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Posts Tagged ‘robins’

My first sunrise for the year at Lake Walcott reminded me of lemon and blueberries. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.” — Laurence Olivier

*Travels With Maggie

The wind blew last night, hard enough for my RV, Gypsy Lee, to rock and roll. I thought about sticking around Ogden for an extra day, but decided to drive to Idaho’s Lake Walcott State Park as planned. It was only 160 miles away after all.

Yup! Just 160 miles that took me through three dust storms and wind that almost blew me off the road before I exited Interstate 84 onto Highway 24 to Lake Walcott, with the wind continuing to taunt me the entire way.

Except for that, it was a nice drive beside the Wasatch Mountains, through farmlands, and past Snowville, just south of the Idaho border. The route then took me over Sweetzer Pass, either side of which is where the wind blew hardest, and finally over the Snake River.

Interstate 84, which follows Interstate 15 north to Tremonton before splitting, is nothing like the interstate south of Ogden, which snarled me in traffic last week on my way north. While there were occasional big semis, this four-lane highway from Ogden to Idaho was mostly a peaceful, scenic and uncrowded route.

A cheery robin outside my RV welcomed me back, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I arrived at the park, I noted that while I had left Texas just as “summer” was arriving, spring hadn’t fully visited Lake Walcott. Many of the park’s grand big trees were still leafless. The lake, meanwhile, with its waves being influenced by the high winds, looked like an ocean. .

I though about about getting some photographs of the water lapping over the boat docks, but decided to rest awhile from my difficult drive first. By the time I awoke from a short nap, the winds had calmed and the lake was almost back to normal.

I was sorry I had let the opportunity pass, especially after park workers told me that the lake had been the worse they had ever seen it. In fact, the wind storm actually did some damage to one of the boat docks here.

Even so it felt good to be ba.ck. Last summer I was a campground host here for six weeks. This year I’ll be here all year. While park workers greeted my return with enthusiasm. Also extending a welcome note to my return was a spectacular sunrise and a cheery robin when I awoke to the next morning.

Life is good.

*And so ends my month long, 2,600-mile zig-zagging, sight-seeing journey from Texas to Idaho. Thanks to those who came along for the ride. But please tune in again tomorrow, the adventures are not over yet.

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“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien

An aerial view of Wolf Creek Pass and its ski area taken in August, 2008, after the snow melt. -- Photo by Doc Searls

Travels With Maggie*

“Way up high on the Great Divide” sang C. W. McCall in his 1975 recording of “Wolf Creek Pass.”

I experienced McCall’s lyrics,  although without the chickens, first hand this day, topping out my drive through the San Juan Mountains at 10,857 feet. Fresh snow had fallen during the night, and the trees on the sides of the steep mountains I traveled between were still draped in white.

In case you’re interested, McCall’ song can be heard at: http://tinyurl.com/3dvdo24

While the road, Highway 160, had been cleared of the storm’s droppings, it was still wet and slick – and quite icy in the two tunnels cutting through mountain rock.

Unlike the driver in McCall’s tune, however, my foot was frequently on my brakes. But since almost no other vehicles were on the road, and since I kept my speed slow enough to feel safe, my heart pounded only with the pleasant thrill of being privileged to drive through such a fantastic landscape.

I love dandelions, but then perhaps that's because I now don't have a lawn to maintain. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I passed quite a few large, scenic RV parks along my drive up and over Wolf Creek Pass, which traverses the mountains from South Fork to Pagosa Springs. But all were closed.

They reminded me why I usually took the more southerly route through New Mexico when heading northwest this time of year.

But I had no regrets. I may be an old broad, but I’m still up for an adventure.

I was quite happy, however, when I came upon the Riverside RV Park just outside Durango. It was open. While it had been a short day in miles, only 131, I was ready to take a break from sitting behind Gypsy Lee’s wheel.

And that I was assigned a site right next to a small pond, where mallards were floating, the ground was littered with dandelions, and where I could watch a robin pulling up a worm for dinner from the damp ground, was the cherry on the top of a hot fudge sundae.

Life was good once again. .

Day 8 of the journey, April 26, 2011.

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I named the upper one Peter, as in Cottontail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The view out my rear window looking toward the John Martin Reservoir Dam. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

NOTE: I’ve been taking my blog readers on a journey from Texas to Idaho with me as Maggie and I go down the road. But while I’m writing a mile-by-mile travelogue so readers can actually follow me on a map or Google Earth, I may take three days of blogging to describe one day.

The result is that I’m farther down the road than my blog, which has confused readers. I know because they’ve told me. To solve that problem, I’m now adding a footnote to any blogs that are about a specific day of travel that happened earlier in time.

For example, today’s blog is about happenings that took place this past Sunday, and the footnote reads: April 24, Day 6 of the journey.

Travels With Maggie*

I realized when I woke this morning at John Martin Reservoir State Park in Colorado that it was Easter.

And a lovely one it was. Hasty Lake was winking at me in the morning light, robins were searching for worms beside my RV and a pair of mallards were floating and quacking among the reeds along the shoreline. Did you know that the mallard is the only duck that actually quacks.

As I sat, drinking my coffee and reading the news, or as much of it as I could handle for the day, I had a couple of visitors. Most appropriate ones, I might add.

Two small cottontails spent about 10 minutes roaming around my RV. I named the larger of the two Peter, and thought about Thornton Burgess’ “Adventures of Peter Cottontail” that I had so loved as a child. He wrote 26 books about the beloved rabbit, and while I’m sure I didn’t read all of them, I certainly read quite a few.

And now, since I was alone, I sang as much as I could remember of “Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail, hippity hop ….”  I suddenly felt like a child again, and at my age that’s a good way to feel.

The tune was still going through my head when Maggie and I got back on Highway 50, which we followed west through several small rural towns to La Junta. Along the way, I noticed quite a few redbud trees just popping with brand new hot-pink buds

They looked exactly like the blossoms of the redbud trees that I had photographed in early March in Harker Heights, Texas. I laughed, thinking that summer was just around the corner when I had left Texas.

It was sort of like being transported in a time machine. First remembering my childhood reading habits and now here I was enjoying spring all over again.

Pat Conroy, one of my favorite authors, sums it up: “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.”

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Sunset at Lake Walcott -- Photo by Pat Bean

 
 “What a joy it is to feel the soft, spring earth under my feet once more, to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes, or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that tumble and roll in riotous gladness.” Helen Keller
 
From Twin Falls, it was just 58 miles to Lake Walcott State Park, where I would spend the next seven weeks. I arrived in the early evening and found the campground full, except for my host site, where a thoughtful park ranger had blocked it off with sawhorses to keep it vacant for my expected arrival.

Broad-tailed hummingbird

After hooking up, Maggie and I took one of the park’s paved trails down to the lake where a pair of western grebes floated gracefully on the water. I would see this same pair almost every day I was at the park. On the walk back to the RV, I watched a magnificent sunset turn the clouds a rosy pink, at times framing a full moon.

I awoke the next morning to an orange and purple sunrise and three broad-tailed hummingbirds playing king of the  mountain at the hummingbird feeder I had put out when I hooked up. The sunrise, which changed in intensity and colors to accommodate the weather, and the hummingbirds, which some days numbered up to eight, joined my cream-laced coffee and e-mail check morning ritual. 

Sunrise at Lake Walcott -- Photo by Pat Bean

By the time Maggie, who sleeps in until at least 9 a.m., woke and demanded a walk, we took it beneath fluffy white clouds floating in a robin’s egg blue sky. Western kingbirds, robins and western peewees kept us company as we walked through the campground, and then beside the lake to watch the western grebes. 

How could I do anything but look forward to my next 49 days. If home is where the heart is, I was there.

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