Category Archives: LIFESTYLE

Into “The Narrows” (Zion NP, Utah)

UTAH: Zion NP; Hiking the Narrows (Virgin River)

“The Narrows” was the perfect plunge into vacation mode (July 2008).

After dropping off luggage, we hopped onto the seasonally mandatory shuttle bus and rode toward its uppermost stop, the Temple of Sinewava. Each curve of the road took us deeper into the intriguing walls of Zion. We craned to see rocks that stretched up like skyscrapers, sipped water from our Camelbaks and constantly nudged one another to “look at that!”

UTAH: Zion NP; Navajo sandstone fills the biggest space amongst Zion’s nine layers of vibrant rock. A shifting of the earth’s crust some 200 million years ago sloshed ocean water over giant sand dunes that rose far above our modern day dunes. The sea minerals cemented the sand grains, transforming those ancient wind-swept dunes into permanent fixtures. Subsequent motions in the crust lifted and tilted the newly-formed rock, draining the sea but leaving rivers behind to further embellish the landscape by carving dramatic canyons and eroding honeycombed crevices and caves.  Hiking “The Narrows” would give us a first-hand glance at erosion in action.  And be a LOT of fun…

UTAH: Zion NP; Hiking

To access “The Narrows,”  we first walked the one-mile “Riverside Trail” to its finish at the chilly Virgin River. After slipping my camera into our dry bag, we began our hike by simply walking into the clear waters of the river.

Absolute exhilaration.

There’s not much better than a river hike on a hot day. You expect to get wet and maybe a little dirty. There’s no need to step over puddles; instead, you aim for them. It’s the perfect kid hike (for the kid in all of us).

UTAH: Zion NP; Hiking

Debra, a part-time employee at the Cliffrose Lodge had thoughtfully provided us with the necessary hiking sticks (her own) to remain upright in the swift current and over the slippery rocks. As we made our way upriver, the canyon walls enclosed us, blocking all direct sunlight and sheltering us from the sweltering heat. Water trickled and occasionally gushed down the sheer walls sustaining hanging gardens of green that clung to the sandstone. The occasional stretches of deeper sandy-bottomed river prompted challenges between Hannah and Matt to achieve full submersion in the chilly water (I made it up to my ear lobes and counted that a success).

UTAH: Zion NP; Reliving

We didn’t make it the whole sixteen miles. Next time…? We met a couple of guys from Georgia at Zion’s backcountry permit window the next morning who planned to do the hike with an overnight.  Sounded like something fun to aim for…

By 8:30 hunger and darkness sent us back to dry land.  Invigorated, covered in wet sand and fully “on vacation…”

From July 2008.

Springdale Things To Do


Tracking Turtles

Or rays or fish…

I’ve trailed many sea critters through multiple oceans. Chilled to the point of shivering in some waters while virtually sweating in other seas, I’ve always been fascinated by the revelations of a beach-bound universe.  I haven’t carried an underwater camera in a while, and subsurface video was an altogether new experience when we traveled to Puerto Rico and Isla de Vieques in August of 2011. We had a lot of fun playing with our camera.

For those of you who have not yet ventured into the underwater world yet, this is but a small glimpse from an unending gallery…

Tailing a Sea Turtle in Vieques:

Updated from November 12, 2010.



Claiming Sand on Silver

We claimed an isolated stretch of Silver Beach (Vieques, Puerto Rico) as our own.  Angling into one of only two parking spots and tossing our towels onto the sand made it our unofficial second home for two lovely August days a couple of years ago.  Our private spot was well beyond Red Beach and Secret Beach and required a bouncing crawl of a drive down the pitted narrow road that meandered out east of Blue Beach.

Secreted behind sea grapes, mangroves, beach vines and coconut palms, our chosen place had the feel of a well appointed deserted island.  The shallow waters were clear and the sand was soft. After gathering food and water en route at La Tienda Verde (The Green Store), we needed little more than our sunscreen, snorkel masks and a few fish to chase.

We had read about a coral bed located on the far side of the island just to our west.  And after trailing a turtle (video) and stalking various fish in the shallows, we crossed the sea grasses and swam through deeper waters over a sandy sea floor to find out for ourselves…

More underwater photos (and video!) from Isla de Vieques.

Family Vacation on raveable


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