February 18, 2023
Happy belated Valentine’s Day y’all. I started this week by making homemade Valentine’s Day cards one afternoon with a woman who lives in town and loves to craft. My friend Sara and I went over to her house where she had stickers, cloth, beads, glitter, magazines to cut up, and colored card stock. She showed us some that she had made for ideas and inspiration and we got to work. We made some to send to family and some for local friends. Making custom Valentines is not a quick task though so we ended up making them for only a few people on our list in the end. I did not take pictures of our creations so you will just have to imagine how glorious they were.
It’s been a cold week so my trips outdoors for adventure have been somewhat limited. We did take a nice hike through a wash, which is a local favorite spot for many. Some local kids built a trail off of this wash that leads to a large amount of petrified wood. It’s like the town’s secret state park. I did take a couple of pictures during our hike. Here is one with Sara and Curtis being goofy.
I thought I would get some practice with some lenses I rarely use. More practice is needed, but these were the best of the bunch taken at Wide Hollow reservoir. When I shared the picture of the cable in the water on Mastodon, I included a little story about how I pulled on the cable and discovered a hidden treasure chest. This little story was written by Chat GPT while I was playing around with it one afternoon.
That day also brought a couple of happy accidental meetings with people. I ran into Sara and her dogs out for a run at the res.
I also met these guys who work for the state park adjacent to the res. One of them had this super cool desert hot rod bug. The other asked if I would take photos of the state park renovation once they finish it. I agreed to do this for trade of perhaps firewood. That’s the way things often work around here. It’s Ok, it’s a state park so I’m happy to do a little volunteer work for them.
Speaking of work, I also landed a gig taking photos for a local inn that is remodeling and rebranding. I instantly liked the young couple running the place and I’m excited to work with them. Word on the street is that they also run a delicious restaurant so the trade for this job may provide many satisfying meals.
I found this swell shirt at the thrift store that is my new favorite article of clothing.
We skipped the balloon festival in Kanab. It’s been in the teens and twenties and it is quite the drive to get there. I have continued to slowly read the book on The Colorado River. and am learning some interesting things not just about the river, but also about the prehistoric people who lived along it and the early explorers who mapped it.
According to the author of this book, Crista Sadler, the term Anasazi to describe the Native Americans who once lived in the area may be an incorrect term. First of all, it is a Navajo word. It was originally translated to mean “ancient ones”, but it seems to be a complex term that has more recently been translated to mean “ancient enemies”. The Navajo and Peublo Indians are not related so when the Navajo first came to the region and saw artifacts from these Pueblan people they gave them this name. Further complicating our naming system for this ancient civilization is that the term Pueblan or Pueblo people was given to them by the early Spanish conquerers who arrived in the 16th century and were brutal to these people. Each Pueblo tribe has their own word for their ancestors and there is no one term that is accepted by everyone so historians have a struggle when it comes to a correct name for the people who lived here long ago. Evidence of the ancient people who lives here can be found all over the wilderness here including rock art, granaries, pot sherds, ancient tools, and the ruins of dwellings. It is all very fascinating to intrepid explorers like us.
My friend Sara and I went to Winterfest in Bryce yesterday for a bit. There had lots of free activities offered throughout the weekend such as ranger led walks and talks, dances, and hands on workshops. We tried to attend one of the walks along the rim of Bryce Canyon, but could not find a parking spot in time to join them. It’s been a while since we have seen so many people in the area and we hadn’t anticipated it being so crowded. We did enjoy a talk about the dinosaur discoveries given by Scott Richardson who describes himself as an accidental paleontologist as he had studied and planned to be a geologist. Over the past 16 years he has worked with Dr. Alan Titus on our local Kaiparowits Plateau and has discovered many new species of dinosaurs. He shared photos and stories of some of his finds including Kosmoceratops Richardsoni which was named after him. This peculiar relative of the Triceratops had bangs like me. It is also known as the “horniest dinosaur” with 15 horns on its skull.
I don’t know if I will be able to make any dinosaur discoveries when my volunteer work starts with the paleo team, but I have no doubt that I will learn a lot of fascinating things from some brilliant people. As Spring approaches I am getting very excited about walking for miles in the hot sun looking at rocks in the name of scientific discovery. The people who do this work do not lead lives of riches and glamour. They camp out in tents in difficult conditions and make very little money. They spend weeks trudging in the dust not finding anything, but they are filled with passion which fuels their search and I so admire that. A local restaurant owner has told me she would love to join us in spring so perhaps I will have a gourmet chef out there with me making it all that much easier to endure the conditions.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.