Posts Tagged ‘Wasatch Mountains’

If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine: It’s lethal.: — Paul Coelho

Mount Ogden reflection on the new Standard-Examiner newspaper building back in 2000. Sadly, the newspaper has shrunk since I left, as have most newspapers all across the county. But the mountain is as majestic as ever, still having snow on it during my July visit because of good winter snows. — Photo by Pat Bean

Awesome Mountains, Nasty Traffic and Friendship 

Day 8 Continued: We made good time for the first 300 miles of this day’s 350-mile journey from Battle Mountain, Nevada, to Ogden, Utah, coming into Salt Lake City about 3 p.m.

As usual, I got a bit misty-eyed on first seeing the string of Wasatch Mountains that dominate this eastern Utah landscape for 160 miles.

Personally, I think these mountains, which form the western edge of the Rockies, are among the most beautiful in the world. I worked and played in their shadow for 25 years, and climbed and hiked many of them during that time. While I left them 15 years ago, they are still in my heart.

I-15 traffic near Salt Lake City. — Salt Lake Tribune photo

But just as happy as I was to see these mountains once again, their appearance came with a dark side – Interstate 15. Our up-to-this-point pleasant drive changed moods when it intersected with this freeway. Construction and mind-blowing, horrendous traffic often slowed our progress north to less than 10 mph. It took nearly two hours to drive the less than 50 miles between Salt Lake and Ogden.

I had never enjoyed driving I-15 when I lived in the area, but traffic on it seems only to get worse with every passing year, especially between Ogden and Provo – what is known as the Wasatch Front where the vast majority of Utahns live. It was 5 p.m. when Jean and I and our two doggies, Dusty and Scamp, finally reached Kim’s home.

Kim and I hamming it up at a photo booth at her son’s wedding reception.

My best-friend-forever Kim and I have known each other now for 40 years. We’ve worked together, cried together, hiked and rafted together, went on an African safari together, climbed to the top of Zion’s Angel’s Landing together in all kinds of weather, gotten drunk together … well, this list could go on and on. Needless to say, there was a big hug awaiting me when I finally arrived – and a hug for my friend Jean, too, and welcoming pats for our canine friends as well. Like me, Kim is an animal lover.

The three of us lazed around for the rest of the evening, sitting outside in Kim’s fenced backyard where Scamp and Dusty got to stretch their legs once again. We spent the hours catching up on each other’s lives and drinking Jack and Cokes — Kim, who knows me well had stocked up on my favorite adult beverage.

Being able to once again spend time with a good friend, while lingering outside to watch the sun cast its rays on Mount Ogden and Mount Ben Lomond was well worth any traffic hassle I had to overcome to get here.

In my book, the day was as perfect as any day could be.

Bean Pat: Hootie Bird’s Art Journal https://hootiebirdsartjournal.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/this-is-why-i-am-not-a-portrait-artist/  I love this.

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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“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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 “Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!” – William Butler Yeats

Mount Ogden from 25th Street in Ogden. She holds a part of my soul. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

I’m in Ogden, Utah, in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains where I lived for a third of my life. It was a quick trip here from Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho, where I’ve spent a leisurely summer volunteering as a campground host and enjoying Mother Nature’s daily gifts.

I know that when I leave Utah today this range of the great Rockies will be denied me for many months. And my heart is already feeling the loss.

Anywhere bluebonnets grow automatically goes on my favorite places list. Among them is Texas' Lake Colorado City State Park shown above. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I sold my home here, the one that got the Ogden Canyon winds each day as the mountains breathed in and out, seven years ago. I have no regrets. I’ve traveled all over the country half of each year, and spent the other half hopping between my children and grandchildren, most of whom are in Texas.

It’s been both great to spend time with loved ones, and great to travel this beautiful country of ours and take in its wonders. People often ask me what’s my favorite spot.

 It’s a question I find difficult to answer because immediately dozens of places pop into mind. I’ve found beauty in every state I’ve visited, and that now includes 47. My goal, since I’ve already visited Hawaii and Alaska, is to have visited all 50 of our states by the end of next year. 

Meanwhile, when I leave here tomorrow, I will leave a piece of my soul secreted away in the Wasatch Mountains that guard Ogden. .I trust the mountains to guard it well until I return and once again stand in their shadow. Just as I hope the bluebonnets of Texas will still remember me when I gaze upon them once again next spring.

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 “Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” – Robert Service

The sun was shining brightly over Lake Walcott when my computer crashed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

It was sunny and bright, after a morning of light rain, at Lake Walcott State Park, when my new computer crashed Monday.

My choices to fix it was to drive 160 miles to Ogden, Utah, where I had bought the computer at Best Buy, or 45 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho, to the closest Best Buy. I chose the former because of having a place to park my RV in Ogden and because it was an opportunity to visit friends.

I packed up my RV and left immediately. Maggie, as always, was tickled to be on the road again, and soon was contentedly snoozing in the co-pilot seat. I was also happy to once again be going down the road.

The drive from Southern Idaho to Ogden on Highway 84 is a pleasant drive on a four-lane divided highway over a mountain pass with minimal traffic. The best part of the journey for me is coming back into sight of the majestic Wasatch Mountains that were my home for 25 years.

It took longer than usual, however, to see them. About 50 miles into my drive, Mother Nature decided to weep Mississippi tears.

Anyone ever caught in a Deep South downpour knows what I’m talking about. The rain comes down so hard that one can’t see more than 10 feet ahead – if that. Windshield wipers can’t keep up and are almost useless.

All one can do if caught on a highway driving in such a downpour, as I was, is to try desperately to stay on the road and keep driving. To stop is to risk being hit from behind. I truly think I drove through the hardest rainstorm I had every experienced  in Utah.

The sight of the Wasatch Mountains finally breaking through the storm briefly made me forget my computer woes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

It wasn’t until I hit Brigham Cit, just north of Ogden, that the rain lifted enough for me to enjoy the view. It,  as alway, filled my heart with joy.  I’ve seen many mountains in my lifetime, but none that touch my soul like these western peaks of the Rockies that stretch from Idaho to Central Utah.

Just to be able to drink in their beauty once again made me almost forget my reason for seeing them.

But tomorrow, when I would spend the day confronting Best Buy and HP geeks and management before getting my computer problem solved, I would remember.

 It was my day to have sand in my shoe.

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Checkerboard Mesa

Checkerboard Mesa

 “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” — Tim Cahil

*Travels With Maggie

The fastest, shortest way to Ogden, Utah, from the Watchman Campground in Zion National Park is to head west to hook up with Interstate 15.

The longer, more scenic route with minimal truck traffic is to head east from the campground on Highway 9 and then take Highway 89 north as far as possible – which is of course the one I took.

"...at the lemonade springs, where the bluebird sings, oh the Big Rock Candy Mountain." Not just a song, but a place. Highway 89 passes right by it at Marysville. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This choice required me to backtrack up twisting hairpins to the mile-long mountain tunnel and then to retrace my route of a week ago through the park’s fantastic scenery, like Checkerboard Mesa. Unless I’ve been extremely pressed for time, its always the route I’ve taken between Zion and Ogden, where I lived from for over 20 years.

I had 360 miles ahead of me, the longest day’s driving since I started this journey. But my week in Zion had left me well-rested, and I wouldn’t be stopping to do any sight-seeing this day on this very familiar route.

Instead I would satisfy myself with simply seeing the world around me from behind my RV, Gypsy Lee’s, steering wheel. As I watched the familiar sights, and of course the birds along the way, Maggie snoozed beside me.

In the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains, I always feel at home. This is the view from my friend, Kim's, backyard. -- Photo by Pat Bean

As usual when driving, I don’t listen to music instead choosing to let the symphony in my mind entertain me. It was quite pleasant communing with my little gray cells until Spanish Fork, where Highway 89 meets up with Interstate 15 for the last 90 miles of my journey.

My timing at this point was as bad as it gets – Friday during rush hour when everyone wants to get home or away for the weekend.

Although Interstate 15 had been widened to eight lanes in many places, it still didn’t seem enough to handle all the vehicles on the road. While I was ready for my journey to include people again, I wasn’t ready for this fallout that came with it.

Maggie awoke when I finally turned off the interstate, and begin getting excited. It’s what she always does when Gypsy Lee gets close to familiar places. And when I finally pulled into the driveway of my and Maggie’s friend, Kim, we both felt we were temporarily home.

Maggie renewed her acquaintance with Neo, Kim’s dog that is six times as big as Maggie but whom she thinks she has to boss around. I, meanwhile, got caught up on all the latest news from Kim, who eased my long day’s drive with fried chicken and a Jack and Coke.

Everyone should have such a thoughtful friend.

*Day 18 of my journey, May 6, 2011.

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Cowgirl wall of faces -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Cowgirl is an attitude … A pioneer spirit, a special American brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses … A cowgirl might be a rancher, or a barrel racer, or a bull rider, or an actress. But she’s just as likely to be a checker at the local Winn Dixie, a full-time mother, a banker, an attorney, or an astronaut.” — Dale Evans


They call it Cowtown USA. I’m talking about Fort Worth, Dallas’ next door neighbor. It was my home for a couple of years back in the late 1970s, when I was a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

A bronze of Sacagawea graces the entrance to the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A job with such a big-city newspaper was the dream of many journalists, including mine. I

Pink symbol of the cowgirl spirit. -- Photo by Pat Bean

loved the hectic pace and getting to cover everything from murders and a bigoted sheriff to a visiting circus and former President Richard Nixon after his resignation.

It was a heady time in my life. But I gave it all up in 1980 to accept a job at a smaller paper in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah. Mother Nature’s call to my soul was louder than skyscrapers, bright city lights and an opportunity to rise to the top of my profession.

I thought about this choice yesterday when my daughter and I visited the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth. This is a place dedicated to women with strong ties to the land, even if they don’t excel at riding wild horses.

It’s a place that celebrates the pioneering spirit of the women who helped settle this nation, of movie-star, rhinestone cowgirls who showed young girls they could do anything they wanted to do, and of the tough cowgirl spirit of the women who went up against the guys and scored: Annie Oakley, who could out-shoot the men, and Sandra Day O’Connor who began life on a cattle ranch and ended up being a Supreme Court Justice.

I was a bit taken back, however by the museum’s current special exhibit. “The Apron Chronicles.” The show highlights, through their aprons, the hard-working lives and recollections of a diverse group of strong American women and a few men. .

Interestingly, I told my daughter afterward, that early in my life I had made the decision to never wear an apron. And I never did, even though I never shirked from cleaning and cooking and raising my children pretty much single-handed.

An apron was a symbol for me that women belonged at home in the kitchen. And while I actually love cooking, I knew the world had more to offer me than a cutting board and an oven.

And I was right.

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The Three Gossips at Arches National Park -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye … it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” — Edvard Munch

 Day 21

At this point in my journey, I had traveled 1,546 miles toward my destination – plus several hundred more miles in side trips. As always seems to happen to me in my dawdling journeys, I was now faced with a deadline. Because of commitments, I needed to be in Ogden, Utah – 260 miles away – today. It left me with too little time to visit Arches National Park.

I did so anyway.

Even if it was to be just a quick run-through, there was no way I was going to miss this spectacular place where wind, water and time have carved out a fantasy landscape. Just from the road, one can see arches, bridges, potholes, hoodoos and precarious balancing rocks. This day, roadside wildflowers added yet another dimension to this red-rock

Roadside flowers added yet another dimension to the wonders of Arches -- Photo by Pat Bean

 architect of nature.

Arches is a place I visited many times when I lived in Utah. It was where I always took visiting friends and relatives, knowing that they couldn’t help but be awed – as once again I was this day. When it comes to fantastic scenery, this braggart Texan is always forced to admit that in this category Utah wins the Oscar, Pulitzer, America’s Cup and all the other awards out there rolled into one.

 My few hours spent this day in Arches stayed etched on my senses all the way to the Wasatch Mountains, which cast their pleasant shadow on my life for the 25 years I lived in Ogden. I was eager to renew my acquaintance with these serene giants; and because my trip would include a 10-day stopover in Ogden, I rejoiced that I would have time to do just that.

 I have a fickle heart when it comes to Mother Nature’s wonders.

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