Friday, May 20, 2011

Other adventures with Tim and Genevieve

May 4th, I spent the day with Tim and Genevieve again. Jon was busy working. Poor guy. We drove out to the Kolob section of Zion National Park and hiked the Taylor Creek Trail. I'd done parts of it with Jon before, but either weather or time constraints have kept us from getting to the end. He's seen it before, so he encouraged us to do it. So we did.

We saw two cabins built by hunters in 1930. Here is one of them:

There was also some pretty scenery along the way. . .

The end of the trail is a double alcove. I'm still not sure exactly what that means, but it was pretty cool. We found a guy to take a picture of the three of us:

Genevieve walking along the trail:

More pretty scenery:
I'll add some photos that include me once I can get my hands on some.

May 5th I took Tim and Genevieve out to do some couple's photography. And I'll share those when I get done processing them. But here is one I have of Genevieve and I from that day:

May 6th the boys went on a more strenuous hike. Genevieve and I took a wounded bunny to Best Friends Animal Shelter in Kanab, UT. Pictures of wounded bunnies aren't cute or fun, so I won't be sharing that, and I didn't take any at the shelter, either, so I don't have any of those to share. That place is neat, though. They are well-staffed and have the right kind of equipment, shelters, and employees. They are a no-kill animal shelter, so they take in injured and last-chance animals. After putting the little bunny we brought into their capable hands, we looked around a bit at the bird area.

They had parrots and cockatoos in this one area, so we went over and tried to get them to say hello. This one cockatoo kept looking at me, and he made me work for it, but after saying "hello" to him like five times, he cocked his head to one side and said it back clear and crisp. It was a pretty cute moment.

After doing our good deed for the day, we drove back slowly and stopped by this place that sold Prairie Dog Pottery. If you ever drive by-- don't stop there. The couple that own the place wouldn't quit talking to us. They told us both of their life stories. Which is how we found out that the wife is part Polish, part Ukrainian, and mostly from Kentucky. We also learned the tricks that their dog can do, and which were their favorite cats when they lived in northern Utah. Seriously, it was a nightmare getting out of there.

Then we drove over to Pipe Springs National Monument. There isn't much to the place, but it was a nice quick stop to stretch our legs. Little did we know that we'd find the most amazing duck there.

Seriously, just look at the feathers coming out of his head--

And those are the highlights of Tim and Genevieve's visit. The end.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Water Canyon

Deep in Polygamist country, there is a lovely canyon called, you guessed it, Water Canyon. Have I mentioned before that I get uncomfortable when in one of the polygamist towns? I mean, it isn't just that I absolutely don't believe in their lifestyle or their less than favorable behaviors, but I actually, truly, .just don't like being in their cities. As in, I wouldn't stop in Colorado City or Hilldale on my own, ever, for any reason. Many of the homes are left unfinished or their exteriors are plywood. Then there are the ridiculously high fences and the feeling that secrets are hiding behind every one of them. But for whatever reason, I have ended up there a handful of times with Jon--mostly to hike around Water Canyon or to check out nearby petroglyph walls--but one time we actually stopped by their dairy and bought a big hunk of cheese and some fresh milk (which I admit was tasty). I'll also say here that when the polygamists come into town to buy stuff from Wal-mart or Costco I don't really feel that weird around the actual people then. It doesn't make sense, but there you have it.

Anyway, Jon got me to go with him to Water Canyon, again while Tim and Genevieve were in town. We all hiked up and then Jon and Tim did the canyoneering for all of us while Genevieve and I hiked back. That's not normally an option on our canyoneering adventures because its either a one-way hike through or if you are going through the canyon, you are fully committed to that and distance yourself from the hiking trails. But the way Water Canyon runs parallel to the trail for the most part, if you choose to canyoneer down through it, there are a few different spots where you can climb out of the canyon with ease, jump back on the trail, skip a rappel or two, and then keep going. That's what our group was planning on doing.

And I was all fine and good with that until we got there and I realized that our boys would be leaving us. Alone. On polygamist land.

As always, click on the the images to see them bigger: 

The big waterfall that I didn't have to rappel through.

Did I mention that this was snow melt water that they were hiking through? It was really, really cold. The guys were wearing wetsuits and were still shivering up a storm. I am so glad that Genevieve and I took our sideline vantage point. We were cold enough when we stood in the shade with the wind blowing through the canyon (and we were dry).

 Jon on rope, Tim watching. 

 Tim's turn. 

While we were standing there shivering and waiting, this odd couple that we'd passed at least five times before starts coming down the trail (we're still not sure how they passed us...) and they start asking us about our boys, why we aren't canyoneering with them, why they are wearing wet suits, etc. I felt like they were expecting us to turn into canyon tour guides and explain to them how the canyon formed and all of the forms of recreation that could be had there. And oh, yea, the guy was standing thisclose to me while I was really close to a cliff edge and he was leaning around me to get pictures of Tim and Jon. Weird, I tell you. 

Another shot of the waterfall and part of the slot canyon that they had to get through. 

The tight squeeze through the slot.

At this point we lost sight of the boys, so Genevieve and I started to hike on to find another spot where we could see them. We stopped for a minute to drink some water when we heard shuffling feet and huffing behind us. We turned around quickly to find that Jon and Tim had scampered up to pass another group. So we all hiked on together to their next rappel:   

 The second waterfall that they chose to do.

 Genevieve waiting on Tim.

The awkward couple found us again at this point. The guy once again cornered on a ledge and started taking pictures while standing right next to me. They also asked us if the trail went up about five times in the five minutes they hung around, and my response was always, "Yes." It didn't occur to me until the last time they asked me that perhaps they were trying figure out directions to get back to their car, which was most definitely down trail. By then they were already heading back up the hill, so I didn't bother yelling to clarify what they wanted. 

Jon going down the last waterfall


 Water in Water Canyon

Forty minutes after the last time that I told the awkward couple to keep going uphill, we spotted them coming down the trail after us, right as we had gotten to our car. They looked bewildered and tired, so I'm guessing that they had been trying to get back to their car when they were questioning me last. Oops. 
Genevieve and I quickly jumped into our vehicle to avoid any further conversation with them. After the guys were all changed out of their wetsuits and back in the car, they shared their stories of the awkward couple-- how they stood too close and asked lame questions like, "Is this the way the trail goes?" Jon told me not to feel bad if I mislead them by telling them to keep going up by saying, "If they can't tell which way they're supposed to go, they shouldn't even be out on a trail like this." And this trail was pretty obvious. It doesn't go up and down a lot-- its pretty much either you go up canyon or down canyon.
And, oh yes-- this was the other thing we saw in the parking area:

A completely unnecessary parking job.
And no, that's not a Suburu. It is a Mercury Tracer. 

The polygamists are sitting on some pretty land, I'll give them that. 

In the end, while Genevieve and I saw a few different polygamists while we were on our own, the creepiest people in the canyon weren't of the polygamist persuasion. Who would have guessed?
Fun times.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Valley of Fire

Last weekend when we were in the process of sending our friend Tim off to Atlanta, we stopped by The Valley of Fire State Park. It was hot and dry and I sucked down more water in a three hour period than I ever have before.

It is an amazing place, and if you can stand the desert heat, its a place I'd say is well worth the visit. And if you can't stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen. Oh wait-- I mean, go check it out in the winter. Its still beautiful then.

There are more artsy photos posted at The Desert Loves You. Here you can expect to find mostly just family style snap shots. Hope that's cool with you.

First, a shot of our group. As you might guess by my hair mostly, it was a crazy windy day. I'm still not sure why the others weren't as affected. Dang bangs. And everyone else pronounced the photo "good enough" so that's what I've got to share.

That photo was taken at the bottom of Atlatl rock. The atlatl being a primitive spear used on prehistoric hunts. Here is a photo of what we saw on the rock:

And my interpretation: 
(Click on the images to see them bigger.)

Jumping Jon

What people look like when they're waiting on you to take your Polaroid picture (already!)

Tim and Jon scampered up some rocks to get a better look at some of the panels, but they left all the cameras with Genevieve and I. So I took pictures of them. This is Jon trying to scare me by fake flailing: 


Apparently only the curvy-backed sheep are Bighorns. The others are any number of things.
Goats? Fatted calves? Horned stubby-tailed lizards?

One of my favorite panels. I love the crazy horns on what I can only assume are deer. I can see myself using these guys in paintings in the future. 

Another of my other favorite panels. There were a few incarnations of the images at the top right of this panel. According to the informational panel at the trail head, this is a "Mysterious Bat Lady." Indeed. Plus, check out the insect-faced woman at the top center(ish)--

Happy little slot canyon--SHADE!

Smiling lizard

There is still a lot of it I haven't seen, so I hope to go back in the fall to explore further. If you can stand the heat, this place is pretty great. Just remember to bring a camera, shoes that handle sand well, and lots and lots of water. This place has camping, and I can see myself spending a couple of days here if the weather was right, or its also a great little place for a quick side-trip. 

Friday, May 6, 2011


I feel like I've hit a big landmark. Turning that page onto thirty-one was a bigger deal to me than turning thirty. Now I'm in my thirties, not a newbie. So far so good.
We've had friends staying here from northern California. That's been taking up all my time.
But I wanted to mention the very, very awesome birthday present my darling Jon got me-- A Canon EOS 7D. I don't know how I got so lucky. Jon may have slipped and referred to it as "our" camera, but I'm cool with sharing.
I have been snapping a few little photos here and there, but today I finally got to take it out and really break it in. I took some shots of our friends Tim and Genevieve, because if you stay around our house too long, you become subjects of my photographs. That's all there is to it. That and we decided that today was a nice day to take a break from some of our adventuring. So we drove to the Red Cliffs recreation area and I took all kinds of faux engagement shots of them (since there may well be real ones soon to follow, we thought it was good practice).
I haven't even finished even looking those photos yet, so I thought I'd share these flower photos instead. These were all taken today, and they are all straight out of the camera. The first two were taken while walking around the Red Cliffs, but the others are flowers that are blooming in our back yard. I like what my new camera can do already, but I'm really looking forward to learning more of what I can do with it. So exciting!

I especially love my tea rose. It makes me happy that roses will bloom in our little corner of the desert. I hoping next year is a better year for my parrot tulips. My poppies should be blooming any day now. I can't remember what colors I planted, so that will be fun to see.