Posts Tagged ‘Heber Creeper’

If travel is like love, it is in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” – Pico Iyer, “Why We Travel.”

A view of Steinaker Reservoir through the trees on an early morning hike. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day Five

            Today’s drive down Highway 40 from Jordanelle State Park to Vernal was one I’d driven quite a few times before. The fact is there are very few roads in Utah that I haven’t driven.

As usual, Pepper is waiting for me to catch up with her. My daily walks with my now nine-month old Scotty-mix puppy help keep this wondering/wandering old broad healthy.

I lived in the state for 25 years, and many were the times an itchy foot would attack me early on a Saturday morning. I would throw a few things in my car, gather up my canine traveling companion, and take off for the weekend. The road was always calling to me as far back as I can remember. After a divorce and after my children had fled the nest, I started answering it back every chance I could.

Highway 40 might haven taken me to Heber, where I might ride the Heber Creeper to Bridal Veil Falls; or to Rockport State Park, where I might set up my tent for the weekend; or to Flaming Gorge, where if I had timed it right, I might watch ospreys feed their chicks.

Highway 40 held the key to many of my memories. There was the tiny town of Myton, which recalled my float trips down the Green River and the rough, unpaved road trip back from the Sand Wash take out to Myton, where civilization began again.

Just past Roosevelt, I thought of the fancy Bottle Hollow Lodge, which I discovered no longer existed. The tourist attraction was a joint business project in the 1970s between the Ute Indians and Utah State University’s Extension Services.

I was working as a writer for USU at the time, and wrote about the venture as part of a marketing campaign. I recalled sleeping one night in the huge round beds that were the standard in the motel’s unique round rooms.

Up the road from where Bottle Hollow had been, there was a neon-lit motel, a bare step above a Motel 6, that now provided passersby overnight accommodations. I was glad I wasn’t stopping there.

I ended my day instead at Steinaker State Park, located just seven miles up Highway 191 from Vernal. It was my virgin visit to the park – and it was awesome.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie, 49,387 words.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day. Bean’s Pat: 23 Thorns http://23thorns.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/frog/ Ribbit. A long blog, but I loved it. I was hooked when the writer began to explain why his family wasn’t like other families.

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A Southern Arkansas sunrise provides a magical moment to all within its view. -- Photo by Pat Bean


“Each day I live in a glass room unless I break it with the thrusting of my senses and pass through the splintered walls to the great landscape.” Mervyn Peake

Travels With Maggie

I’ve seen hundreds of awesome landscapes since I began living and traveling in my RV, Gypsy Lee, seven years ago.

Whenever I visit an area, I take time to search out historic sites, lakes, parks and all the fantastic landmarks someone found important enough to write about in some guidebook.

What’s amazed me is that I find locals who have never taken the time to visit the places travelers come hundreds of miles to see.

“Always been meaning to go see that waterfall,” said an Oregon waitress when I was telling her about my morning visit to Multnomah Falls just east of her Portland home.

Pink life springs from beneath a carpet of dead leaves. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Then there was the Amarillo, Texas, grocery clerk who noted my Palo Duro Canyon T-shirt and asked me if the place was worth visiting?

“Lived here all my life and never seem to get the time to visit,” she said of the spectacular gorge that lay hidden only 30 miles away.

“Have you ever visited Yellowstone National Park,” I asked.

“Marvelous place.” She beamed as she chatted about seeing Old Faithful with her husband and two children.

I find it strange that people feel a sight isn’t worth seeing unless it’s hundreds of miles away. When I lived in Utah and work kept me close to home most of the year, weekends would often find me out exploring nearby landscapes.

Yellow pansies soaked with morning dew. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One Saturday it might just be a 20-mile journey on an unpaved canyon road to view “Tea Kettle” rock. Or on a Sunday, I would take a 150-mile round trip drive to board the old Heber Creeper train for the half-day ride through incredible scenery to Bridal Veil Waterfalls up Provo Canyon.

But while I’m addicted to the travel and the wonder that goes with it, I still know that most days all I need to do is step out my door to see something magical.

Yesterday it was a colorful sky with rays of sunlight streaming down toward earth. Today, as I walked Maggie, it was the magic of pink flowers poking up through a bed of last fall’s leaves.

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