Posts Tagged ‘Catalina mountains’

Saturday evening view of the Bighorn Fire from my Tucson apartment balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis

I was born in Dallas, where tornadoes sometimes ravage the landscape, including a recent one near a granddaughter’s home as it rampaged through her neighborhood destroying quite a few homes and nearby businesses.

I lived for 15 years on The Texas Gulf Coast where I survived several hurricanes, including Carla in 1961, when our family had to evacuate the area and not return for over two weeks. We lost a freezer full of meat meant to feed the family for several months – and because of the stench, I trashed the freezer as well. The electrical power was off for weeks.

Another view of the fire in the Arizona Star.

For 25 years, I lived along the earthquake fault line of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah, and although I never went through a major shake, I was bounced around a few times by shock waves. And I narrowly avoided a landslide in Sardine Canyon between Logan and Brigham City just a couple of months after I moved to Utah.

I’ve been stranded a few times by floods, and watched as rivers rose to destroy homes and land. In 1995, I enjoyed a camping trip from hell when a landslide took out the Zion Canyon Road in Zion National Park. Our group was snowed on, rained on, and had our tents blown down by the storm that hit the area.

Mother Nature can be cruel.

But I try to respect her while continuing to enjoy her bounties, which have given many delightful pleasures and much peace during my lifetime.

Sitting quietly by a rivulet of water as it gurgles its way down a mountain canyon, basking in the colorful shimmer of aspen leaves in fall, eating lunch behind a waterfall in Deer Creek Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park, or hiking a bench trail on Mount Ogden have been just a tiny few nature activities that have kept me sane in an unsane world.

The road to the top of Mount Lemmon in a photo I took last year on a day trip is now closed. — Photo by Pat Bean

Even in today’s self-isolation environment I daily watch birds, and the ever-changing seasons of the landscape from my third-floor balconies. I often see the sun blossom from behind the mountains before I rise from my bed, and I try to be on my living room balcony to watch sunsets as they dazzlingly color the sky with yellow, gold, orange and red before disappearing below the horizon.

Such scenes lower my blood pressure.

But not the one I saw Saturday night from my bedroom balcony. A fire started by a lightning strike in the Catalina Mountains has now consumed nearly 60,000 acres and forced numerous evacuations of small mountain communities. And the news this morning noted that the fire has only been about 20 percent contained. Nearly 1,000 firefighters and plane-dropped retardants haven’t yet been able to match Mother Nature’s power.

Eventually, the landscape will recover and actually be richer because of the fire. But many people may not have the means to recover. And this is just a small pocket of the larger picture of what the coronavirus is doing to the world’s economy.

Let’s face it. Life is not fair. And the only control we have is how we react to it. My hope is that somewhere in the equation kindness and love will win out over the destructive forces of nature — and the harmful and hateful side of the human species.

Bean Pat: To all the firefighters and support crew working to contain the Bighorn Fire in the Catalina Mountains.

Silver Lining: Democrats and Republicans, in a rare bipartisan moment this past week, passed the Great American Outdoors Act to fund over $20 billion worth of delayed maintenance projects in America’s parks and public lands. I love this for two reasons, first because I love public lands and second because the two polarized political parties worked together. Hopefully, this unity will continue to foster things that are to the benefit of all Americans and not just benefit one party or the other.

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.

Read Full Post »

The Catalina Mountains in my backyard may not be as exotic as the Himalaya Mountains but in their own way, they are just as wondrous. — Photo by Pat Bean


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

It Depends on the Perspective

The western town of Tombstone may not be as exotic as Timbuktu but it is just a day trip away from Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

Kathmandu and Timbuktu. I love the sound of these names, places that I would still love to visit. They are on my bucket list, but at this point in my life, I doubt they will ever be checked off.

Meanwhile, I take pleasure in knowing that I have flown in a hot air balloon over Africa’s Serengeti; I have walked among the giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands; I have white-water rafted through Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and I have spent a couple of delightful days on Japan’s Miyajima Island.

These days, however, find me satisfying my wanderlust closer to home, where the wonders if viewed through the eyes of a far distant visitor, would most likely seem just as exotic as Kathmandu and Timbuktu are to me.

I have the Catalina Mountains in my backyard; Saguaro National Park,

An organ pipe cactus is just one of the many wonders the Sonoran Desert holds for those with eyes to see. — Photo by Pat Bean

with its two sections, as my eastern and western neighbors; Organ Pipe National Monument with its curious cacti and Whitewater Draw Wildlife that is currently hosting thousands of Sandhill Cranes, just a day trip away.

There is also the historic western town of Tombstone and the quaint mining town of Bisbee, as well as several early day missions to explore, plus the scenic drive up to the top of the Quinlan Mountains where the Kitt Peak National Observatory is located.

During my traveling days across America, I was often surprised to discover that some of the sites I visited and found wondrous, had often not been seen by many of the locals. It makes me suspect that residents of Kathmandu and Timbuktu might not think their home landscapes exotic at all.

Bean Pat: Time https://lindahoye.com/saving-time/

A good thought for today.

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.

Read Full Post »

A view of the morning sun creeping down the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I love to think that animals and humans and plants and fishes and trees and stars and the moon are all connected.” – Gloria Vanderbilt

And the Plant that Returned to Me

For three years, I looked for a place to settle when I left the life in my 21-foot RV. Nothing called my name, and so I continued living and traveling across this beautiful country for a total of nine years. And glad I am that I did.

The rubber tree plant on my bedroom balcony. It found its way back to me after a 10-year stay with my friend, Kim. — Photo by Pat Bean

But finally, I knew I wanted a hot bath every night, counter tops, access to a local library and a bit more space. What I ended up with was a 625-square-foot apartment in Tucson, Arizona that had my name etched on its front door. While I would now love a second bedroom for guests, the apartment seemed like a castle when I first moved my sparse belongings into it.

It met my requirements of a nice outside space to walk Pepper. It had a view of Mount Lemmon that was similar to the view I had in Ogden, Utah, of my beloved Mount Ogden. And best of all it had both a living room and a bedroom balcony that provided almost the same feeling of living in the outdoors that I so loved so much about my RV life.

My doors to these third-floor patios remain open the majority of the time, being closed only when the outside heat requires that I turn on my air conditioner. Nine months out of the year, I sleep with them open. My balconies are my favorite place to sit with morning coffee, and happy hours with friends in the early evening. From the front balcony, which overlooks the night lights of downtown Tucson, I watch hummingbirds flittering about my nectar feeder.

On the back balcony, which provides the view of the Catalina Mountains, sits a large rubber tree plant, one that I raised from its youth. I gave the plant to my friend Kim when I retired and went off gallivanting in my RV. Once I was rooted again, she asked if I wanted it back. I did. It provides a link to a life that I loved in Ogden, to the life I now love here in Tucson.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Life is good – even without a second bedroom, since my living room couch is pretty comfortable.

Bean Pat: White-faced ibis http://tinyurl.com/y8qus5ty One of my favorite bloggers. If you like birds, you’ll like this one.

Read Full Post »

The view of the Catalina Mountains this morning from the parking lot of my apartment complex. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view of the Catalina Mountains this morning from the parking lot of my apartment complex. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.: — Vivian Green

Days for Being Lazy and Reading

We had snow in Tucson the January month I began nesting here. Three years later, we had snow in Tucson again.


The peaks a couple of days ago when they were mostly hidden behind a cloud curtain. — Photo by Pat Bean

My first Sonoran Desert snowfall was fairy like, and I got a photograph before it all melted a couple of hours later. This past week’s snowfall never made it down to the valley. But unlike my first one, which dusted the Catalina Mountains fo only a day, this one has provided me with mountain snowfall vistas for a full week. I’m assuming that while we got consistent rain in the foothills where I live, it snowed at higher elevations .

In the meantime, no matter how many things I wrote down each morning on my daily to-do list, by 10 o’clock, all I wanted to do was curl up in my recliner by a window with a book, and watch in total contentment as the cold, overcast, rainy day passed by my window..

And mostly, with occasional outings in the weather to walk my canine companion Pepper, that’s exactly what I did.

Today it’s sunny in the valley, and the Catalinas are losing their frosting. The sun defrosted my lazy ways too. Already I’ve cleaned house; spent an hour on the telephone with Comcast trying to get them not to raise my internet fees as they do every year in January; went to the store and bank; retrieved my mail, which has been sitting in my box for a week, read a bit, painted a bit, crocheted a bit, cooked a bit, and now am writing this blog – and it’s still early afternoon.

The sun and warmer day have recharged my batteries.

Bean Pat: In recognition of the death of David Bowie, my pat on the back today goes to the Wall Street Journal’s article and video on the rock star. http://tinyurl.com/hgagykl   And as a writer, this is one of my favorite quotes by Bowie: “Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.”


Read Full Post »

The view of the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom balcony. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view of the Catalina Mountains from my bedroom balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

   “Those fields of daisies we landed on, and dusty fields and desert stretches. Memories of many skies and earths beneath us – many days, many nights of stars.” – Anne Morrow Lindberg

How Amazing

            If you think of the desert as a dry, sterile patch of inhospitable landscape, think again. In the 16 months I’ve lived in it, I’ve found more beauty than I thought possible in a desert.

Admittedly, it’s the Sonoran Desert, which has also been called the lush desert because it has a monsoon season. But still I didn’t expect to come to love it as much as I have.

Patches of yellow on the landscape. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Patches of yellow on the landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came to Tucson to spend Christmas 2012 with my daughter, and stayed, mainly because I found a dog-friendly apartment in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains that was exactly what I had been looking for when I ended my full-time living and traveling in  small RV.  Its location sang to me, and just as important it was a nice apartment I could afford.

My canine companion Pepper and I left it recently for almost three weeks – at heart I still love being on the road. And when I returned, as if by magic, summer had sneaked, or is that snuck, in. Tucson’s desert landscape does that while more northern states are just beginning to enjoy spring, or if truly northern still struggling with the remains of winter.

What I noticed first, when Pepper and I drove west on Highway 10 and turned north on Alvernon Road was that the landscape, patches of which still remain in the city, was decked out with yellow trimmings. I found it both beautiful and enchanting.

What a fantastic homecoming. Don’t you agree?

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

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

Bean’s Pat: Live to Write – Write to Live http://tinyurl.com/ny8487f  The Hero’s Journey: This blog taught me something about writing, and made me laugh, too. But don’t read it if you don’t want the plot and ending of the movie “Gravity” spoiled for you

Read Full Post »