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Archive for the ‘Favorite Hikes’ Category

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” – Salma Hayek

Secret, also know as Cecret, Lake in Albion Basin at the top of Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. — Wikimedia photo

A Day to Remember

I’m organizing photos that I removed from albums and put in a box when I got rid of or condensed everything so all my belongings would fit into a small RV back in 2004. Lately, I’ve been rummaging through that box.

Kim and me looking out over Secret Lake. I’m not sure who took the photo, most likely Cory, Kim’s son.

Of the many photos, my favorites are the ones of me enjoying Mother Nature’s outdoor wonders. My long-time friend Kim is there with me in many of these memories, like the one recaptured by the photograph on the right, which was taken at Secret, or Cecret as some people call it, Lake at the top of Albion Basin up Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.

As I recall it was an early July day, which is when spring wakes up in this high country, Notice the snow still visible in the background of the photo. I recall that the meadow at the trailhead, where Kim and I started our hike, as being saturated with wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, columbine, lupine, Jacob’s ladder, beard’s tongue, and elephant’s head (my favorite), just to name a few.

I can’t remember ever seeing so many different wildflowers crowed into one place as I did this day. I do remember trying, unsuccessfully, to name them all. The profusion of wildflowers accompanied Kim and I all the way up to Secret Lake, where we sat for a while enjoying the warm sun.

I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but since I don’t recall bird watching on the hike, I’m pretty sure it was before 1999. That’s when I got addicted to birds, and from that time forward, I was always looking for them. In fact, after that year, I couldn’t not see birds.

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life http://tinyurl.com/kjyblf8 The beauty of a garden, and one magnificent radish

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There's no question but that I'm in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don't you? -- Photo by Pat Bean

There’s no question but that I’m in the autumn of my life. But then I think the fall is beautiful. Don’t you? — Photo by Pat Bean

            The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you’re wrinkled.” – Maya Angelou

            “Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.” — Eartha Kitt

Just Keep On Keeping On

Early in the day, my good friend Kim, her brother Robert, and his wife Carla, and I decided to visit the Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs near St. George, but it was late in the afternoon before we actually got around to doing so.

anazazi-2          We hadn’t gone far along the trail when I realized I was holding up the other three people, all 20 or more years younger. I had back problems last year that has slowed me down considerably. Anyway, I knew that at the rate we were going, we would never get up to the petroglyph ridge site and back down before dark.

I opted to stop at a pleasant spot along the trail and wait for them. They, being good people, tried to persuade me otherwise, but I was more persuasive, and so they left me behind.

A few years earlier, I would have been upset at my inability to keep up on a hiking trail. In fact, I cried the first time it happened. But the years have been good to me, and I’ve learned that there is always, and in my case I do mean ALWAYS, a silver lining for my slower hiking pace.

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

More Anasazi Ridge petroglyphs

This day, I took some photos of St. George’s rare autumn colors (this was the day after Thanksgiving) and then settled down on a large flat rock and enjoyed my surroundings.

A bit later, a good-looking, grey haired man sauntered down the trail, and stopped to chat with me. It was a pleasant interlude. I’m not so old that I didn’t enjoy his effortless masculinity – and may I never be.

“You know you’re sitting right beside some petroglyphs,” he said, then showed me two spiral stone carvings hidden in a rock crevice. One of the spirals turned clockwise and the other counter-clockwise. “One represents birth, and the other represents death,” he said. We chatted for a bit longer before his long legs sauntered on. I was then eager for my friends to return.

“Did you see the petroglyphs?” I asked, when they finally came into view. They replied that they had. I then smiled, and asked if they wanted to see some more?

“When one door closes, another opens,” said Alexander Graham Bell, who then went on to say that too often we focus so much on the closed door that we fail to see any new openings. Thankfully, I see new doors opening everywhere these days. It’s the reward for the aging of my body that can no longer do the same things it once did, certainly not at the same speed.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Cravesadventure http://tinyurl.com/z9w3bs2 Some good thoughts about one’s hopes for the New Year.

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Take a Walk

            “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was  a great ;pp[ walk, loop, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada

This was a great loop walk, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. — Photo by Pat Bean

            It’s Good for the Soul

While I can no longer do a 20-mile hike, or even a 5-mile one, I do try to get out and walk every day. But while two to three-mile hikes are still on my agenda, I haven’t been taking enough of them lately, especially through amazing landscapes.

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. - Photo by Pat Bean

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. – Photo by Pat Bean

I realized this while looking through my photos of paths I’ve once hiked, which I did after stumbling on the post that gets today’s Bean Pat. The photos inspired me to look for more such paths, especially short ones, that might at least let me work up to 6-mile ones again

Now here’s what a few other people have to say about walking:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Fredrich Nietzsche

            “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church, but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. — Alice Walker

            “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

            “Walking is Magic… I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” – Paula Cole

            “I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton John           

And just for laughs, and because I’m a transplanted Texan: “Some folks look at me see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called Walking.” – George W. Bush

Bean Pat: 28 Magical Paths http://tinyurl.com/j6mwd34 I got this one from a Stumble Upon recommendation. If you hike, you’ll love it.

 

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I’m a Klutz

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injure on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

This was about my 30th time to sit on top of Angels Landing in Zion. I was never injured on the hike, which many people are afraid to take, because I always left my klutziness behind. I now need to learn how to do that on flat ground. — Photo by Kim Perrin

And Age Hasn’t Changed Things

When I was growing up my knees were always skinned, I still have a scar from falling out of a tree, and I chipped a tooth falling on the sidewalk running for the school bus when I was eight. As I got older, I fell over roots while hiking, once slipped and hit my forehead on my desk at work that required 14 stitches, and things got even worse when I began birdwatching because I was always looking up and not down at my feet.

7741            My first reaction on taking a tumble – I’ve pretty much perfected the art of falling without seriously hurting myself – is to look around and see who saw me. I’m always hoping nobody. I only broke my first bone, a tibular, three years ago when I stepped into an unseen hole on a grassy lawn just a week after I moved into my third-floor walk-up apartment here in Tucson.

My daughter worries that I will fall down the stairs. She shouldn’t. I know to be careful on stairs. I always hold on to the railings, always have. It’s the flat ground, except for that one tree, that has always gotten me.

Until recently, I just accepted that being a klutz, which also includes spilling things, bumping into things and knocking things over, is part of who I am. I never truly worried about my klutziness. But the bruised butt and skinned knee I still have from a fall the other day while carrying two packages that obscured my feet, has finally gotten my attention.

This old broad’s body is showing its age. Falls hurt more and the damage doesn’t disappear as quickly. I can’t do everything I used to do with the same kind of impunity as when I was younger. This acceptance comes with a bucket of tears, including a few being shed as I write this. It’s hard to give up the belief that I can do anything and everything, a trait that has helped me survive in a sometimes tough world.

So does anyone know of a class that will teach me not to be a klutz? This 77-year-old broad certainly needs to take if it you do.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Big Sky and Big Adventures http://tinyurl.com/zcnphjh The movie review is interesting but the photos that accompany it are the real story.

 

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Winter gives this tree a stark beauty that spoke to me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Winter gives this tree a stark beauty that spoke to me. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “If you look closely at a tree you’ll notice it’s knots and dead branches, just like our bodies. What we learn is that beauty and imperfection go together wonderfully. – Matthew Fox

I didn't realize until I got home and compared my photos with ones I had taken earlier at Arivaca Cienega that the same tree had spoken to me when it was decked out in spring finery. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I didn’t realize until I got home and compared my photos with ones I had taken earlier at Arivaca Cienega that the same tree had spoken to me when it was decked out in spring finery.  — Photo by Pat Bean

There’s Beauty in Starkness

            I took a friend and her dog with me and my canine companion Pepper this past weekend to hike the Arivaca-Cienega trail 70 miles southeast of Tucson. It’s an important birding area, and a place where I’ve hiked before, only in the months when everything was lush and verdant..

I realized, looking at the naked branches of trees on the narrow, winding and rough backroad that we traveled to get there, that today was going to be different. It was winter and the color green was almost nowhere to be found.

But as before, beauty was around every corner. It was just different, a starkness that let you see deeper into the heart and soul and bones of Mother Nature.

It was an awesome day, even though we got there late and the birds were taking a nap somewhere out of sight. The exception was a pair of greater roadrunners that scurried across the road ahead of us as we headed back to Tucson.

I will return… Perhaps I can catch the tree in autumn.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Open Suitcase http://tinyurl.com/zohd9u6 Take an armchair train ride through Africa.

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Thank Heavens for Wikimedia and generous photographers for this fabulous stitched panorama of Horseshoe Bend because halfway down to the overlook I remembered I didn't have my camera with me. But even if I had, I couldn't have taken such a magnificent photo. -- Wikimedia photo

Thank Heavens for Wikimedia and generous photographers for this fabulous stitched panorama of Horseshoe Bend because halfway down to the overlook I remembered I didn’t have my camera with me. But even if I had, I couldn’t have taken such a magnificent photo. — Wikimedia photo

 

“Walking is magic … The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps. This is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self. – Paula Cole

On Being the Caboose

            Pepper and I set out for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon shortly after dawn, but stopped just south of Page for a quick hike to Horseshoe Bend. It didn’t turn out to be as quick, however, as I remembered it from my younger days.

The hike started with a steep trek up a sandy hill, where you got a good look at the long downhill path ahead of you leading to the edge of a cliff overlooking perhaps the most photographed spot on the Colorado River.

Pepper, the little engine that could to my caboose. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper, the little engine that could to my caboose. — Photo by Pat Bean

Just coming off a serious episode of heavy-duty back pain – from being stupid and lifting way too many pounds for an old broad my age – I questioned my sanity about going on instead of turning back. It wasn’t the next downhill section that worried me, but the trip back up it.

Pepper, however, was still quite frisky and eager for the hike to continue. As for me, I wanted to prove to myself that I still had some go left in me. As I trudged, step at a time in the quickly warming day, I thought back to 1999 when my 60th birthday present to myself was a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

I had made the same trip earlier in time, when I had paddled through the canyon in a six-person paddle raft, enjoying a wondrous up close, personal connection with the rapids. The second trip down the Colorado through the canyon was made in an oar boat with someone else doing all the hard work, which wasn’t too bad because I got to carefully study the passing scenery.

But then, on a side hike up one canyon, over a ridge and them down a second canyon to meet back up with the rafts, I reached a point where I had to have someone help me over a boulder in the path because I couldn’t manage it on my own. I shed a few tears at that. I wasn’t used to having to be helped on a hiking adventure. Usually I led the way – and was never the caboose.

On this day’s adventure to the Horseshoe Bend viewpoint of the Colorado River, I was following my canine companion Pepper. But at least I was going – and of course the viewpoint was worth the effort. In fact, it was magnificent.

On the hike back, I followed Pepper up the hill, and didn’t resist, nor cry, when she trotted far enough ahead to pull me along with her. I’m quite thankful to have such a wonderful hiking companion, and doubly thankful that I still have at least a little bit of go left in me, even if I have to be the caboose on my adventures. .

Back in our vehicle, with its air conditioning blasting away, Pepper and I continued on our day’s journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyonas Dr. Seuss’s words danced in my head. Oh the places you’ll go and the things you’ll see. To be continued           

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wednesday Vignettes http://tinyurl.com/qape662 Tranquil

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My grandson, JJ, found Ramsey Canyon a treat from the normal Sonoran Desert Landscape. So did I. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My grandson, JJ, found Ramsey Canyon a treat from the normal Sonoran Desert Landscape. So did I. — Photo by Pat Bean

Painted Redstart -- Wikimedia Photo

Painted Redstart — Wikimedia Photo

“Solitary converse with nature; for thence are ejaculated sweet and dreadful words never uttered in libraries. Ah! the spring days, the summer dawns, and October woods!” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Desert Oasis – And a Red-Faced Warbler         

If numbers counted, the painted redstart was the bird of the day when my 16-year-old grandson, JJ, and I hiked Ramsey Canyon this past weekend. But in my book, the bird of the day was the one in which I got a brief glimpse, just long enough to see its striking face before it resumed flittering high among the thick leafy branches of a half-dozen tall trees.

It was a red-faced warbler, and a lifer for me, the 708th bird species I have seen. While I watched it, and another, flitting about for at least 10 minutes, that one glimpse as it settled briefly on a tree limb that was in the open, was the only one in which I could identify it.

Warbler, red-faced. I saw one up Ramsey Canyon

Red-faced warbler. — Wikimedia photo

The warblers were flying with about a half-dozen redstarts, and it was impossible for me to tell which was which when they were moving. Both birds are similar in size, although the redstart is slightly larger. The two species are rarely seen outside of Southeast Arizona or Southwest New Mexico when they migrate up from Mexico and South America for the spring and summer.

I saw my first painted redstart, back in 2006, in Zion National Park, which is located in Southern Utah.

This day, in Arizona’s Ramsey Canyon, these beautiful redstarts, with their black bodies, red bellies and distinctive white wing bars, were just about everywhere along the creek-side hike. It wasn’t until the trail reached the top of the main trail, where it looped across Ramsey Creek before heading back down to the trailhead, that I saw the warblers.

My grandson and I joined a half-dozen other birders on the lookout for them after someone noted they had spotted a red-faced warbler. Thankfully, I had my binoculars focused on the branch when the only one I could identify landed briefly.

What a treat.

My grandson, however, was more excited about seeing four white-tailed deer as we hiked, and the fantastic giant trees that grew beside the creek, which laughed and gurgled its way over rocks and down small waterfalls as it made its way down the canyon.

These things excited me, too. The red-faced warbler was just the chocolate syrup on rich French vanilla ice cream, which is always good enough to eat without any topping.

            Bean Pat: A Totem Town http://tinyurl.com/nn6gqxj A great armchair travel blog. I’ve been to this town, and loved it, too.

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