Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

A 2015 road trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon to see aspens in the fall. — Photo by Pat Bean

“You can’t travel the back roads very long without discovering a multitude of gentle people doing good for others with no expectation of gain or recognition.  The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.: — Charles Kuralt. 

A fall hike in Maine’s Scarborough Marsh. — Photo by Pat Bean

A Break from the Chaos

Fall along Texas’ Gulf Coast. — Photo by Pat Bean

I don’t know about you, but I need a break from hearing people being unkind and downright nasty to each other. I’m tired of people who are rudely unaccepting of anyone or anything that is different from them or theirs.

I don’t expect everyone to think the way I think, or the way you think, but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least be civil to one another. Being different or thinking different is not a crime.

I think I need to take a back road road trip to remind me of all the good people in this world. And what better time of year to do it than in autumn, when Mother Nature showers the vistas with color.

Anyone want to join me?

Colorado’s Cumbres Pass in the autumn. — Photo by Pat Bean

Bean Pat: Breezes at  Dawn https://breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/a-monday-meander-surprise-adventures/ Another blogger who likes to wander.

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 at patbean@msn.com

Fall at Idaho’s Lake Walcott State Park. — Photo by Pat Bean



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The Seasons

  “Winter is an etching spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

The view of autumn painting a mosaic landscape on the far side of Lake Claiborne was a vivid image from the rear window of my RV at Isaac Creek Campground in Alabama. -- Photo by Pat Beean

This double-image view of an autumn landscape on the far side of Lake Claiborne was a vivid image from the rear window of my RV at Isaac Creek Campground in Alabama. — Photo by Pat Bean

Two Autumns

My yearly routine, when I was living in an RV and traveling across America’s landscapes of purple mountains, blue lakes, tall corn fields, golden waves of grain, saguaro deserts, sandy beaches and green forests beneath an ever-changing sky, found me heading toward Texas at the first sign of winter.

The red leaves of this tree at the Paul Bunyan Campground in Bangor Maine, that hung over Gypsy Lee were redder every morning during the week I stayed there. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The red leaves of this tree at the Paul Bunyan Campground in Bangor Maine, that hung over Gypsy Lee were redder every morning during the week I stayed there. — Photo by Pat Bean

Once there, I would spend the cold months bouncing between my children’s homes, all of which had hookup connections for my RV and me to sit until the danger of traveling icy roads had passed.

The year I traveled to Maine, autumn arrived early. And so did winter. I found cold winds and storms barking at my heels in early September, while at the same time, according to my children’s emails, summer still had a firm grip on Texas.

Maine’s fast approaching winter, and closed-down RV parks, had me joining the migration of birds and quickly heading south. But when I reached Delaware, I found that autumn hadn’t even begun to paint the first leaves. My travels turned leisurely again, and when I reached Alabama, in mid-November, I was treated to my second autumn. I watched it blossom into that mosaic Stanley Horowitz described as I sat beside Lake Claiborne at Isaac Creek Campground.

Since autumn is my favorite season, I considered myself a lucky old broad to have gotten two in one year.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Screen Crud http://tinyurl.com/hh2hqdv This blog made me laugh because non-existent periods on my computer page happen to me a lot.

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fall leaves

Autumn in Ramsey Canyon. — Photo by Pat Bean


  “I remember a hundred lovely lakes, and recall the fragrant breath of pine and fir and cedar and poplar trees. The trail has strung upon it, as upon a thread of silk, opalescent dawns and saffron sunsets. It has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful. Whenever the pressure of our complex city life thins my blood and benumbs my brain, I seek relief in the trail; and when I hear the coyote wailing to the yellow dawn, my cares fall from me — I am happy.” — Hamlin Garland, McClure’s, February 1899

Point of Interest for a Non-Wandering Wanderer           

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Miniature waterfalls were around every bend. — Photo by Pat Bean

  Ramsey Canyon, south of Tucson, is one of North America’s hottest birding spots – but not in November. In November, it is just a delightful place for a hike and a delicious feast for the eyes.

My son Lewis and I got to the  Nature Conservancy visitor center early, and paid our $6 to gain access to the canyon. The first two amazing things I noticed different from the usual Sonoran Desert landscape was water in the form of a spring-fed stream bubbling down the canyon — and trees, lots of tall, stately giants, and broad-branched monarchs that made me want to clamber up into their arms.

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My son Lewis near the start of the trail. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lewis said it was the trees, which Tucson lacked, that kept me oohing and ahhing almost continually.

But we have trees in Tucson, I said.

“Not like these, or this many,” he replied

He was right. While my apartment complex does have a few, out-of-habitat and bedraggled evergreens, and a few black olive trees, most of the ones I see around Tucson are short mesquites and leafless, green-trunked palo verdes. .

Growing tall and regal between Ramsey’s Canyon walls were maples and sycamores. The towering and mottled-white limbs of the sycamores were enchanting, as were the autumn leaves of the maple trees, sights I don’t normally see in Tucson proper.

Located in the Huachuca Mountains, the canyon is renowned for its scenic beauty, its diversity of plants, and the birds that visit it in the spring and summer. The one other time I visited it, about eight years ago on an April day, I went for the birds – and was not disappointed. While I only saw a few birds this trip, I was still not disappointed.

Painted redstart.

Painted redstart.

The Ramsey Canyon hike is only a mile up and back, although hikers can add some length to the trail by continuing on to the top of a ridge, which Lewis did. I chose to hike back down canyon slowly, taking time to breathe in Mother Nature’s beauty and to take some photographs.

As I crossed a bridge near a splash and play area, I was rewarded with the sight of a pair of painted redstarts. I felt that Lewis, also an avid birder, would be put out that he hadn’t seen them. Thankfully the bird wouldn’t be a lifer for him. And when I told him about the redstart, he was too happy he had seen an Arizona woodpecker, which was a lifer, to envy my sighting.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat A Window into the Woods http://tinyurl.com/k2wrq5a Now that my son, Lewis, is back home in Texas, these are birds he can see every day.

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   “You know, people talk about this being an uncertain time. You know, all time is uncertain. I mean it was uncertain back in – in 2007, we just didn’t know it was uncertain. It was – uncertain on December 10th, 2001. It was uncertain on October 18th, 1987, you just didn’t know it.” – Warren Buffet

I want to think of September as the beginning of my favorite time of year -- but now I know it has to be shared with 9/11.

I want to think of September as the beginning of my favorite time of year — but now I know it has to be shared with 9/11. — Photo by Pat Bean

I Let the Month Pass Purposely

Nine/Eleven: A word that once was only the numbers one called in an emergency. Now, 9/11 has become a synonym for pain, anger, tragedy, loss, and images of two toppling towers, a violated Pentagon, and a plane crash in which both villains and heroes died.

The first sign of autumn from my balcony window. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The first sign of autumn from my balcony window. — Photo by Pat Bean

Perhaps that is why I’m suddenly realizing I lost what has always been my best month of the year, the one that ushers in my favorite season of the year, autumn. I realized my loss when I wrote down the date in my journal this morning and the unthinking passage of time was hammered into my brain.

It’s not unusual for me to let time slip by too fast without thought, but this feels different. I saw people blogging about the terrorist attack earlier this month, and decided both not to read those blogs, not to think about their content, and certain not to write a similar one of my own .

I was a newspaper city editor on that fateful day back in 2001, and the job had immersed me in giving local meaning of the tragedy event to the paper’s 65,000 readers. I had followed up the next year in overseeing and writing a memorial series on 9/11.

Enough was enough, I had thought this year when I thought to ignore the day. I want my cup to be half full not half empty. I want to remember happier days. And so I let September slip me by.

But now I’m remembering, and as I write this my eyes are becoming moist. I guess I wasn’t meant to forget.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: At least this blogger kept his eyes open to the joys of September http://tinyurl.com/ma4mmeq

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            “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” George Santayana

            The above quote fit my blog, but the one below made me laugh.  I couldn’t decide which one to post with my column, so I’m sharing both.

            “A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawn mower is broken.”—James Dent.

The sage brush in an area adjacent to the Lake Walcott campground is beginning to think it’s already autumn. — Photo by .Pat Bean

Summer Comes, Summer Goes

The brown-headed cowbirds that earlier thronged my bird feeders have already migrated elsewhere — Sketch by Pat Bean

            I can’t believe my summer at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho is coming to an end. But then they do say time flies when you’re having fun.This green, manicured park that sits beside the lake and the Snake River is an oasis in a dry high desert region that this year has been plagued by wildfires. While it was a hotter summer here than last, it was still heaven compared to central and south Texas weather, where I usually spend the winters. There, they not only have the heat but high humidity as well.

I have three children in those regions who frequently remind me how lucky I am not to be there.

But the house sparrows, as noted from the ones feeding beneath my bird feeder just this morning, are still sticking around. — Photo by Pat Bean

Last year when I arrived at the park, it was still winter and the trees were bare. This year, on the exact same day, May 15th, it was 90 degrees when I arrived and the trees were already full of leaves. It cooled off, however, and it was almost July before I had to start using my RV’s air conditioner daily.

Now, I’m seeing signs of fall creep into the park. Many of the park’s birds, like the colorful Bullock’s orioles and the American goldfinch are already migrating south. Most robins, as well. Instead of seeing dozens of these birds on my walks through the park, I’m now lucky to see one.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie, 41,820 re-edited words. Not much progress but I’m hoping to spend all afternoon working on the book. I decided to blog earlier today and clear my decks. A young blogger asked today what was the best writing advice his readers had ever received. I told him, it’s “Write! Write! Write!”  

The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

          Bean’s Pat: Lifescapes: The Texas Hill Country http://dld.bz/bJNbr The sounds of summer. This is a blog for nature lovers written by Susan Wittig Albert, author of the China Bayles mystery series written for herb and plant lovers. .

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“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot

Lake Claiborne, Issac Creek Campground, Alabama -- Photo by Pat Bean

Issac Creek Campground

http://pixilatedtoo.wordpress.com commented that she was new to Alabama, and looked forward to reading more about Alabama parks after reading yesterday’s blog about the state’s Frank Jackson State Park.

I’m happy to oblige, especially since my brain is in a can’t-think-of-what-to-write-about fog this morning.

The  Issac Creek Campground on Lake Claiborne near Monroeville is a Corps of Engineers’ facility, which meant I could use my Golden Age Passport and camp for half-price, which in 2006 when I stayed there was just $8 a night for a site by the lake.

Maggie at Lake Claiborne. I can now look at photos of my beloved pet and recall memories of our good times together instead of crying. Well, almost. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The park, which had been recommended to me by two fishing enthusiasts from Louisiana, was awesomely scenic and pleasant – and well off the beaten path. I got lost several times before I finally found it.

I asked a park staff volunteer why it wasn’t listed in my Trailer Life campground directory. The answer was that the Corps of Engineers couldn’t advertise and compete with commercial parks.

I did, however, learn that I could purchase a book listing all Corps’ campgrounds from Cottage Publications (PO Box 2832, Elkhart, Indiana, 46515). I did and it now sits alongside my other campground directories.

Following is a few bits and pieces from my journal during the three days my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who died last month, and I stayed at the park:

A walk along Issac Creek was always a delight. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Saucy squirrels are everywhere, and while the species of birds aren’t numerous, each one seems special. I heard a cackling rumble, and back-tracked it to a red-bellied woodpecker…

Blue jays seem to be everywhere, and delightful to watch as they swoop back and forth above the lake. One actually rippled the water while playing this game, sending sunlit droplets splashing into the air…

This morning there was a hazy mist over the lake that broke to reveal a blue canvas on which was painted an echo of the fall dressed trees on the opposite shore…

Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all” – Stanley Horowitz

Lake Claiborne is a fantastic place to be in the autumn. The days are warm and pleasant and the nights cool enough to warrant snuggling up in a quilt at night, which is how I sleep best ….

I learned today that female pine cones are fatter than their male counterparts and have harder scales. Well, that explains why we ladies have wider hips then men and an inner toughness that has nothing to do with brawn …  

On the morning of my third day at Lake Claiborne, and after receiving a phone call the night before from my granddaughter, I said a reluctant good-bye to this great Corps of Engineers campground. Heidi wanted me to meet her in Shreveport, La., for her 24th birthday, which was less than a week away. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation and replotted my journey’s route.

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 “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz

Spring at Lake Walcott, when it arrived in June, brought trees laden with pink blossoms. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Most of Lake Walcott's many trees were still leafless when Maggie and I arrived at the park in mid-May. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Fall is coming to Lake Walcott. It’s early. This Southern Idaho park was still sleepy with the last breaths of winter when I arrived here mid-May. Most of the trees were still leafless and running my heater, at least at night, was a given.

The days, however, slowly begin to warm and before soon foliage blocked my view of the lake, while dandelions dotted the park’s manicured lawns with yellow and pink blossoms colored a tree just outside my RV, Gypsy Lee.

Spring lingered for a long time here. It wasn’t until July that I had to first use my air conditioner, and even then it always went off when the sun went down. August brought with the first days when temperatures reached the 90s, but still most days the mercury’s high only hovered in the mid-80s.

Rarely was there a day that wasn’t perfect for the long walks my dog, Maggie, and I took daily through the park.

` While so many parts of the country have been experiencing record-breaking heat, Lake Walcott has had an unusually mild summer. And now, just a little more than a week before I am leaving, it’s treating me to hints of fall. Within a 120-day period I’ve experiences all four seasons.

As I looked out on the Landscape surrounding Lake Walcott, at the frosty sagebrush now grown tall, and the rabbitbrush all aglow in autumn colors, I remembered to thank Mother Nature for her gifts. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I thought on this as I looked out on a landscape yesterday of frosty sagebrush, now grown tall in this high desert, interspersed with the fall display of golden-topped rabbitbrush.

I give thanks to Mother Nature for the beauty she gifted me. I also give thanks that I have eyes and a heart capable of appreciating her gifts. May it always be so.

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