September 18, 2011

My Kodachrome Basin adventures started out hot and humid up until two weeks ago, but is now starting to cool off a bit. We watch big dark clouds massing to the south and west most days, but until this past week they were bypassing us and drenching Bryce Canyon and Escalante. Finally, we had a couple of downpours which sent red mud filling the gullies and flooding over the roads in the campground.

Kodachrome Basin SunsetSunset in Kodachrome Basin

September is one of the busiest months for Kodachrome Basin adventures; the campground, which is wonderful, is full almost every night. Many people sign up for just one night, then come into the visitor center the next morning to sign up for another. A frequent comment is, "This is the best state park I've ever been in." We're also kept hopping by the continuous flow of day visitors coming through to hike and take photos.

I spent some time on my knees up on Mehitabel’s roof a couple of weeks ago, doing a very messy caulking job around the skylight over the shower, watching anxiously to see if it leaked during some light rainstorms, feeling pretty proud that it was staying dry, but the hard rain this week found a way to get in. So yesterday I was back up on the roof with the caulking gun. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Hummingbird Adventures at Kodachrome Basin

Hummingbirds enjoy their own Kodachrome Basin adventures – they love the Indian Paintbrush. On one of my evening walks two pair of them were swooping and diving very close to my head, the hummm of their wings quite loud as they buzzed by, making their tiny high-pitched squeaks. Most of them are black-chinned hummingbirds in this area.


Ballerina Spire at Kodachrome BasinBallerina Spire - Panorama Trail

Several days ago, a hummingbird flew into the office, into the room where I was, bounced off the Venetian blind and fell onto the counter. She was alright and started flying again, trying to find a way out. Rachel and I were doing out best to guide her toward the door, but it wasn’t working. She would bang into something and fall down, rest a moment, then try again.

Finally, cupping my hands around her as she lay panting, I picked her up and walked to the door, amazed at the feel of this incredibly tiny soft creature lying quietly in my hands.  I opened my hands as we got out, and off she flew up into the juniper, a happy hummer again and ready for another Kodachrome Basin adventure.

She must have flown back in yesterday as we found her on the floor of the gift shop around 1:00. Aaron tried several times to get her to eat something at the nectar feeder, but had no success. She was very weak and spent much of the afternoon sitting on his desk, then I set her out on a branch of the juniper next to the feeder.

Black-chinned HummingbirdBlack-chinned Hummingbird

She was still there when I left at 7 to go home, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her, so at 9 I went back, put her into an empty tissue box and took her home, thinking I’d at least keep her warm. However, within a couple of minutes of bringing her inside, she skittered around for a second or two in the box, then flopped over dead, victim of a Kodachrome Basin adventure that went wrong. It is so sad that she didn’t make it; she was so tiny and beautiful.

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Before going back to the office after lunch one day, I put up the big rv awning, thinking to block the late afternoon sun. The wind is generally not too bad here at Kodachrome Basin, but there must have been at least one gust that hit it just right, as it was ripped half off and hanging when I got back. Fortunately it rolled up again; just one more thing to get done while I’m in Tucson in November.

Powell Point from Scenic Hwy12Powell Point from Lookout on Scenic Hwy 12

It’s a good thing I’m working full time and getting paid during my Kodachrome Basin adventures, as I just had to order a new laptop. Mine is six years old and was starting to do squirrelly things occasionally; several people told me laptops don’t usually last more than 3-5 years, so I figured I better do something before I ended up losing everything on it. What a horrid thought – the very idea of losing all the information on the computer is the stuff of nightmares.

One afternoon I drove up to Escalante and halfway to Boulder. The drive is beautiful, along Scenic Highway 12, climbing up to 7600’ with a wonderful view of Powell Peak, the highest member of the Grand Staircase. The BLM visitor center in Escalante will be hosting an art show this coming Friday and Saturday that I am looking forward to seeing.

Big Ditch, Bryce Canyon NPOn the Mossy Creek Trail

I hiked the Mossy Cave Trail on the way up to Bryce Canyon one morning. The cave is not very exciting but the “Big Ditch”, an irrigation ditch that was dug through the canyon to provide water to the town of Tropic, is pretty neat. Several hikers were wading in the water and there is a very pretty waterfall.

Rachel kindly took over the care and feeding of Bijou while I made a speedy trip East to see my dad. I flew out of Salt Lake City - a five-hour drive from the park, so I drove up the night before. The trip went well; all flights on time or early. Brian (my older son) picked me up at the Manchester airport Thursday evening and we went out for a sushi dinner. My Kodachrome Basin adventures sure don't include sushi.

On Friday, we went to see Dad and spent about an hour visiting with him, having wheeled him out into a glorious day. He’s still my sweet dad but there is less of him available; he seems to be occupying some other dimension and says life is very dreamlike, sort of like a fantasy.

It was wonderful to see him and great, too, that my brothers Steve and Jon were there and that I got to spend time with Brian and two of my grandchildren. Early Saturday morning I was flying back to Salt Lake City, one day ahead of Hurricane Irene.

Are you dreaming of retirement? Or, maybe you're already retired but could use some extra money. Read this AARP article to find out how one couple made it happen. And, to read about my experience with SBI, which keeps getting better, just read the update on the About Us page.

Twisted Juniper at Kodachrome Basin State ParkJuniper

Recent Books:

Everett Reuss, A Vagabond for Beauty by W.L. Rusho & Vicky Burgess. A fascinating story of an extraordinary young man who had an endless fascination with this area we now know as Grand Staircase-Escalante. He wandered all over it, alone and penniless most of the time, painting and writing, recording his impressions of the land in letters to friends and family. From his descriptions of what he saw and felt, we get a glimpse of what it must have been like to be so passionate and so free.

Everett Reuss disappeared into the Escalante River region in 1934, a few months shy of his 21st birthday. His body has never been found.

The Social Animal, by David Brooks. Brooks is a brilliant policy/political commentator, on the Jim Lehrer News Hour every Friday. He has an uncanny ability to absolutely nail some situations and people, pulling out the essence. The book is very readable, frequently amusing, and immensely thought-provoking, laying out his thoughts on the mind and the brain, with many scientific research studies quoted, attempting to integrate science and psychology with sociology, politics, and cultural commentary.

Just 90 minutes a week will make it look like you’re aging backwards.

Five steps to looking 10 years younger.

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Everett Ruess and the Grand Staircase Escalante 
You're in one of my most favorite parts of the world, Susan, and I'm glad you have so much time to really explore it deeply, instead of just on the surface …

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Mexican HatMexican Hat in the Garden at Kiva Coffee House

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