The Road Home

I can hardly believe it’s been more than six months since my last post. With all the changes going on in my life I decided to give myself a sabbatical from my writing and get settled (3 moves in one year) and comfy before carrying on. I joined a local hiking club about a year ago, so many of my future posts will include them. Here’s a small part of the gang from a Mount St. Helens Club hike last fall.

Washington

Hiking with the Mount St. Helens Club

Last October I flew to the San Francisco Bay Area to photograph a wedding (something I rarely do anymore!) The happy couple are friends of my good friend Bruce Wood, so he was along on the trip as well. The following day we decided to hike the Golden Gate Bridge before heading to the airport. No surprise that it was foggy, but the fog was on the move and the scene changed constantly. Over and back is about three and a half breath-taking miles.

I lived in the bay area for several years, and in fact used to sail on the bay. It was refreshing to be there again! If you’ve never been there it’s worth the trip, and don’t skip out on the bridge!

San Francisco Bay

Golden Gate Bridge

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San Francisco, CA

“City by the Bay” shrouded in fog

California

Alcatraz and San Francisco Bay

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate in the fog

California

San Francisco Bay

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San Francisco Bay, California

Sail boat and Golden Gate Bridge

California

San Francisco from the bay

From there I flew on to Dallas to spend some time with Elissa and retrieve what was left of my stuff after the “big purge” four years ago. What WAS left fit in a 10×10 foot storage space, and barely fit into a large Penske rental truck! I literally had a big television (actually small by today’s standards) seat-belted next to me in the cab!

Funny, after more than three years full-time and solo on the road I was absolutely dreading this drive. Just to give myself something to look forward to I planned my route through Monument Valley to Moab so I could do a hike in Arches National Park on my birthday! (That was exactly one year ago today!)

Utah landscape

Utah landscape

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Utah

“moving” through Monument Valley

Utah

Monument Valley

Utah landscape

Utah landscape

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Utah

Arch near Moab

After a long day of driving I was extremely short on time during my only other visit to Arches National Park, and literally ran some of the trails in order to take in as much of it as possible before nightfall. I was heading south in a snow storm early the following morning. (See Two Days of Rock and Roll-part 2 for that fun!)

I was up early and into the park with Delicate Arch on my radar since this is one hike I missed my first time through. It’s not a long hike, only 3.2 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 602′, which seems a bit higher on a hot day! This place is absolutely spectacular, as are all the national parks in Utah! They are without doubt amongst my favorite places from my three year odyssey!  (See my list of those here!)

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Utah

Rock formations, Arches National Park

Arches National Park, Utah

Rock needles on the horizon

Delicate Arch is a 65-foot-tall freestanding natural arch. It is the most widely recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and on a postage stamp commemorating Utah’s centennial anniversary of admission to the Union in 1996. The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through the arch

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch through an arch

Arches National Park, Utah

The path to Delicate Arch

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

Included on this trail are Ute indian petroglyphs and the Wolf Ranch cabin. In the image below you can see the stylized horse and rider surrounded by bighorn sheep and dog-like animals which are typical of Ute Indian art work.

Arches National Park, Utah

Ute petroglyphs

Arches National Park, Utah

Wolfe Ranch cabin

Arches National Park, Utah

After the hike I got back on the road, first stopping to visit my niece Maddie, and then on to Salk Lake City to see my dear friend Erika Wiggins, a fellow adventure blogger I met while journeying through Florida three years ago. Erika and I became fast friends and have managed to stay in touch and share our tales from afar over the years, but it was heartwarming to catch up with her in person!

The following morning I shared a quick cup of coffee with fellow photographer, Lisa Smith, and then departed Salt Lake City for my big push on to my home town of Longview Washington! 807 miles = long day in a rental truck!!! The worst of which was the 163 mile dark, wet and windy drive along the Columbia River Gorge which I had to share with a LOT of truckers!

It’s good to be back in the northwest, enjoying time and trails with friends, old and new! Stay tuned for a lot more hikes and adventures!

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2 thoughts on “The Road Home

  1. Hi Fran. Great story. You’re such an amazing writer too. I envy you. You really “get” it. Life. Love the pics and seeing the GG Bridge brings back great memories. Hope you had a fantastic bd. I’ll call you soon. Busy w/e. Imagine that.

    • Thanks Diane! I know San Francisco holds precious memories for you too. Had a great bday! We have a lot of catching up to do! Hugs to you and the family!

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