Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

Finger Rock — Photo taken in 2006 by Scott Tucker following a winter storm.

I was 14 years old when I saw my first mountain, and it was instant love.

I was born in Dallas, Texas, where the tallest thing for miles around was the flying red horse atop the 29-story Magnolia Petroleum Building, which at the time was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. I was probably never more than 35 miles from that horse until I was invited to take a vacation to California with my aunt and uncle, who wanted me along to babysit their 2-year-old daughter.

I still remember the exciting, albeit hot, August ride across the desert on Highway 66 in a brand new red and white Oldsmobile – with my uncle’s heavy foot on the accelerator pushing it to go 100. But it was the mountain views in Sequoia National Park that stole my heart away. I think I knew then that someday I would live in the mountains.

And I did.

For over 25 years I lived in the shadow of Northern Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, most of that time spent at the base of 9,570-foot Mount Ogden. Now I live in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, more specifically at the base of   Tucson’s 9,171-foot Mount Lemmon.

I thought about this as I looked at the mountain from my new home this morning. In the crosshairs was a landmark known as Finger Rock. If I were younger, I know I would have already hiked the trail up to it. I heave a sigh thinking this, but life moves on and so am I.

Meanwhile, although I loved the views of Mount Lemmon from my nearby third-floor walk-up apartment that I had to abandon for something a bit more accessible for an old broad, I seem to have gained as much as I lost – and I am blessed.  

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days learning to age gracefully.

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Ben Lomond, which dominates Ogden’s northern view.: The creator of Paramount’s mountain logo once lived in Ogden, and Ben Lomond is said to have been his inspiration for the design. I discovered this piece of trivia while writing a story about the mountain for the newspaper in the 1990s. 

            “With age comes wisdom. With travel comes understanding.” – Sandra Lake

The Wasatch Mountains in my Rearview Mirror            

Day 11: Jean and I left Ogden early in the morning heading south on Interstate 15.  We were heading home, a journey of about 830 miles that would take us two days since I don’t drive at night.

Bentley, shown here sitting in Robert and Karla’s boat, became Scamp’s playmate while we were in St. George. 

Today would be a scenic, pleasant day’s drive – after the first 80 miles.

As we neared Provo, where we would leave the Wasatch Front’s traffic jam behind, I pointed out Timpanogos to our east.  At 11,753 feet, it is the second tallest mountain in the Wasatch Range. If you kind of squint your eyes, you can imagine the profile of the Indian maiden Utahna sleeping on its peaks.

According to legend, Utahna threw herself off the mountain after her beloved was killed by a rival for her hand. There are several versions of the legend, but inside a cave in the mountain, reached by a steep mile and a half hike, lies her heart. Actually, it’s a large heart-shaped stalactite, which was lit from behind by a red light every time I saw it. The hike to the cave was one of my favorites – when I was a bit younger.

After passing Provo, our drive took us in view of Mount Nebo, which at 11,933 feet is the tallest in the range. At 9,763 feet, Ben Lomond, which stares down at Ogden, is the range’s ninth tallest.

My first meeting with Scamp took place in St. George at Robert and Karla’s home. He was all over me the second I sat down.

I guess you can tell that my thoughts at this juncture of our journey were on the fact that I was once again leaving the mountains I had so come to love. I now live in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, which although different are still impressive — and one of the reasons I was content to settle in Tucson after my RV-ing years.

Putting my thoughts back on the drive, I let myself enjoy the passing scenery. One mountain or another seemed always to be in view, even if on the far horizon. The goal for today was St. George, where Kim’s brother and his wife lived.

I had originally planned to travel a bit farther because stopping here meant traveling only about 330 miles this day, leaving 500 miles to cover tomorrow. I also hated to impose our two dogs on the couple, who had an English bulldog named Bentley that hadn’t been too friendly to my new canine companion Scamp when they first met. My friend Kim had adopted Scamp from an Ogden shelter for me, and I had met her in St. George at her brother’s home to pick him up in early May.

I eventually decided, we had to spend the night in St. George, coming to this conclusion after Robert and Karla, who had heard we would be passing through the area, called and asked when we would be there. I got the impression these dear friends of mine would be hurt if we bypassed them.

The St. George stop included a home-cooked dinner as well as a night’s lodging, a treat to our shoestring travel budget. Most important, however, was the companionable conversation and feeling of being loved that came with the visit. And my fears about the dogs getting along were for nothing.

Bentley and Scamp joyfully played together this time, while Dusty kept her distance from their rambunctious enthusiasm. That the two dogs got along greatly pleased me. It bodes well for future visits.  Karla and Robert, meanwhile, were quite surprised by the interaction.

“He’s never played with any dog,” Robert said.

Jean retired early this night, and Robert went off to help a son with a stalled car, leaving Karla and I time for a companionable chat. The next morning, I was up in time to have coffee with Robert before we would hit the road again.

I am extremely glad Jean and I had stopped in St. George.

Check out Travels with Maggie on Amazon.

Bean Pat: True, and funny https://kathywaller1.com/2019/08/18/which-would-you-rather/ But I guess will keep blogging because I simply enjoy doing it.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, enthusiastic birder, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.” — Maya Angelou

They call it Canaval Mountain, but it's really only a hill. -- Wikimedia photo

They call it Canaval Mountain, but it’s really only a hill. — Wikimedia photo

Or Turning a Hill Into a Mountain

            My grandmother used to tell me not to turn a molehill into a mountain whenever I got upset about something she considered insignificant. It was just one of her many sayings, like you’re going to hell in a handbasket when I did something wrong, or if it was raining but the sun was still shining, she would exclaim, “Well, the devil must be beating his wife.”

But there's no mistaking the Grand Teton as a hill. -- Photo by Pat Bean

But there’s no mistaking the Grand Teton as a hill. — Photo by Pat Bean

She was the only grandparent I ever knew, and she died when I was 11, which makes me wonder why, over a half century later. I can still hear her words in my head. It doesn’t take much to trigger the memories, which is what happened this morning when I was editing a chapter in my book, Travels with Maggie.

I had written about Poteau, Oklahoma, which claims to be home of the world’s tallest hill, despite the fact it’s commonly called Cavanal Mountain. That it’s a hill is based on the geological understanding that a landscape feature is a mountain if it’s 2,000 feet tall, and a hill if it is less than that. Cavanal is 1,999 feet tall.

And before I could move on to reading the next paragraph, my grandmother’s old time sayings were in my head. And then I found myself wanting to know where the phrase “don’t turn a mountain into a molehill” originated, which led me to the Internet.

According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, the phrase dates back to 1548, when Nicholas Udall used it in a translation of the New Testament. He wrote: “The Sophistes of Greece coulde through their copiousness make and an elephant of a flye, and a mountaine of a molehill.” Allegedly (you can’t always believe what you read), the comparison of the elephant with a fly is an old Latin proverb, but the mountain and molehill example was likely coined by Udall himself – and it’s been used ever since.

And the sound of my grandmother telling me, “Don’t turn a mountain into a molehill,” still rings in my head. I wonder where my grandmother first heard the phrase. My wondering mind just never seems to stop.           

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

  Bean Pat: Sometimes Once is Enough http://tinyurl.com/jybtbzz A spoonbill, an egret and a great post.

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“Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” – John Muir

The view out the window of my RV, which is parked in a friend’s Ogden, Utah driveway. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day 2            

Mount Ogden from downtown Ogden. — Photo by Pat Bean

Once I crossed Rattlesnake Pass on Highway 84 in Northern Utah, I began watching for a sight I knew would lift my already high spirits even higher.

I recognized the canyon curve that would let me get my first glimpse of the Wasatch Mountains. My heart beat accelerated and my eyes dampened when these awesome peaks finally came into sight. It’s the reaction that always happens when I’ve been gone from the mountains for a while. It’s as if they share a piece of my soul.

I was raised in flat-country Texas, and was 14 before I ever saw my first mountain. Since then I’ve seen many mountains, but none that have left their mark so deeply on me as the Wasatch. The awesome peaks, which include Mount Ogden on which the 2002 Winter Olympic downhill races were run, are the western edge of the Rocky Mountain chain that stretches 3,000 miles, from northern British Columbia in Canada to New Mexico in the United States.


The view of Ben Lomond from my friend’s backyard. — Photo by Pat Bean

I first lived in their shadow in the early 1970s before returning to Texas. I missed these mountains so much that I jumped at the chance to leave my job at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to accept a job at the Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah in the early 1980s. I then lived in their shadow r shadow for 25 years before I left them behind once again in 2004.            I’ve returned to visit them every year since, and each reunion has been precious to me. Now, as part of my road trip home, I will get to spend five days within their sight as I renew acquaintances with old friends. It makes for a slow start for my journey back to Texas but also the perfect start.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie is now at 44,372 words. Not much accomplished but it’s still moving forward.

The Wondering Wander’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: A Woman’s Story  http://tinyurl.com/97a9zr9 Eat the damn cake. This one’s for my women readers.

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