Zion National Park (Angels Landing Again)

My 2019 post, Zion National Park (Angels Landing), is much more informative than this one, this being primarily personal because for the first time I wondered if I’d actually “make it,” respecting the psychological law of hiking that inclines increase several degrees in steepness each year after one turns ~60.

Red Rock Canyon 10/23

Having just flown into Las Vegas in the late afternoon, I drove straightway to Red Rock Canyon, a place my rock-climbing daughters pointed me to a few years earlier. With time enough for one hike, I choose what was described as a moderate 2 hours, Ice Box Canyon. I’m pretty sure I got off trail toward the end, because the boulders kept getting bigger as I went, until they were bigger than ice boxes, at which point I choose to head back down.

Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada
Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon, Nevada

The Red Rock area is a dreamland for rock climbers, hikers, and people who want to drive slowly the ~11 mile loop. It’s happily and contrastively juxtaposed to Las Vegas. Last time I heard, Alex Honnold lives there (probably not in Ice Box).

Upper Emerald Pools 10/24

Being sore from “the Ice Box hike,” I entered Zion without an agenda, eventually wandering to the Upper Emerald Pools. There I watched a squirrel on the sand remaining still as humans moved around restlessly (7 second time-lapse video).

Descending, I heard a woman behind me saying I was being stalked by another squirrel. One indeed was following me as though I had anything for it to eat. I firmly told the squirrel that it was wasting its time and it scampered away.

Angels Landing 10/25

Today was my third time to climb Angels Landing, one of the most rigorous and in many ways most beautiful hikes in Zion National Park.

To mitigate crowding, Zion National Park requires one to enter a lottery for a spot on a given day. The day before I had applied for the lottery, and today my name came up on the winning side, just as the email informed me: “Angels Landing: Fall (Hikes on September 1 – November 30) Lottery Results Announcement – Congratulations!”

It was Brent and Steph who, the day before, told me how to register for the lottery. They had not been selected that day, so I was quite happy to see them at the beginning of the trail today. Soon we were separated for most of the trail, but we met at Scout Lookout. That is a false summit for me, because it is high and beautiful. But to get to the Angels Landing, a further half of mile of rocky steps must be traversed. Somewhere during that half, something Brent said reminded me of Macbeth’s

"I am in blood
Stepped in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er."

In other words (and ignoring the regicidal blood bit), I suggested to Brent that we had come so far it was easier to proceed than to turn back. Eventually, the three of us ascended the final, steep parts together, happily making it to the top.

Steph, Brent, and me—very congenial trio as we edged up the rock
Steph, Brent, and me—very congenial trio as we edged up the rock

The descent was, as I feared, more difficult on my knees than the ascent. At one moment I quipped about thinking for the first time in life that knee replacement surgery was sounding good (to which younger people laughed), but since running is contraindicated with artificial knees, I’ll ask my PT daughter for some strengthening exercises instead.

Publishing Info

This post was first published on Oct 26, 2023.

Four-day Colorado Road Trip

When my friend from Tulsa, a friend from antiquity (circa 1973), and I planned the road trip about four months ago, it probably involved rigorous backpacking. As it was, we did carry our tents and bags out of his car and set them up nearby in a mist of mosquitoes, and that’s roughing it for a few minutes.

When we started the trip, my friend was named Charles. When we ended it, he was Samuel. His name always was Samuel Charles, but he eschewed “Sam” and so became “Charles” decades ago. Now he’s starting a new chapter in life and going with Samuel. There’s a history of name changes signifying identity changes (think of Abram/Sarai and Abraham/Sarah). I’m going with chaos theory on that one—that a small change can ultimately make a big (and hopefully desired) difference.

map of road trip
The main stops or landmarks for our trip, clockwise, are in bold.

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Photos of Gijón, Spain & Konstanz, Germany


  • Oct. 5, fly Denver to Miami to Madrid to Gijón, Spain.
  • Oct. 14, fly Gijón to Madrid to Zurich, train to Konstanz, Germany.
  • Oct 18, Reverse that.
  • Oct 29, fly Gijón to Madrid to Chicago. Lose your day-pack with your laptop, razor, rain jacket, headlamp, and favorite hair brush (or have it stolen…dunno—it will have been a very long day). Chicago to Denver. Discover Lyft wants about $125 to go to Lafayette, so bus to Boulder and take Lyft from there.


In the Madrid-Barajas airport, you cannot find out certain gate numbers until you get to Terminal 4 (T4, boasting “70 million passengers per year”). There you find T4S is set aside for countries, such as the US, that lie outside of the Schengen Area, the 26 EU countries that abolished their passport requirements. At T4S, you find, you hope, the H-J-K concourses, and only then can you learn the gate. Continue reading “Photos of Gijón, Spain & Konstanz, Germany”

Guest Entry – Balcony at Cliffs Club Kauai

This guest post is by Linda Grounds, née Burkhardt. It arose from her observations while on vacation in Hawaii. – Louis

The view was breathtaking.

From Balcony in Kauai #1
From Balcony in Kauai #1

From Balcony in Kauai #2
From Balcony in Kauai #2

A code of silence, unwritten yet understood, quieted the tongues of the vacationing balcony dwellers. Stilled, in reverence to the ancient emerald cliffs crowned with rainbows. Hushed, so that bird songs floated above a soft ocean roar. Whispered, to preserve rare moments. A whale spouting, a pod of dolphin playing, a turtle shadow beneath the sparkling foam. Continue reading “Guest Entry – Balcony at Cliffs Club Kauai”

Los Zacatitos, Third Visit (!)

This post is about my third trip to Zacatitos; my second trip here and my first trip here.

That I am traveling at all is a testament to the decline of covid19 in some parts of the world.

Yes, I must like this place…as well as el yerno, Don, y la hija, Sarah, who invited me—el suegro—down! (¡And that is the last of my Spanish through which you must suffer!)

Who doesn’t dream of spending a week with a couple nice burros on the ocean’s edge? {photo by Sarah}

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Zion National Park (Angels Landing)

Flying Frontier

I fly Frontier, proudly, knowing at any juncture a flight might be late or canceled. Once I drove back from Tulsa to Denver because (1) the flight was canceled and (2) the Frontier employee told us, “Oh, and we don’t fly out of Tulsa tomorrow, so you’ll have to find a different airline.” Continue reading “Zion National Park (Angels Landing)”

Southern England: Revisited

One year after my previous trip, I repeated the opportunity to visit Chris, a friend from my undergraduate days, and Adrienne, his wife.

This time I came prepared with one request: that we visit the yellow cliffs popularized in the television series Broadchurch. Sometime in the intervening year I had watched and, really, become attached to that scenery. As one of the characters says,

Scene of Jurassic Coast from "Broadchurch"
Scene of Jurassic Coast from “Broadchurch”

It is gorgeous, and, I confess, once again life imitates art. Continue reading “Southern England: Revisited”

Peru 1 – Sacred Valley (Cusco, Machu Picchu & Inca Písac)

Brief and Tedious Preface

No, I have not recently returned from Peru, though I wish I had. Instead, I’m using some annotated photos from a 2008 trip and am converting them into an entry here. There are several unspeakable reasons for this.
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Los Zacatitos, Second Visit (and father East Cape)

This post is about my second trip to Zacatitos; my third trip here and my first trip here.

Baja Sur: Baja (Lower) California Sur (South). This current post is brief, following as it does on the heels of the lengthy post on Southern England, a short history and tour guide to key spots in that area.

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Southern England: ‘Tis new to thee’

One would think that someone who had both taught Shakespeare and written a dissertation on the Globe playhouse would have made an early visit to England to know what he was talking about. Not I. Instead I waited about 25 years to visit, and not for a professional reason, but for the opportunity to visit Chris, a friend from my undergraduate days, and Adrienne, his wife.

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Guest Entry – Washington D.C. (mostly)

This is adapted from an email Mindy sent (8/14/2017) while on a trip from Missouri to Washington D.C. Between her (un)timely visit to Charlottesville and breakfast in Trump’s hotel, the content may interest more than the original audience (and she’s given me permission to post it). – Louis

Here are the highlights from our (Mindy, Josh, and friends’) time in Washington D.C.

Washington Monument

Preface: Charlottesville

Before we went to D.C. we were in Charlottesville—I don’t have any pictures from it, but it was a really nice town with more cars than I prefer. Josh and I had a great time at a running store where a guy named Turtle sold Josh a new pair of runners and I really enjoyed hanging out with Sarah and Kyle and walking around and looking at the campus and shops and things. 

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Los Zacatitos, MX, First Visit

This post is about my first trip to Zacatitos; my second trip here and my third trip here.

Baja (lower) California is a peninsula comprised of two Mexican states, Baja California and the southern half, Baja California Sur. I spent a week at the southern end, a bit to the east of the Southern Cape, the beginning of East Cape. The nearest city with an international airport is San José del Cabo (Saint Joseph of the Cape).

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The Road to Veracruz

Why Taxis Were Invented

Flew to Mexico City for a week-long visit with only two goals: meet a friend and return home in one piece. Arriving in the evening, I discovered my cell phone failed to find a signal (guess I forgot to figure that out), but the airport internet service allowed me to email my friend, BR, who was waiting in a different terminal. For fifteen years I had known him, yet we never met in person. Over this time (over the Internet), he proved himself to be a thoughtful, honest man who worked hard, harder than I, translating a gigantic medical book. So it seemed fitting to meet him as a friend, now that I had ended the employment that brought us together.

BR is a medical doctor turned translator. He’s a smart man, often correcting problems in the English text, usually medical inaccuracies but also some grammar.

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The Colorado Trail as One Can Pick it up at Molas Pass

The Colorado Trail

Starting near Molas Pass (which is about 6 miles outside Silverton), I hiked from Little Molas Lake trailhead westward about 5 miles, to spend the (lightening filled) night on the Colorado Trail.

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The Squirrel and the Hummingbird

During this week, I camped along one of my favorite trails near Boulder. The trail is so nice that it seemed for decades there was an unspoken rule among us hiker: don’t let the masses learn about this place. Now the place is much better known—now being among the places one is wiser to visit during a weekday.

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