Monday, November 28, 2011

Zion National Park

Victoria, the goddaughter who lived with me during high school, just turned 21.

Her birth mother and I cooked up a lovely surprise - a trip to Zion . . . and MORE.

First we headed to Pah Tempe Hot Springs, taking her sister Brianna along with us.

Notice anything different about Miss Vic?

Her MANE is no more. About 22 inches of tresses will soon appear on a luscious wig.

The two sisters fell in love with Pah Tempe.

The piping hot water rises from spots underneath the river. I was searching for the warm zones.

In the spring, Kelty and I hit these hot springs on our way down to see litte Grace GINGER.

The light was different in April. The experience was equally DIVINE.

This time around, I received an education in planking.

It's a sport.

1. You 'plank' in a weird place. 2. You snap a photo 3. You post it online.

Maybe YOU knew all about it. I certainly didn't.

It's just one of many reasons I love hanging out with young people.

The next morning, we visited Fae who lives just outside of Zion National Park.

Here we are, just outside her classy desert home.

Victoria received a birthday massage from Fae.

Ninety minutes of bliss.

Meanwhile, Bree and I drank tall glasses of Fae's fresh squeezed pomegranate juice
and took in the sun on her deck, reading her eclectic collection of magazines.

Then we got a completely unexpected treat . . .

Fae had laid out sublime spread.

Even a MEAL is an ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE when Fae creates it.

THIS is the one link that I'm really going to plug, because it shows you more of Fae's unique world. Go there.

That afternoon we hiked the riverside trail.

We were there at sunset when the river turns to gold.

Water seeps from the cliffs and ferns flourish. So incongruent to see them in a desert clime.

We also marveled at the pines. They seem to be growing right out the rock. What do you think?

That night, we joined Fae for dinner at Oscars Cafe - a restaurant I'd recommend if you're headed that way.

Then we went back to Fae's place and witnessed the drama of the night sky from her hot tub.
It's DARK in the chaparral and that makes for incredible star gazing.

I adore Fae.

Taken in November 2009 @ Oscars

The next day, we headed out to the trailhead for Angel's Landing. It is NOT the hike for the faint-hearted.

But these gals were game.

The three of us hiked together for the first 30 minutes.

Then the young, strong and courageous (fool hearty?) gals continued up the trail without me.

I contentedly went off to spot deer and poke around Springdale, the town that's just outside the park.

When the girls and I met up, they exclaimed "Good thing you didn't keep going!"

I agreed. The important thing: they LOVED it.

Our last grand experience was to LEAVE the park via the Mount Carmel Highway.

Built in the late 1920s, it was an engineering feat costing $508,000 back then.

The highway takes you WAY, WAY UP the side of a rock cliff.

Here's the view from the edge of the road:

Photo courtesy of East Zion Tourism Council.

There are a series of tunnels. The first one is right up on the wall of a huge cliff.
Yes. There's a road INSIDE the rock face shown in this photo:

Just THINK, they were built without modern excavation equipment.

One bit of serendipity was coming across these Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.

Can you see the fellar with the large curved horns?

Wikipedia says those horns can weigh up to 30 pounds!

The final bonus was the sunset on the drive home.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving and More

My niece Robyn needed a new location for a photo shoot with some clients.

She offered me dinner if I could escort her to THIS PLACE.

However, upon arriving at the bast of the mountain, we were greeted with a padlocked gate and a sign --

So we boogied up a different side canyon where there was a delightful trail running next to a river.

Fallen leaves were scattered along our way.

Winter is definitely approaching.

Yet, around a bend, there are a few trees with a dashes of color,

and deep red shrubbery lining the river.

Thanksgiving came once again. My brother and sister were playfully FIGHTING over me.
That was way cool.
For years and years and more years, I hosted enormous crowds of family and friends for Thanksgiving.
This year, it was gratifying to be the honored guest who showed up with a couple of side dishes and a smile.

Here's another Thanksgiving worth remembering . . .

My Kelty . . . just a babe.

My Leah . . . brimming with pixie charm.

And, finally, my Arian with his cousin Ross.

This shot of the hugging cousins really touches my heart. The truth is, they really consider each other to be brothers. As they grew up, they skied and mountain biked and camped together. They even chose each other as college roommates. Their wives had two daughters and one son. Their first babies were born within a month of each other. So were their second babies. So were their third ones. Do the brother-cousins plan these things out?

Anyhow, that Thanksgiving hug illustrated a relationship that would hold strong for over three decades.

Heck! They even managed to talk their wives into a 15 mile backpacking trip with their first babes along for the ride. (They are good talkers.)

Don't you just love Arian's hat hair?

Anyhow, that Thanksgiving hug illustrated a relationship that would hold strong for over three decades.

This THANKSGIVING morning, I saw
a certain little bush for the 1000th time,
and high time I shared it with those of us who are facing The Dark Season.

It brightly greets me every time I go from the house to our detached garage.

All my trees have lost their leaves. But this little bush blazes on, crowned with maroon-colored berries!

We've had two snowstorms and yet there's ONE little plant which refuses to acknowledge winter.

I am thankful that my life is graced with such awe-inspiring beauty.

(AND,in case you haven't noticed, I deeply love where I live.)

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