“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”— Robert Swan

Lest you think I get too political about the idea of saving our planet Earth, today I merely celebrate Earth Day in photographs for Sunday Stills. I’m fortunate to be retired and can explore seven US states on my recent road trip in March and April.

Earth Day, Earth Week, or anything to do with earth, dirt, rocks, water, our planet, etc, is our theme for Sunday Stills this week.

Nothing like a life event like my daughter’s wedding in San Diego, California, to ramp up my explorer’s heart and visit places I’ve never seen! So please indulge me with this slightly-long post as we celebrate our beautiful EARTH from the perspective of our recent road trip.

“Earth Day was founded in 1970 as a day of education about environmental issues, and Earth Day 2023 occurred on Saturday, April 22. The holiday is now a global celebration that’s sometimes extended into Earth Week, a full seven days of events focused on green living and confronting the climate crisis.” ~ Source

Three Days of Driving Amidst Snow and Flowers

After two days (and two overnight stays) of driving from Eastern Washington (our home state) through Idaho on Interstate 84, the entire state of Utah via I-15, through a corner of Arizona, and another corner of Nevada via Las Vegas, we arrived in Southern California on the afternoon of the third day.

Once we approached Southern California, the hillsides were alive with orange poppies and yellow daisies in super bloom mode. We continued south on I-15 to San Diego. I drove from Vegas to San Diego, so any images of the super bloom were taken by hubby with my phone… Ahem.

We arrived in San Diego in warm temps of 70F (21C) and settled into our motel where we would stay an entire week for the wedding and family activities. As luck would have it, the hotel staff had issues with our room keys, so they simply upgraded us to a suite at no extra charge. This included a kitchenette with a full refrigerator, stove, dinette table, and living room. Note: We chose motels that were dog-friendly and offered free breakfasts.

I couldn’t resist sharing this second-story view of the Lamplighter Inn showcasing San Diego’s gorgeous spring weather. Having a suite for 7 nights was truly amazing.

Lamplighter Inn View
Lamplighter Inn View

Then it rained for two days straight, but that didn’t keep us from exploring in between downpours. We took a drive out to Mt. Helix in La Mesa near where both Hans and I grew up as kids. Mt. Helix can be seen from all points in San Diego and is easily identified by its historical cross, and where sunrise Easter services are held.

Sun Illuminates Mt Helix Cross
Sun Illuminates Mt Helix Cross

When the sun came out and illuminated the cross for a few moments, we knew the upcoming nuptials, as well as our trip, were blessed.

California Poppies
California Poppies

From Mt Helix, this view of Eastern San Diego looks to the east toward Mt. Cuyamaca in the Peninsular Ranges System. You can get an idea of the yellow flowers that covered the hillsides.

Daisies crown Mt Helix overlooking East San Diego
Daisies crown Mt Helix overlooking East San Diego

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Native American Proverb

Here is another peek at the bride walking with her dad surrounded by oak trees, plants, and flowers.

Dad walking Bride
Dad walking the Bride in Flinn Springs County Park
Mother of the Bride

San Diego’s weather was perfect for the wedding day and this Earth Mother was one proud mama.

More about the wedding in an upcoming post.

The Desert Blooms

As you may have read in my pastel color challenge post, we left San Diego after one week for a much warmer Scottsdale, Arizona, as guests of Marsha. Seeking more super blooms, we found these desert daisies in nearby Fountain Hills where my brother lives.

Mother Earth Creates an Oxbow

Three days later, we left Scottsdale and drove north toward our destination in southern Utah. We stopped in Page, near the Utah/Arizona border to visit another iconic geologic rock formation, known as Horseshoe Bend. (Many thanks to Donna of Wind Kisses, who recommended this slight detour!).

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” ― John Muir, Our National Parks

Here we were joined by hundreds of tourists from all over the world–it was Good Friday and likely a holiday for many. Walking this trail about one-quarter of a mile from the parking lot, you don’t know what you are going to see until…

Throngs of people visit Horseshoe Bend State Park
Throngs of people visit Horseshoe Bend State Park

…The Colorado River takes a major oxbow turn to create this!

Iconic Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona
Iconic Horseshoe Bend, Page, Arizona
Gotta add the shoe shot!

Using my trusty Lumix FZ300 with its amazing zoom lens, I caught a rare glimpse of these kayakers w-aa-yyy down below on the river.

Distant kayakers on Colorado River
Distant kayakers in the oxbow of the Colorado River

Utah Here We Come!

As we drove through Kanab, Utah just north of the Arizona/Utah border, the landscape gradually changed from desert to red rocks.

“Look after the land and the land will look after you, destroy the land and it will destroy you.” —Aboriginal Proverb

Caves and Trails near Kanab, Utah
Caves and Trails near Kanab, Utah

You know you’re nearing Bryce Canyon National Park when these rock formations, aka hoodoos, pop right up along the road. These reminded me of pictures I’ve seen of Easter Island off the coast of Chile. But first, we had to drive through two short tunnels.

This and other scenes greeted us as we drove toward our next motel 3 miles from the park entrance.

If you choose not to enter the park, you can still see hoodoo formations from Hwy 12, near the town of Tropic.

Hoodoo formations just outside the NP, Hwy 12
Hoodoo formations just outside the NP, Hwy 12

A Peek into Bryce Canyon’s Incredible Earthen Hoodoos, Fins, and Windows

“Bryce Canyon National Park is named for one of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters featuring colorful formations called ‘hoodoos’. Erosion has shaped colorful limestones, sandstones, and mudstones into thousands of spires, fins, pinnacles and mazes. It was designated a national park in 1928.” ~ Words on my new coffee mug

In Bryce Canyon National Park lives the world’s largest collection of earthen hoodoos, fins, and windows all carved out of sandstone. These exist worldwide, but Bryce has the largest collection and the most variety.

A smaller national park compared to Yosemite or Yellowstone, one can visit Bryce Canyon’s four overlook areas from the main road and see them within a few hours. From the main overlooks, from north to south: Sunrise Point, Sunset Point, Inspiration Point, and Bryce Point, you see what is known as the Bryce Amphitheater.

Snow-covered Bryce Canyon Hoodoos
Snow covered Hoodoos and fins from Inspiration Point

The hiking loop trails (Navaho, Rim, Queens Garden, and Peekaboo) were closed due to the snow. Bryce Point sits at 8300 feet in elevation!

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” ― John Muir, Our National Parks

The Saturday before Easter is busy in a National Park. The trick is to get through the park entrance early and drive to the points of interest. Because there was so much snow in Bryce Canyon, whose summits range from 7700 – 8300 feet in elevation, many campgrounds, roads, and trails were closed. We were told by park rangers to stay only on the paved roads and parking turnouts at the overlook points.

Fine by us, since we had Brodie. Most national parks prohibit dogs on the trails to reduce erosion in fragile ecological environments. He attracted a lot of attention as his breed (Boykin Spaniel) is rarely seen in the West.

Bryce lookout area
Hans and Brodie at Sunrise Point lookout area

“Stepping out onto any lookout, you are invited to connect with an amazing example of some of the most unusual terrain on this planet, making you feel as though you are stepping foot on the edge of another world.”― Stefanie Payne, A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip

Bryce Canyon's Spires and Fins

Wall of Windows from Bryce Point
Wall of Windows from Bryce Point

Bryce Canyon was really amazing to see, but this was one of many more stops on our continuing trip. After a two-night stay in Bryce Canyon City, we drove north through Salt Lake City (Utah) and stayed two nights in Logan, Utah. I will share more about Salt Lake City and our last stop on our road trip in Montana in next week’s post.

What Can YOU Do to Honor Our Earth?

This article, 13 Small Things You Can Do to Help the Earth Every Day lists simple things you can do to help our Earth. I realize driving an electric hybrid auto on a long road trip would have been better for the Earth–but I’m not there quite yet, but some of what’s listed in the article, I do regularly:

  • Use your own grocery or tote bags. I have collected too many. Walmart and Target have ceased offering plastic bags in their stores.
  • Re-use your coffee mug and water bottles (we do this on road trips, too).
  • Buy in-season and local produce. Our local farmer’s market is 4 miles down the highway! Support your local growers and buy their produce.
  • Plant your own garden. I’ve grown tomatoes and we recently planted four apple trees!

“Preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” — Carl Sagan

What I’m Inspired by This Week

Each week I find inspiration from my fellow bloggers’ photography challenges. I enjoy incorporating these into my Sunday Stills weekly themes.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

The Sunday Stills weekly-themed photo challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post.

  • Remember to title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post.
  • I also recommend adding your post’s URL to the comments.

This Week’s Featured Bloggers

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are this week’s links from bloggers who shared their earthy photos. I add these all week as new links are posted.

A huge thank you to the 30+ links for last week’s pastel color challenge!

New here? Subscribe to Second Wind Leisure Perspectives to receive my weekly posts.

I’m excited to see your interpretations of Earth Day/Week! Join me again next week for the theme “Roads, Paths, and Streets.”

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117 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Adoration of the #Earth

  1. I’m in awe of the beauty you captured on your trip, including your daughter the bride, and you the mother of the bride! The earth’s splendor was captured so well in your photos. I imagine those places would be even more jaw-dropping gorgeous in person. I’ve never been to any of those places so I’m very thankful you shared photos of your trip. 🤗😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Shelley! Three weeks is a long time but compared to last year’s 5 week trip in hot temps, this trip much cooler was so much better for my health. It was amazing to see Bryce and Horseshoe Bend iRL, jaw dropping indeed. I’m posting a few more Bryce shots for wordless Wednesday too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful tour of the southwest, Terri. I am remiss in not visiting Horseshoe Bend when I was wintering so relatively close to it. Now I’ll have to go out of my way.
    Bryce is beautiful after a fresh snowfall. We’ve only been there once, right after a similar snowfall and with much of the roads closed due to the snow. We need to revisit when the park is fully open.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, John! It was worth the extra 45 minutes then the time change to mountain time the minute we crossed the border to Utah. We were tired but I would not have missed seeing Horseshoe Bend. I wanted to sneak in a tour of Antelope Canyon, but it would have been too much. We’re not as young as we used to be! I agree that the snow really makes the coral and red rocks just pop. I bet hiking beneath the formations would be a thrill.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cathy! Once the wedding date was planned I started building out this trip, and adding places and days to see things. Still not enough time, but we were quite happy with what we saw. Stay tuned for more over the next few weeks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding Terri! She’s a beautiful bride. My granddaughter just got married also. And thank you for taking me back to Bryce Canyon. It’s been way too long since we’ve been there. All your images are just beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful wedding pictures. I wish the happy couple a wonderful future.

    There are so many easy, affordable things we can do to help our planet. I do all the ones you recommend. We’re that crazy couple in the grocery store who piles groceries in the cart. Without bags!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You looked lovely at your daughter’s wedding. Love the color of your dress. Bryce Canyon NP remains a fave of mine. It is so unique. Thanks for sharing your travel tales. It has been fun tagging along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ingrid! I was so happy with that dress, and when I picked it out at the bridal shop last December, I knew it was perfect. Bryce is amazing, hopefully we can get there when the snow is gone and it’s OK to hike among the formations.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Terri,
    You made a lovely mother of the bride. Congratulations to your beautiful daughter. I’ve made that walk to Horseshoe Bend on a day much like the one you experienced. The Bend is a fascinating photo op–great job capturing the kayakers. Looking forward to reading about the rest of the journey. Have a wonderful week! Joe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joe! I love green so might as well go with the sage green dress–funny how that choice worked with my post this week. Yes Horseshoe Bend was a bit crowded–since we drove almost 4 hours to get there we arrived a little later when the rest of the tourists were there. But it wasn’t bad and there was parking. I bet you were amazed as I was to see the river so far below!

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  7. A lovely ode to the earth Terri – and what a trip you made for your daughter’s wedding! So fun ; a great set of memories for sure. Bryce may be my favorite among all of the national parks, it’s so beautiful and interesting. Great set of images – loved the snowy ones especially.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an amazing trip you had and such a great way to feature earth day in your post. So many interesting stops you made! What’s a super bloom compared to just a spring bloom season?
    As an aside we now have a hybrid but it’s not electric as it creates it’s own energy from the drivetrain and the brakes. It’s great for highway travel and I never worry about being in the middle of no where and running out of energy. Bernie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hybrids seem to be getting better as technology upgrades. Yours sounds great! The superbloom phenom happens in desert areas when more rain falls and causes flooding. Most desert plants wait for the excess moisture in order to bloom and it becomes a super bloom. You’d have to google it, Bernie 🤣

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    1. Thank you, Debbie! The wedding was really wonderful, with the usual hitches at the beginning. The wedding photography was really good and captured incredible shots. I will share more wedding images soon. Being able to see Horseshoe Bend and Bryce Canyon NP was more icing on that wedding cupcake.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for taking us on your recent road trip. The photos are spectacular. They capture so much beauty that mother nature and mother earth give us. And I love the crossover you have captured from winter to spring.

    And I love how you and Hans visited where you grew up. What was it like going back? Did you see anyone from your childhood days?

    The Horseshoe bend is terrific. I’m not sure I’d have sat close to the edge, though, Terri.

    Here’s my entry—a photo of the South Wales Valleys. I already used this picture on a Wordless Wednesday post last year.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Hugh! I’m glad you saw the winter to spring crossover in this post. I was struck how in every state we visited spring was very slow to start. Next week you might still see some winter shots from our time in northern Utah and Montana.

      Horseshoe Bend is worth the $10 admission to park and the short walk to see it. It’s the perfect tourist stop (no gift stores–although there were plenty of trading posts in nearby Page)–a quick stop with a jaw dropping view. I sat down on a nicely curved outcrop to shoot my shoes. I was VERY careful and skedaddled away quickly. The stop was a nice break in between the Arizona desert and the mountains of southern Utah.
      Since we still have family in San Diego (on both sides–Hans’ two sons and sister, my daughter and her hubby and my brother and his family) we visit at least once a year. We didn’t see any friends from high school this trip–too much of a wedding whirlwind. I hadn’t been on top of Mt Helix in year. I have to say your image reminds me of the foothills of Sacramento with those rolling hills! When I chose the theme of Earth Day in early March, I had no idea I would have these incredible shots of these sights. I love how that works!

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      1. I’m blessed to live near such beautiful scenery, Terri. The hills are a fantastic sight all year long and whatever the weather.

        My heart still jumps in my mouth, thinking of you sitting near the edge to take that photo. I don’t think I could have done it, but that photo has inspired my Wordless Wednesday post for tomorrow. So thank you for that.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! You captured so much on your journey! I’m in awe! We truly live in such a beautiful area of this large earth. And you just exhibited for us all that magnificence in your beautiful photography. Thank you for sharing and also for all the ways to help our precious Earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nancy! We have some incredible national parks and state parks–so many to still see. And thank you for that compliment on my photography! I love taking pics and enjoy trying to get a unique angle. Both areas were incredible to see with my eyes and the camera’s lens–I was just the documenter this time!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh, what a wonderful road trip! Congrats to your daughter on her marriage!

    Bryce Canyon is one of my absolute favorite places to visit, and doing it in the off or “shoulder” season is by far the best time. It’s just incredible, isn’t it?

    I didn’t do a separate post this week, but I think this photo fits a celebration of Earth.
    frostonthemoosedung.com/2023/04/17/share-your-desktop-april-2023/ There’s nothing quite like driving along Turnagain Arm, headed toward Anchorage and Cook Inlet. In fact, the entire drive up the Kenai Peninsula is a celebration of earth. (And the drive from Anchorage to the Mat-Su Valley. And to the interior and Fairbanks. And….well, you get the idea, LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had seen pics of Bryce before and we needed a place to stay in that area on our windy way home. Once you see it, it is spectacular, Cathy–glad you have also seen it with your own eyes. With this visit it coincided with Easter holiday (did this in Yosemite Valley–lots of folks too), but the snow kept people home so that was good!

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  12. Wow, Terri, these gorgeous pictures require several viewings. The hoodoos are stunning, especially with the snow. I bet most pictures do not include that much snow! Both you and your daughter look amazing. She’s gorgeous! And you and your beautiful hair, slim figure, and a dress in my favorite color. What could be better? You outdid yourself in this post, my friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, you are too kind, my friend! I see to have “good” luck capturing the red rocks in the snow (Sedona and Bryce). I can handle the snow not the heat, LOL! I’m rolling out some more hoodoos for Wordless Wednesday and some of the photographer’s images of the wedding next week. I’m working on another post for next Sunday to add more of our trip pics. It’s tough being creative on a schedule, LOLL! Thank you so much, hope you’re having a good time in LV!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Kirstin! Mt Helix is a cool area and such a recognizable landmark in San Diego’s east county. I was so happy with my dress and I already told my oldest daughter I’m wearing it to her wedding someday 🤣💚

      Like

  13. What gorgeous photos Terri, from the abundance of colorful flowers to the hoodoos and your incredible views looking up and looking down. Horseshoe Bend was really a stunning image. There was more loveliness with your beautiful daughter and perfect weather for her wedding day. It sounds like a perfect trip in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I never knew there was such a thing as a national park passport until I visited a local lighthouse that opens up once a year. There were people from a lighthouse tour and this was their first stop before going to Canada then New York to visit lighthouses. They all had passports and showed me how they got stamps for each lighthouse. I wrote a post about it and Janis (Retirementally Challenged) told me about the National Parks and how the concept is the same. I had no idea about either of these great ideas.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The NP lifetime pass is $80 and you must be 62 to purchase. When I visited some bloggers in Portland last fall, we went to Ft Vancouver and because the facility is part of the NP system, this particular day was free. As we stood at the ranger’s kiosk, it dawned on me that I was 62 and I bought the lifetime pass right then and there. I heard they used to be $20, but I’ll take $80! You get a plastic hanger for your rear view mirror and the card. Sweet!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. California for $200.00 – that’s amazing! Our state parks are a separate charge at license renewal of $18.00. I figure a park pass of any kind is great and cheap entertainment (except maybe California, but they’re so expensive for everything).

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Those hillsides are magical! Thank you so much for taking us on the tour through all these wonders of the Earth. Earth Day is one of my favourite celebration, we should celebrate it more often than once a year 🙂
    Your daughters wedding looks fantastic, and the brides mama is very beautiful as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Terri! What an amazing trip. To think of all the memories is only the beginning. You grabbed all 4 seasons, milestones, and did a great job at documenting you love for our beautiful earth. A place we ALL call home. Loved this. All of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Donna! And thanks for the ideas to see certain areas along our way back north. Horseshoe Bend was not to miss, and of course seeing Bryce was beyond incredible. I’m thankful for the early vision of people who set aside countless acres of lands for national parks, forests and monuments as well as lands protected as state parks. I still would love to spend time at Antelope Canyon, but we simply ran out of time.

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      1. Yes. Antelope Canyon can be another visit, maybe with Monument Valley. I am glad you went to Horseshoe Bend. It is such a short walk with a great view. I am grateful for preservation efforts of our parks too.

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