Posts Tagged ‘Angel’s Landing’

Looking down from the top of Angel’s Landing. It’s a beautiful sight. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

I recently came across a post that listed the 29 most beautiful places in America. I laughed at the audacity of such a list — even though I had visited 15 of them and agreed they were indeed beautiful. The word beautiful is totally subjective, especially if you give credence to the oft-quoted saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Of course, butterflies are beautiful, but so are dandelions, even in a manicured lawn. — Photo by Pat Bean

By this definition, as a birder, I think red, featherless and wrinkled newborn California condors are beautiful

Often, when people discover that I spent nine years in a small RV traveling this country from border-to-border and ocean-to-ocean, I’m asked: “What’s the most beautiful place you have visited.”

I’ve never had an answer to this question. I saw beauty not just in every state I visited, but every place I passed through. So, let me now be as audacious as the person who came up with that 29-most-beautiful-place list with my own list of things I consider beautiful.

Well, maybe not quite so audacious. I won’t use the adjective “most” and I’ll keep the list to 10 and invite readers to add the remaining 19.

1 – A bright yellow dandelion bursting up from a manicured, green lawn.

2 – A smile on the wrinkled face of a man or woman whose years on earth have been many.

3 – A red-tailed hawk circling above with the sun illuminating its red tail feathers.

Mesa Falls in Idaho. I’ve never seen an ugly waterfall. Have you? — Photo by Pat Bean

4 – Just about any waterfall in the world.

5 – An act of kindness in any form.

6 – Dark, stormy days that are ideal for staying indoors and reading.

7 – Two trees growing together as if in eternal friendship.

8 – A trail that beckons one to follow and discover Mother Nature’s wonders.

9 – The view from the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

10 – Fresh, home-baked brownies.

Now, feel free to share the beautiful places or things that you would add to this list.

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Beautiful wildlife https://sfkfsfcfef.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/lens-artists-photo-challenge-nature/

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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             I rate enthusiasm even above professional skills.” – Sir Edward Appleton

To enjoy the view from above, one first has to get to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

To enjoy the view from above, one first has to get to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Weekly Photo Challenge: Above

My enthusiasm to get to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park every year on my birthday was motivated by my belief that if I could make it, I could handle anything the next year threw at me.

My immediate reward, however, was a view of the Virgin River and the winding canyon below, where birds flew below me and  people were dwarfed to bug size.

It was an exhilarating experience made even more awesome one year when a pair of peregrines flew below the edge of the ridge. For the first time I got to view the back of these falcons and not just their bellies as they flew.

I suspected the pair was nesting below in the rocks, an occurrence that closes down Angel’s Landing to rock climbers every year. I also suspected that the rock climbers had an even more exhilarating enthusiasm for the view from above after their strenuous efforts to get to the top.

It’s been a few years since I stood on top of Angel’s Landing.  Thankfully, since my children are grown and I’m now into the joys of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, life isn’t throwing me as many curves as it did in my earlier years.

So walking my canine companion, Pepper, up and down three flights of stairs for her four daily walks, has become my motivating challenge to keep me in shape to handle life’s more difficult moments.  But who knows. These efforts might get me into good enough shape that I might once again stand on the top of Angel’s Landing for yet one more view from above.

Ahh! I made it! -- Photo by Pat Bean

Ahh! I made it! — Photo by Pat Bean

            Bean’s Pat:  Wild Junket: http://tinyurl.com/buy5x2e Take an armchair exploration of St. Vincent

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 “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.” – Flavia Weedn

Here’s the traditional photo of me at the start of the hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in the background. But this year I chose the less-traveled trail. — Photo by Karen Bean

And I Have No Regrets

For an old broad, I’m in pretty good shape. But not good enough, I accepted this past weekend, to climb to the top of Angel’s Landing.

Instead I chose a path less traveled, and was well rewarded for it.

I said good-bye to my son, Lewis, his wife, and my two grandsons, at the Angel’s Landing trail head. The four of them had met me here in Zion National Park for Mother’s Day, a real treat as I am usually far away from any family members on this day.

I’ve been to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion about 30 times. It was an April birthday tradition for me. Lewis, when he was younger, accompanied me on several of those occasions. It was an experience he wanted to share this past weekend with his family.

As the four of them turned right, just past the bridge over the Virgin River onto the Angel’s Landing trail, I turned left. My path would take me on a two-mile hike, via the Emerald Pools, back to where I could catch the shuttle and return to my RV to await their return.

My reward for being sensible this day was that I had the first mile of the trail completely to myself. This is a rare treat in Zion these days, as the park has an extremely high visitation rate.

While the view of the river and valley below wasn’t quite as spectacular as the one from atop Angel’s Landing, the peace I felt observing it made up for the difference.

I also, perhaps for the first time in my life, felt at peace with myself in accepting that I no longer could do everything I could once do.

Bean:s Pat: Everyday Wisdom #43 http://tinyurl.com/6nc3lky A great way to slow yourself down and live in the moment.

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 “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” Edwin Land

Travels With Maggie


I was hoping for a nice sunrise this morning to illustrate the start of both a new year and new day. But it's misty outside this morning here in Lake Jackson. The above sunrise, however, was one of many I enjoyed this year. It was taken on a June morning at Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The melodious song of a Carolina Wren is playing outside my window, serenading me as I drink my morning two cups of cream-laced African coffee..

It is early, but I wanted to get a head start on writing my blog before I drive 300 miles to celebrate a late Christmas and New Year’s with my oldest daughter, who lives in Rowlett on the outskirts of Dallas.

Along with enjoying being serenaded by “hope with feathers,” I’m listening to the soft snores of my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who is curled up asleep on the couch. I’m grateful for the sound as Maggie is 14, and I know my days with her are limited. This is, especially true as she is still recovering from a painful chronic ear infection that has long resisted treatment.

I hope in 2012 to once again make it to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Darkness still holds the day at bay outside. I am happy and at peace with myself and the world as I await the sun, and perhaps a nice sunrise. A new day, with its blank pages so full of promise, always thrills me. Sometimes I make wise use of it, and sometimes I don’t.

A new year is even more thrilling. As always I greet it with resolutions to be better and do more.

I am looking forward to spending part of each day in 2012 writing this blog. My other writing goal is simply 500 words of writing a day, plus work on rewriting my travel book. As always, I hope to eat better (and less) and exercise more.

I’m also hoping this wandering/wondering old broad’s body will once again take me to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.. It is my one special place in this world, and last year my body rebelled and wouldn’t get me up there. 

Hopefully this year will be different. Making the 2 ½ mile climb/scramble to the top gives me confidence that I can face anything fate throws my way.

Daylight is now coming. It’s misty so it looks like there will be no spectacular sunrise. Still, I greet the dawn with eagerness, as always wondering what surprises await me and Maggie as we head down the road.  I can hear Dr. Seuss’ words playing in my head. “Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see …”

Happy New Year all!

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Looking UP to the journey’s destination

The beginning of the trail UP to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Up high looking down

View from the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

These photos were taken in 2007. 

“We have not wings we cannot soar; but we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  

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 “Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.” Regina Nadelson

African Safari: The Intrepid Adventurers

Kim, the younger of the African travelers, on one of our yearly adventures to Zion National Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Kim and I booked our round-trip flight to Nairobi several months ahead of our August 19 departure date. The cheapest plane tickets we could find were about $1,850 each. By purchasing early we were gambling that the cost of the flight would go up in the coming months and not down.

I think we came out ahead, but I really didn’t bother to check. I was too busy at the last-minute replacing a lost passport (another $125 for expedited service). Of course I found my old passport shortly after I returned from Africa.

Then we followed the instructions the Africa Adventure Company sent to us along with our initial down payment for the trip, the remainder of which was to be paid before our journey began.

This included a yellow fever shot and malaria pills, which were to begin a week before the trip and continue daily through a week after the trip. The tour company took care of arranging for our visas on arrival in Africa.

Of course we had to purchase a few new items of clothing for our safari, and then we had to make sure everything we took for the 16 days weighed no more than 35 pounds. The weight limit was because we would be taking small in-country planes to and from some of our African destinations.

We bought small individual packets of Tide for our laundry and plenty of mosquito repellent. I bought a couple of pair of light-weight cargo pants, an extra battery for my digital camera, and a new pair of sunglasses, which I immediately lost in Nairobi. Kim bought a pair of binoculars for wildlife watching. As an avid birder I was already well equipped in this area.

Me, the old broad half of the Africa travel team, taking a breather on Walter's Wiggles during a hike to the top of Angel's Landing. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Then, in the mail, came an official notice from our State Department alerting us to the fact that travel to Kenya, while not forbidden, was not considered a safe destination. Kim and I both had the same reaction – what a great adventure we had ahead of us.

Neither of us had even a fleeting thought about canceling. Tenaciousness, such as the time we continued to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion even after it started to snow, is one of the few traits the two of us share.

During all these preparations, I was mostly gallivanting around in my RV with Maggie, and Kim, who is quite a few years younger than me, was working hard at her job in Utah.

But as the date for our flight approached, I headed to my middle son’s home in Lake Jackson, Texas, south of Houston, and Kim flew into Houston to meet me there. We had chosen to begin our trip here because I could leave my RV and Maggie at my son’s home, and he had volunteered to take us to and from the airport for our flight to Nairobi.

And the couple of days we had before departing for Africa was a chance for me to show Kim a tiny bit of my native Texas.

Next Episode: The Johnson Space Center

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 “Age is opportunity no less

 Than youth itself, though in another dress

And as the evening twilight fades away,

 The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.

             — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Me in April, 2007, with Angel's Landing in the background. I made it to the top that year and two more years since then. My heart tells me I'll yet be up there again, just not this May. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

*Travels With Maggie

I walked the Parus Trail today. This paved path that crosses back and forth across the Virgin River was just what my body, which has been trying to heal a sprained shoulder since March, needed.

Although dogs are allowed on this one trail in Zion National Park, I didn’t take Maggie because I wanted to walk farther and faster than she prefers these days.

While I’m certainly no just-hatched bird, Maggie is 13, which in human years makes her about 91. The vet says she is in pretty good shape for her age, for which I’m thankful. It’s the same thing my doctor said to me at last year’s annual checkup.

Maggie’s been my faithful but spoiled traveling companion now for seven years, and just my spoiled pet for five years before that. I rescued her from an Ogden, Utah, animal shelter when she was a little over a year old.

 Back then she was timid, too submissive and frightened at the sight of a broom. The shelter said she had been abused. Today’s she not afraid of anything and expects to be treated like the queen she thinks she is.

While I was never abused as a child, I did survive some rough times, including growing up in an alcoholic family, being frequently accused of having cooties by school mates in elementary school and a disastrous too-young marriage.

Daisies growing along the Parus Trail brightened my walk this day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

But it’s not who you were, or how you were treated growing up, that counts. It’s you are today. And if you’ve survived past your 20s, then the only person responsible for who you are is you.

Not sure why my mind got going in this direction. Maybe because I walked the easy 3-mile flat Parus Trail today instead of hiking the 5-mile steep and strenuous Angel’s Landing Trail that I always do when coming to Zion.

I could whine about disappointing myself, or be grateful for what I can still do. I’d like to say I was grateful, and I can certainly do that.

 But I whined, too. Who I was today, physically speaking, wasn’t who I wanted to be.

I guess age and health get a say in who we are at some point in our lives.

Dookie! Dookie! Dookie!

*Day 16 of my journey, May 4, 2011

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair… “ Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

The Virgin River was running fast and muddy during my visit this year to Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Waking up nestled in the shadow of Zion National Park’s sandstone cliffs in the Watchman Campground this morning felt like being at home.

As I watched, through the window of my heated RV,  the rising sun coming up over one set of high cliffs to dance down the cliffs on the other side, I thought of the many other mornings here that hadn’t been quite so comfortable.

The first one that popped into my was the cold morning I melted a pair of tennis shoes — while wearing them – because of putting my feet too close to a blazing campfire while watching the rising sun in eager anticipation of it finally hitting out tent site.

Then there were other mornings when shorts were the order of the day before the sun had risen that high. Zion weather in April and early May is a crap shoot.

But of all my visits to Zion, the most memorable is the one my family refers to as the “Camping Trip from Hell.”

It was 1995, and family members were coming to Zion from Texas, Utah, Illinois and California to join me for my annual April birthday climb of Angel’s Landing. We were all on the road when a landscape up Zion Canyon blocked the Virgin River, which then backed up creating a lake before it finally broke through taking a section of the Zion Canyon road with it.

While Zion's awesome cliffs mesmerize me, I still remember to look down at my feet. -- Photo by Pat Bean

We put my mother up in the Thunderbird Motel east of the park, but the rest of us continued as planned with the camp out. Since we couldn’t access the Angel’s Landing Trail, we hiked The Overlook and Watchman trails instead.

Wind blew down our tents, snow froze us and rain made it almost impossible to keep a fire going. But everyone stuck it out, and while it might not have been the best of times, it made for the best of memories.

Today, whenever the topic of camping is brought up at a family gathering, you can count on someone immediately asking; “Remember our camping trip from hell?”

And then the tall tales begin in earnest – and suddenly everyone is smiling.

*Day 13 of the Journey, May 1, 2011

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“Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.” Thomas A. Bennett

 The first time I climbed Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park, the five-mile round-trip hike felt like little more than a walk in the park. I noted, on returning, that I had done the trip in about half the time the trail guide said to allow.

Angel's Landing as seen from near the start of the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean


 My last hike to the top two years ago took quite a bit longer than allowed, but the feeling of looking out on the magnificent view of the landscape below, as always, gave me energy I needed for whatever the year ahead might bring.

Perhaps that is why I keep returning and returning, over 30 times now, to repeat this scramble to the top of this Zion Canyon landmark. Actually, one does have to scramble but only the last half mile. The first two miles of steps are taken on a steep, but non-threatening trail.

The slower pace I set these days as I go up the path – with its hairpin turns from one mountain to a second mountain with a short canyon cool-off walk in between – have allowed me to better see and enjoy Mother Nature’s bounties: Bright red Indian paintbrush growing from rock cracks, a bird’s view of the Virgin River below, color variations in the sandstone walls, and the peregrine falcons that return to nest each year near the top of the landing.

Looking down from the top of Angel's Landing. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Guide books warn that this hike is not for those who fear heights. A warning not to be taken lightly as several people have fallen to their deaths while hiking it. I find this hard to believe. I’ve never feared falling on this trail — but then I respect the cliff edges and always hold to the chains when crossing narrow junctures.

I’ve hiked to the top of this special place in scorching hot weather, in high winds, in rain, once in a snow flurry and once with a knee wrapped in support bandages. I’ve done the trip alone and with friends and once with three young granddaughters in tow.

Angel’s Landing is a part of me. I have no better words to describe it, even though I fear only readers who have their own special place will understand.

This morning, as I sit here and write with the chill of a Central Texas winter still lingering outside my RV, I hear Angel’s Landing calling me.

I’ll see you in April, I reply. And I’ll sit on top of you once again no matter how long it take me to get up there.


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The best view of Angel's Landing comes at the end of the hike where you look back up and say to yourself: I did it. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places … where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” — John Muir

 Travels With Maggie

It’s 6 a.m. in Dallas right now, and 27 degrees outside. I’m just waiting for it to warm up a bit before my dog, Maggie, and I get on the road to my youngest daughter’s home in Arkansas.

 The week here at my oldest daughter’s has been one of recharging batteries. Except for a dinner at On The Border one night and a trip to the vet because Maggie had an eye problem (better now), I haven’t left the house.

 My daily blogs while here have been recaps of earlier adventures in the area. So what, I worried when I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning is this travel writer going to post today. Well, my brain whispered to me, what about telling them about your special place? Perhaps readers will even return the favorite and tell you about their special place.

 While I don’t always listen to my chatty brain, I was delighted with this suggestion. My favorite spot in the whole universe is the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park. I made the five-mile round-trip hike to stand up there for the first time in the 1960s – and have repeated it over 30 times since.

 Two of those miles zigzag up the mountain, while the last half mile is an actual scramble over rocks. While coming down is easier on the lungs, it’s harder on the legs. The climb used to be as easy as a walk in the park. These days, it’s a slow uphill/downhill battle.

Walter's Wiggles is a series of 21 hairpin turns up to Scout's Landing, where the half mile rock scramble to the top of Angel's Landing begins. I'm catching my breath halfway up the wiggles. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

That’s OK. It gives me plenty of time to take pictures of the Indian paintbrush growing out of rock cracks, to look for the peregrine falcons that nest near the top, and to listen to the cheery chickadees that flit along the rough trail.

My favorite trip to the top was made the year when friends who were going with me had to cancel. I went alone, but instead of camping, I stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge in nearby Mount Carmel Junction. The day I made the climb was windy, really windy.

Perhaps that’s why, for the one and only time, I had the mountain top to myself for a whole hour. I wrote in my journal while I listened to my all-knowing brain tell me what it always tells me when I stand on Top of Angel’s Landing:  You made it to the top. Now you can handle anything the coming year throws at you.

 And I always do.

So what’s your special place? I’d really like to know.

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