portion of Washington County, north of Ivins, Santa Clara, St. George, Washington City; south of Leeds and west of Hurricane and LaVerkin. Accessible to hikers, bikers and horseback riders, the Reserve has many access points and trails leading to amazing recreational opportunities … and it has been many years, since anyone driving through our red rock country has done anything but smile at the beauty which has now been preserved for many future generations to enjoy.

Speaking of enjoyment, you can be certain to enjoy your beautiful home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today online for a beautiful, comfortable and affordable vacation resort rental at stgeorgeresortrentals.com  or laspalmasresortcondos.com.   You’re going to like us … a lot!

From late March to mid-May, the southern Utah desert comes alive with color when wildflowers dot the landscape making such places as Snow Canyon State Park, Zion National Park and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve a tourists’ delight!  Here in Washington County, at the unique confluence of three ecosystems – the Mojave and Great Basin deserts and the Colorado Plateau – a plethora of early season flowers include spectacle pod, desert marigolds. Fiddleneck, elegant lupine, Palmer penstemon, firecracker penstemon, sego lily, yellow evening primrose, pale evening primrose, globemallow, desert 4 O’clock, purple sage, indigo bush and desert willow. Blooms on prickly pear cactus and purple torch plants come later in the season, but are usually worth the wait.

When viewing wildflowers in our high desert, you are encouraged to stay on well-established trails, even when picture taking since the desert soil is itself, a living organism critical to the ecosystem.  And, please don’t pick the flowers.  Leave them for others to enjoy. 

When taking in the beauty of our wildflowers, be sure to bring along your camera – and it can’t be said too often – always be certain to bring bottled water, a hat and sunscreen!

You are certain to also enjoy the beautiful, comfortable and affordable home-away-from-home available at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Whether you are looking for a week or a month to getaway to Southern Utah, you can register online at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today.  We’ll be waiting for you!

Dishing the Dirt on St. George

It’s all around the St. George area, but even if you can’t identify it at first sight, it has probably negatively affected someone you know here or maybe a business owner.  “Blue clay” is a generic term for one of several expansive soils with the ability to seriously damage roads and sidewalks as well as the foundation and structural integrity of your family home or business building. 

Most often a bluish/purple colored clay found in the Chinle geologic formation, the term “Blue Clay” is most closely related to caliche or bentonite soil made up of ultra-fine sediments left by ancient lakes and rivers, even volcanic ash.

Still the culprit isn’t necessarily the clay itself, but rather the moisture it soaks up like a sponge, causing the clay to expand or contract.

Luckily, local builders have long since found a variety of methods for addressing blue clay issues in construction.   Nevertheless, if you are visiting in St. George for a looksee with the possibility of moving here, any construction projects you expect to complete will likely require soils testing … just to be sure this often hidden menace doesn’t create a problem.

Whether you are here for a week or a month, the only thing “blue” in your comfortable, affordable home-away-from-home at St. George Resort Rentals or Five Seasons Vacation condominiums, will be the crystal clear sky overhead.  Register online today at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums.  Register today.  We’ll be waiting for you!

This picturesque 240-acre reservoir, located 15 miles northwest of St. George off U. S. Highway 91, captures water from the Santa Clara River for irrigation and flood-control purposes in a majestic red rock and black lava rock setting.  Named after the nearby small community of Gunlock, the lake, created in 1970, is approximately 2 miles wide, about a half mile wide and reaches a depth of 115 feet.  Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating, windsurfing, waterskiing, personal watercrafts and great fishing for largemouth bass, black crappie, threadfin shad and channel catfish.  Because boating options are few in and around our high desert Southwestern Utah community, Gunlock is popular and usually very busy.  We suggest early- and late-season use when the sun is still comfortably warm.  You are also advised to avoid weekends and holidays at Gunlock for a much more enjoyable experience.  Be aware, there is an excellent boat ramp and port-a-potties available, but not much else.  So whenever you decide to visit Gunlock Reservoir State Park, be sure to bring along your sunscreen, a broad rimmed hat and a picnic lunch, including plenty of drinking water.

No need to fish around for a great deal on a comfortable resort rental for your next Southern Utah vacation.   

Whether you are here for a week or a month, we will be waiting to make you comfortable at the 5 Seasons Vacation condominiums and St. George Resort Rentals.  Register online today at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums. 

The Hurricane Canal, which for more than 80 years carried Virgin River water from the “upriver” communities of Springdale, Rockville and Virgin to homes and farms on the Hurricane Bench, is an engineering miracle.  The story of its construction by second-generation settlers is one of backbreaking labor, creative innovation and sustained determination against the odds. 

The canal is a suspended rock-lined delivery channel on the hillside on your right, clearly visible to tourists and residents traveling to Zion National Park.  You may not recognize it as you motor through small communities and up the hill toward the park, but this 17.5-mile waterway was chipped through rock cliffs by 3 – 300 laborers using only picks and shovels – and an occasional blast of dynamite – to bring water to the parched Hurricane Valley.  Today, there are other water sources for farming and ranching in this part of Washington County, but it is thanks to a handful of visionary men committed to stay put and raise their families here that the Hurricane Canal was built.

The Hurricane Canal, dry since 1985, is now a pleasant and memorable hike.  There are places where the canal has been ravaged by years of neglect, and there are the anticipated critters along the way, so hikers should be alert but will certainly find lots to enjoy, including seashells along your way – left over from the ancient Lake Bonneville which millions of years ago covered this part of Utah to the tops of the mesas. 

A word of warning:  hiking the Hurricane Canal is not advised in the heat of the summer.  Despite its name and history, there is no water anywhere along the way.  Exploring the canal is something you will want to do on your vacation in Southern Utah, but it is best done in the cool part of the year (mid-November to mid-February) and always with reliable, close-toed shoes, a big brimmed hat and lots of bottled water.

No warning is necessary when it comes to finding a beautiful resort rental as your home-away-from-home when vacationing in St. George.  Whether you are here for a week or a month, we will be waiting to make you comfortable after your hiking adventure at the 5 Seasons Vacation condominiums and St. George Resort Rentals.  Register online today at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums. 

The Arizona Strip is a 2-million acre section of northwestern Arizona, although in many respects it is more a part of Washington County, UT. The Arizona Strip, located between downtown St. George and the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park, provides prized grazing for sheep and cattle and located between downtown St. George and the Grand Canyon, has the lowest elevation and the highest temperatures in the state.  It is also a region of colorful rocks, breathtaking beautiful scenery, and impressive contrasts in terms of rainfall, vegetation, animal life and geology.

The Dixie Arizona Strip Interpretive Association (also known as DASIA), a non-profit organization which came into being in 1994, has a mission to enhance understanding of the Arizona Strip’s history and natural resources in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management in both Utah and Arizona, and the National Forest and National Park Service offices in southern Utah.

The DASIA office, located at 345 S. Riverside Drive,  oversees five wilderness areas, including the internationally known Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail; nine Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and two river segments suitable for Wild & Scenic River designation.  In these remote areas of the desert, there are approximately 4,000 miles of unpaved roads leading to spectacular scenic vistas, remoteness and solitude among rough scenic canyons and ponderosa pine forests.

DASIA’s on-site retail store also offers an assortment of interpretive resources, detailed maps, and souvenirs, while the Field Experience trip planning program can assist in your planning needs.

Speaking of planning, if you’re planning a vacation to southern Utah, you’ll need a comfortable home-away-from-home whether your time in the St. George area is a week or a month.  Register online today at stgeorgeresortrentals.com for accommodations at the St. George Resort Rentals or laspalmasresortcondos.com for Five Seasons Vacation condominiums. 

When you come to visit St. George Resort Rentals are you often wondering which adventures you can take your kiddos on? We understand that can sometimes be quite a dilemma. However, Mother Nature always provides here in the beautiful Southwest! If you are looking to get out, explore, or hike around some, but not wanting to have it take up the entire day, (because lets be real, that is not happening with the littles right?) then we have a handful of trails/hikes to share with you! If you happen to have a little over an hour or even two hours to set aside to get out and enjoy the lovely scenery, get the wiggles out of the little ones, and burn off some of that extra energy, then you should consider venturing on one of these family friendly hikes. Most of the hikes we suggest will take less than two hours roundtrip, but a couple just a little longer. All of these trails/hikes are in or nearby St. George so that you don’t have a long drive to get to them before you even get on the hike! Nothing better than getting out and enjoying the fresh air and beautiful Mother Nature!

Here are our top 5 Family Friendly Hikes in/around St. George, Utah:

  1. White Rocks Trail in Snow Canyon
  2. Johnson Canyon Trail 
  3. Temple Quarry Trail 
  4. Anasazi Valley Trail
  5. Elephant Arch Trail

When you are ready to take a real adventure, browse through one of these family friendly hikes and try and hit the trails as a family. Your kids imaginations will let loose, being outside and getting fresh air is a cure-all for fussiness and agitation, and most importantly, you are showing your children how to have an active lifestyle. Your family adventure awaits you here at one of our Five Seasons Vacation Rentals!

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