Wednesday, October 25, 2017


We left Zion National Park at about 11 a.m., and a good thing, too.  I have never seen a park so busy! The lines to get on the shuttle bus looked like Disney World!  The key here, as we learned from our shuttle bus driver is to get in early, do a hike, then get out!  We traveled through a 1.1 mile tunnel through a mountain as we made our way out of Zion.  Pretty neat!  Then on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, about 2 more hours.  The North Rim is pretty different from the South Rim!  I liked the smaller atmosphere - just one lodge and small cabins.  There were also some rock peninsulas that jutted out into the canyon you could walk out onto.  We ate a good dinner in the restaurant there, overlooking the canyon, and caught the sunset.

The Grand Canyon hikers got up at 3:00 a.m. for a 4:00 start.  No need for me to get up yet, although I really couldn't sleep!  The rest of us left at 6:00 a.m. to see the sun rise.  We dropped off The Runner at the trail head, then each found a solitary place to watch the sun rise, and I took advantage of the time to take communion.  It was beautiful and not too cold!
One of my favorite shots right before sunrise!

We met back up in the Lodge to eat breakfast, and got a text from one of the climbers.  She had felt sick and fainted, and she and her husband were coming back up to the trailhead.  We would pick them up.  She was okay, just disappointed.  

We now were a group of five driving around to the South Rim.  We started off, and enjoyed the Vermillion Cliffs for miles!  We also stopped at the Navajo bridges, and walked the bridge.  As we got into the National Park, we took a break at the Desert Tower.  

We had gotten a call that The Runner had finished!  He had beat us over to the South Rim!  WHAT. Pretty amazing!  It took him 5.5 hours.  He needed ice for an ice bath, so that was our next chore.  We  found some bags at the General Store in the park and found him waiting outside Bright Angel Lodge on the sidewalk.  Only one of our rooms was ready to check into, so we got him in there to recover.

The rest of us enjoyed the rim while we waited.  Some wanted to hike down Bright Angel Trail to try to meet up with the group, but my legs were so sore, I did not!  I wanted to see Hermit's Rest, so I rode the free shuttle bus to the west end and enjoyed the stops. I did that for 2 hours, then got back to the BA trail head at 4 p.m.  I got a text that they were 1.5 miles away, so I went on to explore Kolb Studio and The Lookout.  Both are historic buildings on the rim that now have various functions.  Kolb is an art gallery and bookstore with views of the canyon.  I went in there and in talking with one of the workers, found out that the record for running the canyon was 5 hours, 13 minutes.  The Runner barely missed the record!  He's a humble guy who doesn't really even care about that stuff.

So the group came up at 5:00 p.m., 13 hours after starting.  The trek ended up being 26 miles(they weren't exactly sure how much it was, opinions vary).  The Hubs had a bloody big toe but other than that they were doing well.

We celebrated after a quick clean up with a yummy dinner in the Bright Angel Dining Room!
 Someone may have drunk an entire pitcher of Dr. Pepper!  He earned it, I think.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


We enjoyed a Grand Canyon hike about this time last year with a group of people from church.  It was awesome, but I didn't want to do the 17 miles-in-a-day-thing again this year!  The Hubs did, however!  This was going to be slightly different - actually a 26 miles-in-a-day-hike - and that put me out of the ball game.  I was okay with that!

Then, someone with a knee injury backed out of the trip, and with all the planning and travel reservations, they asked me to fill the spot.  I went totally unprepared and didn't know what was in store!  I was just along for the ride.  Little did I know I was going to do one of the hardest things I had ever done physically!  

It was a really different trip this year, traveling to three parks in four days.  We hiked in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, Zion National Park in Utah, and the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.  The surprise for me was doing what I saw later was dubbed "extreme hiking" in Zion!  Most of the group didn't want to do the Angels Landing hike, a 5.4 mile hike with steep trails and part rock scrambling with some chain climbing due to sheer drop offs.  They were saving up their energy for the Grand Canyon hike the next day.  But several did, and I wanted to do it since I wasn't going to do the GC.

I hadn't looked at any information on Angels Landing, but I knew one of our leader's daughters had done it, so I figured if she could, I could.  I found out later that 6 people had died on this particular hike/climb, but none after 2010 when they made some improvements and installed more chains to hang onto up to the top!

Anyway, long story short, I was huffing and puffing on the steep trail, my quads were burning, even before the hard stuff.  So here you are, already tired, then you start rock scrambling and walking up steep rock faces, holding onto a chain, anchored into the rock.  I was glad I brought gloves to wear because of the cold chains.   It was crazy and fun! My friend coached me some, telling me to stay to the inside of the rock wall if someone tried to pass me.  She admonished me for getting out my camera a few too many times, too!

So I didn't get a ton of shots due to the nature of it, but you can google "Zion Angels Landing" and see for yourself what it is like!  Here's a few from the first two days of the trip:

In VOF we went on two short hikes, seeing a slot canyon and lots of petroglyphs!

Zion National Park in UT

Angels Landing in the back ground - we had no idea what was in store for us!

Getting ready to go up Walter's Wiggles - a man made walkway because the trail kept getting washed out in this canyon when it rained.  

Finally made it up on top!
Being goofy! We had just taken a photo of four college girls like this and they were giggling and saying they "were thirteen," so we just had to do it too!
Me and my trip planner/mountain climber friend!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


to share these titles!  I usually share about several books I've read just a few times a year but both of these books really deserve a post all their own.  Maybe they are so good to me because of my personal interest in the subjects.  But I think anyone interested in living intentionally and organization would love them.

Notes From A Blue Bike, The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World is the second book of Tsh's I've read and loved.  She's a young mother who, along with her husband, knows what has value for them and how they want to raise their family.  It's about saying no to some things and intentionally embracing what they value.  I am  not a young mother anymore, but many of her ideals were similar to the way we chose to raise our children.  Now I'm figuring out how to live intentionally as an almost empty nester with more free time available.  She vividly shows how to live this out through examples of eating, work, travel, education and entertainment.  They have lived with plenty and with less.  It's a book I would highly recommend to young couples just starting out.

This book is what I was referring to when I mentioned slow food on my last post.  Slow food means a lot of things to different people, but what I'm getting out of the concept is that spending time preparing food with your children and family is time well spent. Buying locally sourced food and even growing your own is worth the effort. Taking the time to enjoy food together is valuable to your relationships.  Tsh addresses this, contrasting her time living in Turkey and then coming back home to the States.  I hope to be able to do more of this after what seems like years of rushing around!

The Organized Mind, Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, was one I just happened to pick up on the new book rack at the library.  If you've ever felt like you were drowning in information, this book helps clarify how exactly your brain works and encourages us to really think about what we are doing to ourselves.  We can control the use of our cellphones and all that constant information (novel idea!).  It gives examples of how to slow down and even use some old-fashioned methods to gain some peace and control in our lives.  Habits can help us control it.  There's also an interesting chapter on sifting through medical advice when you are thrust into situations and have important decisions to make.  Some of this book was too much for me but most of it was helpful.