Blue Girl in a Red State

“This is Stacy, and she’s already made the leap.”

It was April of 2015 and I was being introduced at the registration desk for a retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  It was the first time that I had heard it out loud.  I had already starting making the mental shift, and was putting things in motion, but hadn’t yet given notice at work or put my house on the market.  I had started making travel plans that would lead to those steps in the coming months.

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Grand Teton National Park

My return road trip to the Southwest would take me through scenery that I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years, and it was just as beautiful as I remember.  The first part of my drive, crossing Washington state, is one that I’ve done hundreds of times, and while it’s interesting to see the diversity of the state, it’s scenery that I’ve seen so many times, it mostly passes by the highway without much notice.  I spent a couple of nights in Spokane, staying with friends and catching up with others, and it was good to have some time with some of my longest term friendships, one of them coming up on 40 years since we first met in second grade.  In some ways it seems like forever ago, and then again, it seems like yesterday.  We had some time to take her dog for a nice walk along the river downtown, and the area has changed so much since I left it in 1990.  It was great to see a bunch of improvements being made in the park and surrounding area around the river that flows through downtown.

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On The Road Again

It’s a good thing that I love road trips so much because I’ve put a fair number of miles on my trusty Subaru in the last nine months or so.  Seattle > southern California > Seattle > Utah > Seattle > and about to get on the road and return to the southwest again.  There is something about the open road that I have always found appealing, each day an unwritten book of possibilities and a visual feast for the eyes.  There is a freedom in it, and I enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

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The Grand Canyon

Kanab is about an hour and half from the north rim of the Grand Canyon and a trip to see it worked out at the end of my volunteer time at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so I made a short overnight trip to go see this big ol’ hole in the earth that was on my list of national parks to visit.  The north rim gets about 1/10 of the visitors compared to the south rim, so the north rim was a bit more my speed given my limited time.  I got there in late afternoon and had sufficient time to explore the rim trails around the lodge area and get a bunch of photos with the changing light as the sun made its way to the horizon.  There is about a 1000′ difference in elevation between the north and south rims of the grand canyon, with the north rim being at about 8000′ and the south at around 7000′, and I was feeling the effects of the high elevation, which forced me to slow down a bit, because you know… oxygen and such.  Funny that.

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Zion National Park

No trip to southern Utah would be complete without visits to both Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.  While they share some similarities, there are some striking differences, most notably that a trip to rim of Bryce Canyon is looking down into the impressive landscape, and a trip into the main canyons of Zion is looking up at it.  My late March trip to Bryce Canyon NP is mentioned in a previous post along with photos, so let’s focus on my trip to Zion, which I took several weeks ago.  It’s a short drive from Kanab, Utah, where I’ve been staying during my internship and volunteer work with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and I opted to make a mid-week trip and stay a couple of nights, so that I had one full day to explore the park.

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Southern Utah: Week Five in Horses & Pigs

Five weeks went by so quickly, and I was glad that I decided to stay for longer, as it allowed me to just enjoy every day of my final week, knowing that I would be able to visit all the animal areas again, just in a different capacity as a volunteer.  My last week of the internship was with all the horses, pigs, and goats.  And of course also with a cat that has taken up residence in the area as the unofficial mascot of this part of the sanctuary, ironically named Meow, as I never heard her make a peep.  I had heard from many people during my previous four weeks that this area was a favorite, and that they were most surprised by how much they enjoyed spending time with the pigs.  So I was pleased to start my week with a couple days with the pot-bellied group, and what a fun time it turned out to be!

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Southern Utah: Week Four in Dogs

Dog week had finally arrived, and I was so happy to finally get spend a week in Dogtown, especially in this magical place, as there are just so many, each with a unique and special story.  I was fortunate to be assigned to a great area, one call Old Friends, which is an outdated name, since they have dogs of all ages, including a set of nearly 8 month old special needs puppies.  Since I love diversity, it was perfect to have such a mixed bag of dogs to focus on for the week.  And what a week it was!

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