Our Vacation Out West Part 3: Zion National Park, The Emerald Pools

On our vacation this year, Mike and I played the license plate game. We made a list of all 50 states and checked off all the license plates we saw on our drive out to Utah. The only state besides Hawaii we couldn’t collect was Rhode Island, and guess which state’s license plate we saw last night in the Buffalo Wild Wings parking lot around here?!

From New York to Utah, we saw 48 license plates, not including Hawaii and Rhode Island. (RI was our holy grail of license plates until last night). We also saw two Canadian plates and one from Mexico. It was fun and it was exciting and it passed the time. I wish I was back on that road trip, seeing sights that I have never seen before.

This post is about three weeks late, but it is fun to reminisce on the fun times we had. Hey, if you missed part 1 and part 2 of our vacation you can click on the links to view them.

This was probably the best time I have ever had…and I’m trying to find another vacation to compare, but I really can’t.

After about two and a half days of driving, Mike and I made it to our KOA in Cedar City, Utah. The campgrounds are about an hour away from Zion National Park. The tent sites were very close together and at first I didn’t like it at all but then I shook myself a bit. I was on vacation! Why was I complaining?

We got our tent up very quickly, and it was really all a matter of getting dinner for the night and going to bed.

We found a diner about two minutes down the road from the KOA, called “All American Diner.” Anytime Mike and I can find a great diner, with good, cheap food, we call it a special treat.

The next day we headed to Zion National Park. The first day, we hiked the emerald pools trail, which was about a 5 mile round trip. A good portion of it was climbing up hill; I wasn’t prepared to climb it in about 110 degree heat. We took plenty of water and had our snacks, but the heat, man.

When we got back to the car that first day, the car’s thermometer registered 117 degrees!But while hiking, you’re walking up sand that’s so hot you can feel the heat burn through your sneakers. The sun beats down on your hat covered head and you long for shade, like you long for cold water when your throat is dry and your tongue feels thick.

That’s also what makes the pools you see on this hike so special; it is like a small oasis in the middle of this desert climate, but the hike is more difficult the higher up you go.

The trail becomes steeper, narrower; the shade trees are a little bit more sparse. I was struggling to catch my breath in the heat and wondered if it was all worth it. And then you come around a bend in the trail and that view. That. View. For one delicious, corny second, you feel like you are the only person on earth, and this view was made just for you. Now, mind you, I am a very easily entertained person…so that might have something to do with it. But, seriously, guys. If you can’t appreciate a view like this and call it nothing less than phenomenal, there’s something wrong with you.

This is the second pool, about two-thirds of the way up the trail.

At the very top of the trail, were these squirrels that kept hanging around, hoping for some snacks or trail mix. It’s $100 fine to feed the animals in the park, but kids can’t resist…not very often you have wild animals hanging around near your feet, and trying to climb into your backpack.

And if you make it to the very top, there is a larger pool of water at the very top. It looks like a small beach in the middle of the mountains. If you were allowed to swim in it, if there weren’t so many people trying to catch their breath, it might have felt more magical. But by that time, I think the heat had really done Mike and I in.

Afterwards, we got food at the park and then headed back to our campsite. The further we got from Zion, thankfully, the cooler it became. A 99 degrees felt practically chilly compared to 110…kinda. Not really. But what fun we had!

Next day, we hiked the Narrows! And then after that, the Grand Canyon.

A Quiet Walk By The Falls

I never get tired of these falls by my house. I write about them all the time, I know, but I can’t help it. I love the sound of the running water. So relaxing. I like the way the water smells. I like jumping from rock to rock on the edge of the shore, like I used to do as a child.But that water. There’s no other music like it in the world…this is my crack. This is the sound I fall asleep to. This is the soundtrack for many of the poems that I write.

Adventure is found along the shores of creeks, and falls and rivers. When the water just continues on and on and beckons…it teases you to follow, to discover where it ends.

How I wanted to jump in and go with it tonight, guys. There is freedom here, and longing. I wanted to see where it would take me. I wanted to go, go, go…

Is there something like this that inspires you?

Happy Writing!

Poem: Out for a Walk

Our new neighborhood is full of some interesting people. This is but a glimpse of my walk this evening after work today. The neighbors’ cats are so funny, too. A lot of them just hang out near the sidewalk (or in the middle of the sidewalk) hoping that someone will pat them as they walk by. Attention hogs! lol. I’m very thankful that I live near some great parks. Was walking up one of the gorges, tonight.

img_20160823_190158896.jpgangry cars at stoplights

cat stretched out on the sidewalk

a furry checkpoint

pay the toll

(one pat, a scratch behind the ear)

and be on your way

a young girl named “Marty”

a huge, long-haired dog

looks like a four-legged Chewbacca

two women wearing name tags

clutching flyers: Avoid eye contact

a couple who clearly don’t shower

lovely garden, though,

a guy walking his dog

tugs on a ball in his dog’s mouth

water brown and stagnant

so dry, my scuffing feet

drown out the sound of running water

thoughts are racing

and breath in gasps

need to go, go, go

up one more stairs,

down two, one more to go

then back home and time

for the inhaler; breathe, breathe

breathe in the life

of a home so varied

of one walk

that took only thirty minutes

 

I Am Me

I’ve been in a bit of a down mood today and no matter what I tried, (TV, music, chocolate)…I couldn’t seem to get myself out of it. So, even though I didn’t want to, I went for a walk down the road.

My doctor always encouraged me to exercise…says that it “lightens the load” in more ways than one, and not just physically…

Cow in the field down the road from my house. Why they feel the need to stare at people walking past them, I have no idea.

Cows ogled me as I trudged past. In my peripheral vision, I noticed the trees a burnt red and orange. I look down at my feet and see a brown, and black fuzzy, wooly bear caterpillar, creeping its way across the rough surface of the road. Bugs flew up at my face. Bugs! In the middle of October. The sun was warm on my green sweater and on my matching green headband, the sharp, cool air biting at my cheeks, which are pink from the air that doesn’t want to make its way into my lungs.

I thought about why I was upset, thought about the scenery around me. Felt my mood like it was a physical being, felt it weigh me down in my chest. Inside, I wonder and agonized: Am I good enough? Why do I feel so worthless?

And while I’m wondering why the black and white cow in front of me keeps staring and staring, something prompts me to turn around and I’m greeted with this view:

No matter how grey you feel inside, there is beauty still. As emphasized by this beaten down tree in the field I was walking next to and the rainbow soaring above it.

I don’t know what made me turn around; divine intervention, an epiphany? But I’m glad I did. It felt like one of those moments where I was faced with the reality of my situation by the visuals around me. And as corny as it sounds, it felt like a promise.

“I will not abandon you. You are not alone.”

There is still beauty inside, even though I felt so crummy. And I hold that warmth inside of me and I am happy still. Partially because of my walk, partially because of the air that forced itself in and out of my lungs, partially because of the scenery; because I know I am alive, because of the sharp air that pinched my cheeks awake. But mostly because I know that I am beautiful.

Rainbow above the burnt, orange trees.

I am beautiful mentally, physically and all the other ways in between. I am a beautiful writer, poet, woman, child, daughter, comedic and friend.

And when you learn to love yourself, you learn to love everything around you. I am worthy. I am a friend.

I am…me. 🙂

Already Walking

Was having trouble coming up with an idea of what to post…(I blame this stupid fever!) and decided on this…

A long time ago, I used to write poetry. I don’t much any more as a lot of my focus is on fiction, but you can always tell those that write fiction who also write poems. There is a certain symmetry, rhythm to their words. Ah, there is a beauty to writing words that sound good and taste good on the tongue…

Beautiful sky at Myrtle beach!

Already Walking

My mother asks me: Why don’t you go for a walk? The sun is nice and bright today.

But what she does not know is that I am already walking

at least that’s what I say.

I’m walking through a meadow of flowers. There are rose scented petals on my fingertips.

I lift up my face to the blue-tinted sky    and she doesn’t know

the sun’s a smile on my lips.

The sun warms my shoulders, the skin on my neck,

like the warmth of a blanket, heavily draped.

And I smell the warm air, warm and fresh to my nose,

as the wind rustles my hair in my face.

The color around me, the beautiful roses, the red and the green and the blue.

And here I am lying, my face turned away, while she says: why don’t you?

I touched the green clover, I smelled its green scent, the wind rustling, a purse to my lips.

I’m walking through a meadow of flowers   and she doesn’t know

I’m touching the sky with my fingertips.