Thursday, November 12, 2009


Each letter of Coyote describes our week-end backpacking trip in Coyote Canyon.
C: Calm, no winds. We watched leaves fall to the ground and marveled at the warm weather.
O: Otherworldlyness - utopia may be a better word, where clean water spouts from walls and arches & alcoves are prolific.
Y: Yellow was the color reflecting in Coyote stream from huge fan-like yellow cottonwood leaves that also blanketed our path.
O: Outrageous monolithic rocks we hiked around with outrageous views of Coyote Canyon.
T: Travel time to trailhead from Escalante, 1 hour. Ricki's new big tires helped with the washboard roads.
E: Easy-going conversations and fun games at night (Farkle and Cribbage).
Coyote Canyon is the quintessential canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. Come hike it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sustainable Lifestyle

Last night I thanked the elk my husband shot but not the veggies. These exclusive homegrown meals are less rare due to his cold frames (which grow veggies into the winter and early spring) and our large freezers. Yes, the chopping, peeling, cooking gets tedious during harvest time but sitting down to an "off the land" meal is a reward in itself. Now if I can only get my husband to grow wine grapes...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Building Better Bones

Ok, we could've driven to the mouth Wolverine Canyon verses carrying 40 lbs on our backs to sleep two nights in the "wilderness." I wondered why a day hiker traveling up Wolverine Canyon smirked when he said, "the road is great condition." As Wolverine Canyon merged with Horse Canyon, a newly graded road dominated the landscape.
Time did slow down as I noticed golden Cottonwood trees and weird figurines on top of steep stained walls. While we trudged back up Wolverine with heavy backpacks, my mantra was, "weight bearing exercises builds better bones." Have SUV I shall travel, just not to all my wilderness experiences.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Even though I did not purchase a Plein Air picture at the Escalante Canyons Art Festival, I was inspired to visit the location of my favorite painting in the exhibit, Barker Reservoir. Jake, my grandson, caught 4 fish as I walked through the golden falling Aspen leaves near the lake with 2 y.o. Luke. It was slow going and this carefree stroll morphed into a glorious warm afternoon. I may not have a physical painting, just the memories of my two grandsons taking in the wonders of Escalante's fall weather and beauty.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I Get to Go Too!

As I age, I appreciate getting out of the house even more. Lately, the big dogs (my owners), leave me behind to guard the house and to sleep on the forbidden couch. In this picture, the big girls took me backpacking to Blind Lake, close to Grover, Utah. The vistas were spectacular, water abundant, and the scents diverse. I'd go back to Blind Lake and bring fishing gear to catch my supper. I'm forever young when on an adventure with the big dogs.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Camping Accessories

I went camping up in the mountains with a bunch of Escalante folks last week and used my friend Ellie's bag she gave me to haul all my camping accouterments. As I unpacked, I noticed what items I ignored and made use of.
The obligatory camera was never picked up; too busy biking, hiking or petting horses. And fortunately, the bug juice was never applied. Either I wore long sleeves and pants or was moving too fast for the bugs to settle on my skin.
I did write 3 pages every morning in my journal I brought along. I recorded my dreams and reflected the life of a fly and my dog.
I read magazines cover to cover and got cozy with my Kindle at night in the tent. Having bear spray next to me was worth its weight in comfort.
Ellie's bag gave my camping experience more options for luxuries and pleasures.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Beating the Heat in Escalante

Yep, it's hot in Escalante Utah. A couple of days ago, my husband Ricki drove my friend and I up Main Canyon 24 miles and dropped us, with mountain bikes, to find our way back home. The high altitude and the cloud cover made me wonder if I had brought enough clothes. Soon I was sweating by tackling the hill climbs and distracted by antelope running through open meadows. We pedaled and pedaled and finally had lunch at Cyclone Lake and marveled at the sheer coolness in the air. One more climb and it was all downhill, past Posey Lake and into the furnace of Escalante. Five hours later and maybe 30 miles behind us, we reveled in how we beat the heat in Escalante.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bird on Bird

We have at least a pair of Mockingbirds (maybe a juvenile too) that have taken up residence near our home. Their garbled telegram-like messages, or songs, usually start 8 or 9 in the morning and disappear by midday. Unfortunately, other small birds have vacated. No longer sweet melodious songs from Meadowlarks or rhythmic whistles from Say's Phoebes grace us. Instead, the bold and boisterous Mockingbird swoop down with its white patch wings blazing, scaring insects or to commandeer our berries. They are conspicuous until you want to photograph them. As I waited with camera in hand, I noticed the silence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nasty Gnats

My face bears witness to the destruction from the tiniest creatures Mother Nature can dish out while camping in the Cedar trees last week-end. I understand why we saw no one while hiking in the vast wilderness of the Kaiparawits mountains: who would want their skin gnawed on by incessant gnats that are not deterred by poison, tight clothing or flight? We escaped to the high ridges where weird boulders and old snags reside in the unhampered breezes. Taking in the vistas on high hillsides, we rejoiced in the freedom from gnats.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Setting the Stage

Last week we, my husband, our friend Nick, and I, went for a spontaneous 4 night backpacking trip up Stevens Canyon. The weather looked reasonable, with only one threatening stormy day. Our only daily obligation was to find the perfect campsite: flat, near water, some shade, off trail with a view. Otherwise, we spent our energies plowing through Escalante River knee-high water to skipping over Stevens Canyon slow-moving stream. Streaked half-domed walls surrounded us as we meandered up Stevens wash. Of course, all our campsites were perfect except when the winds howled and shook the Cottonwood trees to the ground. Our tent looked like it had been abandoned for decades because three inches of sand had accumulated inside it. We picked up the tent, sand and all, and moved to a near-by sheltering wall. We settled back, the stage set, to watch the golden light show and the moon rise between the canyon walls. Everything was complete.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daily Sunsets

Yep, we do have these frequent sunsets here in Escalante, Utah. Clouds have been blowing in and the sunsets are plentiful. Beauty abounds.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Time Tested

Time was I kept a schedule with no time lapses. Lately, I've taken out time to keep up with the ever-changing positioning of the stars and planets. Wintertime nights are filled with twinkling specks of starlight and I wonder if this is endless time. No, I could make a timetable with the moon's cycle and the mercurial stars. For instance, one evening Venus was on top of the setting moon and then Venus jumped over the moon to the western horizon the next night. I'll make time to watch the dark skies and stay with the everlasting.