Tag Archives: Hiking

A Sand County Almanac

Over the years, this book by Aldo Leopold has been recommended by many as a good read. I was born and raised only 30 miles from his hometown. My farm life and closeness to nature were strong influences on how I saw the world. A month ago while browsing a used bookstore, I found this copy of his book and decided it was time to read it. I am so glad I did. Leopold’s reflections on the natural world and our place in it fit squarely with mine. If you have not yet read the book, I encourage you to do so.


Utah | 10 Oct 2021

by Jim and Melanie

This is the final post about our visit to Utah. Links to: Oct6, Oct7, Oct8, Oct9. Thanks for following along. If you have been to this area before, you know how special it is. If not, we hope you will be able to visit in the future. This day was more special for us since it was also our 40th wedding anniversary.

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Utah | 8 Oct 2021

by Jim and Melanie

The weather forecast for this day was for light rain by mid-day. We arrived early at our destination in Arches NP called Park Avenue. This picture is from the viewing platform next to the parking lot. We chose to follow the trail in the center for a mile into the distance. There, you have the impression of walking along a grand avenue in a major city with tall buildings on either side.

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Utah | 6 Oct 2021

by Jim and Melanie

We love the mountains and scenery of the western states. Being cooped up due to COVID has prevented us from visiting those places. We decided it was time to venture out. Instead of driving from Iowa to Utah, we flew to Grand Junction CO, rented a car, and drove the rest of the way to Moab UT. We stayed five nights in Moab and made multiple visits to Arches and Canyonlands N Parks, Dead Horse Point S Park, and numerous other less advertised attractions. Hiking was our primary goal.

The Road to Moab

Part of the way from Grand Junction to Moab we drove on I-70. We got off at hwy 128 which followed the Colorado River to Moab. It was a good choice. Little traffic, smooth road, and fabulous scenery made the ride perfect.

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Hiking With 1000 White Pelicans

We set out early from Solon IA on the North Shore Trail along Lake MacBride. We walked about 2 miles along the 5 mile trail before returning to our car. There were many yellow wildflower varieties in bloom as well as Canadian Thistle. Some trees were damaged by the August 10 derecho that roared through this part of Iowa. But the trail had been cleared of debris. An enormous pile of tree limbs and trunks was piled in the parking lot that had been removed from town. It is slowly being reduced to mulch.

Here are a few sights along the way. Click to enlarge.

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Bandelier National Monument

Just before COVID-19 became headline news in the U.S. in March 2020, we rewarded ourselves with a quick trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was cut short two days when we got nervous about being away from home. Here are posts about our train ride and some sights in Santa Fe.

An hour northwest from Santa Fe is Bandelier National Monument. Bandelier is part of Frijoles Canyon, which branches from the Rio Grande River. We were blessed with a warm, sunny day for our visit. Follow this link for a satellite view of the site. Click on any photos in this post for larger views.

Frijoles Canyon

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Peru | Machu Picchu

by Melanie and Jim

For many people, their strongest association with Peru is Machu Picchu. Legendary “lost city” of the Inca, it was revealed to the public in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. As a professor at Yale University in South American history, he organized an expedition to Peru to find the last capital of the Inca. Led by local guides, his crew arrived at Machu Picchu, a largely forgotten site.

The world knows now that Machu Picchu was not the last capital, and that others likely arrived at the mountain city before Bingham. He still deserves credit for the movement to reveal the vine-covered community at the edge of the jungle. Excavations he led over the next three decades exposed a magnificent city that continues to baffle the imagination.

(If you’d like to read more from Bingham himself about the discovery, check this book, provided by Project Gutenberg.)

These days, with a burgeoning tourist economy, Machu Picchu is still the largest draw for tourists in Peru. It certainly was the largest draw for us.

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