Archive for the ‘Autumn vacations’ Category

A quiet retreat

DSCN0209

This photo was taken of the Cache la Poudre River near the Bighorn cabins where we stayed. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

DSCN0214

The cabin we stayed in beside the river. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

DSCN0228

I took this photo from the top of the Elkhorn Creek trail we hiked. The Mummy Range can be seen from where we stood at about 8,000 – 9,000 ft. elevation. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

The beginning point of the Elkhorn Creeks trail where we started our climb up the mountain.

The beginning point of the Elkhorn Creek trail where we started our climb up the mountain. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's me while on the Elkhorn Creek trail. My husband took this photo.

That’s me while on the Elkhorn Creek trail. My husband took this photo.

For two days one recent weekend we enjoyed fresh air, rest and solitude in the mountains of northwestern Colorado, fifty miles from where we live in the city (Loveland). We booked a wonderful, quiet little cabin at the Bighorn Cabins in Bellvue. It is close to a little village like community town called Rustic, along the winding, climbing county highway 14, at an altitude of 7-10,000 ft.

We had two days to explore and hike on the trails nearby and the weather was perfect with the warm sunshine to our backs, and the cooler autumn breezes blowing through the canyon and down along the Cache la Poudre River towards late afternoon and evening. The trees had already peaked in their autumn colors, and the golden Aspens were beginning to dry up with leaves falling, piling up along the road, river or trail paths.

Northwestern Colorado is a favorite vacation spot even during the autumn months after the summer tourism season ends because of the autumn colors seen in the changing trees. There are hunters who come up to hunt elk, deer or moose, and the fishermen trying their luck at catching that one good trout or bass before the cold season sets in for the winter. And of course, one cannot forget the bears who roam about getting their fill during the fall feeding frenzy before hibernation. Although we did not spot a bear while on our hikes we kept our eyes open and alert to any wildlife that shared the open space with us. The deer and elk are plentiful in these parts and beautiful to watch. The bears? Well, we know they’re somewhere, maybe not far, so we’ll keep our distance, and allow them plenty of space.

For more information on the Bighorn Cabins and rental rates, or for reservations, you can find it here. For information on the Cache La Poudre River you can find it here. It is a wonderful vacation place to visit.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Autumn vacations

johnson-R1-046-21A

johnson-R1-018-7Ajohnson-R1-004-0A 

johnson-R1-042-19Ajohnson-R1-010-3A

johnson-R1-020-8Ajohnson-R1-030-13A

johnson-R1-016-6Acopy-fh000016.jpg

All of the above photos were taken while on vacation trips years ago to the upper northeast, New England, (U.S.) and Nova Scotia, Canada province area. It was in October when the orange, gold and rust colored leaves and trees were at their peak, a variation of shades and hues merging amid the landscape and natural areas wherever we traveled. These are a few of my favorite shots taken while driving through the states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Main, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Nova Scotia. As we drove through these states, exploring, walking the hiking trails, seeing historic places, the architecture and style of Victorian and Cape Cod homes, pristine beaches and shores of the Atlantic it did not take long before I declared this one of the most enjoyable vacation spots and a favorite place to travel and photograph. I will post some more favorite photos from these trips in future posts.  

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)   

Merging cultures and diverse backgrounds

Mayflower II - Plymouth, Mass.

Mayflower II – Plymouth, Mass.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, Mass.

Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth, Mass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Thanksgiving Day in 1967 my husband and I were invited to spend the holiday at the home of a Hispanic friend’s family. We were nineteen, newlyweds, and living in California while attending college and working, having moved there from the Midwest.

I remember the disappointment when I saw the food placed on the table; tortillas, refried beans, and other Mexican dishes. Because they were not the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving Day dishes like cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie we were used to eating every Thanksgiving I was not sure I was going to enjoy this day. We also did not speak Spanish, so could not understand everything said. We felt like ‘pilgrims’ encroaching on new territory. I brought a Pumpkin pie to share, thinking at the time, At least we will have one favorite dish.

Yet, there was no culture barrier that could dampen our spirits, but instead a mutual desire to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Their smile, graciousness and hospitality made us feel welcomed.

It had me thinking about the first wave of pilgrims in a new country imagining how it was for them as they perhaps sat down at a rustic table in the woods of Massachusetts to share a meal with a group of natives so foreign to them; American Indians. Settlers from far away England and American Indians coming together, each bringing their native foods, sharing their harvested crops, celebrating as one. A new country was born, two groups united for that one day, supping together and giving thanks to God for their many blessings.

While vacationing on the east coast in 1998 we visited the famous Plymouth Rock landmark and the Mayflower II (an exact replica of the original ship the first settlers took on their journey to America) at Plymouth, MA. As we took a self-guided tour of the Mayflower, I was in awe of the sacrifices, ingenuity, and creativity the new Americans had, and the hardships they endured, how they could make their home inviting and hospitable.

The newcomers from England had lost so many settlers to death, disease and hunger. Yet, maybe there was expectation, excitement and celebration in the autumn air for the first of such feasts, gathering, coming together. Neither group could understand the language or culture of the other. The Indians could not have known what it was like for those new settlers to survive the storms at sea, suffer through disease and hunger on their crossing. Neither could the new Americans understand the difficulties and challenges the Indians faced living in a wild, untamed land. Yet, each shared their food and bounty to celebrate perseverance under the cloak of life’s burdens; American Indians, an existing group came, by right to belong, and the other, foreigners wanting to belong, determined to stay and build a new life.

On that day as my husband and I celebrated that Thanksgiving away from home, I realized how much we did have in common with the Hispanic family, and we began to relax and enjoy ourselves with them, and their own “traditional” holiday fare. The aroma of those homemade tortillas and Mexican dishes was tantalizing. It compelled my senses to welcome the experience.

They were not there to act as substitutes for our immediate families, but instead to be an extension to the family we already had of friends made while living in California. They shared the heritage of a people whose ancestors were original settlers of this state with its rich history. They were our hosts. We were their guests; but on that day we came together as friends, and we went away full, blessed and thankful.

Those four years we lived away from’ home’ taught us how to appreciate other cultures, and ethnic people of other nations. There were many other ethnic groups and people from other countries we came to know while living there. Our eyes opened to the ways that are different, but no less important than our own, and our hearts became tender towards those whose lives touched us with a diverse style of celebrating what is special to us all; giving thanks to our forefathers for their sacrifices made to birth a rich heritage in America.

Hebrews 13:16 (NIV) says, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

   _______________

   Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

Desperately seeking

 

While on a vacation trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada many years ago we had reservations at a Bed and Breakfast place, but when we finally got into Halifax after driving all day with stops along all day we were unprepared for this huge metropolitan city during rush hour traffic using only a (print) travel atlas to guide us.  Our check in time was for 6:00 p.m., and it was nearing that time. We got lost several times while looking for the B&B. By the time we found it and drove up into the drive right at 6:00 sharp it appeared to be just an average looking residence with children’s toys visibly scattered around its back yard. We knocked on the door several times, but no one answered, so gave up and figured it had either gone out of business, or was a bogus site on the internet.

Frustrated and desperate to find a hotel room we drove around while praying for one to open up. It seemed every place was booked up. We learned later it was the eve of their Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday, and places booked up.  As we came off an exit of the interstate we spotted this inn. We saw their ‘No vacancy’ neon sign lit up, as was the case with so many hotels that night. But, something told me we should stop and inquire. My husband didn’t think it would do any good, but I persisted.  

While he went in to ask, I waited in the car and prayed. Soon, he came out, smiling, holding a room key. They told him there was a cancellation at the last moment, and a room had just opened up. With the key, and our luggage we walked up a stairway and down a lit hallway to a warm, clean, spacious room with two queen beds and beautiful antique furnishings. It was perfect, so inviting, even luxurious with its atmosphere. I could hardly believe our good fortune that night. And yet, why not? After all, I prayed there would be ‘room at the inn’. 

We were also hungry and wished for a good hot meal. Again, to our unexpected, happy surprise we found a wonderful dine-in restaurant on the first floor, open late and serving their full menu items with the day’s special; roast turkey dinner with all the traditional sides. We enjoyed that meal like none other, had a delicious chocolate mousse dessert to top off the night, and slept like contented, happy kids with filled bellies. Our bodies were at rest, our soul was blessed, and our minds put at ease. 

I took this picture of the inn the following morning when we checked out before heading back on the road. Now, I look back fondly on that time when we drove desperately seeking a room that night and this special blessing that opened up for us so that we could enjoy a Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend. 

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)           

Roads taken

johnson-R1-022-9A

A scenic route in Vermont, New England, U.S.
photo by:  Joyce E. Johnson

The roads that take us places, whether literally or metaphorically are ones that fill our mind and life with indelible memories to visit from time to time, hopefully happy ones. That was the case with this trip we took years ago to the New England states, where American history was charted and documented.  We have taken two trips like this to the New England states, and both were memorable with a lot of great pictures of all the places we visited like the farmland and beautiful trees in Vermont changing color as shown in the above photo. We took walks along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean of New Hampshire, visited Plymouth Rock and the restored Mayflower in Massachusetts, the waterfront of Boston Harbor, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall of Philadelphia, Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island in New York,  a lighthouse in Portland Maine, Arlington Nat’l Cemetery in Virginia, and the White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court buildings in Washington DC.  Our second trip included some travel up into Nova Scotia (via ferry) visiting Halifax and cities up and down the northern and southern coastline.

Both of these trips were like a whirlwind, blurring the hours and days in too short a time to ponder the things seen. But, still it was a wonderful way to see the different culture, lifestyle, and meet the people along the way, and learn about their region’s history, or even a bit of their own. Sometimes significant things, big or small leave indelible  impressions that make that trip an unforgettable one. One of those things the trips back east did for me was to make me more aware, knowledgeable and thankful for the foundation laid by our country’s founding fathers in the USA. Those founding principles of,  ‘truth and freedom, justice, and the pursuit of happiness’ that are found written in our constitution were not just paths chartered for that time, but also ones to pave a foundation for a more unified nation today. It is a lasting legacy we can or should be reminded of.  Metaphorically there may be some roads we may not want to return to if unhappy ones, but some we need to re-visit, if for no other reason than to just be reminded of what we once had in this country, and from where we’ve come, if we still have it, or still want what we once had, and the sacrifices of those who pioneered and charted the roads we take today. I count my blessings for what I have, and for what I’ve gained by right as a U.S. citizen. But, I do not curse my country for what it cannot provide me. We may travel different roads, take different paths, believe differently, but at some time or other we intersect or meet along the way like the pilgrims and Indians when they celebrated their first Thanksgiving together. It was their coming together, the unity and sharing for that time that they celebrated, and what we should still cherish and celebrate today. It gave our ‘founding fathers’ hope back then that whatever comes, whatever befalls this country there is still a reason to hope, to hold fast to things cherished, and celebrate what we have. It is why I love the approaching time and holiday of Thanksgiving, and feel blessed that we have much to give thanks for.

_________________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2013)

Hisnamebpraised's Blog

In all things may His Name Be Praised

gailsuberbielle.wordpress.com/

Gail Suberbielle.com ... Nature photos, life, dogs, running

The Godly Chic Diaries

BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH

National Parks USA

A tour of Public Lands & National Parks with T

rethink

Jesus. Church. Bible

%d bloggers like this: