BLUFF, Utah — It was this month 130 years ago, in October 1879, when early Mormon settlers in southern Utah left their base camp in Dance Hall Rock to embark on one of the most arduous treks in church history. They had been called by President John Taylor to leave their comfortable settings in the Parowan, Utah, area to colonize the opposite corner of the state in southeastern Utah.
Armed with little more than faith, their journey of about six months included carving a narrow wagon path through sheer rock down a steep cliff, now known as Hole-in-the-Rock. They crossed the Colorado River, only to begin traversing an area that advance scouts deemed impassable. That's when the journey became really difficult.