Archive for the ‘Vacations’ Tag

My fish story; the one I reeled in

 

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That’s me, with my fish in front of our YNP cabin by Lake Yellowstone, about age 8 or round that. 🙂

 

16 & 1/2 inches it was. We measured it. I was about eight and the youngest of my sisters and cousins. We vacationed in Yellowstone National Park, had a cabin right on Lake Yellowstone and had a fishing contest. I stood on the river bank, holding a rod and reel and looking out onto the water, waiting for a bite.

It seemed like forever when I felt a strong jerk, saw a large fish do a flip-flop in the water and called my dad over. He confirmed I had a big one. As it yanked on the line I stood with my feet firmly planted on the shoreline and pulled hard. My dad thought he might get away if I tried managing it by myself, so he gave me a hand and together we reeled it in. My cousins and sisters all caught fish that day too, but when all were measured mine came out the largest.

I had my own fish, my own ‘fish story’ to tell through the years, and the best part? We cooked it, ate it and enjoyed it that night with all the other fish, and it was so good.  🙂 From that day on lake trout and rainbow trout became one of my favorite kinds of fish to eat. The trout fishing was good at Yellowstone Nat’l Park.

And, it is plentiful here in Colorado, too with all our lakes, rivers and streams. Now, when my husband, grandsons or son-in-law goes fishing, and I don’t go, I just say, “Catch me a fish, too.” and my little grandson says, “Yes, grandma, I know… I will.” He loves to fish, knows all his lures, what to use, what fish like, and what doesn’t work. He’s caught some great fish himself and would rather fish than do anything else. But, his little sister won’t be outdone, so she likes to fish now, too, just like I did at that age. Below are pictures of my grandchildren, Trevor and Alyssa with their fish they caught this last June. It’s a sport we love here in Colorado, and it’s been a great summer to fish.

And in the U. S., today is ‘Grandparents Day’, so from one grandmother to other grandparents out there, I wish you a Happy Grandparents Day.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

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Remembering 9-11

Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson, 1998

World Trade Center Twin Towers, New York City, April 1998

It was April 1998, when my husband, Wayne and I took this vacation, and these pictures.  We flew into New York City to Laguardia airport on a weekday, picked up a rental car and traveled north up to Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, across upper New York to Niagara Falls, down through Pennsylvania, in to Maryland, Washington D.C.,  Delaware and back into New York City and Staten Island before leaving for home from Laguardia. It was a whirlwind trip in nine days as we covered all of the upper northeast and New England from the east side to the west and back again in a loop.

While in New York City those final three days we took a ferry-boat over to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Battery Park. As we toured scenic sights of Manhattan taking pictures we stood in front of a memorial at Battery Park dedicated to the early immigrants who came ashore to the U.S., processed through Castle Gardens there before Ellis Island opened up in 1892.  It was a very emotional time for me as I walked about that park, looking up at the Statue of Liberty and wondering what the immigrants thought, what they saw when arriving through the portals of our country’s immigration processing centers.

My grandfather and his family were Germans who came over from Odessa, Russia, and were processed through Castle Gardens like thousands of others. Enduring hardships, making sacrifices to come over to America immigrants by the thousands came over on ships, hopeful to begin a new life here. They were as diverse in color of skin, religion, faith, occupation, and status in life as those in our country today. But, the one thing that bound them all together was their desire to begin a new life in a better place  than the one they had come from, and live it in freedom away from tyranny, and anarchy. Poor, destitute, seeking a new life in a country offering so much, to those having so little, they came, hopeful, committed, and excited to become an American.

New York was at that time the primary gateway into America. The hope of prosperity, the right to choose their own destiny, occupation and the promise of an education gave them a sense of purpose without rules and regulations enforced upon them by a dictator.

My grandfather was only three years old when they immigrated. His greatest dream was to become a naturalized citizen and vote in a real election for his country’s president. He worked hard, got an education and cherished every day and moment he had in life to be all he could be with God’s help.

As I stood in front of Battery Park taking pictures I was amazed at how tall and large the Twin Towers of the WTC were, as  they towered above all other skyscrapers in Manhattan. Such a stark contrast to all the rest of those in the skyline they were like beacons to our country’s business district,  icons of the American dream of success.

Who would have believed that just a few short years later we would see the annihilation and obliteration of the World Trade Centers’ Twin Towers, and attempts made to destroy our country’s capitol, and the pentagon as well?  The horrific event on September 11, 2001 killing almost 3,000 people will live forever in our memory and hearts.

As Americans we owe a debt we can never repay to our military servicemen and women  for what they did so we can have this freedom. Having fought, or died in wars protecting it we can only support them, honor them, pray for them, and thank them for their sacrifice, and service. This is my way of paying tribute to them, to our firefighters, and police officers for what they did then, and do now to protect our lives and freedom here in the U.S.

May we never forget.

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I am re-posting this blog post today, in commemoration of the fourteenth anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York city.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Memories of vacations past

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It was the morning of July 5th, 2005. My husband, and I with our daughter, husband and children headed north out of Colorado towards Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.  It was not my first trip to Yellowstone. I had gone on earlier trips there as a child and years later with our youngest girl.

The beautiful red mesas, buttes, and plateaus of Wyoming merged with the vistas of the serene Grand Teton Mountains as we entered Yellowstone. The sun disappeared as dusk settled over the mountains. We all watched for wildlife and enjoyed the scenic drive through steep terrain and thick forests.

Suddenly, my eyes caught sight of a beautiful animal standing still behind the brush. Too soon, it was gone from view. It looked like a gray wolf with its gray and white fur coat. Yet, from that distance I couldn’t be certain it was a wolf, or a coyote.

After checking into our cabins and getting a good night’s sleep, we got up early to go sight-seeing.

We headed first for the Norris geysers and Old Faithful. The strong sulfuric geysers smelled like burned hard-boiled eggs.

We stood, fascinated at the effect created by the boiling, bubbling pockets in the earth. Steam, heat and odor spewed forth from belching, gray puddles.

In the next three days, we explored the park, the sights of waterfalls, gorges, forests, lakes, rivers, went horseback riding, and hiked trails.

Amazed at the mammoth brown bodies and girth of the grazing bison, my grandson sat up on a mound of dirt  in front of our cabins watching them intently. They watched him just as intently looking too dangerously close.

One morning we headed across the park to the east side towards Roosevelt Lodge for breakfast and stopped to photograph the lush, green pastures and landscape. That night we enjoyed an old-fashioned cowboy style cook out and wagon ride through sage brush, prairies and pastures. Wildlife of all kinds roamed freely about undaunted to our encroachment on their habitat.

On the way back down to Canyon Village that night sitting contentedly in a wet marsh just a ways further was a big male moose. Parking the SUV on the side of the road, we all jumped out. My excited husband was once again ready with the camcorder and ran down the road towards the marsh. The moose got up and sauntered out of the marsh, up into the hills all the while unaware that my husband had captured his essence on tape.

A trip to the wolf and grizzly bear game preserve on the northwest side of the park was another place we visited while on this trip. The preserve had several different species of bears, mountain lions, snakes and other game set back into a natural area where they were treated and cared for as if in a royal zoo.

It was 6:00 a.m. and our last morning there when we drove south, watching the wildlife grazing for food when we spotted it. There, coming towards us was a huge male grizzly bear off the side of the road. The sun was just coming up over the horizon. What an amazing sight to see this beautiful creature foraging for his early morning breakfast. The large humped back bear sniffed the air as if sensing our presence parked, about fifteen feet away, snapping pictures and taping his every move and turn.

“This way, over here. Now! That’s it. That’s good. Great! We got him.” My husband said as he was sticking halfway out through the sun roof aiming his camcorder. The bear stopped and stared back as if daring us to come closer. We had no way of predicting his movement or reaction to our being there. My son-in-law was prepared with his foot to the pedal if we needed to get away in a hurry.

Before leaving the park that day we had photographed and videotaped grizzly bears, black bears, a moose, elk, wolves, coyote, fox, otters, bald eagles, and bison.

We reluctantly headed south out of the park through the Grand Tetons, thankful and felt blessed to see what our country and national parks has preserved and maintained for over one hundred years.

Although a big fire in 1988 destroyed much of the park’s trees and forests, it has since revived itself with new growth, and regeneration. Old burnt down trees lay beside the new seedlings and saplings reminding us that nature can restore it and compensate for its loss. It is a vivid illustration of rebirth.

The bears, bison and wildlife still remain one of the biggest attractions for tourists. But, because of the confrontations and attacks by bison and bears the rules were changed to protect visitors to the park. They aren’t allowed to feed peanuts to the bears like we did when I was a child as we hung out of car windows to get a good picture of them, luring them ever closer with the peanuts.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

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. 

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Joyce E. Johnson (2014)           

Our life is a journey

On The Road of Life

Along life’s journey

we meet new travelers who

make it all worth while

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Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

A Place in the Sun

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I took this photo in Utah last fall while on vacation. Although there isn’t very much of a desert shown here for the poem I had written the poem years ago previously while on another trip to Arizona but so much of these areas around these magnificent rock formations are dry and look like much of the Arizona deserts, so decided to post this photo with this poem.

 A Place in the Sun

There is a place where the cactus grows.

There is a desert where no water flows.

where the earth is hot, and the air is dry,

and the sun beats down from its place in the sky.

And when the heavens and earth concur,

in a blaze of color with a certain blur.

There settles to the horizons cool dusk

the scent and smell of a lingering musk.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

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