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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tripod Rocks... Off The Beaten Path

The longer I live the more I know, and this I have come to know as truth for me. Life's meaningful pleasures and treasures are not sprinkled along routine Interstates near home. They are found off the beaten path, in deserts rich with emptiness, mountains blessed with solitude, and along Blue Highways less traveled. "Chuck routine. Live the real jeopardy of circumstance... go!" Blue Highways, William Least Heat-Moon. 

Outside family, I can't name but a handful of redemptive things worth my time and attention at the end of a metro off-ramp. But sometimes, for efficiencies' sake, one's gotta do what they gotta do. and motor through such blights upon the Sonoran Desert as Phoenix, or, even worse, El Paso, where tractor trailer trucks and RV's squeeze into six Prius sized lanes that endlessly curve like the Rio Grande, now a veritable sewage pipe downstream of Mexican cities along it's banks. Never seen whiter knuckles than while towing "Fiver" through El Paso. I digress...

But I'm in Zion, right? The Virgin River is just that. The sun sheds warmth upon my face. Birds chirp for my ears only. Autumn leaves swirl, landing in my tousled, greying hair. Red cliffs and maples fill days; black velvet darkness and stars fill nights. Having lived on the opposite side of this coin I am mindful of my good fortune and marvel at the long road that put me here. 

Second thoughts suggest there is one redeeming quality to Interstates, for they can jumpstart putting a "former life" in the rearview mirror... for good. Interstate 70 was my escape hatch from Springfield, once a quaint little Ozark's town in Missouri's Bible Belt. But it grew up (blew up) way to fast. Like the proverbial preachers daughter, Springfield strayed from Mom and Pop and lost its soul to strip malls... whoring out to Chucky Cheese, K mart and any old chain store with a buck in their hand. 

How does one leave that madness behind? How did I get to where I belonged... before I even knew for sure what or where it was? The hard way, for I found it in missed turns, detours, and through aimless wanderings off beaten paths. Anyone can do it; "there must be fifty ways to leave your lover." But be forewarned, it's a career choice. I suggest you dot your i's and cross your t's before packing up; you can't "eat the scenery." But if and when life begins to leave an empty blah feeling in your heart and soul, I know of a few restorative places. 


Aimless wanderings often stumble Bobbie and I upon the most remarkable finds... things not noted on maps or in brochures. They are generally off beaten paths. To be perfectly honest, we are frequently lost when when we find them. 

Take Tripod Rocks, for instance, (my name) a place we decided we could trust Susan and Maikel to keep secret. Every time I go back I expect to find Tripod Rocks vandalized by some uncaring ass. All it would take is a gentle nudge to topple their remarkable intrigue. I prefer it to be gravity's deed.   



  1. Cool, you are on an amazing journey.

  2. You folks sure know how to live!
    Grace (in Tucson)

  3. Susan here. Bobbie and Mark keep taking us to these special places. We are so grateful to be included in their adventure. Where are we going today? What are we going to see his time? It's always something!

  4. Wow...those sure are gorgeous rocks...all those layers of sandstone, cross-bedding gets me excited! Would love to visit there soon!

  5. What a fabulous place, can quite see why you keep the location secret.

  6. Spectacular photos once again! And your writing in the last few posts about seizing the day and not wasting life on boring jobs or boring routines are really validating my determination to leave suburbia and my job behind by this time next year. Zion in November sounds like just the ticket!

  7. Nature is amazing. Glad you didn't stand on the tripods.

  8. Great pictures. Hope I can find that spot someday.

  9. Beautiful! One of the great things about returning to a place over and over is discovering new places. You're right some places are best not revealed;-)

  10. What a special spot to hike.  I have come to recognize that most of what is memorable and pleasing about my time on the trail is ordinary moments in the outdoors.  Simply sitting unhurried on top of a mountain out cropping near the trail is an irreplaceable moment.  It is so fulfilling to be surrounded and saturated with the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors. Especially places like Zion.

  11. Nothing, nothing, nothing in the world like the feel of slickrock under your shoes. I can feel it looking at your photos. Sigh.

  12. Your words and pictures feed my soul.

  13. Wow!!..The weather is still that nice?? Or do you have solar powered heaters in your shorts "n" shoes??..I'm looking out at snow..
    Gotta ask..Have you met the campground host with a dog named Blue?
    He has a blog...

  14. Wow! I love the look of that hike. Maybe you could take Wanda and I on it NEXT November. Great pictures also, as usual.

  15. Loved your hike... At least I'm still safe as I hike along with you while my leg is still in a cast. Thanks for letting me tag a long!

  16. Real life is on the blue highways.....

  17. Total cool set of photos! Really enjoying your shots in Utah!

  18. Teri,
    We are...
    Put wheels on a little house and anything's possible :)
    Cool, indeed.

    "You folks sure know how to live!"
    We are getting the hang of it... the secret is in recapturing one's childhood curiosity, to explore.

    Today (which was two days ago) we are going on a "little" bike ride. And by "little," I don't mean our bikes will be small :) Prepare thine ass and eyes for Hurricane Mesa!

    We think of our Geologist nephew and family every time we cross some interesting formation... which is to say, all the time. Wish you were here to explain how all this happened.

    Yes, secrets told are soon common knowledge.

    Now you're talking... Come knock on our door!

    I'm afraid to even touch Tripod Rocks, let alone, stand on them :))

    Al and Karen,
    We'll give you some hints, if you will take a polygraph test swearing not to tell anyone :))

    Some places we never tire of. Zion is one of them.

    John Q.,
    So true... engage all the senses. Thanks for checking in on our adventure.

    "Nothing, nothing, nothing in the world like the feel of slickrock under your shoes."
    I would add to that, "tires." Bike, of course. :))

    Thank you ma'am... and your comment, mine.

    Up River,
    Regarding the "campground host," We are staying in Virgin at the Zion River Rv Resort, not the Zion Campground. It's too shady this time of year under all those mountains and trees. So, no... don't know of him. Most of November is perfect for hiking and biking here... That said, we had snow a few days ago. It doesn't stay long tho. Thanks!

    Sure, next November... just take the polygraph test :))

    Kib Explores,
    Heal up, my friend... it must be difficult to look at the photos. :(( Make a plan for when you are out of your cast. Thanks!

    John and Nan,
    " Real life is on the blue highways...."
    It's where you find real friends, too.

    Thank you, Nina... where else can one get free Postcards ? :)) Thanks for commenting...

  19. The TX375 Loop looks like an alternative to Interstate 10 when trying to get through El Paso. I have not used it but IF I were to be going that way I would try it.

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  21. Now I have a mission to search for this little treasure! What a cool balancing act nature has left! I won't touch it, I promise!


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