Archives for posts with tag: United States

The minute I read about an outdoor market being open today, it was immediately declared my day off from writing. I’ve been to a million of these markets over the years and even sold my hand painted shirts and jewelry at functions very similar to this trying to find enough money for food, shelter, clothing and the likes for my daughter and I during my self-employment years. It was always fun meeting people and seeing what others were doing so I jumped at the chance especially knowing I could see some great red rocks in the mix!

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Tuacahn Market sits at the foot of the Amphitheater.

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Flowing Water divides the walkway. Nice toucht!

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Mother Nature’s version of Mount Rushmore!

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Mother Nature’s own carvings.

The layout was very nicely done, not crowded and had some boring stuff and some interesting things as well. Yeah. There were a couple of those venders who said, “My family makes these” but stopped short of “in China.” But, all-in-all, it was so worth the views, meanderings and entertainment!

And, as I was about to turn back toward the car, a Southern accent over the microphone stopped me dead in my tracks. I’d heard the young man singing and thought he was good but it was his story about how he was inspired to write his next song when he was invited to try some homemade peach moonshine! And, seein’ as how I happen to be familiar with that southern nectar, I had to turn back to hear more.

Turns out Tom Bennett hails from Conyers, Georgia, and is a young man who writes and sings a sweet southern blues! If you look closely at the picture of him below, you’ll see he plays a suitcase drum with his left foot, tambourines with his right, has a harmonica around his neck and Lord only knows what else he does up there that I hadn’t witnessed yet. He and his wife travel around doing gigs. He also writes a travel blog. I bought his album, “Tom Bennett One Man Band,” produced by Sweet Salt Records. Check him out at http://www.tombennettonemanband.com!

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Tom Bennett One Man Band!

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If you like the blues, you gotta buy this album!

Still hungry for a decent hamburger, I dug around on my cell Chrome and found a place called “Painted Pony” in historic St. George, Utah. And after driving around and a’ hollerin’ out at folks next to me at redlights about its whereabouts, I finally parked and started walking in the general direction they was a’ pointin’ to. Even that wasn’t easy because the reflections on the glass doors kept me from being able to read their sign but I barged right on through…tired, hungry and fed up. I done the right thang! It was all worth it.

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Painted Pony Menus

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Their Grilled Tenderloin Burger hit the spot and so did their ambiance.

Back to writing again. Had enough of that getting lost stuff for awhile. Now it’s time I got  lost in this book!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

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Got a little stir crazy from sitting too long trying to ignore screaming of electric tools from the guy next to me build the next Taj Mahal or totally refurbish his travel trailer so I hit the road. Why oh why are they allowing this? Guess I’ll have to ask but, in the meantime, I took the road less travelled to Zion, Kanab and Jacob’s Lake to revisit some memories.

Plus, I’d had an unrelenting desire to revisit a bit of my last camping trip with Ava from  June, 2011 this past weekend. We’d left Vegas and headed straight for Zion where she spent a couple of days hiking some marvelous trails while Montana and I explored the few paths which allow pets. Our next stop was the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where Ava was determined to hike down the North Rim, spend the night at Phantom Ranch and hike back up the next day to the South Rim. Let’s just say it was one of our most eventful camping experiences. We spent that night in a cabin at Jacob’s Lake taking a much needed respite. Ava had hiked most of the way down the North Rim when her knees failed. They were going to helicopter her out of the canyon but she had other plans. She hiked back out escorted by Rangers.

I had just closed up the popup to head toward the South Rim when a stranger called me first saying Ava was fine and wanted him to tell me to stay at the North Rim. She was coming back up because of knee issues. Montana and I paced frantically for hours at the top of the trail asking anyone coming toward us if they’d seen her. Too scary to say what I was thinking that whole time but when I saw her, there wasn’t a happier mother around! We got the last available cabin at Jacob’s Lake and regrouped.

I felt compelled to go back. I think it was because we’d left part of us there and I needed to put it back into my soul before I could write again.

So, it was only natural for me to focus on rocks first. They help me get outta my own head. Plus, they’re strong but vulnerable and, I sure love me some rocks and how the Mothers create and scar them!

The force of the Mothers (Nature and Earth) are never more apparent than at Zion.  These mountains show signs of Mother Nature’s etchings on their surfaces as the winds carve their way through the sandstone mountains. She drops water into their crevices, then quickly freezes it over and over again to weaken that link to its parent in order to loosen huge boulders enough to cause them to crash below creating thunder throughout the canyon and land atop of the eroded soil at her feet.

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Approaching Zion from Hurricane

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Etchings from the Mother

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Amphitheater created by Mother’s determination to break free pieces of the mountain.

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Erosion at the base waiting for more from above

Mother Nature blows her seeds in the wind and sprinkles them like a condiment  into those same crevices. Some germinate and grip for the rest of their lives to the precipices of the rock fighting forever the changing wind, rain, snow, freezing and warming temperatures the Mother sends their way. The larger they grow, the larger the crevice becomes and encourages the huge boulder upon which they cling, along with the Mother’s help, to join the other large boulders below.

The light changes here as rapidly as the temperature and weather. I take a picture one minute and in the next, different hues appear. It’s this marvelous discovery by those artists of yesteryear who fell in love with that very dynamic…the effects sunlight which…Vermeer and Impressionists captured in their paintings and focused on by painting the same scene over and over again in varying light (i.e, Monet’s many paintings of Notre Dame). At some point, the word spread far and wide that Carmel, California held some magic light there. I believe that “magic” light is in the desert here in Utah.

See what you think about my drive to and from Jacob’s Lake.

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Trying to capture the Vermillion Cliffs and the White ones too

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Light changes rapidly especially on cloudy days like yesterday

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These three were literally taken only minutes minutes apart while sitting still.

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Money shot!

The other two parts of this adventure were to visit a place Ava and I had always wanted to visit but never found the time to do so…Best Friends Sanctuary (a non-profit) facility in Kanab, Utah of National Geographic’s “Dogtown” TV show notoriety (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/visit-our-utah-sanctuary/places-stay).

For those of you who knew Ava, she rescued cats…and dogs…but mostly cats. Ava rescued   a paraplegic cat, Murmur, from a Vet who was moving and who would no longer keep. Ava took Murmur and lovingly nurtured her until the little animal passed away. Ava  would have loved to have lived and worked at this place (if they could have incorporated opera), so I it was only fitting for me to take their tour while I was in the neighborhood and donate to their wonderful cause in her memory.

Yup. It was hard but it was what Ava wanted me to do yesterday so I did it.

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Best Friends Welcome Center

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Where “Dogtown” was filmed for National Geographic (https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/explore-sanctuary/dogtown/series)

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New Veterinarian facilities

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Cat  World HQ

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One of many outdoor fun for their Sanctuary Cats looking for their fur-ever homes! 

Then, just for me, I had to go back to Rocking V Cafe (http://www.rockingvcafe.com)  for one of their amazing pork chops. I’d had one of their pork chops this past summer and couldn’t stop thinking about it…so I did what a girl had to do…go back and order it again!

Pork chop

YEAH, BABY! Pork chop at Rocking V Cafe! Way to end the day!

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Rocking V Cafe, Kanab, Utah

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Cozy Inside with nice art for sale on the walls!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

A dear friend of Ava’s (my daughter) came up to visit me in Hurricane this weekend and it was perfect…but that’s as it always is when we get together! Yesterday, we just couldn’t find that sweet spot about how to spend our day. Somehow, we couldn’t quite settle on whether to hike Zion (which we’d both already done) or revisit Snow Canyon. As neither of those “felt” right, we headed for the one book store we did want to visit which  happened to be in meander the historic part of Hurricane, Utah! We found lovely items from yesteryear lovely shops and great people, too!

Our first visit was in “Mercantile Gifts and Consignments” on State Street near Main Street. It’s a plethora of wonderful items to try, view, explore and purchase! Their “sister” entity is just around the corner called “Gypsy Emporium.” We just had to go in there! I’m so glad we did because I met a young kindred spirit who works there, Sarah Jane! Don’t forget our pinky swear!

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Mercantile Gifts & Consignments on State Street. It’ a great place to explore!

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GYPSY EMPORIUM just around the corner from Mercantile!

 

And found the Hurricane Pioneer Museum where we met this lovely man who had been the voice of some interesting early cartoon characters! His ancestors were part of this towns beginnings and is well versed in its history.

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HURRICANE PIONEER MUSEUM

Our new friend from Gypsy Emporium recommended Main Street Cafe for our lunch and I’m so happy she did! Thanks, Sarah Jane!

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MAIN STREET CAFE on Main Street! Go Figure! Great food!

And along the way, who would have thought we would come across such a magnificent display of roses trailing along the sidewalk of one of the first houses built in Hurricane in 1906? We stuck our noses in every single one of those beautiful roses! I think we were responsible for cross-pollinating some of them!

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Roses in the desert? Yup!

Our new friend at the Pioneer Museum had told us to go see where the canal was built to bring the water to the newly formed town of Hurricane. We decided it might be fun to drive down that main road a little farther and look what we found…and, yes, it did involve a u-turn!

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Convergence Overlook! Several Creeks come together here. It looks like a great hike but not on this day!

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Beautiful canyon and mountain views!

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And, look at those rocks!

We had such a great time making u-turns to find those “right” spots to explore whether it was a shop, canyon or food! I highly recommend finding this historic area and playing there for the day!

Happy Trails…until we meet again.

It’s the wonderment of Mother Earth and her ability to expand and contract in all sorts of ways which takes my breath away. And, last night when I decided I needed to get out and hike to get a fresh perspective and to also get out of this 16-foot trailer for the whole day, the only place I wanted to see was the place I picked to stay…my favorite volcanic site, Snow Canyon State Park. Even though it’s a small park, I never get bored seeing its geologic fabulousness.

I really can’t add to the adventure much but will explain a little under each photo, but, other than that, words still escape me. I’m breathless. Swept away by its beauty and power. Enjoy.

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If you’re interested in the volcanic history of this place (from 27,000 years ago), then read this.

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Lava rocks are sprinkled like peppercorns all over this landscape.

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Views are too majestic and regal to reduce to words. It’s so very quiet here.

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Layers of Petrified Sand Dunes of all colors!

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Petrified Sand Dunes

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Lava rock capped petrified sand dunes.

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Closer look of Lava rock capped petrified dunes.

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Layers of petrified dunes eroded away by wind and rain.

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Hiked up to see the Pioneer Names Trail.

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Pioneer Names Trail takes you to see where pioneers wrote their names & date in axle grease dating back to 1881!

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Hiked next to Jenny’s Canyon.

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Jenny’s Canyon

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Had to go back, of course, to the Snow Canyon Overlook. This was to the left of where I was standing.

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Yep. Had to take another pic of it. I couldn’t delete one!

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Got a decent selfie of my back overlooking the overlook without getting vertigo. It only took about 7 tries!

Now, back to work.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

WOW! I left Green River, Utah at 9:30 AM today headed West on I-70 to drive 237 miles which, under normal driving, would have taken just a little over three (3) hours with the speed limits generally ranging from 75-80 MPH past the major inclines.

I did decide as I took off from Green River that I’d take the time to turn off on “Scenic Views” if and when I saw something interesting. The name “Black Dragon Canyon” pulled me right in. I didn’t have the time or inclination to hike the trail to see the drawing but if you Google the name, you’ll see an interesting pictograph painted on the walls of the canyon by ancient ones of what looks to be a flying dragon, which, by the way, isn’t black! The view, however, was marvelous!

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Now, go back in time a couple of days to recall that horrific 40-60 MPH wind gusts I faced going through Denver toward Boulder? Well, I guess somebody upstairs wanted to prepare me for today because it took me 6 hours to drive that 3 hour distance because of that same situation except include 8000′-foot elevation mountains (up and down), dust flying from undeveloped prairies and NO gas stations for a hundred miles on a tank that’s only gave me 7-8 MPG today! The good news is that the only cows I saw were in holding pins and not in front of me in cattle trailers!

After driving almost a hundred miles without the whiff of a gas station, I broke my normal rule of easy on/off gas stations at the exits and decided to exit at Emery, Utah  as the next town was 35 miles away. It was one of those gut instinct moments because only after exiting the expressway was there a sign that read “Next Gas 35 Miles.” Needless to say, I gladly drove the 24 miles roundtrip to get to the sleepy little one-gas-pump (literally) town to fill up.  I would have been so screwed if I hadn’t!  All these years of driving the back roads (and especially this summer’s adventures in Canada) reinforced my instincts to fill up at every chance.

The few times the winds weren’t beating me up, I was able to catch a few shots that were so magnificent that I just had to try and capture some of the wonderment of this region. It feels like “home” to me except for all the winds!

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I finally made it to my next stop for the night glad I booked in advance because all these RV parks fill up quickly! I need the rest from those blowin’ winds. I got this baby anchored down for the night which is something I don’t normally do on hit-and-run stays. I don’t normally mind being rocked to sleep but I’ve had enough of that bucking bronco rodeo for today! I need a trophy that reads, “Buckin’ Bronco Road Warrior Rodeo Champion!”

So, Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Every inch of this trip has been absolutely incredible… better than even MY wildest dreams! I’ve been blessed with new kindred spirit chirrens and friends at every turn and  I feel like I’m flying and it feels GREAT!

We headed for Nevada City and its twin Virginia City, Montana this morning as they are   places I always wanted to visit but never made could make it there. This year…it WAS going to happen!

The Old West towns of Virginia City and Nevada City sprung up in the mid-1800 as gold rush boom towns which, like most, petered out after the gold stopped flowing. After years of abandonment, it was the Boveys who took Nevada City under their wings to restore. And, as a cowgirl at heart, I wanted to immerse myself in the history of these towns. What we ended up doing was meeting some truly incredible people as we meandered through these “frozen-in-time-towns.”

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IDAHO just south of Montana

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These hills looked like velvet!

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Rocks, baby!

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They looked like sheep scattered on the mountains!

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NEVADA CITY & VIRGINIA CITY OR BUST!

NEVADA CITY, MONTANA:

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Railroad cars from that time

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This passenger car looked kinda spooky!

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Frozen in time for sure!

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Old soda fountain

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VIRGINIA CITY, MONTANA:

Bale of Hay Saloon touts itself as being the oldest watering hole in the US! We met new friends here (Hi guys!) and told tales for hours! It was great fun! I think I’m in love with this town!

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VIRGINIA CITY: BALE OF HAY SALOON…OUR FIRST STOP!

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Inside  the Bale of Hay Saloon

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Telephone company!

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Inside Telephone Company

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Not made for looks! Made for warmth!

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Yeah! Cowgirl Heaven!

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New chirred! Evelyn Schmelling–psychic poet. Welcome aboard!

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I asked her to write a poem for me. This made all three of us cry. It was definitely from Ava. Evelyn didn’t know about Ava at the time she wrote it! Yup. Got me another one!

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Way to top off our visit was with this sign! Loved it!

And, if today hadn’t already been the most outstanding adventure so far…for me…EVER, Jenni and I saw a rainbow around the setting sun! I’m so glad she was with me to see it and capture the best picture of it possible with her phone camera. If you look closely, you’ll see two layers of color above the mountain. My camera couldn’t even come close. We were both in shock and awe of this Post Script to our day and the prelude of our tomorrows hiking at Glacier National Park!

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Tomorrows? Three days of exploring and hiking Glacier National Park! The bitter sweet part of these next days is how wonderful it is to have my girl, Jenni, experience it with me but the other is that she goes home as I head toward Canada. “Healing road” was the name of the album I bought in Taos. And that it has been for all of us who venture out to find love in our hearts for our great country and the wonderment of its backroads!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana in Montana at Glacier National Park 6/2016:

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I hope these wet your whistle enough to get you out on our country’s backroads to find me some more treasures to discover!

Here’s one of my top two…Flaming Gorge, Utah. The turn off to Flaming Gorge overlook is at the Red Canyon Lodge marker. This is where Montana and I stayed in one of their cabins last year with the “not much snow” (by their measurements) of six inches! It was cozy and I’ll come back  for sure!

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RED CANYON LODGE

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VIEW BEHIND RED CANYON LODGE

This is what awaits you when you drive past the Lodge and boy is it worth it! Majestic!

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FLAMING GORGE (GREEN RIVER) TO LEFT

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SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS PEEPING OVER THE GORGE

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ME HOLDING ON FOR DEAR LIFE!

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FLAMING GORGE UPSTREAM (TO RIGHT)

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PERSPECTIVE: GORGE IS 4000′ WIDE & 1700′ DEEP. THESE TREES WERE ON A LEDGE JUST ABOUT 2O’ DOWN FROM ME. (STRAIGHT DOWN)

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GOING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN 

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SHEEP CREEK GEOLOGICAL TURNOUT IS A MUST!

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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SHEEP CREEK

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AND MORE SHEEP CREEK

We took our time through the park driving the Sheep Creek Geological turn out (you must look closely for the sign) because I just gotta have my rock fix! Awesomeness!

We grabbed a late lunch in Green River, Utah and headed for Idaho for the night. Of course we took the back roads to Pocatello, Idaho and it’s a road worth taking again. Who knew Idaho was that lush with green pastures, cattle, horses, goats, sheep and huge ranches? Too dark for any of my pictures to turn out but it was magnificent.

Tomorrow? Virginia City, Ovando and, finally,Missoula where my husband lives…COSTCO! We gotta get more water and healthy snacks for hiking Glacier National for three days!

HAPPY TAILS, TAILS OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

Montana with me last year at Flaming Gorge with her happy tail! Dang, I sure miss that crazy lil mutt!

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There’s no greater thrill to me than to have someone as special as my daughter’s dearest friend with me on this healing journey. She has been with me on this adventure of pain, sorrow, grief, recovery and healing now for 5+ years. I love her dearly and our bond of friendship, understanding and trust grows as we help each other find peace with Ava’s decision to leave this planet. Thank you, Ava, for giving Jenni and I each other to share these most intimate of grief moments with each other and to help pull each other out of the mire.

For me, I always felt traveling was an important part of my retirement years; however, after Ava’s passing, I couldn’t even leave my house to get groceries until last year when I forced myself to go West to visit my favorite people and places again. I’d promised Jenni I’d take her on a trip to see the redwood forest where God lives and we did that very thing last year. This year, I’d promised to take her to all my favorite National Parks with the best for last…Flaming Gorge, WY and Glacier National Park, MT. and that’s exactly what we’re doing and loving every second of the backroads drive!

Today, we started at Bryce Canyon (not one of my favorites) because it’s not far from where Jenni lives and she needed to see what beauty was in her own back yard.

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Rainbow Overlook (last stop)

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Great geologic anomalies unique to Bryce

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Caves?

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Depth of the view is breathtaking

Then came the heart pounding part for me. I was most excited to share this with her just knowing she was going to feel the presence of a higher power and glory in these backroads headed for Flaming Gorge through Ashley National Forest and beyond where the roads continuously seem to disappear and reappear magically with every turn; where terrain, vegetation and geologic wonderment are around every bend in the road.

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Roads appear to disappear

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And come back with a BANG!

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Then leave again

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Wonderful little towns with surprises like this family rending a caboose for a vacation in the middle of nowhere!

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Then changes

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Jenni & I were so excited to find this view around the bend!

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Pretty magnificent!

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Then back again!

Tomorrow? Flaming Gorge, of course, and I can’t wait! It’s in my top two! I’m saving the best for last!

HAPPY TAILS (Montana is certainly with us on this trip), TALES OR TRAILS!

 

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Montana sure enjoyed being in the mountains! 

We cranked up our day by visiting the Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in North America. The Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo have been welcoming visitors for over a thousand years to experience their existence which has changed little in their high desert village. (www.taospueblo.com)

Our guide was a volunteer who is going to college studying environmental engineering and was well steeped in his heritage and village.

I’ll apologize right off for these pictures not being the best I’ve taken but I’m working with a brand new camera and still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do. What looks good after I review and modify doesn’t always translate the same here on WordPress. Go figure!

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This wall used to be much higher with sentries guarding the village.

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All of the village buildings are made from mud bricks made from the local dirt, straw and water which are left to dry in the sun. Once building is constructed, a thick mud coating is put over it all, including the mud brick roofs.

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Main buildings of the village.

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What happens when you don’t continue to coat the bricks in mud to protect them from inclement weather.

Our next stop was the famous Ghost Ranch just outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico. A very famous (and infamous) woman artist by the name of Georgia O’Keeffe was living in New York City in the early 1930’s when she heard of a place in New Mexico which was magnificent. Other friends had traveled there and she packed up and went.

She hired a driver to take her to meet the owner of Ghost Ranch, a woman rancher who rented out rooms to visitors, and was told there was only one room available for one night. Georgia O’Keeffe had already fallen in love with sights, sounds and smells of this majestic region and, upon being returned by her driver to Abiquiu, promptly borrowed a car and drove herself back to Ghost Ranch (alone) over the rough roads.

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View on the way to Ghost Ranch from Abiquiu

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Rustic log cabin inhabited by Georgia O’Keeffe when visiting the area.

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The view just outside the cabin.

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View inside the cabin.

Their museums include local art and history as well as a wonderful Paleozoic area of fossils found on the ranch.

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Ancient crocodile

As art was the heart and soul of Georgia O’Keeffe, it is only fitting that Ghost Ranch has a wonderful exhibit of both ancient art (pottery) and current works.

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My favorite, of course, was this horse.

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The last adventure my sister had planned for us was a hike to an area she had visited over a decade ago where water had once been abundant. Sadly no water was found this time but, being a rock-aholics we are, we were saddened by the waters absence but loved being outside with the generous herbal smells of the natural flora and fauna of the area (sage, juniper trees, wild flowers, cacti, etc.) and the vastness of the cliffs, mountains and rock formations.

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Majestic!

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What are the indentations on this boulder?

And, last but not least, ME!

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Oh yeah, and those crazy cloud formations we saw on our way to Santa Fe from Ghost Ranch. My sister said the white swirls below the clouds was the rain evaporating before it had a chance to hit the ground.

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Pretty cool stuff on this leg of our trip. We’re actually going to be in one place for TWO WHOLE DAYS! Santa Fe is ours and it’ll never be the same!

HAPPY TAILS, TRAILS OR TALES!