Learn Something New Every Day!

Posts tagged ‘Bryce Canyon National Park’

LANDSCAPES: America the Beautiful

“I am interested in the way that we look at a given landscape and take possession of it in our blood and brain. None of us lives apart from the land entirely; such an isolation is unimaginable.”         N. Scott Momaday

Zion National Park, UT

Zion National Park

For many years now, I have retreated to Nature for an extended visit at least once a year.  The destinations are varied, but they all have something in common:  vast open spaces.  Whether I am at the Grand Canyon,  Zion National Park or some local country road, the landscape sets the stage for wonder and solitude as well as awareness and reflection.  Each landscape—although different—suggests a sense of freedom and adventure inherent in the open road.

IMG_0991Although I have traveled a bit in Europe and Mexico, most of my travels are across the good old United States of America.  As I travel across these vast vistas, I cannot help but think of the native peoples and early pioneers who crossed these same expanses without benefit of car and rest stops.  Such strength and courage.  Such determination and perseverance.  Such hope for the future and sense of adventure.  These traits—a lingering part of the American spirit—are evident for me in the open vistas from these panoramic photos of various scenes from across America.

View from Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ

View from Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ

This post is my second response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Landscapes.

Mono Lake, California

reflection 5

IMG_5254

IMG_5226

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

hoodoo 2

Bryce Hoodoo Vista pano

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona

IMG_6019

monument valley clouds

Tioga Pass Road, Yosemite National Park, California

IMG_7915

IMG_8034

IMG_7934

Red Rock Canyon State Park, California

IMG_9602

IMG_8650

Some General Vistas

Monterey, California

Monterey, California

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coast, California

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coast, California

Petrified Forest, Arizona

Petrified Forest, Arizona

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Canyonlands, Island in the Sky Section, Utah

Canyonlands, Island in the Sky Section, Utah

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

QUOTES ABOUT LANDSCAPES

“The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere—in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves.  No one would desire not to be beautiful.  When we experience the beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.”  John O’Donohue

“There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.”  Josephine Hart

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer—and often the supreme disappointment.”  Ansel Adams

“Life is like a landscape.  You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.”  Charles Lindbergh

“You cannot, in human experience, rush into the light.  You have to go through the twilight into the broadening day before the noon comes and the full sun is upon the landscape.”  Woodrow Wilson

“The landscape is like being there with a powerful personality and I’m searching for just the right angles to make that portrait come across as meaningfully as possible.”  Galen Rowell

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”  Andrew Wyeth

“I think landscape photography in general is somewhat undervalued.”  Galen Rowell

“Any landscape is a condition of the spirit.”  Henri Frederic Amiel

“Memory is the fourth dimension to any landscape.”  Janet Fitch

“I can go into the wilderness and not see anyone for days and experience a kind of space that hasn’t changed for tens of thousands of years.  Having that experience was necessary to my perception of how photography can look at the changes humanity has brought about in the landscape.  My work does become a kind of lament.”  Edward Burtynsky

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 001I have visited Bryce Canyon National Park several times over the years.  Each visit is always unique, regardless of extraneous variables such as season, weather, and even park construction projects.  A major part of the grand spectacle comes from the many contrasts inherent in this place.  Although one of the smallest national parks at 56.2 square miles, its high elevations (8,000-9,000 feet) mean the park occupies three different climate zones as it ascends 2,000 feet.  In addition, the drive into Bryce Canyon National Park is deceptive: visitors first encounter meadows and sparse forests that hide the stupendous vistas that eventually erupt, offering 200 miles of visibility.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 087

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 090

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 101

mid view with clouds

Of course, there is also the fact that Bryce Canyon National Park is not really a canyon. Instead, the area is comprised of a series of amphitheaters, each one cut 1,000 feet into the sandstone cliffs. Its 18-mile scenic drive takes visitors to numerous scenic overlooks and hiking trails, providing dramatic overviews of the park’s stark vistas and red cliffs.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 006

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 114

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 050

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 017

pano vista 3 river

Bryce Vista River

Bryce Maybe Sunset Pt after storm

SOME FLOWERS & ANIMALS THAT CAN OFTEN BE SEEN

Utah Prairie Dog

Utah Prairie Dog

flowers 1

flowers 5

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 008

chipmunk

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 007

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 014

flowers 2

SOME TYPICAL VIEWS

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 074

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 079

INSPIRATION POINT

inspiration pt vista

inspiration point close

NATURAL BRIDGE

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 033

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 028

FAIRVIEW POINT

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 025

GEOLOGICAL MAP OF THE COLORADO PLATEAU

BNP geo maps

Bryce Fairview PtThis magnificent park is one of many national parks scattered throughout Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. This four-state area is part of the expansive geological feature called the Colorado Plateau that—millions of years ago (mya)—was formed from sedimentary buildup, tectonic activity and ongoing erosion.  Bryce Canyon National Park, however, is one of the areas that was initially situated at the bottom of an inland sea.  The combination of this area’s special features—initially underwater, ongoing wind erosion complemented by the impact of freezing temperatures and annual rainfall—gives rise to park’s the most unique feature: hoodoos.

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 134Hoodoos are bulbous spires eroded out of the sandstone cliffs that are unique in the world to this national park in southern Utah.  These statuesque rock features look almost human as they populate the cliffs and terraces.  In 1936, Indian Dick was recorded sharing part of a Paiute Legend about the formation of this area and it ghostly apparitions:

“Before there were any Indians, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. . . . Coyote turned them all into rocks.  You can see them in that place now; some standing in rows; some sitting down; some holding onto others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks. . . . The name of that place is Agka-ku-wass-a-wits (Red Painted Faces).”

hoodoo 2

hoodoo 3

I love to sit and observe these hoodoos.  They seem so human that I swear I can hear their whispers as they huddle against the wind.  Some of the works by my favorite artists show individuals at one with nature who would be at peace wandering the trails that meander through these impressive cliffs.

Bryce Hoodoo Vista pano

Although these artists did not live in Utah, their work captures the spirit and people of the Southwest and along with the hoodoos themselves  remind me that past and present, nature and families, history and culture intertwine together in this special place called Bryce Canyon National Park.

Carole Grigg, Cherokee, Oregon

Carole Grigg, Cherokee, Oregon

R. C. Gorman, Navajo, California & New Mexico

R. C. Gorman, Navajo, California & New Mexico

R. C. Gorman

R. C. Gorman

Amado Pena, Yaqui, Arizona & Texas

Amado Pena, Yaqui, Arizona & Texas

Bryce Hoodoo 3

Bryce Hoodoo 5

If you have never been, consider visiting Bryce Canyon National Park.  It is a truly wondrous place.  Although native tribes had populated the area for centuries, this wondrous location was officially named Bryce Canyon National Park after a Mormon pioneer named Ebenezer Bryce.  The area was first preserved as a National Monument in 1923, becoming a National Park in 1928.  As a visitor brochure explains, “This dynamic mesmerizing place is like no other.”

pano vista 4

ROADSIDE NATURALIST: Spring 2014

I have always considered myself a Roadside Naturalist.

pink tree along I-5christio umbrellas along I-5Some roads are noted for their wonderful views, such as California’s Big Sur Coastline and the 17-Mile Drive outside of Monterey.  But even roads like I-5 can let you find a gorgeous tree in pink splendor or Highway 395 can drive you past autumn colors.  The noted artist Christo even planned his Umbrellas Exhibit—in both California and Japan—along common roadways.  No matter where I go, if I pay attention, I can usually find some glorious aspect of Nature to appreciate.

Lone pIne monterey

big sur

Bishop road

In fact, Nature and Solitude are such rejuvenating forces that I used to take Nature Solitude Treks every spring.  The frequency of those trips, however, stopped when I moved into administrative work and no longer had May as a regular time off.  And then I had a series of major surgeries starting in 2006 and my chances to get out into Nature dwindled even further.  I still valued Nature and sought it out, just with less planned intention.

Drive to Flagstaff 013This spring, I finally took another Nature Solitude Trek, this time traveling over 6500 miles and stopping at national parks and wildlife refuges along the way. I did not complete major hikes or camp out under the stars.  In fact, most places I visited I made sure had scenic drives as part of their layouts and options.  It is amazing how much Nature you can enjoy, literally, along the side of the road.  Some of those roads were bumpy unpaved dirt roads while others were interstates, and still others were county back roads.  But they allowed me to get close to Nature, even though I cannot walk very fast or very far anymore.

Below are some of the photos taken from the car that show the Nature I encountered along the many, many roads I traveled on this trip.  It was a glorious time.  And not one flat tire or speeding ticket!

ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

Zion & Kolob Canyons 016

Zion & Kolob Canyons 120

bull close

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 006

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 117

Bryce NP, red rock canyon 100

CAPITAL REEF NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

Coral Reef National Park 093

Coral Reef National Park 123

Coral Reef National Park 094

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, NEEDLES SECTION, UTAH

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 206

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 216

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 213

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 293

COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT

CO national mon 2 & River Park 057

CO national mon 2 & River Park 062

CO national mon 2 & River Park 009

GARDEN OF THE GODS, COLORADO

Pam Day 2 & Garden of the Gods 048

PIKE’S PEAK FROM COUNTY ROAD, WOODLAND PARK, COLORADO

Pam Day 2 & Garden of the Gods 009

BOSQUE DEL APACHE WILDLIFE REFUGE, ARIZONA

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 007

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 211

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 148

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 161

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 223

SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA

Saugaro NP Rincon & West 156

Saugaro NP Rincon & West 325

Saugaro NP Rincon & West 078

Saugaro NP Rincon & West 018

Saugaro NP Rincon & West 114

SEQUOIA & KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS

(Actually two little trips before and after my big driving trip in Spring 2014)

????????????????

100_1325

100_1392

IMG_3062

IMG_3051

IMG_3368

IMG_3281

IMG_3350

IMG_3164

IMG_2982

IMG_3012

This trip immersed me into the overwhelming and rejuvenating power of Nature and Solitude. In today’s world, when we are urged to see multi-tasking as an expectation, when the Internet and social media bring us news and oddities alike in the blink of an eye, and when reality shows focus so often on people doing stupid things rather than on a delight of Nature, my escape into Nature was a real treat.  This trip confirmed that the best way to approach Nature is as a child excited by the ant and butterfly alike, curious about birds and squirrels and whatever catches her eye.  This trip reminded me of the power of wonder and mindfulness to help keep me balanced and spiritually aware. As a result of this trip, I remembered some simple truths that can help me lead an engaged, wonder-filled life, no matter how hectic my life gets:

  • Don’t multi-task your life away. If something is so unimportant that you need to be doing something else at the same time, why do it at all?
  • Slow down and look around.  You will never notice the natural wonders around you if you just keep rushing to the next item on your to-do list.
  • Be like a child and capture the wonder of each moment—it is the only way to build memories.
  • Express your gratitude and appreciation for nature, life, relationships often.

What truths about life help keep you grounded and sane?

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 SOME QUOTES ABOUT NATURE, WONDER & LIFE

“Amidst the splendor of the scene and the silence, I was filled with a wonderful peace.”   Basho

“ah, sweet spontaneous earth…”    e. e. cummings

“We need the tonic of wildness—we can never have enough of nature.”  Thoreau

“The spirits of the road beckoned, and I could do no more work at all.”   Basho

“Silence alone is worthy to be heard.”  Thoreau

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life.”  Omar Khayyam

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  W. B. Yeats

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”  Emerson

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”   Betty Smith

“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”    Franz Kafka

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”   Goethe

“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”  Charles Chaplin

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”   Socrates

“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”    G. K. Chesterton

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”    Aristotle

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”     Buddha

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”    G. K. Chesterton

“Mystery creates wonder, and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.”   Neil Armstrong

“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”  Albert Schweitzer

NATURE CALLS: Musings of a Roadside Naturalist (1996)*

I have never hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon nor climbed past Yosemite’s Vernal Falls. I have not camped out in the wilds, ridden rapids or climbed steep canyon walls looking for petroglyphs.  But I have stood in dinosaur footprints, waded in the Colorado River, and walked through the ruins at Chaco National Park.  As I see it, such wanderings qualify me as a naturalist, even though I don’t often stray far from the roadside.  What matters is that I seek Nature’s comfort and spirituality.

monument valley 2Fortunately, this quest is not difficult.  At the beginning of every summer, I take off for a Nature and Solitude Retreat, just to rejuvenate my soul. On those trips I head for the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or maybe Canyon de Chelly. One year I toured the Acoma Pueblo; this year I visited Monument Valley. But I could just as easily delight over a drive along Route 66 or down the Big Sur Coastline.  Where I go does not matter—as long as I focus on Nature.

monument valley 3

Cactus along Route 66, Arizona

Cactus along Route 66, Arizona

Big Sur Coast, California

Big Sur Coast, California

red tail hawkpeacock arboretumI don’t even have to go on a trip to experience that refreshing connection.  At least once a week, I spot a red-tailed hawk circling over my morning commute.  Any weekend I can breeze through the Los Angeles County Arboretum, finding peacocks on display or some new flower in bloom. On the morning of the Northridge Earthquake, at about 6 am, most of us from my Chatsworth apartment complex were still sitting out by the cracked pool, avoiding the shattered darkness of our homes.  But as the morning brightened, there it was:  a tree in bloom, offering a silent protest against the morning’s jarring destruction.  Even the mocking birds were chattering away like it was any other day. How could my spirits not be lifted?

Morning of Northridge Earthquake

Morning of Northridge Earthquake

sunflower vaseBut being aware of my natural surroundings is not automatic.  I am often rushed and pre-occupied. If I can forget a loved one’s birthday, I can certainly block out the Wonders of Nature without much effort.  Therefore, I try to remind myself to stop and smell the roses. Although an obvious cliché, it’s still good advice. For a start, I try to consciously put nature on my agenda. At night, instead of watching the same old reruns again and again, I take a walk and notice the moon and the stars.  It’s best to make a wish!  Or I try to get up fifteen minutes early to feed the birds outside the window or to notice the bright blue sky before the smog settles in for the day. The colors and sounds and textures of Nature are always there, if only we take the time to notice.  Even the little things help, like putting a fresh flower on my office desk.

horses in NVWhenever I do plan activities away from home, I always keep Nature in mind. It’s easy to do; after all, Nature is just waiting to be explored. For example, for me, a trip to Las Vegas is not complete unless I also visit Red Rock Canyon that lies about 20 minutes outside the city. On my last trip, I was lucky:  I won $20 and saw a herd of wild mustang that calls that area home. Another time, I ventured a bit further—maybe two hours—to the Valley of Fire. Yes, it is as spectacular as it sounds.  I especially like the rock formation called Elephant Rock.

Wood Duck, Lithia Park

Wood Duck, Lithia Park

The point is that everywhere has some natural setting to escape to. Whenever I travel, I check for parks through cities, counties, and universities. For example, there’s a great arboretum at Washington State University in Seattle and some extensive rose gardens in Portland, Oregon. Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon, is a wondrous place.  Perfect for leisurely strolls. If you get there early enough, you may awaken the many ducks and swans that make the ponds their home. Bring bread crumbs!

Finding such places to visit is easy enough by checking tour books and maps of the area. Of course, AAA is a great source for such materials. But I also contact the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, since “birders” tend to know the prettiest areas to visit. In fact, any locals you can talk to will often give great advice. Without it, I never would have discovered a back road to Gold Beach, Oregon. But is proved to be a stupendous drive, full of gorgeous wildflowers and numerous butterflies.

Desert Sunrise

Desert Sunrise

Knowing where to find Nature is not the only thing that allows for a grand adventure.  I also need enough time. Time to wait, to notice, to watch. It’s hard to really enjoy Nature if you have to watch the clock so you can rush off to an appointment.  To allow a leisurely pace, I usually figure I need a four or five hour block of play time. The plan usually includes watching a sunrise or sunset, but such scheduling is not always possible.

sunrise 2

quailI do try, however, to schedule times during early mornings and late afternoons because I am interested in more than just scenery.  Those are the times when more animals and birds are active. For example, outside Tucson, Arizona, I once shared an evening picnic area with a large covey of quail, some persistent jays and a squirrel.

 

yellow headed blackbird 1yellow headed blackbird 2Anytime of day, however, can give me a slice of Nature to make my own. For example, it was about noon on a hot desert afternoon when I say a coyote.  He was too hot to care that I was following him along the road for a mile or so.  Eventually he slowly wandered away into the brush, but he was forever captured on the pages of my journal—along with the yellow-headed blackbirds I fed at a parking area in Yellowstone National Park, the bear I saw at a distance at Yosemite National Park, and the golden eagle I watched along the highway as it soared against an azure sky in New Mexico.

utah praire dogFinally, to make the most of my sojourns into Nature, I always bring along two things:  a camera and a journal.  Binoculars are a nice addition as well.  These items help me capture my thoughts, ideas, and experiences for later reflection.  Besides, sitting quietly for the few minutes it takes ti write that journal entry or to contemplate the best photo angle is often all it take to entice birds and animals back into action.  Sometimes right at my feet.  For example, on an afternoon in Bryce Canyon National Park, I took the time to entice a prairie dog out into the meadow with me. This species is an endangered animal that lives only in Utah, making the encounter all the more special.

bryce 5

Patience is such a great companion.  But perhaps the best tool for an effective Nature Adventure is simply a fine-tuned sense of Wonder.  As Albert Einstein says, “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead, his eyes are closed.”  When I look with my heart as well as my eyes, I am never disappointed.

I invite you to be a Roadside Naturalist whenever you can.  It is a great adventure!

Where are your favorite places to travel and enjoy Nature?

*END NOTE:  I first wrote this piece about being a Roadside Naturalist 18 years ago.  This year, when I once again took a long driving trip into Nature, I was still contemplating Nature, Wonder and Spirituality. Thus, I decided to share my earlier musing via my blog.

Tag Cloud