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- South Pacific 2014
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- 2007 World Tour Final Words
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- LATEST TRIP LISTED FIRST
Zion, Kodachrome, Bryce, Capital Reef, Canyonlands, Arches
En route to Zion we stopped at a roadside Navajo Indian artisan stand. A rotund, dark graying
gentleman barely shaven and as jolly as Santa Claus greeted us. Each of the jewelry pieces and pottery were done with such
intricacy. Holding the pottery, I felt as if I held the hands of those who had lovingly created them. We decided to purchase
a simple yet well-crafted, unusual piece. One necklace drew me in made of Hemotite (and I later found out it is a metal that
strengthens and protects the spirit from anxiety and stress). Sale clenched!
|Buffalo Giving Us the Evil Eye
We first stayed outside of Zion in Springdale, a charming town with delightful galleries to browse in, ceramics for purchase
(and we did), gift stores with unusual finds and even a wildlife sanctuary in the middle of the town (right off the main road).
Here we made a donation and were able to feed Buffalo and Elk that are all strolling along the grounds. In another area we gazed for
a long time at a Long Horn Cow bathing her newborn calf (of one week) with her tongue – such a loving sight. We did
have lunch at the restaurant next door and saw Buffalo and Elk being sold on the menu – they assured us that they are not serving
the ‘pets’ from next door. Well, how is one to know?
|Two Elk in Velvet Locking Horns
We arrived in Springdale late in the evening – 8:30 pm – only to discover
we’d just changed into Mountain Time and it was really 9:30 pm. We had to really hustle to find an open restaurant for
our ‘late’ dinner.
One of the galleries really impressed us – David West Gallery. This young man in his late 20’s
had the gumption to open up his own gallery. His work showed a keen eye for detail and light exposure. We bought a poster
from him and Jim enjoyed a lengthy chat about photography. So inspiring!
|From Right, Jim's Sister Diane, Niece Lauren
|Suzan, Jim, Niece Amy, Her Friend Matt
We met Jim’s family for a night of camping at Zion – Jim’s sister, Diane from Crescent City, CA (way up north near Oregon); daughters, Amy and Lauren and
Amy’s boyfriend Matt. We first jumped aboard the shuttle bus for a free 90 minute tour of the park (admiring the looming
pink-red with streams of white mountain formations (world’s largest sandstone formations). In places they resemble ripple
after ripple of ocean waves cut and permanently etched into some form of granite rock – so stunning with the sun lighting
up the peaks.
We went for a hike to see the Narrows yet never quite
got there. At the end of the paved trail – there is a river to cut across (and walking sticks for everyone to use to
navigate with). What one doesn’t realize from the start is one must cross to the other side – walk a bit –
then cross again – and this continues back and forth. We did this for awhile until the water began to rise…..then
we turned around! We returned to camp for Happy Hour (teenagers drank soft drinks while the adults sipped on red wine –
beer for Jim as is the norm). We concluded our short visit together with a Pancake Breakfast – Jim the griddle man (replacing
childhood pancake memories with fun adult ones – for those of you who know the McNeil pancake story)…..
|Virgin River Flowing Through Zion
We enjoyed a bike ride along the Virgin River with the towering sandstone cliffs alongside us. Nature at its finest!
Suzan particularly liked the campground at Zion. A walkway exists connecting one to an Imax Theater (which we indulged in and
thoroughly enjoyed – on Zion. At one time we were climbing right up a mountain face with a climber – talk about exhilarating.)
Afterward we went to a Photography Museum featuring one of the most recognized nature photographers in the world –
Michael Fatali. He captures the spiritual essence of nature and his intent is to share this higher being (God or whomever
you want to call it) via nature’s wonders and glory. He also has a nonprofit to donate photos to grieving and ill people
for their healing. Quite the treat – especially being able to walk to it from our campground!
Pictures Below Are From Kodachrome Basin State Park With Friends Diane and Gary Craig
Kodachrome is whimsical and filled with phallic looking rock structures – felt like
a testosterone haven. So many spires and monoliths appearing to frame castles and palaces from a distance (or to just be…phallic)—nature
carved them over 150 plus million years. Red, pink and white sandstone – intricate in some places – wild and obscure
in others. Quite the playground for kids of all ages. Only thing that detracted from the beauty – intense heat of about
100 degrees without much shade (aside from a bit at our campsites). Our hiking was more like sauntering from any rock shade
we could find to another. At one point though we were rewarded by a family of Great Horned Owls peering at us from above.
The photographers went wild capturing them on the ledge and even in graceful flight.
We joined two of our dear friends Diane and Gary for two nights of camping about
an hour from Bryce Canyon. Diane and Gary used to live in San Diego and are now in Salt
Lake City. They
are dog and cat lovers and between their pets and the ones that they are fostering – it is now a challenge for them
to get away – fortunately they were able to find a caring pet sitter so they could join us. The interesting thing about
hanging out with Diane and Gary – I now had three photographers with me instead of one! They are both exceptional photographers
– like Jim – and have the passion for it as well. Another reason it took us hours to go a couple miles along a
We enjoyed sharing meals at our picnic tables. During one meal Diane offered me a free nutritional
consultation (as she works for Wild Oats) so I carried my bag filled with herbal products to share (along with my ailment
sagas – traveling isn’t always so easy on the body (externally and internally). So enlightening. Our final night
we stayed up very late playing Boggle – lots of fun –except we may have kept up our neighbors (whenever we shook
the playing pieces – quite loud)!
We enjoyed sharing meals at our picnic tables.
During one meal Diane offered me a free nutritional consultation (as she works for Wild Oats) so I carried my bag filled with
herbal products to share (along with my ailment sagas – traveling isn’t always so easy on the body (externally
and internally). So enlightening. Our final night we stayed up very late playing Boggle – lots of fun –except
we may have kept up our neighbors (whenever we shook the playing pieces – quite loud)!
sharing meals at our picnic tables. During one meal Diane offered me a free nutritional consultation (as she works for Wild
Oats) so I carried my bag filled with herbal products to share (along with my ailment sagas – traveling isn’t
always so easy on the body (externally and internally). So enlightening. Our final night we stayed up very late playing Boggle
– lots of fun –except we may have kept up our neighbors (whenever we shook the playing pieces – quite loud)!
tireless Jim set out for a mountain bike ride for his ‘alone time’ after our day of hiking. We had walkie talkies
(just in case – given he was on an unfamiliar trail in 100 degrees of heat). The batteries died and Diane gave me some
loaners and he still did not respond. Diane and I devised a plan to go to the ranger to look for him if he wasn’t back
in about two more hours…..fortunately he jetted around the corner a few minutes later (only to say he was going to
spend some more time to do some photography). It only gave us women more time to ‘catch up.’
is filled with sand and desert life – occasional wild yellow flowers, green trees which even grow out of rock crags
(how?), lizards and rattlers (that we fortunately did not encounter). There is a bird here in abundance that resembles quail
and sounds like a chicken (the adults and loads of babies) scrambled around our campsites (they are in the Partridge family
– pronounced Kirchee (not sure of spelling). Loved to observe these adorable birds.
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What a magical place filled with surreal looking rock spires, monoliths, balancing rocks
and others (called Hoodoos). So fun to guess what the formations are. The legend of the Native tribes was that the rocks are
all people who were turned into stone whenever they did something wrong (sounds like ‘Catholic guilt’) essentially
the whole tribe became stone!
Bryce Canyon reminded me of an evening at Cirque
du Soleil – surprises, gasps, strength, delight, awe, beauty and dazzle. The park wowed both of us and brought out the
child in each one of us – all we wanted to do all day was ‘play.’ Bryce really fires up the imagination
– it is like lying on the grass to observe cloud shapes – guessing what they are. Only thing is to explore this
landscape requires a hike!
We hiked the Fairyland Trail (8 miles), the Navajo, Queen’s Garden and the Rim (so
12 miles by the time we completed it). The hike felt like being inside of a fantasy looking out at all of these spectacular
shapes staggered all over in a rainbow of colors from the mineral deposits – this type of perfection only took 65 million
years to create. Again Mother Nature knows about patience. I hope to learn from this Divine Mother.
As we left we were bid adieu by Prairie dogs in the large meadow – standing up at
attention like Marine Sergeants– we were fortunate to capture their poses.
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We camped in Fruita campground next to an Apricot orchard. They offered a U Pick, U Pay
area so we could climb large ladders to pluck ripened fruit and place them into a plastic bag. We then weighed our fruit –
paying $1.00 per pound and placed our money in an envelope (the honor system). We had such a kick picking our fruit that we
drank Apricot smoothies for days.
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