Tribute to the Unknown Mormon Pioneer
(Author’s Note: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint are commonly referred to as “Mormons”. This story uses a fictional character to portray Bryce Canyon’s pioneer history. Please protect our pioneer inscriptions by NOT carving on trees today. John D. Russell)
The Mormon pioneers spent long, lonely summers tending sheep and cows in present day Bryce Canyon National Park. While killing time and reflecting back on his life, a bald-headed, gray mustached pioneer carved a horse’s profile, a man’s profile, and the four playing card suits in an aspen tree. This pioneer not only glorified some favorite pastimes, but reflected on how he had beaten the odds in the game called life. This Mormon pioneer, acting in the name of God, had played to win against the harsh elements of the Utah wilderness or “The Land Nobody Else Wanted”. Sometimes the pioneer had won, sometimes the wilderness won. Ultimately, this pioneer cooperatively: tamed and diverted wild rivers, prevailed against “wild men”, harvested timber in foreboding forests full of wild beasts, and raised livestock in inhospitable ranges. What were the stakes in this game of chance? What has been won and what has been lost?