Axios Salt Lake City

Picture of the Salt Lake City skyline

We're easing into Monday while many of you enjoy a day off for Pioneer Day!

  • ☀️ Today's weather: Sunny with a high of 94°.
  • Situational awareness: A flash flood warning is underway at least until tonight through much of southern Utah, including Zion, Capitol Reef, Lake Powell and parts of Canyonlands.

Today's newsletter is 819 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Monuments honor Black pioneers

Statues of two Black pioneers.

A statue of brothers Hark Wales and Oscar Smith. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

New monuments were unveiled Friday at This is the Place Heritage Park honoring the first African American pioneers that joined Latter-day Saints during their trek to the Salt Lake Valley nearly two centuries ago.

Driving the news: The uncovering of the new monuments came two days before Pioneer Day, a state holiday that marks the day Utah pioneers first arrived in 1847.

Why it matters: The monuments highlight the overlooked contributions of early Black Latter-day Saints, including some who arrived in Utah as slaves.

Details: They feature the statues of Green Flake, Hark Wales, Oscar Smith and Jane Manning James and their biographies.

  • Flake, who was born into slavery, was the first person to drive a wagon into Emigration Canyon, according to the monument's text.
  • He, along with brothers Wales and Smith, who were also born as slaves, helped scout and pave the trail into the Salt Lake Valley and got to their destination on July 22, 1847 — two days before Brigham Young arrived.
  • Manning, who was born free, worked for church founder Joseph Smith's household.
Statues of Black pioneers in Salt Lake City.
New Black pioneers monument. Photo: Kim Bojórquez/Axios

What they said: "As we mark the 175th anniversary of the pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley, we are here to celebrate a certain group of pioneers that have long been forgotten," Gov. Spencer Cox said at the monument unveiling.

State of play: Mauli Junior Bonner and Tamu Smith pitched the monuments to Ellis Ivory, board chairman of the park, last year after they each produced movies about Black pioneers, according to Church News. The idea quickly received Ivory's blessing and support.

  • Of note: The statues were designed by sculpturists Stefanie and Roger Hunt.

Full story

2. 🌾 Three wildflower hikes (with a chance of parking)

Flowers grow on a mountain slope.

Paintbrush and penstemon grow on a slope on the way to Reynolds Peak. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

👋🏻 Erin here. Late July is wildflower season in the Wasatch Mountains — but you might not find a parking spot at the most popular trailheads for petal-peeping.

My last wildflower visit to Alta's famous Albion Basin involved a 45-minute wait on a Tuesday morning while rangers metered traffic at the resort base to avoid a dangerous parking overload.

My thought bubble: Summer transit — or the lack of it — in the Salt Lake canyons deserves a lot more attention.

  • I can't be the only one who fantasizes about a Zion-esque summer shuttle for Millcreek and the Cottonwoods.

Until we have access solutions, here are three good wildflower hikes with more robust parking.

1. Reynolds Peak

This peak above Dog Lake doesn't get a ton of traffic, even though the lake is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the county.

  • The good news is that you can approach Dog Lake from the Big Cottonwood side, which has a big parking lot at Mill D.

Details: After the 2-mile hike from Mill D to Dog Lake, the path to the peak rises another half mile to the southwest.

  • The hike is about 5 miles round-trip, with an elevation gain of about 2,200 feet.
  • I've seen carpets of lupine and geraniums just above the lake, leading to an explosion of red paintbrush and blue penstemon flowers near the summit.

Keep reading for more hikes

3. Fry sauce: Every last drop

Illustration of the letters SLC spelled out in mayonnaise and ketchup, which swirls into fry sauce.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

📸 A descendant of Joseph Smith has found the only verified photo of Mormonism's founder, leading to an exhaustive "hot or not" debate on social media this weekend. (Religion News Service)

  • The daguerreotype was found in a locket in 2020.
  • Facial-recognition experts matched 19 of 21 measurements to Smith's death mask.

🏥 The family of a patient at McKay-Dee hospital is suing to keep him on life support even though the hospital declared him brain dead after he was run over by a truck in June. (FOX 13)

🧑‍💻 Utah's tech sector is growing fastest in Ogden, driven by Hill Air Force Base and connections with Weber State University. (Utah Business)

🗣 Some of Utah's pronunciation quirks and common expressions can be linked to the state's 19th century pioneers, according to a BYU linguist. (Deseret News)

4.🐈 One awwww to go

A grey and white kitten walks toward the camera.

Enola prepares to attack the camera. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

👋🏻 Erin again! In May, a little tabby kitten named Dijon filled a big hole in my family when we adopted him from Best Friends Animal Society.

It turns out we had more room in our hearts. Welcome, Enola!

  • Dijon is obsessed.
  • Enola is still making up her mind about him.

How it works: There's a ton of advice online about introducing new kittens and resident cats, with weeks-long schedules of introducing scents and sneaking the pets in and out of each others' sleep spaces.

  • When you finally do introduce the cats, you're supposed to "distract" them with a toy if it doesn't go well.
  • Someone less skeptical than I am will have to test the hypothesis that a cotton fish has the power to break up a cat fight. 😹

In real life: We did some scent intros with towels and blankets.

  • Then Enola learned to open the pet door in her room.

The latest:

A kitten sits by a laptop on a messy bed, with another cat in the background
Two wiggly cats settle into their messy new home. Photo: Erin Alberty/Axios

Tell us: How did your pets make friends with each other? Reply to this email to share your wisdom.

Fresh job openings around town

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👽 Kim thought the world of Jordan Peele's film "Nope." (Our editor Ross is still trying to figure out what he watched.)

🎥 Erin is feeling connected to the past after hearing Olivia de Havilland, Barbara Stanwyck and Jane Wyman cuss in these blooper reels from Hollywood's Golden Age.

🫵 Forward this newsletter to your movie buddy and tell them to subscribe!