Tag Archives: Chesler Park

Excuses, Spring is Coming, and One More Staircase Story

day planners old and new

day planners old and new

Excuses Although it is March, I still haven’t transferred all of my phone numbers, passwords, and other data from my 2017 Audubon Birder’s Engagement Calendar to my 2018  Audubon Birder’s Engagement Calendar. This transfer usually happens early in January (see Old Year, New Year: Flexibility, Part 3). Part of the delay may simply be that there is so much minutia scrawled in the 2017 book that I am daunted by the task of transferring it to the new book.

I think the real reason might be more fundamental, though. I have been sitting here — each day at once agitated and inert–waiting to see what happens next to our country. My own version of Potomac fever, I am afraid. And I am afraid: I used to tell my children that our country had had difficult times before and had gotten through it. Now, I believe the current regime and its attendant problems are by far the worst in my lifetime.  I went to one march so far this year and will soon go to another. I sign petitions. I walk. I do my weights and stretches, and sometimes I even do my planks.  I photograph flowers and trees.  On TV, I watch cooking shows and basketball games. I think spring is coming. I believe my hibernation is ending and my hope is growing.

oak leaves and crocus

oak leaves and crocus

scilla, Mary L. Ripley Garden

scilla, Mary L. Ripley Garden

Happy Interlude  In early February, Tom and I camped for three nights in the Big Cypress National Preserve and for one night in Everglades National Park. We saw alligators and manatees; anhingas and egrets, mangrove islands and dolphins, and much more.

gulf fritillary, Big Cypress National Preserve

gulf fritillary, Big Cypress National Preserve

great blue heron, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

great blue heron, Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

Spring is Coming Wood frogs are mating in vernal pools here in Arlington, Virginia. Salamanders are on the move. Daffodils are blooming and so is the witch hazel and some forsythia. Almost two weeks ago a cherry  tree was blossoming at Arlington National Cemetery. Tourist groups are massing on the National Mall. I think it is time to put aside my 2017 almanac and rejoin this year, this fight, and this life.

sign, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington, Virginia

sign, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Arlington, Virginia

witch hazel, Mary L. Ripley Garden

witch hazel, Mary L. Ripley Garden

early cherry blossoms, Arlington National Cemetery

early cherry blossoms, Arlington National Cemetery


Staircase to Heaven, again

1972–1973 (North Rim and environs)

Did I ever tell you about the time I got dropped off at Pipe Springs National Monument? I was on my way from the North Rim to my friend Anita’s wedding reception in Salt Lake City. Someone drove me to Pipe Springs–on the Arizona Strip–87 miles from the Grand Canyon Lodge where I worked.  I tried to hitch a ride from Pipe Springs to Cedar City, Utah so I could catch a plane to Salt Lake.  At least back then, Arizona State Road 389 was not a well traveled road.

After some time, Pipe Springs National Monument closed for the day. It got dark and I felt forlorn and probably a little scared.  I settled down in the ditch beside the road. I wasn’t about to take my chances standing on the side of the road through the night. I worried some and I slept some.  Morning came, someone picked me up, and I made my flight to Salt Lake and the wedding reception.  I was an idiot back then, no doubt, but all that expansive sky, sand, canyons, and forests made me feel that all was possible, all was good, and I would not be harmed.

Angry and sad aside: Most of my life now, this Grand Staircase, this Colorado Plateau, has been for me not only the land of the beautiful, but also of the good and hospitable. I want to scream and cry and kick and yes, hate, as I see people and entities want to destroy this land. I don’t do those things: I am still trying for the beautiful and good.

So many more stories to tell, but I think I am finished for now.  I wanted to tell you about Hop Valley, the double rainbows on the snowy road to Bryce, pine nut gathering at Cape Royal, the smell of the ponderosas in the sunlight, and Chesler Park in late winter.

Now, I will march, I will sign petitions, I will walk.  In the end of summer, we may be at North Rim again, and, in November I will vote.

Thank you for listening.

Here are some photos:

aspens, La Sal Mountains

near Chesler Park, The Needles, Canyonlands National Park

near Chesler Park, The Needles, Canyonlands National Park

In the Needles District, Canyonlands National Park

In the Needles District, Canyonlands National Park

clouds, Natural Bridges National Monument

clouds, Natural Bridges National Monument

our camper in Capitol Reef National Park

our camper in Capitol Reef National Park

ponderosas on the North Rim

ponderosas on the North Rim

 

 

 

 

Observations, Photos

Hello again: For three weeks I’ve been trying unsuccessfully (until today) to write a new post for this blog. I could blame my lack of production on limited access to Internet or (sometimes) even electricity, but that is not where blame lies.  No, the blame lies in my wanting to condense my recent travels and experiences into aphorisms. I have wanted to tell you that I have been living close to the ground, that I am being here now, and that I would rather be a forest than a street. (see, in order, Lao Tzu, Baba Ram Dass, and Paul Simon).  I am beginning to think that it is a bit ironic, not to say pompous, to try to distill into handy phrases my attempts to live more within the present.  Instead, today, I am going to write down a few observations from the last several weeks and share some photos.

Observations:

About identifying flora, fauna, and geologic formations: I am less strict with myself now than in previous times.  That is, if I see some kind of aster, say, I will allow myself to check it off in my flower guide even if I am not 100% sure of the species or sub-species name.  Or, if we thought we saw a western meadowlark, I allow myself to mark it off in the Peterson’s A Field Guide to Western Birds. My copy is over forty years old, falling apart, and now there’s even an app for identifying birds on your smart device—I might as well mark up the guide now.  When I am dead and gone, I don’t think anyone will be inspecting my book to see whether I made any inaccurate identifications.  Re the geologic formations: if I think a layer of rock is likely Moenkopi Formation, I say to Tom and myself, “I think that layer is likely Moenkopi Formation.”

Asters, Kirk Creek, Los Padres National Forest, March 28, 2013

Asters, Kirk Creek, Los Padres National Forest, March 28, 2013

Capitol Reef National Park, March 6, 2013

Capitol Reef National Park, March 6, 2013

A Field Guide to Western Birds

A Field Guide to Western Birds

On tolerance for risk: While I have always been quite risk averse (read: overly cautious, chicken, etc.), this tendency seems to be intensifying. My husband and I love traveling where no one else is around.  On this trip, we’ve spent days on empty roads and deserted campgrounds. We love being by ourselves with the beauty and the silence and the maybe meadowlarks…but. Get us on a muddy hill in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and we turn tail (slowly, carefully, in 4-wheel drive mode) and go back to a more civilized campsite.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, March 11, 2013

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, March 11, 2013

About our vehicle: We drive a Ford F-150 EcoBoost with a Hallmark (Ft. Lupton, Colorado) Guanella camper. So far, our truck camper has proven to be a yare craft.

Lava Beds National Monument, April 8, 2013

Lava Beds National Monument, April 8, 2013

About bodies of water: About camping at Big Sur—I don’t have the words.  Still, it’s clear to me that I love lakes and rivers more than the ocean. I grew up on a Michigan lake and the voices of the frogs, the calls of the red-winged blackbirds, and the low sounds by the shore are music for my soul.

Big Sur, March 29, 2013

Big Sur, March 29, 2013

Regarding the tastiness of food while hiking: For decades my friends and I have laughed about how good the Vienna sausages tasted below the rim in the Grand Canyon and how toothsome the Gerber’s blueberry buckle was in the Kolob backcountry of Zion. At least this one aphorism stands: just about anything tastes delicious when you’re hiking.  Nothing tastes better than whole wheat bread, peanut butter and (Art’s homemade) jelly sandwiches, accompanied by some carrots, chips, hummus, and clementines, washed down with water.

Lunch, almost finished, Chesler Park, The Needles, Canyonlands, March 3, 2013

Lunch, almost finished, Chesler Park, The Needles, Canyonlands, March 3, 2013

Concerning flexibility: Lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about my physical and mental flexibility (or lack thereof). However, I think these are enough observations for today.  More on flexibility next time, but now, here are some photos.

Photos:

Pinyon Pine

Pinyon Pine

Flowers, Arroyo Seco, Ventana Wilderness

Flowers, Arroyo Seco, Ventana Wilderness

Gull along Big Sur

Gull along Big Sur

Virgin River beach

Virgin River beach

Presidio, San Francisco

Presidio, San Francisco

Lava Beds Overview

Lava Beds Overview

Snake River Bluffs near The Oregon Trail

Snake River Bluffs near The Oregon Trail

Eel River Campground, Mendocino National Forest

Eel River Campground, Mendocino National Forest