Posts Tagged ‘magpies’

“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them but that they seize us.” – Ashley Montagu

Special Moments  

If there is anything of value that the years have taught this wondering wanderer, it’s how fleeting time is, and how important it is to be ready to catch the special moments that may never come our way again.

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away. Someone else said that first, but I don’t know who, just that it’s so very true.

The Snake River just below the Minidoka Dam in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Snake River has been responsible for taking my breath away hundreds of times, from it literally doing that when I rafted its white-water rapid sections – I’ve been in a raft that this river’s flipped and it’s flipped me out of a raft more than once – to the beauty it’s provided me every time I stand by its banks.

I saw my first magpies – we don’t have them in Texas where I grew up – playfully swooping above its waters that flowed through a farm in Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho.

Just a few of the hundreds of white pelicans that cluster on the river below the dam. — Photo by Pat Bean

And I’ve watched osprey dive into its depths in Wyoming and come up with a fish, and bald eagles flying over it in Washington, and hundreds of white pelicans fishing its waters just this summer.

It’s thankful I am to be spending the summer right next to the Snake River, the mother of Lake Walcott State Park where I’m a volunteer campground host. While I can only see the lake out my RV windows, a 10-minute walk puts me above or on the banks of this great river, which began its twisting journey through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington at a hot spot in Yellowstone National Park.

From its junction here at Lake Walcott, the Snake will makes its way down to Twin Falls Gorge (where Evil Knievel attempted a motorcycle jump), then continue on through Hell’s Canyon and eventually join the Columbia River.

It takes my appreciation for all the joy its brought into my life with it.

Bean’s Pat: Sun Fire: http://tinyurl.com/bu29s98 One of those special moments that might never come your way again. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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A view of the Spanish Peaks, two Colorado volcanic mountains,  beyond Lathrop State Park's Martin Lake. The peaks were a popular landmark for Santa Fe Trail travelers. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A view of the Spanish Peaks, two Colorado volcanic mountains, beyond Lathrop State Park's Martin Lake. The peaks were a popular landmark for Santa Fe Trail travelers. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences wherher goor or bead of even the least of them are far reaching.” — Sivananda

Travels with Maggie*

At La Junta, I left Highway 50, dropping down to Highway 10, not to be confused with busy Interstate 10 that rolls across the country between the two big oceans. This 10 was a narrow, two-lane Colorado backroad with practically no traffic – exactly the kind I seek out in my travels.

It was a hilly route, surrounded mostly by small farms and agricultural fields with an occasional sign announcing the owners considered their property a ranch and not a farm.

Soon I began seeing cholla cactus, and then magpies, my first since leaving Texas, which except for a rare one in the Panhandle, has no magpies. Since I consider the magpie my animal totem, I was excited to once again be in their landscape

As I drove west, I gained enough elevation to pop my ears, and watched as the fields gave way to cholla cactus and the land took on a more 3D appearance.

Ahead, I knew, lay mountains, big ones. So as Maggie, who as usually was snoozing in the co-pilot seat, and I crested each new hill, I scanned the horizon for my first peek at the peaks.

Finally, despite low hanging clouds this day, I had it. And as usual, after months of absence from them, my eyes became moist.

A short time later, Maggie and I reached our day’s destination, Colorado’s Lathrop State Park, where I parked with a view of the Spanish Peaks out my window.

I wasn’t born in the mountains, but I felt I was home.

*Continuing Day 6 of the journey, April 24, 2011

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And the Fish

The owl

“He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.” — Horace

Travel’s With Maggie

Today’s drive took me from Southern Utah’s red-rock high desert to Colorado’s San Juan National Forest. I spent the night at an RV park just outside of Pagosa Springs parked next to the Blanco River. It doesn’t get much better than this, I thought.

The Blanco River as seen from my RV window. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Our early September afternoon arrival left plenty of time for Maggie and I to take a hike along the river bank and among the wildflowers. Maggie kept her nose to the ground in search of exotic smells to follow, while I looked to the sky. A circling red-tailed hawk overhead drew my attention, as did a couple of chattering magpies in a nearby cottonwood tree.

I pity the poor person whose heart doesn’t skip a beat at the sight of this hawk’s red tail spread wide and flashing in the sunlight. On the other hand, I think some people pity my love for the playful but loud, long-tailed magpies they consider nuisance birds. Being a Texan not known for her quiet ways, I always feel these birds and I share a connection.

This would be the fourth time I had stayed at this Blanco River RV Park off Highway 84. It’s a welcome and convenient spot for campers traveling between Utah and Texas, a trip I’ve made annually since becoming a full-time RV-er. Each visit here has left me enchanted with both the setting and the little touches the campground owners have made to make the place special.

Modern day rock art -- Photo by Pat Bean

 I consider the rocks someone has painted and scattered about the park as fascinating as I find the pictographs and petroglyphs of earlier cultures.

 As I watched the sun disappear at the end of the day, a feeling of contentment oozed from my  pores. I realized I didn’t miss at all the fact that I had no phone, internet or television connections. Tomorrow would be soon enough to hook back up to the world.

Soon after, Maggie and I crawled into bed and went to sleep to the music of the river rippling over rocks.

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