Red Rock Pass

Aliza and Hiram Ross on the rock at Red Rock Pass in Bannock County, Idaho.

On a trip to Preston, Idaho, I stopped with Aliza and Hiram (the only two with me) at Red Rock Pass.  Stopping at Red Rock Pass was a stop that was regular when I was a child.  I dare say every time we drove past Red Rock Pass, no matter who was driving, we stopped.  I remember the long walk up those stairs, I remember trying not to take the stairs.  If Grandma was with me, we would always walk around to the little cemetery around the back.

Hiram and Aliza Ross climbing Red Rock Pass.

I remember Grandma telling me that when they would drive to Downata or up to Lava Hot Springs as a kid, they would also stop at Red Rock Pass.  At least a third generation now does the same.  Every time I drive past, even if alone, I like to stop.  I hike to the top and look around.  Even when I had difficult times at Utah State University and needed a drive, sometimes in the night, I would drive to Red Rock Pass and gaze at the valley around me.  It connected me to the past, nature, and perspective of the world I live.

Grandma taught me early on Red Rock Pass was the leak, the drain, the overflow spot of massive Lake Bonneville.  It was here that erosion eventually drained the lake and completely changed landscape of the Snake River Plain.  It was here that northern Utah completely altered as well.  This one place changed the face of the earth.  Even in geography I learned that Lake Bonneville was so large that it actually indented the face of the planet and the release of this lake also changed the mountains and valleys as the load of the water displaced to elsewhere on the planet.  Part of the basin and range moved not just by plate tectonics, but also by redistribution of weight.  There I would sit imagining the Bonneville Flood.

It is at the cemetery behind this large rock left in the middle of the valley that Jefferson Hunt and many of his family are buried.  An early pioneer of the church he was at Far West, Missouri.  He lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, and served in the Mormon Battalion.  He helped found many communities (San Bernardino, California; Huntsville, Utah).  He lived in Oxford, Idaho, just to the south at the time of his passing.

It was later in life that I learned I had a missionary companion who descended from Jefferson Hunt (he was adopted).  As if that wasn’t enough of a direct influence on my life, Garrett Smith also affected me in his death.

Red Rock Pass is a place of reverence for my history, the history of the world, and the ongoing effect we have on each other’s life in the future.  It would help me overcome vain imaginations and the self-doubt that come to us all.  I plan to continue stopping at this little reminder of our little place in this very big and ancient world and the long-lasting influence we can leave upon it.

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