Tag Archives: family time

Stories on our Tree

 Our travel ornament tradition continues! This year, my favorite additions will be memory ornaments collected in southwest Colorado, Chicago … and an ornament that my youngest son brought home from a class trip to Washington D.C.  It was touching to discover that this family tradition has become personally significant to him.

fish

I like to read the stories on our Christmas tree.

pinecone

There are over-sized pinecones from a North Carolina roadside, hastily gathered during an accidental route departure (some would say we were “lost”) and “child-enhanced” with cheerful globs of green and gold glitter glue.

styrofoam ball

Other homemade creations include painted wood ornaments and glass globes, sequin-covered styrofoam balls and assorted paper art. Everyone knows who made which one, and there’s a story behind most. I treasure a wooden star that my Grandma Dugan painted during one of the Christmases she stayed with us before moving to the care center.


A few ornaments date back to my childhood: a worn-looking angel, painted with the abandon of a child who has better things to do; a felt star festooned with sequins that I sewed on, one by one, at the dining room table of my childhood home; a trumpet given by my best friend in fifth grade; a mirrored nativity scene from my Grandma and Grandpa Prior…

treble clef

Musical notes and instruments are a recurring theme, many of them gifts from my late father (odd term; he was never late for anything and was actually a bit early in leaving us!).

penguin

Near the top of the tree, just beneath the Star, is a silly looking penguin whose wings and beak flap with a pull of a string. It joined us during our brief residence in Elida, Ohio and is the coveted find as we decorate each year.

cacti

Every year, the kids receive an ornament that reflects a current interest; these now include ballet slippers, a lizard, virtually every sports ball, and an electric guitar (ssh… a new arrival this year). We also make it a practice to find seasonal decorations when we travel. When I look at our tree I see islands such as Hawaii, Bermuda, St John and Virgin Gorda. Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, Gibraltar and Morocco dangle from branches as do a good number of states and cities of the US.

cable car and pinecone

A pair of flip flops and a ballerina cow from Hannah’s trips to Anna Maria Island and Chicago… A gecko and a cable car from Zach’s trips to Palm Springs and San Francisco… Leaping dolphins that Matt helped pick out in Hilton Head…

zion keychain

Zion, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks were added in 2008, three brightly colored key chains to remind us of some great hiking adventures (we’ve found key chains make great, inexpensive ornaments when you’re too busy to shop for souvenirs). Similar keychains from Puerto Rico, Vieques, the Florida Keys, the Grand Canyon, Mammoth Cave NP and Aspen, Durango, Silverton and Ouray, Colorado dangle as snapshot memories.

star and music stand

It’s a well-covered tree this year, which helps hide the stripe of burned out lights near the bottom. As the kids settle into their homes and traditions, though, the branches will empty. Most of the ornaments will go with them as tangible reminders of their personal histories. Perhaps they’ll share the memories with their own children someday, just as I’ve recounted mine to them. And when they decorate their own trees, they’ll probably travel through a few memories… I hope so.

Because the familiar stories are usually the best.

Columbus Things To Do

5 Comments

Treetop Views from Yokahu

Ninety-eight steps took us directly to treetop views of the El Yunque National Forest.  It seemed a pretty easy way to gain a panorama after our adrenaline-laced morning spent zip-lining, rappelling and hiking through the Luquillo Rainforest! The 360 degree perspective atop Yokahu Tower also included San Juan, Luquillo, Faro de Fajardo (from which we would eventually ferry to Isla de Vieques) and Playa Seven Seas.  Punctured periodically by arched windows, the silo-styled tower, erected in 1963, also afforded decent vistas during our climb to its observation deck.


4 Comments

Hoodoo Heaven

Bryce Canyon has lingered as a treasured still-shot in my memory for some thirty years. One of those “perfect moments” from childhood that somehow attaches itself to your life and becomes a trailing accessory to it… So as we pried ourselves from our beloved Zion National Park and drove eastward on Highway 12 a few years ago, I quietly wondered how my mental snapshot, and our next destination, had fared over all these years. The heavy smoke that billowing just beyond the park entrance was unexpected. Usually, you just get a park map and friendly smile upon arrival. Not a forest fire…UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park;

Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Information and Map

But, it turned out to be a “controlled burn,” unheard of in our generally saturated Ohio but a practical necessity out in the parched western US. My kids could comment more on the details of flames and flying ash. I was fairly focused on keeping to the road amidst the fog of smoke and fire fighters.

UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park; View from Queen's Garden Trail

Bryce is a eerie odd sort of place, and there was no gradual habituation to its wonder.

UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park; People

Water is the predominant force behind the forests of rock spires and quirky formations. Freezing, thawing and persistent rainrops have created this wonderland for the imagination -and will one day be its end, as recently illustrated by the collapse of “Wall Arch” in nearby Arches National Park. The towering pillars, “hoodoos,” are whims of erosion, captivating works of art as unique as individual snowflakes. Many have names:UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park;  Thor’s Hammer, Sinking Ship, The Hunter. Others stand as in a many-acred art gallery, anonymous statues fashioned from Claron limestones, mudstones and sandstones.

Yes, the imagination can run a little wild at Bryce, and each visitor’s unique vision will personalize the Bryce experience. My vivid childhood memories of spired castles rising above pink, red and orange people brought me back, with my own children this time.UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park; Horses But, intermittent rumbling soon lent a deeper hue to the sky as we hiked the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Trails. Eventually, I shoved the camera into our dry bag, and we raced for cover from a pelting storm!

Even this unforeseen event was a lively adventure at Bryce. We huddled on almost-dry dirt under tall rock totems with strangers from all over the globe. Our favorite new friend from the Netherlands UTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park; Navajo Trail; Approaching Stormjoked that, when it rained in his country, they simply built dams. And he then proceeded to do so, channeling a rippling stream of red water away from our feet by aligning rocks and mud with his walking stick and a muddy boot.

When it began to hail with some intensity we leaned back into the sticky rock walls, found drier spots for the damp ones amongst us and shared our recent adventures. The downpour was steady and included cold cold rain, hail and occasional falling rocks, released from above as part of the continual cycle of erosion.

A faint lull in the deluge finally prompted a few of us to run and slide up the slippery red slopes that would lead us out of the soaking canyon. The uphill run though driving rain was a little longer than expected, and we emerged a little further from our car than we had planned. But, theUTAH: Bryce Canyon National Park; Pronghorn wild hail storm only enhanced our Bryce Canyon adventure.

Completely saturated and splattered with red mud, we sipped steaming hot chocolate and watched for pronghorn deer on our drive out and on to our next night’s stay. The steady rain made Bryce a brief stop, but those mystical hoodoos enfolded by dramatic stormy skies also made it a one-of-a-kind memory.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park Visitor Information and Map

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah Park Website

“Hoodoo Heaven” – Quirky formations and whims of erosion in striking shades of red, orange and pink…

PO Box 640201; Bryce Canyon UT 84764-0201

435-835-5322Park Hours: 24 hours/day all year (Call for Visitor Center hours and weather-related road closings)

Entrance Fee: $25/vehicle permit (valid for 7 days) Annual Pass available View Larger Map

Updated from August 22, 2008.


Bryce Things To Do

17 Comments

Page 2 of 21123451020...Last »
View Heather Dugan's profile on LinkedIn Subscribe to me on YouTube
Follow Me on Pinterest