By: Ensign Magazine
Salt Lake City Utah, USA

This story was published by The Ensign Magazine, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

​In 1880, Arabella “Belle” Smith became a member of a group of pioneers traveled to settle the San Juan Mission in the southeastern part of Utah. However, their situation looked grim with a fast approaching winter and a large group of people who did not have the supplies to wait through it. The company decided to take a risky short cut instead. The short cut was the Hole-In-The-Rock, a narrow crevice in the wall of Glen Canyon. It was a very precarious route to take, with a 2,000 foot drop at a 45 degree angle. The company worked hard to widen the hole, make a trail down, and set up a ferry to cross the river at the bottom. In order for covered wagons to go safely down the steep path, the wagon breaks were put on and several men would pull the wagon back with ropes and chains to keep it from careening down the slope at breakneck speeds. Elizabeth M. Decker wrote that the first wagon to go down had ten men pulling it back. Joseph Stanford Smith helped others with their wagons all day long. His wagon and family were the only ones left, but despite Stanford’s assistance, the rest of the company seemed to have forgotten his family and ferried across the river. Stanford did not believe they could go down the slope alone, but his wife, Arabella, said that she would pull the wagon back. They left their three children to wait and hooked up a horse to the back of the wagon to help Arabella.

Arabelle “Belle” Smith undaunted by the task forged ahead When they started down, Arabella and the horse were immediately thrown from their feet. The poor horse fell on it’s haunches and was dragged most of the way down. Arabella managed to regain her footing, though not before a sharp rock gave her a horrible gash from her heel to her hip. She pulled back as hard as she could and “crow hopped” the way down as she put it. After retrieving their children, the Smiths continued on their way and met up with five men from the company. They had finally remembered that they had left the Smiths behind and came to help. Stanford told them “forget it, fellows . . . My wife here is all the help a fellow needs.”
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