30 April 2009

Day Two ~ Zion

East Temple


Oh Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is thy name
in all the earth!
Psalm 8:1


Those were the first words I thought of as I entered Zion National Park. The scale and beauty of Zion caught me by surprize! There is no photograph that I have seen, that adequately captures the grandeur here, that provides you with the same sense of closeness yet majesty that resides here when you walk along the trails in the canyon bottom or scale the heights. It is breathtaking. (!warning! There are many pictures in this post and it may take a while to load!)

Zion
I entered the park on the east side. Here, the slick rock sandstone created by enormous sand dunes in ages past, glows with a golden inner light.

Tenacious
Trees, such as this ponderosa, grab tenaciously onto the rock and grow in what seems an impossible place!

Paintbrush on slickrock
Shrubs and wildflowers like these brilliant Indian Paintbrush cling to vertical rock walls bring beauty and life.

Tunnel Entrance
From the east, the road travels through two tunnels carved though the sandstone. This is the entrance to the first tunnel. It is short, but the second one is long ~ over a mile!

Tunnel windows
Along the tunnel, large arched "windows" are carved into the side of the mountain allowing a little light in and providing glimpses of the stunning scenery in the east canyon. On coming out of the tunnels, the road switchbacks down the canyon. From below, you can see some of the tunnel windows above.

Falls at Lower Emerald
In the morning, I hiked the trail to the Lower and Middle Emerald Pools. At the lower pools, the water cascades from above, over a rim of sandstone, falling down into the pool far below. The trail hugs the cliff side between the rock and the falling water, making it delightfully cool! The wildflowers love the cool damp as well! The Middle pools are up on top of that ledge.

Middle Emerald
The trail between the lower and upper pools was rocky and steep. Just when I thought I'd have to turn around, that my still healing ankle wouldn't let me go further, God provided a helpful man to give me a hand over a rough spot! I love the way that God provides the help we need, just when we need it, even if it's just a big step up a large rock! The view from the middle pools was well worth the effort!

Wild peas
All along the trail, wildflowers were blooming including these beautiful wild peas.

Penstemon
Brilliant penstemmon echo shade in the rock walls. I loved that beauty was present both in the grand views of the canyon and in close up as well.

Riverside Walk view 02
At the end of the canyon, I hiked the Riverside Walk. Here the trail takes you right between the cliffs, while the Virgin River flows along side. I was intrigued by the sage green opaque water of the river. Squirrels dodged my footsteps all the way! I'm sure they were looking for treats, though no one was feeding them. When I sat down for a rest, one came up and sniffed about my hands and watch (which were sitting in my lap!). A gentleman watching said, "he just wants to know the time!"

Hanging Gardens
Water trickles down the cliff faces, supporting an array of plantlife.

Shooting Star 01
The shooting stars were in full lush bloom. I've never seen so many of them in one place nor such large ones either. They grow right out the side of vertical rock walls!

Riverside Walk view 01
Everywhere I looked there was more spectacular beauty to be seen.

Canyon Walls 01
Along the Riverside Walk, the canyon walls are mostly blackened from moisture. The black walls were a stunning backdrop to the brilliant green of spring leaves!

Great White Throne
From one stop, the view is of the Great White Throne soaring above the other cliffs.

Weeping Rock
The last short (but steep!) hike I did was to Weeping Rock. Here the water cascades down the face of the rock from a spring high above.

Weeping Rock view
The view from Weeping Rock is a stunning look down the canyon!

Towers of the Virgin
Between the canyon and the visitor center, this view called the Towers of the Virgin (the Virgin River) dominates the scene.

The Watchman 01
Near the visitor center, The Watchman guards the south entrance to the park.

Desert Bighorn
Leaving the park for the day, I spotted these Desert Bighorn sheep scaling the steep sides of a sandstone butte. For an hour I was able to watch them eating and playing on the top! What a treat to end my visit to Zion with!
Desert Bighorn group

Walk about Zion, go around her,
number her towers, consider well
her ramparts,
go through her citadels that you may
tell the next
generation that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
Psalm 48:12-14

Isaac Jacob Moroni 01

With beauties such as these, to me it is no wonder that the park was named Zion. The splendors here bring to mind some of the verses in Psalms that speaks of Zion and I find them fitting.

The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the
perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Psalm 50:1, 2

Four Days Away ~ Day One


Vermillion n Echo Cliffs, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

Four days spent exploring northern Arizona and southwestern Utah was a treat! On day one, I headed north from Flagstaff, across the western edge of Navaho land. For miles upon miles, the road follows Echo Cliffs. On the far side of the Colorado River, the Vermilion cliffs (in the distance) stretch for hundreds of miles as they circumnavigate a good portion of the Colorado Plateau. It makes for stunning scenery while driving! The cliffs just keep going and going and going!

Navaho Bridges
Navaho Bridge is the only bridge to cross the Colorado river for several hundred miles. My sister remembers having to drive across the narrow bridge on the right and having to wait for oncoming traffic because it's not wide enough for two vehicles! In the early to mid 90's, the new wider span was completed and now the old bridge is a pedestrian bridge.

Colorado River
The view from the bridge is spectacular! Looking down at the blue green waters of the Colorado river as it threads through the red walled canyon is something. The day I was here, the California Condors were soaring over the river.

Colorado River Lees Ferry
Lee's Ferry sits just upstream from Navaho Bridge. This is the only place in 700 miles on the river where it is accessible by car. The day I was there, the water was an amazing array of blue, aqua and blue green colors. Upstream, the Glen Canyon Dam at Lake Powell keeps sediment from flowing down the river, so the Colorado (Red) River is no longer red most of the time.

Boat Launch
A view of the launch where all the Colorado River Raft trips begin also affords a glimpse of both the Echo cliffs on the left and the Vermilion Cliffs on the right. Spectacular scenery!

Lonely Dell Orchard
Lonely Dell Ranch sits a short distance up a side canyon from the river. It's a little green oasis in the desert, and I must say, somewhat surprising! I didn't expect to see the large orchard of peaches, apricots, plums and apples! The trees were filled with birds and the air was filled with birdsong!

Upon leaving the Lonely Dell Ranch, I drove along the Vermilion Cliffs, over the Kaibab Plateau eventually ending up in the small town of Kanab, Utah. Kanab is a nice little town nestled into a fold of the Colorado Plateau. Spring was in evidence here, with the trees leafing out in those delightful shades of early green! It made my heart glad to see it!

Parry Lodge 01
I stayed in a delightful place, Parry Lodge. Parry Lodge has quite a history. It's owner was responsible for bring Hollywood to this part of the country to make movies starting back in the 1930's ~ and while the movies were being made, the stars stayed at Parry Lodge! Now, the rooms have the star's names over the doors of the rooms they stayed in.

Cottage 191
I was lucky enough to stay in a little cottage in the room where Fess Parker stayed while filming "Daniel Boone"!

Cottages 01
I loved the way the cottages sat around a little green courtyard area. Each had a little porch with chairs. The grass was beautifully green and lush. The vinca was in full bloom around the foundations. A robin sang a cheerful song which lifted my heart! The bathrooms had big clawfoot tubs! It was delightful and a wonderful place to look forward to coming back to each night after a full day of hiking and sightseeing!

Dining room
Each morning, I had breakfast in the dining room. Large windows let in lots of morning light and by the second morning, the waitress knew I liked tea rather than coffee with my breakfast and where I liked to sit, so as soon as I arrived, she prepared my spot! Delightful!

On Day Two, I visited Zion National Park, but that tale will have to wait until tomorrow!

26 April 2009

Stillness


Stillness, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.


Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
~ Psalm 46:10


I am away for a few days, seeking stillness and renewal while enjoying God's glory in nature. God willing, I will be back in a few days with pictures to share! Until then, blessings and peace to each of you!

19 April 2009

Butterflies


Butterflies, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

A few weeks ago, a friend at work asked me to teach her how to tat. I hadn't done it in years, so I got out the tatting shuttles, the thread and started playing. I doubt I'll ever do the large intricate doilies that my Aunt used to make, but I do enjoy making these little butterfly motifs that can be used on Crazy Quilting!

Instructions for the pink and lavender butterflies can be found at WlydWmn. The instructions for the ecru "Onion Ring Butterfly" are available here.

If you want to learn more about tatting, Tatting Chic (who is one of the most regular commenters on my blog!) has lots of links to sites and patterns! She always has something inspiring to view!

18 April 2009

Thoughts of Peace


Pink Inchies , originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

A little dove of peace has come to rest on the pink inchies that I've been working on. While exploring earlier this week, I stopped in a store in Old Town Cottonwood that had a selection of these tiny mother of pearl bird beads ~ perfectly sized to fit an inchie!

Pink Inchie set
I'm gathering the inchies in groups of nine and hoping to find some small, square, white frames in which to frame these.

St Francis
It has been frosty and cold the past few mornings. The St. Francis statue on my patio looked so serene against the frosted landscape. This picture brings to mind the prayer of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Peace to you, my friends.

14 April 2009

Ati's Block


Lisas work on Ati's Block, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.
Working on Ati's round robin block has been such a joy! She choose my favorite colors in shades of pinks and greens. Gerry K got the block off to a wonderful start with her beaded bluebird, so of course I had to add a bluebird as well! I found these delightful bird charms at Michaels and knew that one of them would be perfect for this block!

Lace fan
There was only about 3 1/2 inches of the hand-dyed lace in colors that would go with this block, so I placed it in the corner and made a fan out of it with a little beaded embellishement. A clump of bluebells brings a bit of blue down into the corner.

Embroidered rose
Ati hinted that she would like to have an embroidered rose in pastel colors added to the block similar to what I did on Gerry K's block, so I added this one in shades of rose.

Beaded Dragonfly
A beaded dragonfly adds just the right touch between the cherry blossoms and forget-me-nots!

Ati's Block after Gerry and Lisa
I have one more little embellishment to add above the rose and then this block gets sent to Meg for the next round of work!
P.S. Ati ~ if you decide you don't want this block... it would find a happy home with me! :)

Travels around Arizona


Lisa at outlet, originally uploaded by ivoryblushroses.

On Monday, I took advantage of the beautiful day and went exploring. Arizona has many National Parks and Monuments, many of which I have not visited. Recently I made up a list of day and overnight trips that I could make over the next few months to see them. For Monday's trip, I made a loop to see Montezuma's Well, Montezuma's Castle and Tuzigoot National Monuments and then drove up through Jerome and Prescott before heading back to Flagstaff. There are more pictures on my Flickr account if you want to see more of my travels!

Desert around Montezuma Well
My first stop of the day was Montezuma Well. The road meanders from the highway through the small town of Montezuma. Near the well, the desert rises up a bit and the trail heads up the hill.

Path to the Ruins
What a suprise to come up over crest of the hill and see this well of bluegreen water below! It was still early in the day when I arrived and for a long time, I watched the muskrats and ducks as well as a sunning turtle. By the time I started to take photographs, the sun was higher and the animals were all taking shelter from the midday sun. The well's water source is unknown, apparently seeping up from far below through the limestone. The limestone fills the water with CO2 and prevents fish from surviving in the pond, but there is an abundance of other life that forms a unique eco-system that is quite fascinating.

Cliff side dwellings
Around the rim of the sinkhole, there are ruins of cliff dwellings. Down near the water's edge where the water seeps out through the rock, there are more ruins in a cave. There is 130 year old graffiti too, where people left messages in black paint on the walls over the ruins in the late 1800's.

Path to Outlet and ditch
After viewing the well from the rim and the trail down into the well, the main trail leaves curves down around the hillside. A sidepath leads to the "outlet". Here there is a nice path between a small cliff and the 1000 year old irrigation ditch that still flows today.

Montezuma's Well Outlet
At the outlet, the water seeps through the rock and fills the irrigation ditch to a constant level. In this shaded, damp environment, pristine maidenhair ferns live at the water's edge. It's a beautiful and serene spot. While enjoying the setting, I watched a large swallowtail butterfly dance around another visitor wearing a bright pink shirt. It was delightful to watch them!

The Castle
My next stop was Montezuma Castle, a stunning cliffside dwelling in a white limestone cliff. The overhang above is so large that it has protected the ruin and the mud plastered walls are still in pristine condition.

White limestone walls
There is a nice path under the Arizona Sycamores that leads past the main ruin and some smaller ruins. These are amazing simply because they are built of white limestone, so white that it dazzles in the sun. Quite a contrast from the usual reddish sandstone ruins that one expects to see in the southwest.

White Arizona Sycamore
I think that what I loved most about Montezuma Castle National Monument was walking underneath the spreading sycamores with their pristine white bark. Overhead, the song of migrating warblers filled the air and I spent a lot of time sitting and listening to them.

ruin walls
The last big stop of the day was at Tuzigoot National Monument. Here, a large ruin crests a hill that overlooks the Verde Valley to the south and east. It is a series of large stone walled rooms.

Ruin and Verde Valley
I must admit that while the size of it is impressive and it's views, somehow this ruin didn't draw me in the way the ruins at Wupatki National Monument have in the past or even those of Montezuma Castle and Well. I wandered through, took a few photos and got on my way.

For the last leg of my day's journey, I drove up through the mountain side town of Jerome, over Mingus Mountain and across the Prescott/Chino Valley to Prescott. Here the mountains, instead of being volcanic basalt and sandstone/limestone in origin, are now granite. I've put the area on my list of places to visit again and spend more time.

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