Thursday, January 29, 2009

On the Lion's Back

I won't ever forget the first time I saw a video clip of an SUV crashing off a huge rock fin in Moab. Of course, back then I didn't know it was Moab or that the rock formation is referred to as a fin. Never did I think I would find myself there at the base of Lion's Back located just on the outskirts of Moab.

Apparently the campground and the rock formation are privately owned now, so there is no more chance to ride down this very scary slope. When we drove out on Sand Flats Road there was no one at the site and looking at it, there is no way of really understanding the scariness of the drive. From this view, the Lion's Back does not look high or steep.

There is a fee to get into the Sand Flats recreation area, but if you just want to drive through to the La Sal Mountains, you can do it without paying. We decided to pay because we wanted to wander around, get out the Jeep, and hike. The Jeep trails are too difficult for us. The biking trails even seem at a more advanced level. But, walking we can do. So, we parked in a nearby lot and started hiking, not really realizing we were heading towards Lion's Back until we were right next to it.

This little "valley" between the fins can be traversed by the Jeep, but there was no chance in hell I was going to do this with our stock Jeep, not without a guide.

This is about where I stopped my hike. I was too nervous to continue, a bit hungry so I knew I would get shaky, and decided my heart would be better off just watching my man head on up. I still haven't really figured out how the Jeeps get up there other than to drive right up the slope and turn around for the trip down, but for some reason, I was thinking there was another route. In any case, we did not see any other way that day.

My heart was in my throat just watching the Big D make his way to the top of Lion's Back. If we weren't supposed to there, there was no one around to say so. I was holding my breath as he climbed the side of the fin and hiked to the top.

Apparently the view from the top made it worth his while. See the road down there? That's where we came riding in. The campgrounds are located at the bottom of this fin. And the La Sal Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this setting.

This is the view as you head down the slope. How do people do this? Very, very slowly.

See, there I am, waiting and imaging the worst that could happen. There was cattle dung all around, lots of brush, sand. I had a lot of time to look around while i waited for Big D to go up, then climb back down.

As we hiked back to the Jeep, the sun rose higher in the sky, washing the area with bright sunlight. We spent the next 7 hours driving the length of this road that leads into the La Sal Mountains, stopping at a deserted campground for lunch, one that had an incredible 360 degree panoramic view. We also walked a little of the "fins and things" Jeep trail that is a series of these fins. And yet another 4WD campground was found and we bounced our way through it, but we ended up having to turn around as the exit was blocked by a couple of other suvs stuck in the sand.

This was planned as a "free" day on this roadtrip to Moab. We didn't have anything planned, but we ended up having quite an adventure that day. And this is where I learned that we shouldn't leave our motel without a packed lunch. By the time we stopped for lunch we were a good two hours drive from any gas station or diner.

Off season travel is the way we go. Although we saw a couple of bikers and a few cars, we felt like we had the area to ourselves. There was plenty of time to contemplate the vast beauty of this place in peace and quiet.

The path was good to us that day.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

down to the river

the road took us quietly down to the river

expecting to see the state park full for the Dr. King holiday, we were pleasantly surprised by the solitude of the riverbank

traces of ski trails on the ice gave the feeling of movement behind the stillness of the grass

the afternoon was filled with expressions of love...

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Monday, January 19, 2009

crossing into the city at sunset

as the clouds thinned and the sun set, the sky was filled with color and light

the streets darkened mimicking the light at the end of the day in a canyon.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

blue in the city

today my eye was drawn to the blues

drawn to the corners

and into the vibrant afternoon sunlight.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

january's full moon

This month had the year's largest full moon. It's something like 15 percent larger than the other full moons. In it's orbit around the earth, this is the time of year where it is closest to us. It lights up the neighborhood like a celestial floodlight. I suppose that's exactly what it is, reflecting the sun light and pointing it down to the earth like a spotlight.

The full moon was on the night of January 11, the eve of Big D's natality. I absolutely love that I'm married to a forty-year-old!

As the night darkened, the moon took on an eerie brightness. There were candlelit cross country ski trails at the state park on the St. Croix river. But the temperatures dropped to single digits and that's just too cold.

The temperatures steadily dropped, and my body took on a shiver that prevented me from capturing the details of the moon. I learned that even with a tripod, there is a definite shake to the images shot without a remote shutter. It's a pity because my zoom seemed to draw the moon closer than our cheapy telescope.

Another one of those things that I cannot easily transition from shooting film to shooting digital. Learning something new every day with this camera, and it makes the day more interesting.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's this about?

Who knows? Not me. But, there it is and it is here.

The Universe told me today:

Next time you make a wish, Lotus, wish for what is, because really and truly, things don't get much better than this.

There is a purpose, a plan, and a reason for all things. What doesn't make sense, will make sense. You are exactly where you should be; your challenges are what they should be; your rewards are what they should be; and the best is yet to come. Time has served you well. Love is in the air. And you're looking mighty good in the light that now surrounds you.

A toast to life... to you... to us... The Universe

And, so, I choose to believe. This is where I am supposed to be, and so I will be.

The trail, I ask myself, where is the trail leading? Does the answer even matter, aside from the idea that it leads away and out?

Away from what? And out of where? My life is good, but I can't help dwelling on the idea that there's got to be more. More of what? Something. There's got be something more. And yet, don't I live in a culture where everyone is seeking more? Isn't this totally contradictory to the message from the Universe?

Gods! Who cares! Just be!

So, what's this about?

I meant to write about things in my life that seemed to be "alternative," my CSA, for example. But, just last night I threw away a ton of root vegetables that have been sitting in the bottom storage bin of my refrigerator. In previous years I had taken all those roots - turnips, beets, carrots, parsnips (ok, maybe not the parsnips cuz they smell nasty to me!), celeriac - and cooked them up into really delicious eggrolls. Frozen-ed them, like my mother is fond of saying, and ate them until spring came around with a new crop of local, organic produce. But, this year, or rather, last year in 2008, this project just didn't happen. It's a bitch to cook up the filling, assemble and fry 80-100 eggrolls by my own self. Jeez! I need some female friends that like doing crazy things like this.

photo from Harmony Valley Farm 12-18-08 newsletter.

So, a few words about CSAs. CSA stands for community-supported-agriculture, which is a fancy way of saying we've bought shares in a local farm and they deliver to us once a week whatever they happen to harvest that week. Look to the sidebar for a link to our CSA - Harmony Valley Farm. The first year we signed up, I ate vegetables that I'd never even heard of before. Everything turned out to be yummy, except the parsnips which smell na-aa-aa-sty! The great thing was that I didn't have to figure out what to cook for dinner, I just had to figure how to cook that things I got from the CSA. The first year was a dream with the delivery boxes topping 30 lbs. of produce goodness during the peak summer harvest.

This is our third year. The last two years were not as bountiful as the first. The farm, which is technically one state away from me, but close enough over the border to be considered local, was inundated with rain, rain, lots of rain, 17 inches of it in one night. Nearly the entire crop was lost, but those dang parsnips survived. The next spring, the same happened - so much rain that the fields were flooded again. It was early enough in the season to replant, so this year was good, although a little later than usual.

Now's the time to sign up for spring 2009. So, please consider looking into one in your region. It is a natural and economical way to eat healthier. The Big D and I suffer from withdrawal during the winter months - the vegetables are that good.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

Frozen Minneapolis

The boat launch at Boom Island in Northeast Minneapolis, just north of the lock and dam.

Frozen solid, snow glittering in the sun, the lone lighthouse awaiting the thaw.
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Friday, January 2, 2009

Demand for a New World in the New Year

On the road today, we encountered a rally on Central Avenue. It was in the vacant lot next to the Islamic Cultural Center Minneapolis. I think that it was a part ofthe protest worldwide against Israeli attacks on Gaza that began on December 30 and we will continue throughout this week.

We had passed the woman with the stop sign walking down the street. After a quick stop at the library, we drove past the lot again and it was full of people.

The cold didn't stop this community. The temperature was only about 10 degrees above zero. They were blessed with little wind.

There were several police vehicles directing traffic away from the lane next to the sidewalk.

Such a simple truth yet so difficult for governments to understand.

Central Avenue is so full of activity. For me, this is one of the neighborhoods where the city thrives. The area is revitalized by locally owned businesses, and many of these businesses reflect the rich cultural diversity of NE Minneapolis. The drive through the frozen city led us on a trail energized by hope and promise of the new year.

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Snow Dock-ed

I took this shot just minutes for the sun went down on New Year's Day. Everything took on a shade of blue adding some color to the desolate winter landscape. Longer days seems to offer proof for the possibilities and joys in the new year.
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