Category Archives: About Travel

Stories about travels throughout the U.S., Mexico and the Bahamas

Salt Lake City Utah

Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Salt Lake City may have been the scene of the Olympics a few years back, and yes the mountains and valleys are impressive.  But, for me, this stop was all about Temple Square and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  The Temple, Tabernacle, Conference Center and all other buildings in the Square are gorgeous, and the gardens that surround them are equally so.  This is a quiet, immaculate space, filled with flowers, water features, architecture and art that is so wonderful to experience, you find yourself not wanting to leave.

The GardensTemple Square

The highlight was attending a broadcast performance of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Sunday morning.   Emerging from the entrance to the balcony, we entered the Tabernacle just as the choir was finishing its pre-broadcast rehearsal.  The combination of sight  (the 360 person choir, full orchestra, magnificent concert hall ) and sound (the triumphant, out-of-this-world last measures of Arise, O God and Shine) and the spirit in this place completely overwhelmed me.  This was one of those few moments in life that is personal, indescribable, and utterly unforgettable.  If that is what heaven is like, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Take a Rooster to Eleuthera

 

TAKE A ROOSTER TO ELEUTHERA
 
The Travel Guides talk about Harbour Island, the tiny island off the bigger island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.  They wax eloquent about the charming Loyalist cottages, luxurious resort hotels, high end and not so high end marinas, the stunning pink beaches and beyond words blue and turquoise waters.
But.  And this is an oversight I really don’t understand.  They say NOTHING about the Roosters.  Not mentioning the Roosters is like not mentioning the Hibiscus, or the Bougainvillea, or the coral sand.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Their numbers are legion.
You and yours are having French Toast on the porch of Dunmore Deli; they trot regally under the table next to you.  You visit  the historic library shaded by giant Banyan trees; they stand guard.  While you watch the sunset over the Caribbean, they take their evening strolls.  You are enjoying a vacation read; they take a short cut across your porch.

The North Rim…….

THE NORTH RIM from “Our Bucket List Adventure” by Sherry Campbell Bechtold

When we arrived at Jacob Lake, it was  already well into the afternoon and overcast  for the first time on our journey.  We faced a 40 mile drive to the North Rim and decided to “just go”.  We’re practically at the Grand Canyon for heaven’s sake.  Why wait another minute?
The road from the Lake to the Canyon is almost straightaway.  There are no other vehicles on the road.  There are no buildings along the way.  We drive – not in a hurry, but with purpose.  Dark clouds fill the vast sky and threaten rain – or worse.  Pine forests in the deepest green you can imagine frame the gold Aspens, bright as sunlight, opening to sweeping flaxen meadows.  It’s easy to imagine mule deer and antelope waiting in the shadows for dusk.  Somewhere along that long entrance road, we feel the world fall away behind us.  The radio is turned off and even the sounds of the truck engine fade into quiet.
In moments, we are transported into a parking lot not quite full of cars and RVs.   When we emerge from the truck, we realize the same magic Hush is outside too.  A few people chat imperceptibly and walk their barkless, well behaved dogs.  Even though there are no signs, we know where to go –  along a charming group of individual log cabins, pine trees and meandering walkways, leading to the beautiful North Rim Lodge.  Rustic.  Elegant.  A proud sentry for the North Rim.
A few steps around the Lodge and we’re on the stone patio overlooking the Canyon – indescribable, patient, bearing witness.
Miles away, on the South Rim and beyond, several rainstorms span the horizon, an occasional lightning strike connecting heaven and earth, distant thunder we can’t hear.  It takes some doing to adjust and begin to tune in to those around us.
A tour guide wearing an old cowboy hat easily entertains a few of his groupies with tales of past expeditions.  He hasn’t been home in 14 years.  Always on the road, a gypsy.  To our right, a delightful gentleman is engrossed in discussion of the Western Condor, which he has been hunting with his binoculars all day.
Tiny, fleeting life forms, we.   Destined to leave scarcely an echo in our wake.  We are blessed to be here.  In the face of this miracle, all we really have to offer is our gratitude.  Everyone seems to know that. There is a gentle comradery among us, above all there is reverence.
We learn that there is just enough time to drive to Royal Point for sunset, promised to be glorious because of the day long churning clouds.  After several miles of twists and turns on another lonely road, we find a small group of parked cars, and realize we need to get out and walk the rest of the way.  It’s so close to sunset, I’m worried I won’t get to the Point in time.  But the sights of Canyon and sky on both sides of this skywalk peninsula are intoxicating,  and I find my feet carrying me in that direction without hesitation.  I am entering into a state of Grace as I emerge from the walkway onto a stone platform.  Shafts of light cross the eastern Canyon walls, the rim brilliant against a charcoal backdrop, the plummeting depths of inner space, lost in darkness.  The western sky is a symphony of colors throwing a party with the setting Libra sun, as he whispers ‘goodnight’ and gathers the blankets around him.  
It’s almost dark when we rewind ourselves down the mountain and begin our slow drive over the plateau toward Jacob Lake through misty rain and intermittent fog.  A lone Coyote appears in our peripheral light in the meadow, and a little later, a Mule Deer catches sight of us and leaps through the tall grass toward the Aspens.  The fog clears, revealing a crystal clear night full of stars and directly in front of us, Big Dipper rests low on the horizon and is so enormous, I fancy myself walking through the meadow and reaching up to touch it.  Bliss.
 
I will live to wish I could return to this day time and time again.   And when the angels ask me to recall the thrill of them all, I will tell them I remember the North Rim.