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Archive for the ‘Favorite Hikes’ Category

“Perfect is overrated.” – Tina Fey

Burr Trail switchbacks through Waterpocket Fold on the back way to Capital Reef National Park.

 

Back when I was an environmental reporter for the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah, there was an ongoing battle about what Southern Utah wilderness areas should be protected. One of the battle issues involved the Burr Trail that begins in the small, off-the-beaten-track town of Boulder. The four-wheel drive, mostly unpaved road takes adventurers through a spectacular landscape to Capital Reef National Park and/or Lake Powell’s Bullfrog Marina in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Hoodoos at sunrise in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

I’ve driven the trail twice, once just for the sightseeing, then again with a photographer for a newspaper story shortly after the area was included as part of The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that was designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 – and more recently in 2020 reduced in size by the current man in charge at the White House.

Today, the first 30 miles of the 69-mile or so backroad is paved, which is more than when I traveled it.

I still remember those journeys vividly. Being away from all signs of human activity, surrounded by Mother Nature’s works untouched by development without even the mechanical hum of a refrigerator was soul renewing

I remember stopping at one breathtaking view and getting out of the vehicle to take it all in. It was one of those moments in my life when I felt I was exactly where I should be exactly when I should be.

Those moments have been rare, as I spent most of my life racing from one place to the next, hurrying to meet the expectations of both myself and others. I’ve met about half of those expectations, but until this season of my life never stopped to appreciate the outcomes.

While I don’t like the current social isolation so many of us are experiencing, I do like this quieter winter of my years. It has become the season for me to both learn new things, because I have time to read and study, and to make sense of my own history.

Each day I create a to-do list of more things I want to accomplish before day’s end than there are minutes and hours to accomplish. Thus, I have a starting point and a reason to wake up the next morning.

But when I first started this habit more than a half century ago, I actually expected to complete all the many listed tasks and heartily berated myself for failing. Foolish me!

Having accepted my limitations is why I copied the following quote by Dorothy Gillman in my journal when I came across it not too long ago while reading her memoir A New Kind of Country.

“… all of must grow inside or die, that it’s given to us to live, not on a straight line but a line that slants upwards, so that at the end, having begun at Point A, we may have reached, not Z, but certainly an ascension to I or J.”

I’m not sure I would have understood those words in my younger years. I guess it was the right time for me to read them. Just as the 1990s’ were the right time for me to drive the Burr Trail and explore the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, which I hope still belongs to all Americans when our children’s children are old enough to appreciate public lands.

Bean Pat: To all the utility workers in Tucson who got our power back on after the wind storm this week, and to all the others out there who continue to work at risk to themselves during this coronavirus pandemic, and to all those out in public who wear masks to keep not just themselves but others safe.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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It saddens me to think what all the wonders of Mother Nature some of my grandchildren are missing because when they are out in the car with me they have eyes for only their cell phones. — Photo by Pat Bean

          “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” — Socrates

Morning Chat

          “You’re a grown woman Mom. You should know how to work your phone.”

No. One of my children didn’t say that to me. I read it somewhere and laughed – out loud.

I’ve never really liked talking on phones. I want to look a person in the eye and see the expressions on their face during a conversation. I only ever got my first cell phone when the bosses I worked for demanded I get one and they paid for it. I always thought of it as a leash, and often would forget to carry it with me when I left home on errands, a habit that is still with me.

There are man-made wonders out there, too. — Photo by Pat Bean

I continued to use an outdated flip phone long after the shiny new cell phones, with all their apps and capabilities, came out. My oldest son bought me my first smartphone after I had retired and was living on the road in an RV. He was worried about me being out there in the world all alone, well except for my canine companion, and the phone had a tracker on it so he always knew where I was.

I felt blessed for the concern, but a bit annoyed that such concern might mean he thought I was getting old and not able to take care of myself.

Although the phone my son bought me was top of the line, when I gave up the RVing life, I went back to a simple flip phone, partly because the dang phone had capabilities that I didn’t need, but mostly because the monthly bill for a simpler phone was less expensive.

When it died, my friend Jean, who had just bought a new phone, gave me her old phone, which I used until recently, when it died. It was time, I finally decided for “Mom” to get one of those dang smartphones and come into the 21st century. And so, I bought a Maven 3 on Amazon for $60.

It wasn’t the cheapest so I thought I had chosen well until I mentioned the cost to my son, who laughed and said he had spent $800 on his newest phone.

Yikes! I thought. Then I pointed out that everything he could do on his phone I could do on my computer. And it had a bigger screen that was easier on 80-year-old eyes.

I’ve had my new phone for five days now. It took me three of those days simply to learn how to answer the dang thing. When I finally figured it out, thanks to a Utube video, I concluded the phone might be smart but it certainly wasn’t logical.

When I mentioned my conclusion to a daughter-in-law, she laughed and pointed out that logical or not, it was smarter than me.

I concede the point.

Bean Pat: Story Circle Network blog https://onewomansday.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/january-13-you-can-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks/ True words from real women.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin

Echo Amphitheater, located 70 miles north of Sant Fe, New Mexico on Highway 285. — Photo by Pat Bean

Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

After turning off Highway 160 onto Highway 285 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and heading south toward Santa Fe, New Mexico, the scenery changed in both color and form. I left the green lush mountain foliage color behind in my rear-view mirror and stared ahead at red rock cliffs. Each landscape, in its own way, was perfectly awesome. One had a peaceful charm and the other bold outlandish character.

Photo by Pat Bean

I wouldn’t dream of choosing a favorite. I simply enjoyed the change as bringing added variety to my road trip.

I was making this annual trip from Utah to Texas slower than usual. In earlier, younger years, I had twice driven the 1,300-mile trip from Ogden to Dallas in one long 24-hour day. Then I slowed it down to two 12-hour days of driving. This trip I was taking my time and doing it in three eight-hour days, which left me eight hours to discover new places to explore along the way and eight hours of sleep at an inexpensive motel along the way.

About 70 miles from Santa Fe, I stopped for a short hike to Echo Amphitheater, a sandstone formation just four miles from Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch, where the landscape inspired her art.

This New Mexico natural amphitheater is quite visible from the road, but made an ideal spot for Maggie and me to stretch our legs a bit. A dripping red stain on the rock at the site has created a ghoulish legend about the place. According to the tall-tales, Indians massacred a family of settlers on the rim and their blood dripped downward. Then, soldiers killed a group of Indians on the rim and their blood joined that of their earlier victims.

“Do you believe that?” I asked my canine companion Maggie. I assumed her lack of a reply indicated she didn’t. And neither did I … to be continued

Available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Nature always wins https://naturetreatnatwin.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/squirrel/   Great nature theme photo blog.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

 

 

 

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Pothole Trail: A page from my journal

            I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. — Henry David Thoreau       

Road Trip: June 21 – July 6, 2002

I was recently looking through my bins of journals hoping to find some specific details. I knew was in one of them. I didn’t find it, but I did come across a journal I kept during a 16-day trip from Ogden, Utah, to Texas back in 2002.

Saw my first pinyon jay at a rest area up Spanish Fork Canyon, then another one in Canyonlands National Park.

This was the first time I had looked at this particular journal since completing it nearly 19 years ago.  Perusing it brought back many good memories, including those of my former canine companion Maggie* who later traveled with me in my RV for eight years.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to retake the journey on my blog.

The journal contains more photos and brochures of places I visited than words, but with them to guide me, I think I can fill in the blanks. The one thing I did note carefully were the birds I saw each day, since I had only recently taken up bird watching.

I drove from Ogden, Utah, to Cortez, Colorado, the first day, just slightly less than 400 miles. I started before dawn to get past Salt Lake City and Provo before traffic, looking forward to my turnoff from heavily-trafficked Interstate 10 to Highway 6 that would take me through Spanish Fork Canyon. My first stop of the day was at the Spanish Fork rest area where Maggie and I took a short walk around the area, and where I saw a pinyon jay, a new bird for my life list.

Pothole Trail landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

Then it was up and over Soldier Summit, almost always a scenic drive – unless it’s during a winter storm – like the one I once drove through to get to Price for a newspaper story. It also wouldn’t be a good drive through the canyon this week as snows are predicted. But that June day in 2002, as I recall, was sunny, with a wildflower-filled meadow near the 7,477-foot summit.

After Price, the highway followed the Book Cliffs, a line of desert mountains east of Highway 6, to Green River, where after a jog on Interstate 79, it joined Highway 191. Just before Moab, I took a detour to the Islands in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park, where I hiked the half-mile Pothole Trail before continuing on my journey.

I had hiked, and enjoyed, this short trail before, and knew it would be a great way to break up the long drive and enjoy a bit of spectacular scenery as well. I wasn’t disappointed. – To be continued….

Bean Pat: Texas Tweeties https://bobzeller.wordpress.com/2019/03/03/post-number-1000-yee-haw/?wref=pil 1,000th post.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet community pathfinder, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

*Maggie, is the same canine companion featured in Bean’s book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon. 

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It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

An old bristlecone pine at Great Basin National Park, where stars light up the sky at night. — National Forest Service Photo

A Walk Among the Trees

I was sitting on my third-floor balcony drinking my cream-laced coffee this morning, with my binoculars aimed at our resident great horned owl. We have a pair here, and since this was the largest of the two I assumed it was the female.

All that’s left of what was once the world’s oldest living tree. — Wikimedia photo

The owl was restless and flew off after a couple of minutes, but I continued to stare, this time at the magnificent Ponderosa pine in which the owl perched, and which graces my balcony view. I saw the tree as a living thing, and knowing that it is a tiny cog in the ecosystem that is necessary to my daily breath, I was awed and thankful,

And that thought took me back to the trip I made to Great Basin National Park, where I stood near the summit of 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak, and learned of the murder of what was thought to be the world’s oldest living tree.

I was with a small group of hikers led by a ranger at this time, and one of the men in the group asked: “Did they kill the murderer.”  The ranger responded: “They should have.”

Stella Lake at Great Basin National Park. — Wikimedia photo

But the truth is that the murderer was given a permit to cut the bristlecone pine tree down for research purposes. It was found to be 5,200 years old, and the oldest known living tree.

The silver lining from this tragedy – and the Pollyanna side of me always looks for this ray of sunshine – is that the hue and cry from this 1964 murder eventually led to the creation of Great Basin National Park.

“If anything good can come from the cutting of the world’s oldest tree, then it was that,” the ranger said, as we walked among other bristlecones, some of which were thought to be as old as 3,000 years.

That recorded memory, recalled from my journals and a newspaper story I wrote when the park was celebrating its 10th birthday, dates back to 1996. I made the trip to the Nevada park after then Rep. Jim Hansen, protesting the creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which, I note, has recently been reduced in size, suggested that parks like the Great Basin didn’t deserve national protection.

I disagree one thousand percent.

Bean Pat: Old Plaid Camper https://oldplaidcamper.com/2018/06/22/hazy-lazy-low-tide-mornings/#like-10237  Life’s a marathon not a sprint.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her patbean@msn.com

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Flashing rays of the morning sun at Steinaker State Park near Vernal, Utah — where dinosaurs once roamed. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” — Frank Borman

Steinaker State Park

Pepper and me enjoying our morning walk at Steinaker State Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I’m fond of camping at state parks. I’ve truly never found one I haven’t liked. I’m also fond of traveling backroads and avoiding major highways and crowds, which you might say is how I ended up during one of my journeys spending a few days at Steinaker State Park near Vernal, Utah.

As far as campgrounds go, it had all the right stuff: a scenic lake setting and an ample tree-shaded campsite. But what made this off-the-beaten-path park special to me was the chance it offered for a bit of solitude among nature’s marvels. As our world population explodes, and more and more people seeking relief from the daily chaos discover the healing powers of Mother Nature, being alone on established trails and in parks has become a rare thing. Although opportunities exist to escape to this country’s true wilderness areas, at my age this has no longer become a viable option.

I wasn’t able to capture the golden eagle that morning, but I thought you would enjoy this Wikimedia photo by Tony Hiigett. I did.

While I wasn’t alone at Steinaker, which sits at an elevation of 5,500 feet, other campers were scattered enough that I seldom saw any of them. This was especially true when I took my early morning walks with Pepper, my canine companion.

The best morning was the one in which I was awoken by a hooting great horned owl, an  a golden eagle, its wings backlit by a rising sun, doing a flyover. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Bean Pat: Interesting Literature http://tinyurl.com/y9fjj7fr  Best poems about identity and self.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com  (more…)

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“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” – Salma Hayek

Secret, also know as Cecret, Lake in Albion Basin at the top of Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. — Wikimedia photo

A Day to Remember

I’m organizing photos that I removed from albums and put in a box when I got rid of or condensed everything so all my belongings would fit into a small RV back in 2004. Lately, I’ve been rummaging through that box.

Kim and me looking out over Secret Lake. I’m not sure who took the photo, most likely Cory, Kim’s son.

Of the many photos, my favorites are the ones of me enjoying Mother Nature’s outdoor wonders. My long-time friend Kim is there with me in many of these memories, like the one recaptured by the photograph on the right, which was taken at Secret, or Cecret as some people call it, Lake at the top of Albion Basin up Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.

As I recall it was an early July day, which is when spring wakes up in this high country, Notice the snow still visible in the background of the photo. I recall that the meadow at the trailhead, where Kim and I started our hike, as being saturated with wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, columbine, lupine, Jacob’s ladder, beard’s tongue, and elephant’s head (my favorite), just to name a few.

I can’t remember ever seeing so many different wildflowers crowed into one place as I did this day. I do remember trying, unsuccessfully, to name them all. The profusion of wildflowers accompanied Kim and I all the way up to Secret Lake, where we sat for a while enjoying the warm sun.

I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but since I don’t recall bird watching on the hike, I’m pretty sure it was before 1999. That’s when I got addicted to birds, and from that time forward, I was always looking for them. In fact, after that year, I couldn’t not see birds.

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life http://tinyurl.com/kjyblf8 The beauty of a garden, and one magnificent radish

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There's no question but that I'm in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don't you? -- Photo by Pat Bean

There’s no question but that I’m in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don’t you? — Photo by Pat Bean

            The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.” – Maya Angelou

            “Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.” — Eartha Kitt

Just Keep On Keeping On

Early in the day, my good friend Kim, her brother Robert, and his wife Carla, and I decided to visit the Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs near St. George, but it was late in the afternoon before we actually got around to doing so.

anazazi-2          We hadn’t gone far along the trail when I realized I was holding up the other three people, all 20 or more years younger. I had back problems last year that has slowed me down considerably. Anyway, I knew that at the rate we were going, we would never get up to the petroglyph ridge site and back down before dark.

I opted to stop at a pleasant spot along the trail and wait for them. They, being good people, tried to persuade me otherwise, but I was more persuasive, and so they left me behind.

A few years earlier, I would have been upset at my inability to keep up on a hiking trail. In fact, I cried the first time it happened. But the years have been good to me, and I’ve learned that there is always, and in my case I do mean ALWAYS, a silver lining for my slower hiking pace.

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

This day, I took some photos of St. George’s rare autumn colors (this was the day after Thanksgiving) and then settled down on a large flat rock and enjoyed my surroundings.

A bit later, a good-looking, grey haired man sauntered down the trail, and stopped to chat with me. It was a pleasant interlude. I’m not so old that I didn’t enjoy his effortless masculinity – and may I never be.

“You know you’re sitting right beside some petroglyphs,” he said, then showed me two spiral stone carvings hidden in a rock crevice. One of the spirals turned clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. “One represents birth, and the other represents death,” he said. We chatted for a bit longer before his long legs sauntered on. I was then eager for my friends to return.

“Did you see the petroglyphs?” I asked, when they finally came into view. They replied that they had. I then smiled, and asked if they wanted to see some more?

“When one door closes, another opens,” said Alexander Graham Bell, who then went on to say that too often we focus so much on the closed door that we fail to see any new openings. Thankfully, I see new doors opening everywhere these days. It’s the reward for the aging of my body that can no longer do the same things it once did, certainly not at the same speed.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Cravesadventure http://tinyurl.com/z9w3bs2 Some good thoughts about one’s hopes for the New Year.

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Take a Walk

            “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was  a great ;pp[ walk, loop, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada

This was a great loop walk, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. — Photo by Pat Bean

            It’s Good for the Soul

While I can no longer do a 20-mile hike, or even a 5-mile one, I do try to get out and walk every day. But while two to three-mile hikes are still on my agenda, I haven’t been taking enough of them lately, especially through amazing landscapes.

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. - Photo by Pat Bean

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. – Photo by Pat Bean

I realized this while looking through my photos of paths I’ve once hiked, which I did after stumbling on the post that gets today’s Bean Pat. The photos inspired me to look for more such paths, especially short ones, that might at least let me work up to 6-mile ones again

Now here’s what a few other people have to say about walking:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Fredrich Nietzsche

            “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church, but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. — Alice Walker

            “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

            “Walking is Magic… I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” – Paula Cole

            “I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton John           

And just for laughs, and because I’m a transplanted Texan: “Some folks look at me see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called Walking.” – George W. Bush

Bean Pat: 28 Magical Paths http://tinyurl.com/j6mwd34 I got this one from a Stumble Upon recommendation. If you hike, you’ll love it.

 

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I’m a Klutz

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injure on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injured on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. — Photo by Kim Perrin

And Age Hasn’t Changed Things

When I was growing up my knees were always skinned, I still have a scar from falling out of a tree, and I chipped a tooth falling on the sidewalk running for the school bus when I was eight. As I got older, I fell over roots while hiking, once slipped and hit my forehead on my desk at work that required 14 stitches, and things got even worse when I began birdwatching because I was always looking up and not down at my feet.

7741            My first reaction on taking a tumble – I’ve pretty much perfected the art of falling without seriously hurting myself – is to look around and see who saw me. I’m always hoping nobody. I only broke my first bone, a tibular, three years ago when I stepped into an unseen hole on a grassy lawn just a week after I moved into my third-floor walk-up apartment here in Tucson.

My daughter worries that I will fall down the stairs. She shouldn’t. I know to be careful on stairs. I always hold on to the railings, always have. It’s the flat ground, except for that one tree, that has always gotten me.

Until recently, I just accepted that being a klutz, which also includes spilling things, bumping into things and knocking things over, is part of who I am. I never truly worried about my klutziness. But the bruised butt and skinned knee I still have from a fall the other day while carrying two packages that obscured my feet, has finally gotten my attention.

This old broad’s body is showing its age. Falls hurt more and the damage doesn’t disappear as quickly. I can’t do everything I used to do with the same kind of impunity as when I was younger. This acceptance comes with a bucket of tears, including a few being shed as I write this. It’s hard to give up the belief that I can do anything and everything, a trait that has helped me survive in a sometimes tough world.

So does anyone know of a class that will teach me not to be a klutz? This 77-year-old broad certainly needs to take if it you do.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Big Sky and Big Adventures http://tinyurl.com/zcnphjh The movie review is interesting but the photos that accompany it are the real story.

 

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