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Posts Tagged ‘Utah hiking trails’

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” Freya Stark

The trail to the waterfalls begins by walking across a bridge spanning the Virgin River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

*Travels With Maggie

Today was my last day in Zion before moving on.

I spent part of it by riding the shuttle bus and simply enjoying the sights up Zion Canyon and then hiking the trail to lower and middle Emerald Pools, a 2-mile round trip with only a 150 foot gain in elevation.

The upper pool would have added an extra mile to my hike plus a couple more hundred feet in elevation gain. My body, still stiff from its lazy Texas winter, balked at the extra strain and I let it have its way.

I hadn’t walked the Emerald Pools trail in at least 10 years, and today it seemed like I had more company hiking with me than every before. It’s a colorful mountain-side, easy walk that runs past tiny running streams, dainty displays of wildflowers and musical waterfalls.

The path begins gently, and offers awesome views in every direction. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While I longed to have the path’s peaceful serenity to myself, I also rejoiced that so many others were getting a taste of Mother Nature’s wonders, too.

As I came back down the trail, I was saddened thinking about leaving this beautiful place in the morning. It’s been the same sadness I’ve felt on leaving all the awesome places I’ve been blessed and privileged to visit during the seven years my dog, Maggie, and I have been full-time RV-ers.

I grew up as a big-city girl who never got farther than 50 miles away from home until I was 14, when I took a trip from Dallas to California’s Sequoia National Park as babysitter for my aunt and uncle’s 2-year-old daughter.

That 1950’s summer vacation, with my uncle speeding across Route 66 way above the speed limit, changed me forever. It was my first glimpse of mountains and my first true brush with Mother Nature. I slept in a tent with cousins my age and learned the next morning that a bear had roamed through the campground.

I wasn’t the least bit frightened, just upset that I hadn’t seen it.

I have better sense these days than to want a bear strolling past where I’m

The end reward is the sight and sound of water falling down from the mountain. -- Photo by Pat Bean

sleeping, but I still have the desire to see one – and ever other wild creature, and every mountain, and every lake, and every redwood, and well, I guess you could say I simply want it all.

And while I would drive away from Zion in the morning sad at leaving this special place behind, I would also be eager for what the day’s journey would bring. While I know I can’t have it all, I’m going to insert as much of this country’s beauty into my soul as time will allow me.

One day I will have to allow roots to grow from my feet, but it won’t be this day, and hopefully not the next day, or the next, or the next …

*Day 17 of my journey … May 5, 2011

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