Watch out!

Every environment has its own unique dangers, risks… challenges.

My mom was afraid to spend time in the desert because of the scorpions, snakes and spiders… even after decades of living there, she was reluctant to walk far from the pavement.  She was perfectly comfortable, however, traipsing through the Pennsylvania forests where she grew up, …. a place where I find myself distracted by the possibility of encountering a bear or cougar!

I know what to watch out for in the desert… and what to avoid.  Don’t stick your hands under rocks, watch where you put your feet, carry more water than you think you will need and protect against sunburn and the possibility of West Nile Virus from mosquito bites….

When we travel, I want to know what the most serious threats to our safety are before we head out on a trail.  It is often difficult to even know what questions to ask.  What plants are poisonous, what snakes or spiders or animals are most fearsome?  Are there ways to minimize the risks? Are there some not worth taking?

Quicksand, sink holes, prairie dog dens, poison ivy?  Mosquitoes, leeches, icy cold water, sharp coral, gators…. moose?

“Watch out for chiggers and ticks,” we were cautioned when we were spending time in Oklahoma during the summer.  We wanted to head across the field in search of a cache…. looked harmless enough.  I felt reluctant to venture into a new place and realized that it was mere ignorance holding me back.  I just needed to know the real danger, and all of the details.  Use DEET, wear long pants and sleeves and carry a lint roller were the most useful pieces of advice… informative and empowering.

What advice would you offer someone unfamiliar with the risks in your area??  How do you get this information when you are in new locations?


Forearmed with reliable information, it will be easier to say… A new place to explore?……. Sure, let’s go!


Sunshine, cloud-freckled blue skies, and amazing sculpted rocks from 10,000 feet!
My husband’s birthday was this week, so his sister decided to fly up from Texas to help him celebrate.  Her husband used to train F16 pilots in the Air National Guard; now, in their retirement, they like to do some of their traveling in a little four-seater prop plane.

We had taken short scenic flights with them in years past, but Earth Day shaped up to be the best day for an extended flightseeing tour of red rock country in southern Utah and northern Arizona.  And what a day it was!

We climbed above familiar valley terrain and the carved edges of the Colorado Plateau as we followed the Colorado River west into Utah.

Snow lingered at the top of Glade Park and glistened on the La Sals in the distance.

River rapids below and rock pillars pointing skyward… we wove our way through the sky towards the splendor of national parks in Utah and Arizona.

Soon we could see the road below, leading through “Park Avenue” and the ridges outlining mounds of arches in Arches National Park.

The landscape is a maze of erosion.

Past Moab and beyond the rock fins that rise to the west….

We enter into the expanse of Canyonlands

and encounter the upper reaches of Lake Powell

Red rock ridges rimmed in blue water and sky….

We pass the Glen Canyon dam and head past the Vermillion cliffs, over Lee’s Ferry and into Marble Canyon

Lenticular clouds indicate strong winds above us as we climb to soar above the north rim of the Grand Canyon

… and over the edge to cross this expanse of the Grand Canyon near Fossil Bay…

waterfalls spilling from the canyon walls are dwarfed by the landscape….

We skirt the south rim, enjoying the view of the San Francisco Peaks on the horizon to the south… then climb 1000 feet higher to return to the north rim and head back toward Page, AZ.

Lunch in town and then we take off again, heading northeast ….

Past Navajo Mountain….

… Monument Valley….

The goosenecks on the San Juan and Valley of the Gods ….

Sleeping Ute Mountain…..

Comb Ridge and Butler Wash near Bluff, Utah….

We were going to follow the Dolores River north but the weather looked threatening in that direction….

So we head back toward Moab and retrace our path along the Colorado … past Arches NP

and the Colorado National Monument…

… and into the Grand Valley we call home.

AMAZING DAY of Flightseeing. . . Thanks Gary and Dona!

Familiar places from an amazing vantage… ready for adventure?! Sure… Let’s Go!

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Historical Places and Times

History was not my favorite subject in school.  So steeped in detail and far removed from my experience…. it was something I memorized long enough to ace the test.  It was not until I had lived enough years to feel a part of history that I could internalize some of the related details of familiar events.

Northern Arizona is a part of my life.  The changes that have happened since I left are recent history. . . sharing memories with “old timers” is an interesting pleasure.

Yesterday we visited the old mining town of Jerome… a small artisan community of free spirits when I was in college, now home to pricey galleries and shops catering to tourists as well as local craftsmanship.  Perched on a steep hillside, this town still flaunts its history.  It is rustic, rough and charming.  I love that local artists continue to create here.

The “new age” spiritual movement has drastically altered this region.  Sleepy, quiet towns and wilderness have become more well-known and popular than any of us could have imagined thirty years ago.

While I was mostly unaware of the infamous “Day of Harmonic Convergence” … August 16-17, 1987 was a particularly significant date in Sedona’s history.  I have  heard several local people talk about the day’s events with disbelief and humorous recollections. All I know is the sudden popularity drastically changed this region.  Luckily, they continue to cherish the landscape and have made much of it off-limits to further development.

I wonder if December 21, 2012 will have an additional impact on this community?