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Journey's end

Published November 17. 2012 09:02AM

OK folks. This is my last installment of "What I did on my vacation."

Remember how I told you our tour guide and bus driver told us as we were leaving the Grand Canyon, "The best is yet to come?"

Next stop was Bryce Canyon.

Yup. It got better.

OMG! Seeing Bryce Canyon, you'd swear you must have been transported to another planet! Surely those spirals couldn't be here in my very own country? The colors of red, orange, pink and flesh are amazingly beautiful. They're called "Hoodoos." The limestone spirals were formed over millions of years of sand storms of wind and rain, different from the Grand Canyon's formation made by the Colorado River.

Our last stop was Zion National Park. Here are the last of my journal entries:

Saturday, Sept. 29, 5:10 p.m.

Brandon and Jack told us the best would be last. They didn't lie.

Again. No words can describe what we've seen today.

Right now at this moment, I am sitting on my porch of Cabin 512 at the Zion Canyon Lodge, facing the most spectacular rock cliff formation. The colors range from my meager store of words from my painter's realm of Delta acrylic paints to describe hues of burnt sienna, sienna, adobe, clay, medium flesh, all the flesh colors from dark to light, ivory and light ivory.

Zion may be the most spectacular for two reasons…#1. The amazing colors. #2. We are viewing these majestic cliffs from the bottom of the canyon, a view we didn't have at the Grand Canyon. With these monestrous neck-craning cliffs towering high above us, it's like we died and went to tourist heaven.

We walked the Riverside Trail, along the Virgin River…the same river that created this canyon. Connie and I took off our shoes and waded in the river that's millions of years old…two old broads in the Virgin River. That tickles my funny bone.

We spotted two rock climbers making their way very slowly up a mountain cliff…they looked like ants…(incredibly stupid ants but different strokes for different folks.)

The Lodge, here since 1923, is nestled between two towering cliffs. We're staying in a most charming cabin, complete with air conditioning (high today was 89 degrees, low 62) and a fireplace.

It just doesn't get any better than this!!!

As I'm writing, George and I are waiting for Harry and Connie to return from one of the trails…they both are loving the walking. Me, not so much. I don't know why, but today I'm very exhausted and my feet really hurt. As much as I mentally hate for this vacation to end, I think my body is ready to go home.

I talked to a man who hiked one of the more strenuous trails. He looked to be in great physical condition but I noticed the white hair. I asked him how old he was and he said, "73." I congratulated him on his accomplishment and he just pointed to his head and said, "It's all in your mind."

While it sounds like a very profound statement, I jokingly replied, "Well for some of us, it's in the feet, the legs, knees and hips."

Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 p.m.

After a simply delicious dinner, we were feeling a little blue that our vacation was coming to an end. As we slowly headed back to our cabin, we saw the shuttle buses were still running because of the full moon. To prolong this perfect day, we boarded one of them. We got off at Big Bend and watched as the moon rose above the cliffs. The sky was filled with stars and the moon lit up the canyon walls, bathing it in a ghostly white. Simply magnificent. My heart was near bursting.

The shuttle bus driver pointed out a light on the side of the one cliff, about midway up. Another light was near the rim. He said they were climbers and they were staying put for the night. We can't imagine anyone doing something so daring or risky but they do.

We were so reluctant to leave, we could have camped there all night.

When we arrived back at the Lodge and headed for our cabins, we saw a shooting star. A perfect ending of a perfect vacation.

Sunday, Sept. 30

60 degrees at 8 a.m.

Last day.

We boarded the bus. It was very quiet. I wondered if everyone was feeling what I was…sorrow that we were leaving this land of wild rugged beauty.

Grand Canyon, Sedona, Montezeuma Castle, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Harry asks which was my favorite. Each place was amazing but it was my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon that will always be my most favorite moment of this trip.

Sedona, Montezeuma Castle, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon…all songs for the soul. I'll remember their haunting melodies all the rest of my days.

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