Archives for posts with tag: Zion

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!

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Zion is one of my favorite national parks but I think that this time, after seeing it no less than 6 times, I’ve had my fix. It’s majestic, entertaining, whirlwind of rock-ology to satisfy any amateur or professional geologist with the whittled and whirled carvings wind and  water have done to the different sandstones in both checkerboard and dancing swirls across the sides of mountains. There’s also the Virgin River which flows through Zion with it’s flash flooding impact on vulnerable boulders, trees, river banks and visitors, adding different elements such as erosion, landslides and chaos.

Do’s & Don’ts: I highly recommend not coming in the heat of the summer. It was hotter than hot (107 may not sound so bad but add altitude and dehydration and you won’t like it). Don’t wear flip flops or open toed shoes if walking in the sand in this heat is what you plan to do because your feet will be burned like fire. Don’t forget food and water. Don’t bring children under 25. I saw way too many miserable babies with equally miserable parents with condo’s attached to their backs to carry the little ones. Don’t rely on cellphone service for communication with family members if you aren’t at a lodge, Visitors Center or a neighboring town.

Do bring comfortable walking clothes and shoes. Do take the Zion Shuttle from the Visiter’s Center. Get to the park early to get a parking space for under $20.00. Do take your time driving through and read up before going because this is really a cool place to visit but knowledge about the park will help you enjoy it even more.

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Driving into Zion from St. George, Utah

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The topography is constantly changing.

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When Jenni and I took the Shuttle, she decided to jump off to take on the mighty Angel Falls hike up (and I mean UP) a switchback trail to see what she could see. I, however, took the low road and opted for a casual stroll by the river, aptly named “Riverwalk.” Neither was easy in 107 degree heat with 6000 foot elevations. We came back exhausted, dirty and thirsty but very happy!

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Riverwalk by Virgin River

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Riverwalk trail has much to see and it’s easy hiking with right clothes and shoes…which I did not have on!

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more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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HUH? A herd of Mountain Goats? Really?

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Leaving Zion going toward Kanab, Utah

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And there it is! The money shot!

As we left Zion, we felt we must be in the middle of nowhere because cell service wasn’t great and neither was the internet but some people who live here think it’s in the middle of everywhere! I kinda think they might be right because Kanab, Utah is East of Zion, South of Bryce and North of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and I’d swear that when Ava and I came through here in 2011, it wasn’t this hot nor was it this as developed!

Kanab is a quaint town bursting at the seams. Big chain hotels are popping up everywhere here, but the coolest place to stay is The Parry Lodge (“where all the movie stars stay”). It’s clean, reasonable, comfortable and includes a breakfast buffet! Can’t beat that, now can ya’!

The other charming element of this town is “The Rocking V Cafe” owned, operated by a most engaging and entertaining proprietor by the name of Victor Cooper. He goes around from table-to-table making sure everybody is happy and full. Looks like he enjoys his work! (rockingvcafe.com)

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Tomorrow? Bryce Canyon drive-thru and haul a$$ to Vernal, Utah to see Dinosaur National Park and hit my very favorite Flaming Gorge, Wyoming the next day. Cowboy country coming up, y’all! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

I’ve always loved seeing how the roads to/from destinations take on a different perspective much like how the Impressionists studied the same view in different light. Monet must have studied, drawn, painted Notre Dame 50 times for many hours to get the impact of the change in color and depth perception. That’s how I feel as I drive south on the I-15 to LA and back again. Wow! How the topography changes!

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North I-15 toward Vegas Baby

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North I-15 closer to Vegas Baby

The good news about my trip from LA back to Vegas Baby is that I, nor my car or TomTom, were abducted. It was smooth sailing out of town but I’ve left my heart. It’s okay, though, because it was never mine but belongs/belonged to others. JD has my heart and I’m so blessed to have his mama and daddy in my life for them to give me such a gift.

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JD – my beautiful, old soul, step-grandson (although I claim him as my grandson)

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JD & me. Wow. I miss him so much! And, yes, I’m very tired even after lots of sleep and relaxation. I guess I’ll get caught up when I’m home and that’s okay by me!

My beautiful, talented daughter, Ava, continues to bring new Chirrens to me. I’d met Kev in a Messenger long-distance way through Ava’s friend, Elisa Furr, who I visited recently in Branson doing her Celine Tribute performance at the Legends in Concert. Kev had a great deal to say to me that night from Ava. No great surprise to me, Elisa or anyone else who knows how vocal she’s been these last five years!

As Kev lives between LA and Vegas Baby, we’d planned a real visit. Boy oh boy! What a visit! He walked in with confirmation messages from Ava that only a very few of us know about…like the name I gave her at birth, that she and Mom called themselves the  “September Girls” because of their birthdays being in that month, that Edwin (my dad), Carl and others were all there in a great big family reunion!

Ava told him to ask about the rocks. I said I was a rock-aholic and Mom, Carl, Ava and I had always collected rocks. But Kev said she was now telling him about a stick or pole that stood upright in the rocks and it hit me! The Zen Memory Garden I built for Ava!

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Focal Point is the Heart-of-Pine standing tall with the help of the rocks Carl brought back from his mine 45 years ago.

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Kev said the “Pole” pointed toward a star. Yes it does! Sirius…the star which got my attention by tapping out morse code like signals to me each night that first year!

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Kev asked about the “beach” and shells. Well to the left of the triangle are the shells Mom, Carl, Ava and I had collected over many years of going to our favorite Florida beach.

I hauled no less that 400 pounds of sand and 600 pounds of pebbles up the hill to create this in her memory. All the pebbles scattered in her garden represent the love she has for others and they have for her. The space in the sand triangle is the time she and I had…way too short but amazing and precious forever.

And when I thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, Kev says, “Carl says, ‘I’m there too!'” Yes! Carl has a memory garden as well. Kev says, “It’s below Ava’s…like down a hill.” Yep! Nailed it again! It sits just below her garden down a the hill to his left just like in the last picture taken of us three.

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The last picture taken of the three of us in March, 1984. Twenty-eight years later, Ava was gone too in the same month this was taken.

But it’s all good because Christ has told us that (paraphrased) “in my Father’s house, there are many rooms, if it were not so, I’d tell you.” We’re not to know everything because if we were, we’d know more than just 10% of the brains function or more than 3% about DNA or the miracles of two cells joining to form children or pets.

I believe Mother Earth is a living, breathing entity which must be respected. When she exhales, we get volcano;, when she inhales, we get earthquakes; when she gets hot flashes, we get rising temperatures (not to discount our own donations to this very real reality). How do I know? Because if you study geology, history (ancient and more recent), you can’t help but see the truth. Plus, God has told us so. Every thing is precious.

Next, you may ask? Canyons and cowboys, oh yeah! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS! YOUR PICK!