Showing posts from August, 2015

Northport Canal - A Fleeting Journey

The Northport Canal On a warm summer evening in western Nebraska, wandering along the Northport canal is simply wonderful. Cut through an infinite prairie of yellow grass, the winding waterway satisfies thirsty crops. Drifting by unnoticed, storm clouds pass silently over the vast Sandhills. Still standing in the secluded pasture, an abandoned homestead seems like an idyllic place. The rickety windmill looks like it works but the rest is in ruins. Grazing on the neglected grounds, cattle are curious about our unexpected appearance but mostly they’re content to chew cud. Western kingbirds hold court in the blue grasses that border the slow-moving stream. Around the bend, a great blue heron is startled by strangers and vanishes into the distance like a grey ghost. As the setting sun drenches the landscape with golden light, this glorious day comes to an end. Like the fleeting journey in Pilgrim’s Progress, so perfect is this peaceable kingdom that it must be a dream. Thoug

Zion Canyon - A Pleasant Pilgrimage

Zion National Park Carved out of the Colorado Plateau by powerful erosive forces, Zion Canyon is difficult to describe with words. Luckily, I found out that the lovely landscape is photogenic from every possible angle. Insulated from the surrounding desert, the deep corridor of rock towers and hanging gardens is enriched by the Virgin River. It’s a long pilgrimage to get there but reaching the righteous ravine is a religious experience. Early settlers must have agreed as they labeled the most impressive landmarks with biblical names like Court of the Patriarchs, Altar of Sacrifice and Angels Landing. No wonder the place is a Mecca for hikers from all over the world. Well-worn trails are woven throughout the National Park but at the north-end Narrows, wading through water is the only way. Splashing through the slot canyon is wet and wild but keep your fingers crossed for no flash flood. Being there on a bad weather day, really brings out the best. If the astonishing beauty

Salt Lake Temple - An Uplifting Experience

The Salt Lake Temple Fleeing from religious persecution, Brigham Young gathered his followers and led an exodus of Mormons into the American desert. They wandered over the Wasatch Mountains and settled in the isolated Salt Lake Valley (July 1847) where they hoped to build a New Jerusalem. Upon their arrival, the pioneers promptly began construction of the Temple (February 1853) and it took almost exactly 40 years to finish. The pious palace is designed to be a portal to heaven and a place where believers can communicate with the Lord. Salt Lake Temple is the centerpiece of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah and it’s an international symbol of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The actual Temple building is closed to the public and LDS Church members may only enter if they’ve earned a special certificate called a Temple Recommend. The square, however, is accessible to all and visitors are encouraged to thoroughly explore the rest of the gorgeous grounds. The

Bison Trail - That Damned Canyon

Toadstool Geologic Park Banished to the remote northwest corner of Nebraska, Toadstool Geologic Park is a land that time forgot. Treking through these rugged badlands is treacherous, tiring and hotter than hell. Bison Trail begins at the Hudson-Meng archaeological dig site and gently traverses a vast, grassland prairie. A hidden entrance into the gorge appears suddenly and the steep descent is like a gateway to Gehenna. Once inside the abyss, a maze of sidetracks, slots and secret passageways will tempt the explorer to stray from the true path. Continue on this journey to the center of the earth and the scenery becomes even more spectacular. Down at the bottom, you’re surrounded by a devil's playground of balancing rocks, sandstone spires and perfect pyramids. It’s useless to resist some slight wanderings but a successful escape from this lonely planet depends on a hasty retreat. It’s an uphill climb all the way and the battle begins with your first step back. During t