This Land of Ours (Part 2)

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After spending the morning at Arches (which is on the east side of Utah), we traveled across the state (340ish miles) to explore Zion National Park. As we were driving an unusual looking cloud appeared on the horizon.

This cloud was actually a snow storm.

Soon the ground was covered, but it didn’t stick to the road.

Eventually, we made it to our hotel. A good night’s rest was just what we needed before hiking the next day.

We stayed in St. George, so we had about an hour drive to get to the park. Everyone warned us how busy the park gets, so we arrived shortly after eight. We were able to find a parking place easily. After a short visit with a ranger, we had a plan of several short, easy hikes for our adventures.

Zion is rather unusual because the main road is only accessible by a shuttle bus. This bus is like a hop-on-hop-off bus stopping a places near trails. We decided to ride all the way to the end and work our way back towards the car. It takes about forty-five minutes to reach the end.

These canyon walls make one feel so small.

First hike was Riverside Walk (2.2 miles round trip). Canyon walls tower above as you follow the Virgin River meandering through this canyon. Weeping walls create hanging gardens.

Plants grow out of the cracks in the rock walls. Sadly, nothing was blooming when we were there.

 

Walking along the Virgin River. Seems more like a creek here.

A few interesting views of nature along the walk.

When you get to the end of the path, you don’t have to stop, but you have to walk in the water upstream. Of course you have to be outfitted with the right clothes: waterproof shoes, some kind of waterproof pants, and a large walking stick. To get to the Narrows, you need to allow six hours of hiking. Walking in freezing cold water was not high on my “must do” list. However, my husband now has a burning desire to do this hike.

Someone is wishing he could go further upstream.

On the return trip, we walked along the sandy edge of the river. Suddenly, a mule deer crossed the river oblivious of us.

Mule deer nibbling on new leaves for a snack.

Before starting the next hike we sat at a picnic table and devoured our snacks and drank a bottle of water in our backpacks.

This is my view while having my snacks or should I say lunch? Not bad, right?

After a few missteps, we finally found the start of the Grotto Trail (1 mile), which ends at the Zion Lodge. This led us to the Lower Emerald Pool trail (1.2 miles). It was a nice paved path, but it was a gradual uphill walk. I have to admit, I was starting to tire.

The easy section ends with a walk behind a small waterfall.

Guess the green water is why they call this the Emerald Pool walk.

After this walk, I announced I was getting worn out and I could feel some blisters forming on my big toe and heel. It was time to head back to the hotel for a shower and relax before dinner. Another day of great weather and beautiful sights.

A shower was calling my name, but when we got to the hotel, the front desk announced the water was off and they hoped it would be back on soon. I decided to wait for the water in the spa pool. That felt wonderful, however, the water was off another two hours. That was aggravating. Of course with the water off, there was no hot water for a while. Eventually, we were able to get showers and go out for dinner. Our adventures in national parks was over for this trip. Wonder where we will go next?

 

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This Land of Ours (Part 1)

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

The two items above (national parks pass and new hiking shoes) have kept me away from my computer and slicing for the last two weeks. Here’s where I’ve been . . .

An open two weeks from work and appointments meant we had some time to head west to visit our son and his family. Instead of zipping out and back, we decided to put that national parks pass to work before our visit. Arches and Zion (both in Utah) were the parks selected for this trip.

Shortly after lunch, we entered Arches, ready to stretch our legs from driving. Incredible rock formations had us speechless as we drove up the switch back road. I cannot imagine the reactions of the early explorers who first laid eyes on this land. These rocks were massive!

Top left is Balanced Rock (total height is 128 feet, rock on top is 55 feet). The top right is Courthouse Towers. Bottom left is Three Gossips close up, then on the right it is in the distance.

Delicate Arch was the first hike. It was listed as challenging. I had my doubts about my ability, but we set off. Halfway into it, I had to give up. It was too steep for me, but I sent my husband on. I slowly made it back to the car. While waiting, I took the map of the hikes and arches and created a plan for the rest of the day and the next morning.

Here are some of the arches .

Top left: Delicate Arch taken by my husband as he fought 50 mph winds. Top right: Landscape Arch, just over 300 feet long, it is the second longest span in the world. Middle right: North Window Arch Bottom left: Turret Arch Bottom right: Double Arch

The Fiery Furnace

A massive wall of rock called The Fiery Furnace is on the left, then turn slightly right and you see the field on the inset picture at the bottom.

Sand Dune Arch

To get to this arch, you have to walk through deep sand and a narrow crevice (pictured on the bottom left).

As we were leaving the park, something caught our attention. We had to turn around to get a closer look. Would you do this? I would not!

Thanks to the zoom on the camera, we could see this ant fellow climbing this rock.

What a fantastic park! I know there were arches we didn’t get to this time, but I bet we will be back. Next week: Zion National Park.

 

Thoughts of a Reader

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It’s just a book.

Stop thinking about it.

I can’t. 

It’s not real.

But it feels real.

Don’t dwell on it.

I can’t help it.

I can’t stop thinking about 

Citra,

Rowan,

and all the Scythes.

You need to read something else.

This is troubling you.

I need to know what happens!

Arghhhh! The third book doesn’t come out until 2019!

I read the premise of the book. I didn’t think it was the book for me. The story line sounded morbid, so I don’t know what possessed me to request it from the library. I thought I’d read a little and discover it wasn’t my cup of tea, so I could abandon it. That didn’t happen. I continued to read, I needed to find out what happened.  I consumed that book in a few days. The book is Scythes by Neal Shusterman. Hungry for more I returned to the library to find I was fourth in line for requesting Thunderhead. Impatiently I waited for other readers to finish. Now I have it. This book will be finished soon. The characters will have to live in my memory until The Toll is published in 2019.

What’s Going On?

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Since April is the month of poetry, I will try to create a poem to share my slice.

March 31,

I leave my link,

from my computer.

It does not appear!

I leave a comment

on a WordPress blog,

It does not appear.

I leave a comment

on a Blogspot post,

It appears.

What’s going on?

 

On my iPad,

I leave my link,

again,

and again.

It does not appear.

What is going on?

New plan,

use library’s computer.

Check for my link.

Yes, it’s there!

Leave a comment,

It doesn’t appear!

Email said link was in spam.

Now comments are marked as spam.

What’s going on?

Akismet can’t explain

What’s going on,

But they can fix it.

Thank you Akismet.

Did I rile the spam folder with my post?

 

 

 

In March

In March, the earth slowly begins the warming process to encourage plants. Sometimes that is a cruel trick.

In March, the weather is unpredictable. One day it might be warm and sunny, but overnight winds bring snow to blanket the earth.

In March, clocks spring forward an hour. An hour lost takes its toll on a body.

In March, the world exclaims, “I’m Irish!” for a day. Many dress in green devouring corned beef and cabbage.

In March, the trees hide no secrets, revealing broken limbs and nesting places.

Slowly, the buds of new growth appear. A few leaves unfurl,

 

 

brilliant blossoms appear.

In March, a spring’s gate opens wide to welcome the green back from its winter’s rest. Bulbs planted in fall push dirt aside to claim their space.

In March, animals shake slumber of hibernation off. Birds flit, collecting bits of grass, twigs, strings for new nests.

In March, people write more every day to meet a challenge. Writing friends, old and new, share a slice of their life. Writers play with words to preserve a thought or perhaps a moment observed.

In March, the world grows a little bit smaller because of the Slice of Life Challenge. Congratulations to all who have written this month.

Perhaps you recognized my mentor text for this post, In November by Cynthia Rylant

5 Things to Do More Often

I mentioned to my husband I was working on this post. I started to ask him if he had any suggestions, when he began to smirk. I could see a glint in his eye. I decided not to ask for any suggestions. His list and my list would not be the same.

I imagine his list would say:

  1. Ride your bike more.
  2. Walk three miles every day.
  3.  Organize  your office.
  4. Dust your office.
  5. Put everything back in its place immediately after using said item.

My list, on the other hand,  says:

  1. Build in time to go out with friends more often. Coffee, lunch, happy hour, dinner are all options I need to remember for get-togethers with friends. Life gets busy and I get stuck in the rut of being home.
  2. Clear my desk. Stacks of papers and books seem to grow and grow. I need to find a place for each.
  3. See more movies. I love those recliner seats in movie theaters. When I can get to the first showing of the day, it is not only cheaper, but there are fewer people. I just forget that is an option for my day.
  4. Take my mom out for lunch. I try to savor every bit of time I can with my mom. She’s 87 and seems more frail every year. We need to spend quality time together, just chatting about her life or my life in general.
  5. Sit, sip, and savor a lovely glass of wine before dinner. Doesn’t that sound good? Usually I am so busy preparing dinner, I don’t have time to enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. Often when I have a guest for dinner, they sit at the counter, sip wine and visit with me while I’m finishing up preparations. I need to try this out too.

There you have it, my five things to do more often. Who knows, I might even do a few from my husband’s list too. 🙂

Counting Commercials

Every day, since March 17, I ride a bike on a trainer for thirty l o n g minutes. I am trying to get back into a routine of some deliberate exercise that disappeared for about six months.

Every morning, when I open my eyes, a thought passes through my mind. You should get dressed and on the bike. Get it over and done. If I wait a moment, another thought leaps to the front. You should make your coffee and drink it before you ride the bike. I decide to go with that last thought.

I make the coffee, relax into the couch reading my iPad, thoroughly enjoying my morning beverage. Usually, there’s no real hurry. I have a mental timetable of when to climb onto the bike to begin the endless pedaling. I want to be finished with this by 8:30 a.m.

For some odd reason, I love to watch the intro of the Today Show. They do quick snippets of the latest news. Then they launch into the more in-depth story. I continue to watch, finishing up my coffee. Once the coffee is gone, I need to move onto the bike. Perhaps this is about 7:30.

Big mistake!

I am pedaling away watching the show, but what’s this? Commercial after commercial after commercial. I counted eleven different commercials before they returned to the show! Then they chatted with someone for about five minutes (that may be stretching the time) followed by another round of commercials! By then, they broke away to the local station for the next ten minutes. My time was up on the bike, but I was appalled at how many commercials I had to endure. It’s already torture to sit and pedal, but that was adding insult to injury.

The next morning, I didn’t languish in bed a few extra minutes. I got up, had my coffee, and got on the bike before seven. Do you know how many commercials were in the first twenty minutes of the show? NONE! I guess the second half hour has to make the money. Guess what my new plan is now.

I will attempt to be up and on the bike before seven, because if I’m not, I know I will pay for it after 7:30. I just don’t enjoy pedaling through commercials. I bet that didn’t surprise you.