Posts Tagged ‘Zion’

“Earth Laughs in Flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


Just one of the many spectacular skylines at Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean


Take Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers

Indian paintbrush growing out of a rock wall. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Indian paintbrush growing out of a rock wall. — Photo by Pat Bean

Having spent many hours in each, although Zion hogged the majority of those hours, I dare to say you won’t find anywhere else in the world that has such a concentrated landscape of awesomeness.

It’s mostly redrock country, with rugged mountain peaks, natural bridges, hoodoos, rivers that roar in early spring and hum softly in late summer and sights that simply take your breath away.

While I’ve found beauty in every state, this is truly a landscape you should not miss. And don’t forget to smell the flowers while you’re at it.

Bean’s Pat: http://tinyurl.com/cfbvevs 30 Ways to Improve Yourself. I’m a sucker for these kind of tips, and these are all practical and doable.  



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 “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” Edwin Land

Travels With Maggie


I was hoping for a nice sunrise this morning to illustrate the start of both a new year and new day. But it's misty outside this morning here in Lake Jackson. The above sunrise, however, was one of many I enjoyed this year. It was taken on a June morning at Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The melodious song of a Carolina Wren is playing outside my window, serenading me as I drink my morning two cups of cream-laced African coffee..

It is early, but I wanted to get a head start on writing my blog before I drive 300 miles to celebrate a late Christmas and New Year’s with my oldest daughter, who lives in Rowlett on the outskirts of Dallas.

Along with enjoying being serenaded by “hope with feathers,” I’m listening to the soft snores of my canine traveling companion, Maggie, who is curled up asleep on the couch. I’m grateful for the sound as Maggie is 14, and I know my days with her are limited. This is, especially true as she is still recovering from a painful chronic ear infection that has long resisted treatment.

I hope in 2012 to once again make it to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion. -- Photo by Pat Bean


Darkness still holds the day at bay outside. I am happy and at peace with myself and the world as I await the sun, and perhaps a nice sunrise. A new day, with its blank pages so full of promise, always thrills me. Sometimes I make wise use of it, and sometimes I don’t.

A new year is even more thrilling. As always I greet it with resolutions to be better and do more.

I am looking forward to spending part of each day in 2012 writing this blog. My other writing goal is simply 500 words of writing a day, plus work on rewriting my travel book. As always, I hope to eat better (and less) and exercise more.

I’m also hoping this wandering/wondering old broad’s body will once again take me to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.. It is my one special place in this world, and last year my body rebelled and wouldn’t get me up there. 

Hopefully this year will be different. Making the 2 ½ mile climb/scramble to the top gives me confidence that I can face anything fate throws my way.

Daylight is now coming. It’s misty so it looks like there will be no spectacular sunrise. Still, I greet the dawn with eagerness, as always wondering what surprises await me and Maggie as we head down the road.  I can hear Dr. Seuss’ words playing in my head. “Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see …”

Happy New Year all!

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 “Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.” Regina Nadelson

African Safari: The Intrepid Adventurers

Kim, the younger of the African travelers, on one of our yearly adventures to Zion National Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Kim and I booked our round-trip flight to Nairobi several months ahead of our August 19 departure date. The cheapest plane tickets we could find were about $1,850 each. By purchasing early we were gambling that the cost of the flight would go up in the coming months and not down.

I think we came out ahead, but I really didn’t bother to check. I was too busy at the last-minute replacing a lost passport (another $125 for expedited service). Of course I found my old passport shortly after I returned from Africa.

Then we followed the instructions the Africa Adventure Company sent to us along with our initial down payment for the trip, the remainder of which was to be paid before our journey began.

This included a yellow fever shot and malaria pills, which were to begin a week before the trip and continue daily through a week after the trip. The tour company took care of arranging for our visas on arrival in Africa.

Of course we had to purchase a few new items of clothing for our safari, and then we had to make sure everything we took for the 16 days weighed no more than 35 pounds. The weight limit was because we would be taking small in-country planes to and from some of our African destinations.

We bought small individual packets of Tide for our laundry and plenty of mosquito repellent. I bought a couple of pair of light-weight cargo pants, an extra battery for my digital camera, and a new pair of sunglasses, which I immediately lost in Nairobi. Kim bought a pair of binoculars for wildlife watching. As an avid birder I was already well equipped in this area.

Me, the old broad half of the Africa travel team, taking a breather on Walter's Wiggles during a hike to the top of Angel's Landing. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Then, in the mail, came an official notice from our State Department alerting us to the fact that travel to Kenya, while not forbidden, was not considered a safe destination. Kim and I both had the same reaction – what a great adventure we had ahead of us.

Neither of us had even a fleeting thought about canceling. Tenaciousness, such as the time we continued to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion even after it started to snow, is one of the few traits the two of us share.

During all these preparations, I was mostly gallivanting around in my RV with Maggie, and Kim, who is quite a few years younger than me, was working hard at her job in Utah.

But as the date for our flight approached, I headed to my middle son’s home in Lake Jackson, Texas, south of Houston, and Kim flew into Houston to meet me there. We had chosen to begin our trip here because I could leave my RV and Maggie at my son’s home, and he had volunteered to take us to and from the airport for our flight to Nairobi.

And the couple of days we had before departing for Africa was a chance for me to show Kim a tiny bit of my native Texas.

Next Episode: The Johnson Space Center

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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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A lofty observation tower provides a spectacular view of Niagara Falls. -- Photo by Pat Bean

What’s your favorite waterfall?


“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” — John Muir

Travels With Maggie

 There’s a large Barnes and Noble located on Interstate 15 between Ogden and Salt Lake City. I drove by it frequently when I lived in Utah. Well, not exactly by it. Whatever vehicle I was driving, as if programmed, always took the turn leading into the bookstore’s parking lot.

Gypsy Lee, my RV, does the same thing these days for waterfalls. In fact, it will even detour many miles for a view of falling water.

OK! I admit it. I’m the vehicle programmer. The four-wheels moving my dog, Maggie, and I along only go where I tell them to go. But rarely do they pass up an opportunity to let me walk the aisles of a bookstore – Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, is one of my favorites – or gaze at the tinkling splash of falling water, be it the thunderous Niagara Falls or the less noisy Firehole Falls in Yellowstone National Park.

Multnomah Falls just off Interstate 84 outside of Portland, Oregon, is one of my very favorite waterfalls. -- Photo by Kevin Kay.

While books open up the world of reality and imagination to our minds, waterfalls unfold one’s soul to magic. While logic tells us it’s simply water falling from someplace above, it appears to be so much more. I see waterfalls as Mother Nature showing off, the equivalent of a rainbow in the sky.

More importantly, a waterfall’s symphony of water pinging off rocks and into a pool below never fails to calm my spirit. You should envy me if a waterfall’s wonder doesn’t touch you in a similar way, too.

Now here’s 10 of my favorite waterfalls to add to your bucket list.

Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho.

Multnomah Falls, Highway 84, 30 minutes from Portland, Oregon.

Yellowstone Falls, Firehole Falls and Lewis Falls, Yellowstone Falls National Park, Wyoming

Niagara Falls, New York/Canada

Gorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park, Texas

Upper Emerald Pools’ waterfalls, Zion National Park, Utah

St. Mary’s Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana

Natural Falls, Natural Falls State Park, Oklahoma

Bridal Veil Falls, Provo Canyon, Utah

Bridal Veil Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

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