Feliz Año Nuevo

Happy New Year, direct from the Jardin in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, my winter “home away from home” where my brother Don and I have been coming since 2007. New Years Eve in the Jardin (town square) has become a family tradition of sorts. But this year, I am particularly relieved to usher 2016 out the door.

As I look with great trepidation toward what the future holds for 2017, I turn to one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson; “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

May all your New Years resolutions be worthy manifestations…

Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua

Parroquia de San Antonio de Padua

Bar scene at Don Tequila Taco, one of San Miguel's trendy new taco spots.

Bar scene at Don Tequila Taco, one of San Miguel’s trendy new taco spots.

Typical street seen in Centro, or center of town in San Miguel de Allende.

Typical street scene in Centro, or center of town in San Miguel de Allende.

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Three foot long sparklers for sale.

Three foot long sparklers for sale.

My sparkler in action.

My sparkler in action.

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Approaching the stroke of midnight...

Approaching the stroke of midnight…

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One of my favorite New Years traditions in Mexico...corn on the cob slathered in Mayo, rolled in chihuahua cheese, and sprinkled with chili.

One of my favorite New Years traditions in Mexico…corn on the cob slathered in Mayo, rolled in chihuahua cheese, and sprinkled with chili.

A toast to 2017 through champagne-colored glasses. (Photo courtesy of my bro, Don Anthony.)

A toast to 2017 through champagne-colored glasses. (Photo courtesy of my bro, Don Anthony.)

Should old acquaintance be forgot? I sure hope not. Happy New Year!

One Last Look Over the Rim

Just how long can one stretch out a story about the Grand Canyon, one might ask?  Well, longer than the average visitor spends on the edge of the rim…

I decide to stay one more day on the snowy South Rim, after all, no one seems to notice that the Winnie is taking up space in the empty Backcountry Office parking lot.  Continue reading

It’s All About the Layers

The “wake up knock” comes on the Phantom Ranch women’s dorm door at 5:00am.   I’ve signed up for the 5:30am early breakfast in order to get on the trail as early as possible.   The sun doesn’t rise until 7:15, so this will mean hiking for about an hour in the dark, but I figure it’s better to put in the dark time at the bottom of the canyon rather than risk having to hike in the dark at the top where it’s covered in snow and ice. Continue reading

The Ranch to Ribbon Falls

I make it to Phantom Ranch’s Canteen in plenty of time to down a couple of beers before they close at 4:00pm to prepare for the evening meals. But first, Kate, the bartender/hostess/receptionist/wait staff tells me to go to the dorm first to secure my spot.  “Pick any available bed that has a towel folded on it.”  It’s late in the afternoon, so I am thinking I’ll be lucky if I can secure a lower bunk.  Continue reading

Rim to River

It’s eight degrees when I wake up in the Backcountry Information Office parking lot on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Even Siri says “brrrr!”img_0419

There are three Hiker’s Express shuttles that go directly from the Backcountry Information Office to the South Kaibab Trail at 7:00am, 8:00am, and 9:00am.   I figure I will shoot for the middle shuttle, and that will still allow me one other chance if I miss it.   Halfway through my morning routine, I vacillate between slowing down for the 9am or speeding up for the 8am.  I am having a tough time cramming all my belongings for a two night stay into little more than a day pack, so I think maybe delaying another hour later won’t hurt. But then I remember the magnitude of the hike and shortness of the Continue reading

Lees Ferry, Lake Havasu Latkes, and Leaning Toward the Ledge

Once back from my white knuckle drive from White Pocket, the rains roll in right on cue, just as forecasted.   I am feeling a great deal of gratitude for making it back safely without getting stuck.    Rain on the 10 mile sandy stretch could possibly help pack down the loose sand, but the rest of the road is likely to be a muddy mess. Continue reading

The Haunting and Daunting White Pocket

Back in 2014 during a visit to the Zion National Park Visitor Center, I opened up one of those fancy coffee table books with the slick pages touting the top scenic destinations in southern Utah.  As I typically do, I thumbed through the pages mentally checking off those I’ve seen, while evaluating the “Wow factor” of those I haven’t.   Most of the glossy, full page photos were of places Continue reading

Going It Alone

I write a lot about the physical aspect of going it alone on this blog, but rarely delve into the emotional aspect.  People often recoil at the notion that I am traveling/hiking/biking/kayaking/RVing alone.  I recently had a man stop me on the trail just to ask if I was hiking alone.  He remarked that he was seeing more and more solo women on the trail, and did I think it was because of “the book?”   I replied perhaps, but I have been hiking solo 20 years before Cheryl Strayed wrote the “Wild.”  In fact, traveling alone is Continue reading

Seeing Zion in a Different Light

I only planned to stop in Zion for a few days, just long enough to say a quick “hello” to my friends and revisit a few of my favorite places.  I came with my usual “list:” Ride my bike to the end of the road, stopping for soft serve ice cream at Zion Lodge.  See a couple of movies.  Spend time with my favorite cottonwoods along the Virgin River as they turn from green to gold.  And hike at least one trail I’ve never hiked before.    But once I arrived, so did Indian Summer.  Continue reading

Red Rocks Revisited

Even though I set my intentions to see “all new things” on my southerly migration this year, there are a few favorite stops that I just can’t bypass, one of which is my favorite state park in the little Snow Canyon just outside of St. George, Utah.

I first visited Snow Canyon while staying at the Red Mountain Resort back in 2006 for Thanksgiving weekend as a “spa getaway.”   I took several of the guided hikes from the resort which sits at the gateway to the state park.  It was my first experience ever hiking slick rock, and my first time to ever hear “trust your shoes.”   I can still remember Continue reading