Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finley is Finished!

I finished another Sockhead Hat!  It's a free pattern on Ravelry and the second one I've made.
I love it!  It's comfortable, easy, looks great on, and it's a great pattern for multi-colored sock yarn.
You can see my first one HERE and HERE.  

This one is made from yarn that was dyed by a friend of mine at Inner Yarn Zen.  This colorway is called, "Finley".  I love the browns and blues (more turquoise in person).  Hubby loved the colors too and was excited when I started knitting a hat for him with it.  It was fun to watch the turquoise spiral up as I knitted it.  Then, it started to pool in these really cool shapes.  It's looks a little like tie-dye.


This pattern has a wide four inch band of ribbing that folds over nicely.
It works great to keep ears warm.  The sock yarn makes the hat comfortable and not bulky.
I used a size two, circular needle and a set of double points to knit it.


The pattern creates a slouchy hat.  I made this one a little less slouchy for hubby.
When it's on him, it doesn't have much slouch.  He's at work right now though.
So, I used my handy dandy glass head for a model.



I weighed the hat and the leftover yarn and I was excited to see that the hat took exactly half.
That means I have plenty to make another hat for me or something else in these pretty colors.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Mandalas

We attended a family gathering yesterday.  One family member has become increasingly unkind and made yesterday more difficult than usual.  So, I thought a meditative, mandala making Monday would be uplifting and a great way to start my day and week.  So, that's just what I did.

After an early morning breakfast and cup of coffee, I went out to gather some blossoms from my yard.  It was cool and quiet.  Arranging the flowers was peaceful and it's all I thought of.
Ahhh....it was wonderful! I found some very pretty flowers and colors to play with.





My Monday feels better already!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Observation Point

We had a big hike planned for the very last day of our Spring Break trip to Zion National Park.
We were heading up to Observation Point which is located at the end of the main canyon of the park and has spectacular views.  The hike is eight miles round trip with over 2000 feet of elevation gain.  It's recommended to plan on five to six hours or more to complete it.  We got everything ready the night before and left early Friday morning to get a parking spot at the bottom and get started.
The temps were in the low thirties that morning and it was a sunny, beautiful day.

The hike started out with steep switchbacks up the side of the cliff.  Then, all of a sudden the trail took a turn into an amazing canyon.  This is a lower portion of Echo Canyon.  It's a popular canyoneering canyon.  People hike up to a section of it and rappel down steep sections and swim through others.  It's the swimming part that may keep me from doing this one.  Some of the water is mucky from sitting in holes for long periods of time.  Ewww!  Plus, I get cold easy and a nervous when I can't touch or see the bottom.  That's my husband standing on the edge and looking down.
For this hike, we were just passing by Echo on our way to the top.


A little further up and the trail went under an overhang and along the
edge above Echo Canyon.  The drop at the right goes into Echo...


This is looking back into that overhanging area.
Hubby's taking a photo of our daughter...


Here's that same section.  The crack on the left looks down into Echo...


You can see some water way down at the bottom...


This is that same section later in the day with a glow from the sun...


The colors in some of the rocks was incredible.
Some even had interesting patterns...


This one looks like someone painted it...


We saw sections of rock that day that were vibrant yellow/gold
(much more intense than how it looks in the picture).


This rock had red/orange, yellow, white and black.  So cool!


The trail was steep a lot of the way and parts of it required
courage and mental focus to keep from freaking out!
Check out the sheer cliff drop off!


Our daughter is very afraid of heights.  So this was a big accomplishment for her.  She kept focused and moving forward...sometimes with tears in her eyes.  But, she wanted to do it and did!  Yay!  
We stuck by her for reassurance and encouragement.

I did pretty well most of the time.  Although, there was a few minutes near the top when my mind wandered into the zone of, "oh my gosh, that drops straight to the bottom....keep going, keep going!"  I just had to sit down in place for a moment to pull my mind back so I could get up and keep going.

Luckily, the amazing scenery, colors, and pretty flowers were a nice distraction.
Many of them were growing out of the side of the rock cliffs.  The red on these is so pretty!



This little bush was growing out of a rock wall.
It had itsy bitsy, teenie, tiny berries or buds on it.


I wish I could have gotten a better photo of the color combo in this purple flower plant.
The leaves were a bluish green and I thought the combination was unique and interesting.
I kept thinking of a friend who dyes yarn and how she might find it interesting too.
I wonder how that color combination would look on yarn?  Hmmm?


There weren't a lot of flowers in the park yet or on this trail.
So, the few we saw were a treat.  Here are some cute little pink ones...


The start of the the trail is near Weeping Rock.  It's an area where water seeps from the rocks year around.  The water and shade in that area provide the perfect conditions for different varieties of
 moss, tiny plants, and lichen to grow.  They were delicate, pretty and interesting.



The top of the trail was a mesa and the soil was an intense and beautiful orange color.


The views were spectacular from the top!
That's Zion Canyon!


Gorgeous!


We probably would have sat there for quite a while but there was a little problem.
A bunch of these little guys were running around everyone, trying to find food, and 
even getting on people.  Kind of scary!  I wouldn't want to get bit!


The one next to me (in white) jumped on the guy near
me (in blue) and nibbled on his hand! Yikes!


Speaking of critters, look what we saw on the drive into the canyon that morning.
It was a huge Tom turkey.  He was not happy that the cars were driving by him and his "girls".
He was fluffed up, making weird noises and threatening the cars.  He was huge and a little scary.
We took this photo from the car window!  Check out the brilliant blue on his head.


Here's one of his "girls" crossing the road...


The hike to Observation Point was amazing!  It was mentally and physically challenging but worth every step and every bit of fear we overcame.  And, we're really glad we got to do it.  Soon after we got home, my husband read that they're planning to close it for maintenance. So, we did it just in time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rainy Day Exploration

There were a couple of days of our Spring Break week in Zion that were stormy.
One day started out windy and we wandered into town that morning to explore shops and galleries.
Rain started to pour soon after we got back to our trailer.  It dumped the rest of the day and all night.
There was still a chance of rain the next day.  That would make it dangerous to do the hike we had planned to do.  So, we decided to head out in our truck to do a little exploring.

We stopped in town for more of that awesome Cafe Soleil coffee and headed west to check out a part of Zion National Park that we'd never been to, Kolob Canyons.  It's off of the 15 freeway that runs between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.  There's a small visitor center to get info and purchase a pass to enter (if you don't already have one from the other side of the park that we were staying in).  From there, it's a very short drive before we found ourselves gasping at the beauty that was surrounding us.


The area is immense and it seems impossible to truly capture the beauty in a photo.
But, we tried.  We took a LOT of photos as we stood in the cold wind with snowflakes blowing around us.  Here's a panoramic photo taken with one of our cell phones.  If you click on the photo, it should enlarge for a better view. We want to go back there to do some hikes and maybe backpacking.
The beauty was breathtaking!


After driving through the Kolob Canyon area, we headed back to the 15 freeway and north to Cedar City.  We had lunch at a place called Costa Vida.  They had delcious, healthy Mexican food.
It turned out to be a great choice as just about everything they had could be made gluten free.
Plus, the people were friendly and the food was very good.  

After that, we drove into the older part of town to visit an antique store we've always liked.  Unfortunately, it had gone out of business. However, as we drove through town, a store caught our eye and we had to check it out. It was a farm supply store called, IFA Country Stores.  It turns out they've been around since 1923. They had a lot of fun things to look at and the people were nice too.


We enjoyed looking at everything from western wear and boots to varieties of pasture seed to camping gear and even adorable baby chicks....they had at least half a dozen varieties.
Aren't they cute?!  I miss having chickens!


On our way back to camp, we crossed over a bridge in Rockville to visit a ghost town we'd heard about, Grafton.  Even though it had rained the night before, the dirt roads weren't any problem.

Here's Grafton as we came up the dirt road...


It's a very small ghost town with only about half a dozen buildings and some of those are barns and sheds.  I thought this was one of the most interesting buildings.  It's a tiny home.


I think it's interesting that the window is right up against the doorway.


They allow visitors to go inside.  I was hesitant but hubby coaxed me in.
The ceiling was very low and it was a little creepy to me.
I'm assuming this was the main living space as it was larger than the rest.


And, there's a fireplace on the other side...


It's interesting to look at the texture of the logs and see the marks from hand shaping them.


Across the road was the church and a larger house.


That house seems fancy compared to the tiny one across the road.
It has a large front porch with decorative corbels or brackets.
There were two chimneys.  And, it had lots of windows and rooms.


It even had a cellar!


This was the only other home.  I'm curious as to why there are two doors.
And, I'd really like to know what that little door on the side, way up high near the roof is for.
This home seemed kind of fancy too.  It had two chimneys and three covered porches.


These barns were in fenced areas next to the last house.
They looked very old and weathered.  I think they hadn't been preserved
like the three homes and the church had been.


I like fences like this that are made from natural branches.
It looked especially beautiful with the green fields from the spring rains.


There was an old tractor in another field.
I don't think it was from the time Grafton was a living town.  But, it made for a great photo.
The residents sure had great views when they lived there.


I just had to get a shot of this old farm equipment too...


I was creeped out by the cemetary and didn't want to go in.  My husband and daughter were fascinated by what they saw on headstones and I was so fascinated by what I was reading
on the sign outside of it that I found some courage and went in to look around.


I took a photo of the sign.  The history was very interesting.
The people there had an especially difficult time in 1866 when they lost 13 of their loved ones.
Many died of disease, some were killed by Indians, and...what really got me...
two little girls died when their swing broke!


We heard that movies have been shot in Grafton.  One famous movie, 
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was partially shot there. 

We had a fun day exploring nearby areas and found some interesting places.
At the end of the day, we headed back to Springdale (just outside of the main part of Zion National Park and where we were camping) for dinner.  Then, it was back to camp to get our packs and hiking gear ready for an all day hike on Friday to Observation Point.