Tag Archives: national parks

Tranquil Waters in Yosemite

Tioga Lake; Yosemite NP

Thinking of those battling the Rim Fire, praying for their safety and fervently hoping this gorgeous parkland will be preserved…

From 8/17/2009: After running through the outdoor sauna that is Ohio in August this past week, the cool shores of Tioga Lake are an appealing memory.  I love clear ocean waters with devoted loyalty, but for the moments I stood beside Tioga, it was my favorite shade of blue.

fishing at tioga

Tioga Lake is on the outer eastern edge of Yosemite National Park along Tioga Pass, a winding bit of road that will have you either questioning or praising the driver behind the wheel of your vehicle.  A quiet glacial lake fringed with tall straight pines, Tioga is a place to pause with a fishing rod; a spot to lay down the kayak paddle for a moment to simply breathe in remarkable air that carries none of civilization’s scent and harbors the stillness of night at midday…

That’s your heart beating…

Yosemite National Park Things To Do


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


The Two Day Difference

Plan B was better. My son Zach had laughed when I shared the pre-trip itinerary for an Arizona hiking trip, saying, “and we know that will change…” Apparently I have a history of flexibility. That’s OK. Because it almost always pays to be responsive to opportunities and challenges. I call it vacation maximization.

Our spring hiking trip in Arizona a couple of years ago followed that norm.  A weather event led to some on-the-fly itinerary changes. but led us, finally, back to the South Kabib Trail in the Grand Canyon.


It was Goldilocks weather.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just right for a hike with one of my favorite guys. Just right for admiring views that stretched forever forward and forever down…


More Arizona and Grand Canyon:

Walk Through Sand Sculpture

Desert View at the Grand Canyon

Sinagua Style Sky-Boxes

Don’t Look Down



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