Tag Archives: national parks

Of Pictographs and Petroglyphs…

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah; Freemont petroglyphs 1

Freemont petroglyphs at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah; USA

We first heard of the Fremont people as we hiked to Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Grand Staircase Escalante region.The remains of their storage granaries perched at the edges of the high cliffs above us, and we were thrilled to spot their painted rock art, “pictographs,” on a distant canyon wall.

They also decorated many of the rock walls of Capitol Reef National Park to the east, but here the Freemont people carved into the cliff faces rather than painting upon them and created “petroglyphs.”*

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah; Freemont petroglyphs 4The Fremont culture farmed and hunted the Capitol Reef area from around 700 AD to 1250 AD. Their primitive art electrified our imaginations and created questions that can never be answered completely. Questions about ancient motivations and joys… about the death of a culture and the interpretation of its fragmented traces from centuries beyond.

*An easy way to remember the difference is to think: “paint a picture” for pictograph.

Updated from November 9, 2008.

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Torrey Things To Do

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Featured Photo: Anhinga Head Shot

Featured Photo: Ahinga Head Shot (Everglades National Park, Florida; USA)

Alligators were expected.  And mosquitoes.  Everglades National Park wouldn’t be the sort of sauna experience that might normally be followed by a massage and/or pedicure. I presumed primitive. I anticipated hot. A spare stark landscape with slithering surprises. But it was the beautiful birds that most captivated me and my camera during a springtime visit: sub-tropic residents such as this contemplative guy (girl?) sitting sunnyside as its wings dried from a fishing expedition.

 

 

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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

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