The Best Things in Life…….

The bests things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way ~ Anonymous

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“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.” ~ John Muir

As a kid, I had so much fun spending time outdoors with my family – traveling, camping, and hiking. I hope my grandson will look back on this time with fondness and remember hearing the waterfall sing.

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Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experiences. ~ Paulo Coelho

Spending the day at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point, OR. The kids loved holding the gator……my daughter looks a little worried. My brave babies.

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“Rivers know this:  There is no hurry. We shall get there some day” ~ A.A. Milne

We were on our way to the coast and stopped for lunch and a dip in the Smith River at Jedediah Smith State Park. Kids are like rivers….they’re in no hurry.

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Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly ~ Van Morrison

Letting their spirits fly……dodging the waves in Brookings, Oregon. Remember when kids didn’t need anything but nature and a few friends to have the best time? Good times.

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When was the last time you did something for the first time?

My youngest grandson experiencing the ocean for the first time ~ he was so fascinated with chasing the waves and playing in the sand. In nature, life can be so sweet and simple.

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“It’s a party. It’s a celebration of another year of life..” ~ Kim Etheredge

Celebrating my youngest grandsons 3rd birthday with Mama, Big Sister, and cousins. That blonde hair and baby blues sure run in the family. Who needs Chuck E. Cheese when you can spend the day at the park with family.

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“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” ~ Winnie-the-Pooh 

It had been two and a half years since I saw my girl and grand-kids; I’m so grateful to have the means to spend time with them. Although, I love exploring nature and experiencing the beauty of the outdoors….. nothing can take the place of spending time with my family. It was hard to say goodbye.

Goodbyes are not forever ~ Goodbyes are not the end ~ They simply mean I’ll miss you ~ Until we meet again ~ Anonymous

 

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On the Road Again….(Yay!)

On the road again…..going places that I’ve never been……seeing things that I may never see again….and I can’t wait to get on the road again ~ Willie Nelson

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Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway………

We’ll be hitting the highway this Sunday heading out to see my youngest daughter and two grand-babies in the cool, green, Pacific Northwest. With temperatures today rising to 120 degrees, I will be more than happy to return to living out of a suitcase.

We’re bypassing our usual route up central California, and driving by way of Highway 395.  We’re stopping to see the hubby’s uncle in Bridgeport, CA and then his sister in Reno, NV.

Seeing family is one of the bonuses of traveling, so we always make an effort to stop by and say hello.  You never know what tomorrow holds, or if you will see someone again, so make the time to see people….even if it’s for just and hour or two. Life truly is short, you know.

Coming Home…..Last Stop, Kolob Canyon

It’s a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize whats changed is you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Driving through a secondary fire on I-15 outside of Beaver, Utah

All good things must come to an end……or so they say.  For our last hurrah, we wanted to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, a smaller version of Bryce Canyon, but the Brian’s Head fire foiled our plans.

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Billowing smoke from the Brian’s Head Fire, Utah.

It’s said that the fire was started by a resident burning weeds around his cabin. I was considering purchasing a weed burner for my yard, but, after what happened to this gentleman, I think I’ll pass. Weeds, winds, hot temps and fire just don’t mix.

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A smoky view of Kolob Canyon

With our original plans hindered, we decided to visit Kolob Canyon instead.  The canyon is located at the tip of Zion National Park and accessed via exit 40 on the I-15. There is a lovely scenic drive and multi-level trails for day hiking.

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Timber Creek Trail

 

We chose the easier Timber Creek Trail to the Finger Canyon’s Overlook considering the poor air quality in the area. Like most canyons its uphill, but the view is beautiful.

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The Grandson at the overlook

 

We ran into some pesky biting insects throughout the trail. My grandson managed a smile before making a break for a bug-free zone. Where is that bottle of “Off” when you need it!

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Virgin River Gorge, I-15 AZ

Well, we are home now but I’m already packing for my next trip.  In nine days we’ll be hitting the road to Oregon to see my youngest daughter and grand-kids.  As Mr. Fitzgerald said, coming home may look, smell, and feel the same…..but in exploring our beautiful world, I realized I’ve changed.

Finding Beauty Everywhere…..Grand Tetons NP

 

“If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere” – Vincent Van Gogh
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Our first glimpse of the magnificent Grand Tetons 

It’s not hard to find beauty everywhere in the Grand Teton National Park. Today’s journey is devoted to these renown statuesque peaks. Thanks to Nature’s layout, these beauties can be seen in every section of the park.  I am in awe………

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Colter Bay

Our first stop, Colter Bay Village.  We’re not much on visitor centers, but we needed a pit stop and a map since we somehow missed the park’s entry station.  Notice the Tetons in the back?

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Grandpa and Grandson

This simple trail circles the lake, what a glorious place to stretch your legs. Fill your water bottle up at the visitor center with clear, delicious alpine water right out of the faucet – yum!

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Tetons cast on Jackson Lake

“The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you” – Rumi.  If Mr. Rumi is right, I’m a tall, strong, majestic woman with a little snow on top. Quite an accurate observation, old sage.

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Thomas Murphy barn & homestead @ Mormon Row

One of my aspirations was to visit to Mormon Row and photograph the old homesteads. I’m posting the Thomas Murphy barn in place of the noteworthy Moulton barn, which has been photographed a great deal.

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I believe this is part of the Moulton homestead

I can’t imagine enduring winters in the shadows of the Tetons. It really took a community and a pioneering spirit to survive and prosper. Unfortunately, I missed exploring a section of the community, which resides to the left.  Sounds like I need a return trip.

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The family @ the Jenny Lake Overlook

We bypassed the extremely crowded South Jenny Lake junction in favor of the less populated North Jenny Lake loop. North Jenny has a relaxing scenic loop drive and a spectacular overlook and lake trail. Make sure to use your Forest Gump voice when you say, “Jenny.”

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Time for a picnic

Most of the picnic areas reside near the visitor centers. We were lucky to find this spot with the Tetons in eyesight and Cottonwood creek running alongside. As the title to this post suggests, a trip to the Tetons will have you finding beauty everywhere you stop.

 

 

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The Lewis Falls, Yellowstone So. Entrance

Not wanting the day to end, we made one last stop and admired the spray and sounds of melting snow flowing down Lewis Falls. The grandson and I climbed to the top, sidestepping the slick snow still left on the ground.  The timing is right to see waterfalls in Yellowstone; they are overflowing this season.

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The Lewis River, Yellowstone South Entrance

Turn about face from the falls and you have a post card picture view of the Lewis River.  The Teton and Yellowstone landscape is so surreal, it feels like Shangri-la.

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Snack time!

A trip to Yellowstone isn’t complete with out a run-in with a bison. We were lucky – eating distracted them every time we drove through the park. On our first day in town, we heard park travelers were deterred for two hours by a bison roadblock.

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What can I say about Day two?  The Tetons were spectacular….. stunning…… breathtaking…. awe-inspiring and return worthy.  Next time though, I’m staying in the park, bears or no bears. If you have the opportunity to visit Grand Tetons National Park, please do it and remember to always take the scenic route.

And into Yellowstone I go……..Day 1

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” – John Muir

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The beautiful Madison River, Yellowstone NP

I was in my element this past week, immersed in the nature-y goodness of Yellowstone National Park. We got an early start our first day, stopping by the Madison River en route to the Grand Prismatic Spring, Old Faithful, and the Canyon of the Yellowstone. Trees, rivers, forests……I am in nature-nirvana!

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Grand Prismatic Spring

The Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest hot spring in the U.S. and the most photographed thermal facet in Yellowstone. What I would have given to have an aerial view of the spring – a sideways glance does not do it justice.

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The Firehole River, adjacent to Old Faithful

As we waited for Old Faithful to spew, the grandson and I took a stroll around the Upper Geyser Basin enjoying the cobalt waters of the Firehole River. The river flows through several geyser basins, including Old Faithful, and temps can rise to 86 degrees.

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Thar she blows……….Old Faithful erupts every hour to ninety minutes and lasts for about two and a half minutes. Besides walking the adjoining Upper Basin trails, there’s ample seating while you wait for nature’s show.

 

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The lower falls of the Yellowstone from Artist Point

A must-see for me was the Canyon of the Yellowstone via Artist’s Point.  After braving 30 minutes of bumper-to-bumper traffic through the parking lot, we nabbed a spot and joined the other billion (I’m exaggerating) folks on their way to the falls. The downside of summer travel, of course is the crowds…..and the peak-season costs.

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Time for a picnic lunch on the Gibbons River

Last stop of the day, the Virginia Cascade picnic area, for a tuna fish sandwich and some pretzels. What better way to eat lunch than at a picnic bench next to the Gibbons River!

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If you can manage an early rise, you can somewhat beat the summer crowds. Later in the day, expect the roads and visitor areas to be jam-packed with lines, for both cars and people.

I really enjoyed each part of the park we visited, crowds and all.  With the temperatures at home hitting 120, I truly appreciated the cooler weather, the views, and all things green and blue.

 

 

 

 

These are the days……

These are the days of the endless summer, These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there’s only future, There’s only here, there’s only now……..Van Morrison

These are the days – Van Morrison

I’ve been spending my hours lately keeping cool in the confines of my air-conditioned house. The seemingly “days of the endless summer” of the desert southwest has arrived.  I’ve had to forgo my local outdoor activities lately and I am listless and ready to roam.

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The grandson is spending the summer with us again–I’m elated to have my hiking buddy back.   He’ll be starting junior high next year so I’m grateful he still wants to wander with us old folks.

We’ll be hitting the road next week, heading to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I’m looking forward to the greenery and cooler climate, but not the summer crowds.  I usually refrain from traveling peak season, but it’s a happy compromise to Arizona’s oppressive heat.

We’ll be routing our return by way of scenic highway, exploring the Bear-tooth, Little Bighorn, and down into the blue roads of Wyoming. I’m excited and expect to have some beautiful photos to share and an interesting travel tale or two. So long for now.  Sandra

 

 

Thankful

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Thank you, Dad.

I am so thankful that I had a non-aggressive father who treated not only my mother, but all women, with respect and loving affection. I am so grateful I was never exposed to violence in the home, as so many women and children are today.

I know I normally focus on traveling and wandering, but a situation close to home has me concerned how to help someone who really doesn’t want help.

It’s troubling when a woman becomes so anesthetized to the violence in her home that she considers her husband (6′ 2″, 200+ lb.) throwing her 62-year-old disabled mother down on the floor, self-defense.

What upsets me more is no one’s bothered by it.  Not the wife, not the family, not even the police–it’s their normal and it’s sad.

Though he’s no longer here in the physical, I wanted to thank my Dad for being a good role model to me and my sisters and brothers and for making nonviolence our normal.