Posts Tagged ‘Zion National Park’

Watching the Sun creep towards the Watchman Campground at Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

Aging my Way

Not sure what my brain was up to this morning, but after reading some words by Eleanor Roosevelt — “You gain strength, courage and confidence in every experience … You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along” – I thought of a few things I had lived through.

Like falling asleep in a hot bath and dropping the book I was reading into the water. Or sitting out a windstorm in Amarillo and being thrown six feet onto the ground by a huge gust when I opened the RV door.

I guess what I learned from those experiences was to not fall asleep in the bathtub, and to stay inside when the wind was gusting. Of course, I did continue to read in the bath (it was a safety zone away from my five children) and I still go outside on windy days.

Knowing is not always doing.

Then I remembered a horrible, horrible morning back in 2009 (that was how I referred to it in my journal) when I was camped out in Zion National Park. I had spilled coffee grounds inside my tennis shoes, used hand lotion instead of conditioner on my head, and then discovered my RV wouldn’t start because I had forgotten to turn its lights off after coming through Zion’s mile-long tunnel. To make things even worse, I couldn’t find my driver’s license.

Then a friend came along and got my RV started, and then found my driver’s license. While he couldn’t do anything about my hair, he fixed us both some coffee – with fresh grounds – while I dumped the ones in my tennis shoes in the trash.

As we sat outside and drank the coffee, with a little Irish Cream added to ward off the chill until the sun creeped up and over the red-rock ridges to our east, I knew what I had learned that day. It’s good to have a handy friend.

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 aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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Looking down from the top of Angel’s Landing. It’s a beautiful sight. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

I recently came across a post that listed the 29 most beautiful places in America. I laughed at the audacity of such a list — even though I had visited 15 of them and agreed they were indeed beautiful. The word beautiful is totally subjective, especially if you give credence to the oft-quoted saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Of course, butterflies are beautiful, but so are dandelions, even in a manicured lawn. — Photo by Pat Bean

By this definition, as a birder, I think red, featherless and wrinkled newborn California condors are beautiful

Often, when people discover that I spent nine years in a small RV traveling this country from border-to-border and ocean-to-ocean, I’m asked: “What’s the most beautiful place you have visited.”

I’ve never had an answer to this question. I saw beauty not just in every state I visited, but every place I passed through. So, let me now be as audacious as the person who came up with that 29-most-beautiful-place list with my own list of things I consider beautiful.

Well, maybe not quite so audacious. I won’t use the adjective “most” and I’ll keep the list to 10 and invite readers to add the remaining 19.

1 – A bright yellow dandelion bursting up from a manicured, green lawn.

2 – A smile on the wrinkled face of a man or woman whose years on earth have been many.

3 – A red-tailed hawk circling above with the sun illuminating its red tail feathers.

Mesa Falls in Idaho. I’ve never seen an ugly waterfall. Have you? — Photo by Pat Bean

4 – Just about any waterfall in the world.

5 – An act of kindness in any form.

6 – Dark, stormy days that are ideal for staying indoors and reading.

7 – Two trees growing together as if in eternal friendship.

8 – A trail that beckons one to follow and discover Mother Nature’s wonders.

9 – The view from the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

10 – Fresh, home-baked brownies.

Now, feel free to share the beautiful places or things that you would add to this list.

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Beautiful wildlife https://sfkfsfcfef.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/lens-artists-photo-challenge-nature/

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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“There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Daisies dancing in the sunlight. -- Art by Pat Bean

Daisies dancing in the sunlight. — Art by Pat Bean

Lighting up the Catalinas

I walked my canine companion Pepper, still in my pajamas, at o-dark-hundred this morning. It’s a time when few people are about in my large complex. By the time I was back in my apartment, fixed myself a cup of cream-laced coffee, and settled on my bedroom balcony with my journal and a daily to-do list, it was 6 a.m.

While the sun was up, as it had not been for the past two rainy days, it had not yet reached the Catalina Mountains that so comfortingly stand to my north. I smiled, delighted in the knowledge that I would now be graced with an opportunity to watch the sun creep down from their peaks.


A butterfly enjoying the sunlight and the flowers. — Art by Pat Bean

And as I watched, my mind wandered back to the many times I had watched this same sun’s rays creep down the red mountains in Zion National Park. I usually visited this, my most special place in the world, in early April, when mornings were often chilling to the bone. Often I would find myself huddling next to a dawn campfire, watching as the golden rays slowly crept down the cliffs, eager for its warmth to reach our valley camp site. Once I sat so close to the fire that I suddenly realized my tennis shoes were melting.

While these days I find my body mostly rooted close to home, my mind is still free to continue wandering all the places I’ve traveled and relive all my adventures. And since I never know what place my memories will take me next, I still have the luxury of being surprised. And surprises were one of the things I liked best about traveling.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Lettuce Lake http://tinyurl.com/pz9u75b And there’s also the easiness of armchair travel to let me visit places I’ve never been.

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The trail led beside and beneath the waterfalls. I do so love Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The trail led beside and beneath the waterfalls. I do so love Zion. — Photo by Pat Bean

         “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! – Dr. Seuss

Runoff from the Emerald Pools' waterfalls created this small puddle of water, which reflected the nearby landscape. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Runoff from the Emerald Pools’ waterfalls created this small puddle of water, which reflected the nearby landscape. — Photo by Pat Bean

On a Birthday Hike   

It felt fantastic to be back in Zion National Park to celebrate my recent birthday with some of the same friends who have celebrated it with me in this awesome place for three decades.

A good-sized lizard near the start of he hike. I barely captured him with my camera before he slithered away.

A good-sized lizard near the start of he hike. I barely captured him with my camera before he slithered away.

While my body wasn’t up to the grueling 5.5-mile roundtrip hike to the top of Angel’s Landing, which I have done about 30 times in my life, it was up to a moderate three-mile hike on the Kayenta and Emerald Pools’ trails. The two trails join at the waterfalls junction.

I originally started the tradition of spending my birthday in Zion because I didn’t live near any family members, and I figured it was much better to do something I enjoyed than stay home and feel lonely.


My friend Kim near the start of the hike. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My friend Kim near the start of the hike. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had hiked it alone or with varying friends for several years before Kim and her son began joining me almost every year. This year she called me about three days before my birthday and told me to get my butt to Zion. The message wasn’t exactly expressed in those exact words but I got the meaning.

I drove up to Zion, a nine-hour journey, in Cayenne on Friday, hiked and partied on Saturday, and drove back on Sunday. It turned out to be one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: A Writer’s Path http://tinyurl.com/ps647fp  This blogger chose his favorite 10 opening lines of books. I agreed with a couple, but the blog made me want to go and list my favorite opening lines. Perhaps it will do the same for you.


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Zion National Park 

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.” – Harold Wilson

When I took my canine traveling companion on her morning walk at Zion National Park, the view across from my RV glowed. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I took my canine traveling companion on her morning walk at Zion National Park, the view across from my RV glowed. — Photo by Pat Bean


“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Englebreit

An hour later, when I was getting ready to leave the park, the view's intensity had changed significantly. I'm glad I' an early riser. -- Photo by Pat Bean

An hour later, when I was getting ready to leave the park, the view’s intensity had changed significantly. I’m glad I’ an early riser. — Photo by Pat Bean


“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” W. Edwards Deming


The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: http://tinyurl.com/chabzlm The first thing each morning… I make coffee, walk Pepper, and plan my day while I drink my coffee. What about you?

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A Change in my Blogging Voice

One of the few pieces of art that I did while living in Gypsy Lee. I painted it during a 10-day stay at Zion National Park, which is one of my favorite places to visit.

One of the few pieces of art that I did while living in Gypsy Lee. I painted it during a 10-day stay at Zion National Park, which is one of my favorite places to visit.

      “…The whole part of a journal is to catch events on the wing.” May Sarton

From the Road to at least Temporary Roots

            My dookie beginning to 2013, thanks to the flu-crud and a broken foot, has slowed this wondering-wandering old broad down.

But I was slowing down even before that. Today marks the first day of the second month in which I traded life on the road in a 22-foot RV called Gypsy Lee for a 600-square foot apartment in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains.

A canyon wren that I saw, and painted, in Zion National Park.

A canyon wren that I saw, and painted, in Zion National Park.

I spent almost nine years in Gypsy Lee, which I realized is more time than I lived in any one home with roots in my life. These past years were the culmination of a lifetime of dreams, and I’m proud of myself that I made them come true. They were the ones in which I truly felt I was living the life I was supposed to lead.            I hope travel will continue to be a part of my life, well as soon as my foot heals and lets me once again handle the three flights of stairs up to my apartment. But for now I am enjoying my choice of a temporary home base.

And I can’t help but think that perhaps being slowed down for a while isn’t even going to turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Yes, I’m still a Pollyanna kind of girl who will never give up looking for that rainbow after the storm.

Zion, River Walk 2

My inspiration for my tree and canyon wall painting — Photo by Pat Bean

One of the silver linings to have magically appeared has been Betty Ann, a neighbor who now gives my energetic canine companion, Pepper, her daily four walks. She’s turned out to be a kindred soul, who shares my love of books, writing and animals. If not for her I would either have had to move in with my gracious, Tucson daughter, who is currently doing my laundry and shopping, or sent Pepper home with her until my foot healed. I wasn’t fond of either of those choices.

The second bit of silver is that my forced inside time has me once again dragging out my art supplies. I carried them around with me in Gypsy Lee, but except for a rare occasion they stayed packed away. Now I have room to keep them handy and hope to return to being artsy fartsy, as I call my amateur endeavors. I’m even going to be brave enough to start sharing them with you.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling my way as to what this blog will be all about in the coming year. The best I can tell you is it’s going to be eclectic and “my life on the wing.” Hopefully it will once again be daily as well. I think I have my blogging mojo back. But don’t hold your breath.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Relax – Go with the flow http://tinyurl.com/abhdxpv Since I’m been doing this since breaking my foot, I liked this post for making me feel better about myself.

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“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau

The start of the trail from the Grotto shuttle bus stop. Come hike me the trail called to me. — Photo by Pat Bean


Walk the Kayenta/Emerald Pools Trail With Me

Rocks form a mysterious tunnel shortly before the trail descends to the Emerald Pools. — Photo by Pat Bean

A two-mile trail between the Grotto and Zion Lodge, the Kayenta/Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park is ideal for wandering/wondering old broads like me. It has only a mild, 150-foot-elevation gain but there is something to see around every bend in the road.

The May day I walked it, I had a playful squirrel, hoping for a handout which it didn’t get, follow me for a while, saw a magnificent blue-bellied lizard, and had excellent views of the Virgin River Valley 150 feet below me.

Of course there were flowers: Indian paintbrush, columbine, shooting stars, wall flowers and daisies, just to name a few.

These were expected. What wasn’t was the short tunnel formed by rocks that one had to pass through and the opportunity to walk behind a waterfall.

The waterfall was only a trickle this day, but it was still cool to walk behind it. — Photo by Pat Bean

I wish you had been with me.

Bean’s Pat: Darla Writes http://tinyurl.com/7bl7zo6 The best writing advice ever. I promise. Tell me if you agree.  This wandering/wondering old broad’s blog pick of the day.


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 “Rivers know this. There is no hurry. We’ll get there someday.” Winnie the Pooh.


A walk along the Virgin River in Zion National Park. I love this shot with light and shadows playing together. — Photo by Pat Bean


Calm Waters

And how about the colors on the rocks surrounding this calm pool? Don’t they just calm your soul. — Photo by Pat Bean

Busy day today for me here at Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho, where I’m campground host for the summer.

I’ve been here for a month now, although my blog has still been dawdling along on my trip from Texas to get here, and will for another couple of days at least.

Today I head into town, 25 miles away, for one of my twice monthly visits. I need to do grocery shopping, laundry, get a haircut, and of course, buy my canine traveling companion, Pepper, a treat.

But before I go, I thought I would share a couple of my favorite water pictures from Zion National Park. Enjoy.

Bean’s Pat: Soul Writings http://tinyurl.com/7hzo543 This happy-ending story about Freedom made me cry.

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 “Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard’s rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment – a little makes the way of the best happiness.” – Fredrich Nietzsche


Blue-bellied lizard — Photo by Pat Bean


Blue-Bellied Lizard

When I hiked the Kayenta Trail Saturday, instead of Angel’s Landing, I came across a blue-bellied lizard, a sight I had never seen before.

I’d say this is a lizard with attitude. Don’t you agree? — Photo by Pat Bean

Well that’s probably not accurate. I had just never seen this lizard’s belly before. This lizard, however, was propped up in such a way that the cobalt blue underside was clearly visible. It even posed long enough for me to take a picture before it scrambled away to safety.

The next day, when my son and his family and I were hiking, we came across a northern pygmy owl sitting in a tree not far off the trail to Weeping Rock.

My son, Lewis and his wife, Karen, were thrilled. They’re avid birders, like me – and the owl was a lifer for both of them. While I had seen this cute little owl before, I had never seen one eating a blue-bellied lizard. And this is exactly what it was doing.

While I didn’t bemoan the loss of a lizard to the owl, I kinda hoped it wasn’t the same lizard I had seen the day before. I had grown sort of fond of that one.

The one being eaten by the pygmy owl brought some Shakespeare words to mind. I know, my brain’s a bit warped. Anyway:

“Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing, For a charm of powerful trouble,Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

Bean’s Pat: Shakespeare Geek http://blog.shakespearegeek.com/ I wondered after I wrote the above quote if there were any blogs devoted to Shakespeare. Quite a few. This is just one. I thought you might find it fun.



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 “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.” – Flavia Weedn

Here’s the traditional photo of me at the start of the hike to the top of Angel’s Landing in the background. But this year I chose the less-traveled trail. — Photo by Karen Bean

And I Have No Regrets

For an old broad, I’m in pretty good shape. But not good enough, I accepted this past weekend, to climb to the top of Angel’s Landing.

Instead I chose a path less traveled, and was well rewarded for it.

I said good-bye to my son, Lewis, his wife, and my two grandsons, at the Angel’s Landing trail head. The four of them had met me here in Zion National Park for Mother’s Day, a real treat as I am usually far away from any family members on this day.

I’ve been to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion about 30 times. It was an April birthday tradition for me. Lewis, when he was younger, accompanied me on several of those occasions. It was an experience he wanted to share this past weekend with his family.

As the four of them turned right, just past the bridge over the Virgin River onto the Angel’s Landing trail, I turned left. My path would take me on a two-mile hike, via the Emerald Pools, back to where I could catch the shuttle and return to my RV to await their return.

My reward for being sensible this day was that I had the first mile of the trail completely to myself. This is a rare treat in Zion these days, as the park has an extremely high visitation rate.

While the view of the river and valley below wasn’t quite as spectacular as the one from atop Angel’s Landing, the peace I felt observing it made up for the difference.

I also, perhaps for the first time in my life, felt at peace with myself in accepting that I no longer could do everything I could once do.

Bean:s Pat: Everyday Wisdom #43 http://tinyurl.com/6nc3lky A great way to slow yourself down and live in the moment.

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