Back to Nature in Utah

Utah is so amazingly beautiful!  The red cliffs just take my breath away.  We’ve been doing a lot of hiking and I love it!  It takes me back to the early days of our marriage when we used to go backpacking.  I love natural surroundings and Utah hasn’t disappointed.  Cactus and pine trees, rocks and waterfalls, cliffs and canyons, hummingbirds and eagles.

Well, it might have been an eagle, … but it wasn’t.  It was a turkey vulture (which is common in Zion).  It was high overhead and I was using my long lens.  We were so excited to spot this beautiful sight at the top of the cliffs, soaring and circling overhead in Zion National Park.  I compared the zoomed-in silhouette with other pictures and realized that I had been photographing a vulture.  Oh well, I’ll keep looking for the eagle.

I did get other pics of wildlife while we were out on our hikes.  We spotted the mule deer many times, and big horn sheep.

I got a whole series on a squirrel love story.  The introduction, courtship, marriage proposal, kiss, and happily ever after shot.  Here’s just one of them.

To bring you up to date, after leaving St. George RV Park, we went to Snow Canyon State Park for a few days.  Even though we were the only RV here, our slip was very tight for a coach our size.  We squeezed in only inches from the covered cabana roof, so we could at least use the slide-outs on the driver side of the coach.  Those are the big ones, so we were totally comfortable with only one side of us popping out.  We pulled out our lawn chairs and enjoyed watching the setting sun change the colors on the red cliffs all around us.  Nice.  It’s so beautiful here that Mike woke me up at sunrise so we could have our coffee outside and watch the beautiful morning colors as the sun came up.

The weather here in the southwest corner of Utah has been very hot.  Over 100 degrees everyday.  So we’ve been hiking in the morning and napping in the afernoon.  On Saturday, we went to an arts and crafts fair at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in Ivins, Utah.  We admired the most beautiful Navajo hand carved vase we’d ever seen.  It had the eagle, the bear, the hummingbird and the turtle carved into the four sides.  So symbolic for us.  It was exquisite.  One of a kind.  It was very expensive, but we are still talking about it, so that means we should have bought it.  The eagle (our boat name) represents freedom and strength, the bear (our motor home) represents strength and courage, the hummingbird represents joy, and the turtle represents longevity and health.  When I think about how many times we go to Costco and drop hundreds of dollars on things we can’t even remember, I kick myself for not getting this piece of art that we would enjoy forever.  Mike would buy it in a heartbeat.  I’m the one who’s the penny-pincher.

That afternoon we went to the Performing Arts Theatre production of the Spelling Bee, a musical comedy.  We didn’t know what to expect, so we were pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be so entertaining!  Very funny and enjoyable.

While we were camping at Snow Canyon State Park, we met Ned, a ‘birder’ who arrived early one morning to capture and tag hummingbirds.  We spent over an hour with him learning about hummingbirds.  He caught, measured, weighed, logged, tagged, fed and released at least 2 dozen birds while we were with him.   It was fascinating!  He put one of the hummingbirds in my hand and I could feel the heartbeat before it flew away.  So fun!!!  Here is a picture of one in Mike’s hand.  She left a piddle on him as a souvenir.

We hiked the Hidden Pinyon and Three Ponds Trails while we were at Snow Canyon.  Great hikes!

 

Our next stop was Watchman Campground in Zion National Park.  Nice but very popular campground.  Lots of activities put on by the Park Rangers.  We attended a ranger presentation that evening called “What’s for Dinner?”  It was an entertaining and educational slideshow about what eats what .. you know, the circle of life.  A lot of “Eewwww!!!“ slides.  Mike had nightmares that night about bugs.  The next morning we took a 2-hour ride along with the ranger and learned about the geology, wildlife and water history of the park.  Very interesting stuff even though I hate those group type outings.

The hiking in Zion is fantastic.  On one of our days here we hiked over 9 miles, and saw the most amazing sights.  My pictures just can’t capture the enormity of these rock walls.  I might have been able to capture it on video, BUT …(here comes my first Lucy story) … Lucy ate my perfect camera bag the night before.  I was so angry!  I had looked forever for that perfect bag!  It cost $70!  It was brand new!  I loved it!  Lots of exclamation points because I’m very excited and agitated when I write about this fresh memory.  Lucy is known to wander during the night and eat whatever is accessible to her.  We always “Lucify” the house before bed and make sure nothing tempting is available to her.  She’ll destroy a purse to get at the tic-tacs, chew through pants pockets for a candy wrapper, etc.  But why my camera bag!!!  Why destroy both the outer zipper and the inside zipper????  Then I remembered that I had a baggie of trail mix in there the day before.  It was gone, but she went for the afterglow I guess.  A few nights prior, she ate an entire avocado that I left on the counter, including the peel (not the pit).  She barfed pieces of peel and pooped green for the next 2 days.  But while I’m talking about Lucy, I should add that she is mostly wonderful and playful.  She has taken to living in the motor home wonderfully.  She’s a great little traveler and we love her to pieces.  She gets out for walks many times a day, and we take her with us on our outings whenever we can.

Back to my camera bag story.  I didn’t have my video with me on that hike because I had to resort to my smaller camera bag.  Since then, we have jerry-rigged my perfect camera bag with Velcro strips.  Sigh.  It seems to be working.

When we left Zion National Park, we had to drive the Bear through a tunnel which required a special permit because of our size.  The tunnel is 1.1 miles and a vehicle our height needs to stay in the middle of the two lanes.  So oncoming traffic is stopped while we drive through.  We could not tow our car, so I drove the Cub behind the Bear, and took video.  I’m glad I wasn’t in the Bear with Mike because I’m still a stress case when we’re driving.  I must drive him nuts with all my backseat driving.  That tunnel looked so tight!!  It was scary.  Mike said he’s never felt so stressed.  But he did great.  He had to drive another 15 miles after the tunnel before we were out of the winding roads and found a place to pull over and hook up the Cub.  All in all, it was a beautiful drive through Zion.  Now we’re in Bryce Canyon with a full agenda of fun activities ahead of us.  I’ll write all about that next time.  Life is good.  We’re both enjoying this lifestyle a lot!

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