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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Many Faces of the Desert

We spent a lot of time relaxing around our campsites during our trip to Utah, which meant that I played with my camera a lot. It's so nice to move more slowly than usual!

The desert flowers were glorious, thriving under more rainfall than they've had in years. Their colors lit up the desert, along with the red rock and the blue skies.

As I tried to take it easy around camp, the dogs also served as my photo models. R generally doesn't love being a model, except if he sees his sister being photographed. Then, he gets jealous of the attention she's getting, and he becomes an enthusiastic model!
I loved this graceful pose that Shyla did as she looked to the heavens.
One of the health problems I was trying to overcome by taking a break was a horrendous exacerbation of my chronic spine pain. Because I've battled a congenital spine problem since I was a teenager, I know that total rest does not work for my spine. When my spine pain first hit years ago, I was told to "bed rest", which caused my pain to escalate to dizzying heights. I gradually learned that gentle movement, especially easy bike riding, is what helps me most.

So, over our trip, I rode my mountain bike despite the spine pain, usually spinning the pedals easily on relatively smooth surfaces (getting on the bike was the hardest part). However, if you know me, you won't be surprised to hear that I "cheated" on a few days. On one of those days, I rode to a lookout point that I love, a cliff that requires about 2000' of steep and very rocky climbing to get to it. At the top, you can peer over the cliff's edge down several thousand feet into the deep desert. I adore this spot so much that I'll endure serious back spasms to get there.
No one else was nearby so I could soak up the views that included nearby snowy mountains. The juxtaposition of the arid desert and the snowy mountains always boggles my mind.
I love this spot so much that I "cheated" again a few days later, and I rode to it with Shyla. I leashed her well before we got close to the cliff, and we sat and gazed at the amazing world. Actually, I "gazed" and she "sniffed". I had the impression that scents from all over the west were wafting past our spot.
These two tougher rides certainly helped my spirits even if they slowed my back's healing. I'm about 80% back to "normal" now in terms of spine pain, and I'm guessing that I've dodged this crisis. I truly thought that surgery might be needed because I was incapable of standing up straight or walking normally at the start of the crisis a few weeks ago. Now, I feel pretty sure that my body will heal without drastic intervention if I'm patient.

Being out in such a peaceful place with my pack certainly helped!
I adore the west. I'll never leave the wide open spaces out here - I am sure of that.


  1. shyla looked as happy to be at that lookout point as you were. :)

  2. Stunningly Beautiful Views.

    We wish you continued healing for your spinal pain.

    Happy Crazy Love

  3. The view definitely looks worth the effort! You always take such gorgeous pictures.

  4. Oh, and most important, glad you're feeling better!

  5. Even here on the over-populated east coast, there are places where you can find wide opens spaces. They do my heart good!

  6. It looks like you had a wonderful time from your gorgeous photos. So glad that your pain is getting better!

  7. Love the picture of Shyla. Gorgeous.

  8. So glad to hear there is improvement in your back. Here's hoping the gains will continue. Loved the photographs. R looks absolutely regal.

  9. I'm so glad that you found what you needed, in more ways than one! :)

  10. Wow, those views are absolutely breathtaking. Makes me want to explore the parts of the States that I didn't get to see on our road trip. Parts like where you and your pups like to hang :)

  11. You sure know how to capture the beauty
    Lily & Edward

  12. What wonderful therapy this must have been for both your body and soul!

  13. That's great that R is jealous enough to pose. He's such a handsome boy.

    I'm glad your spine seems to be getting better. I learned my lesson about "active rest" years ago. My right shoulder/arm was very painful, so I gave it TLC by moving it as little as possible for a few days. Bad move! It completely froze up and I needed a lot of torture time (physical therapy) to unfreeze it.

    As usual, gorgeous pictures. I'm so glad you could make the trip.

  14. Your photos are always fabulous! We're so happy to hear that you're feeling better ☺

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  15. I was thinking about you the other day, your obvious contentment and love of the place you live. I don't have the same feeling, kind of restless like I should be elsewhere. Your love of the mountains is evident in your beautiful writing and photographs.
    May your healing continue while you get to view spectacular places!

  16. I agree. I love the west and the feeling of all that space. And the quite, love the quite.

  17. Such an amazing and beautiful place. Of course the furry ones are always amazing and beautiful!

  18. It is gorgeous that's for sure.

    XXXOOO Bella Roxy & macdui

  19. Great photos (as always). Were you in eastern Utah?

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  20. Wow, such gorgeous scenery, how could it do anything but lift your spirits. So good to have such a beautiful and spiritual place to retreat to and heal.

  21. Verybeautiful Place. Would very much visit it.
    Take care with your back...and I am glad you manage your trip well.

  22. Yuppers, I think the desert is working its magic on your back on on your soul! You indeed did miss us by a bit; the flowers weren't quite as ready for photography for me as they were for you!

    (I'm just like you; most often light biking is much better on my back than bedrest, except when the pain is so bad I can't move, such as what you've described above.)


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