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Monument dedicated for ‘impossible trek’

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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.

A call from a prophet of God to make peace with the Utes and Navajos of the area was all the motivation these settlers needed to conquer this imposing terrain.

They arrived at their destination in Bluff in April 1880. They soon erected 40 log homes and encircled their beautiful setting between the San Juan River and picturesque rock cliffs with a fort.

Descendants of President Taylor and those original settlers have not forgotten the boldness, or the foresight, of such a call to leave established homes for the unknown perils of hostile terrain. Some 500 descendants and San Juan County residents gathered Saturday, Oct. 24, under deep blue skies to join with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve in dedicating a bronze statue of the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints erected on the original site of the fort. Accompanying Elder Perry was Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, who paid homage to the political accomplishments of President Taylor.

See the full story on ldschurchnews.com.

This story is provided by the LDS Church News, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is produced weekly by the Deseret News.