I fell in love one weekend, not with a boy, but with a place that changed my life. I returned from my weekend getaway with red dirt sticking to my white socks and to my hiking shoes. And it stuck to more than that. I fell in love with the town and as we drove northbound past the red cliffs to head home, I knew I would be back. St. George, Utah instantly felt like my home away from home — a place I miss as soon as I leave. And even now, a year later, it has still stuck with me.
St. George has a small town feel and I find everything about it incredible! The town is an “outdoor community”, literally an oasis in the middle of nowhere, with gorgeous camping spots minutes away from the actual “city”. The green of the golf courses and yards contrasts with the red rock formations. The palm trees all around town make it feel like a tropical island vacation. It appears that all of the residents have a dirt bike or a four-wheeler and they all seem to live and play outdoors.
I had a plan for after high school that included attending college in Idaho but now I have applied to attend Dixie State University in St. George after learning that it has my chosen program. Maybe during a few years of college I can get the things done there that I never seem to have enough time to do when we are visiting. I can also spend time reliving the adventures I have already had.
I first came in October and left my coat, that I had worn from Idaho, in the car because the weather in St. George was beautiful. I got lost in a corn maze at Staheli Family Farms and wished that I could get lost forever. I climbed the red rocks and slipped through the slot canyons of Pioneer Park that overlooks the whole city and that can easily be found by driving towards the “Dixie” sign on the mountain. Then I climbed again with flashlight in hand to the “D”, on the mountain above the university, to overlook the city lit up at night.
Walking where dinosaurs walked and standing in their footprints embedded in the red rock in Warner Valley BLM land, I felt part of something that would last forever. It seemed that everywhere I went, I could find amazingly preserved petroglyphs that seemed like they were created yesterday and made the place feel timeless. While trying to avoide the beautiful cactus flowers, I had dirt fights with friends in the middle of nowhere, ended up covered with red dirt, and then walked along the creek listening to frogs croak as the sun sank behind the mountain. I rode a horse through Snow Canyon State Park and overlooked the park from a cliff, amazed at the incredible rock fomations that dot the area. I hiked through a red canyon oasis to a cave and across waterfalls at Red Cliffs Recreation area.
And when it was time to leave, I wished for at least one more day because I wasn’t done.
I found a magical place that has become a part of me and now I am changing my life plan so that I can become a part of St. George. Can a weekend change your life? I guess it can, if it is in southern Utah, and if you are out of the car long enough to get some red clay on your shoes.
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