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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Dickens’

 “The town was glad with morning light; places that had shown ugly and distrustful all night long now wore a smile; and sparkling sunbeams dancing on chamber windows, and twinkling through blind and curtain before sleepers’ eyes, shed light even into dreams, and chased away the shadows of the night.” – Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

These Canada geese floated away from the shore as Pepper and I approached. — Photo by Pat Bean

It Couldn’t Have Been Any More Perfect

The stone wall is a CCC legacy, and the basalt rocks used to build it a legacy of the area’s volcanic past. In the background is Hole 12 of the park’s disc (Frisbee) golf course, a specialty here at Lake Walcott. — Photo by Pat Bean

I varied my walking route this morning, which usually sees me taking the trail from my RV to the boat dock. I chose instead to visit the fishing decks at the other end of the park, then immediately realized why this was a hike usually saved for the evenings.

Early mornings were when the sprinklers came on in this section of the park.

I managed to dodge all but one big spray, while my canine traveling companion, Pepper, purposely splashed through the raining water and any puddles she came across. Her joy at doing so delighted my heart.

A lone western grebe floats on the lake, whose reflective surface is muted this morning by an overcast sky. — Photo by Pat Bean

The overcast day spread a kind of magic over the landscape and lake, whose watery reflections were muted and quiet.

Running ahead, Pepper startled a flock of yellow-headed blackbirds that took to the sky from several Russian olive trees, their golden heads flashing before their dark bodies like large fireflies lighting their way.

A half-dozen nearby magpies were slower to flight as we approached. With their long tails swishing, these black and white birds didn’t go far, landing out of reach but near enough to keep an eye on us as we passed.

A goose family, also wanting to get out of reach, floated farther out from shore.

Sweet pea blossoms beneath a Russian olive tree added to the morning’s perfection. — Photo by Pat Bean

As they did that, a couple of mallards quacked from behind some bank bushes. I never did see them, but a mallard is one of the few North American ducks whose voice I can recognize. It’s the only one that quacks like Donald Duck.

Pepper and I took the long way back to our RV, taking the route that led past the park’s day-use grounds and visitor center. I noticed that a patch of sweet pea blossoms had sprung up beneath a tree and at the edge of some sagebrush that the sprinklers catch. They fragrant pink flowers hadn’t been there the last time I had walked this way.

I don’t think, even with the sprinkler dousing I took, that my walk with Pepper could have been any more perfect.

Bean’s Pat: Stewards of Earth http://tinyurl.com/cu36rtm Butterfly House. Fantastic photos. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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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

*Journeys

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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