Sunday Stills: Favorite #Vacation Spot

Sunday Still banner vacation

To wrap up the month of May at Sunday Stills, let’s share our favorite vacation spots. As more of the world gets vaccinated against Covid-19, masks are coming off and the world is opening up! Hallelujah!

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

This week, I am sharing my favorite vacation images from my archives. Now, some of you world travelers, like Sarah, will have to choose your favorites, (aren’t they all though?).

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”

Seneca

While you think of your favorite vacation spots, remember why we take vacations. In my retired world, every day seems like Saturday and I’ve been on a perpetual vacation for a few months. But think of a vacation in broader terms, like leisure and travel, and how they are all connected. My point (finally) is this: How do the concepts of leisure, vacation, and travel make you feel? Would you say that these words invoke healing when you experience their manifestation?

According to Marsha at Always Write, her newest WQWWW (Writer’s Quote Wednesday) is “healing” and I suggest this is what time off does for us in the form of a vacation, leisure time in a hobby or physical activity, or travel! This quote speaks volumes:

“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Join me as I share my galleries of trips down memory lane and hum along to the song titles. I apologize in advance for any earworms created. You will notice how many of my favorite vacation spots feature the colors blue and green, which ties in nicely to Tina’s Lens-Artists challenge this week!

I Left My Heart in … a US National Park

“Within National Parks is room–glorious room–room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”

Enos Mills

My family spent a LOT of time visiting national parks, notably Yosemite and Sequoia, since they were in California. Last July, I spent a couple of hours in Sequoia with Marsha, when she lived 30 minutes away in Central California.

Down In Mexico

“Never underestimate the healing power of these three things – music, the ocean and the stars.”

Unknown

My windsurfing husband dragged me to Baja, Mexico three times to the La Paz area. In nearby La Ventana is incredible windsurfing and kite boarding. I took my turns windsurfing in the Sea of Cortez as well as some stand-up paddling. A great vacation spot!

California Dreamin’

“Nature itself is the best physician.”

Hippocrates

Because I lived in California most of my life, I spent the first 20 years in San Diego and the rest in Sacramento (Northern California). On two San Diego vacations, I met fellow blogger, Janis, for lunch twice, and one lunch there with Liesbet, who I met in Sacramento! Since 2009, my vacations consisted of summer weekends at the Sacramento River Delta, with occasional visits to Yosemite. It has been my goal to stand-up paddle on every significant body of water on vacations!

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

“Walk in nature and feel the healing power of the trees.“

Anthony William

Arizona was and still is a winter vacation choice. Not only did we meet fellow blogger, Ingrid and her husband in North Phoenix two years in a row, my brother and recently my stepdaughter now live in the Phoenix area. Winter roadtrip 2022 is in the works!

Blue Hawaii

“Leisure, some degree of it, is necessary to the health of every man’s spirit.”

Harriet Martineau

I’ve been lucky to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and 2019 with the goal to fix up and sell my husband’s house on the Hilo side. The house is dilapidated and needs work that we just cannot do at this time in our lives. This year we will make final arrangements for its sale. During these weeks, we did manage to do a bit of relaxing and exploring after taking care of the home. Hilo is not the tourist mecca like Kona is, but it serves as the county seat where most of the government infrastructure is housed. Hilo is also the wettest city in the US. In 2018 we visited Volcanoes National Park before the last eruption took place. In 2019, I got to visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Gardens with fellow blogger, Graham. We had a blast taking tons of photos!

Viva Las Vegas

“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”

Lia Mishell

Las Vegas, Nevada is known for its casinos and nightlife. It’s also a great place for winter RV camping. In 2018, our winter roadtrip to the Southwest was cut short by unseasonable cold and snow, so we high-tailed it to Las Vegas as our last stop and enjoyed a pleasant week. Unable to visit Antelope Canyon that borders southern Utah and northern Arizona, we stumbled on the Valley of Fire State Park just an hour northeast of Las Vegas. I still got my slot canyon fix and plenty of hiking! In 2018, we met up with fellow blogger Maria, formerly of Sagittarius Viking, still on Instagram.

I sum up my vacation experience thus far with this meme I created when I was teaching leisure education and management at Sacramento State University. These surfboards were situated at a windsurf resort. I took the picture and added this thought to help make the point about taking time off of work or other obligations and enjoying leisure time!

Sorry, couldn’t make it…had a mandatory board meeting.

You Are My Home

“Come to the woods for here is rest.“

John Muir

One year ago almost to the day (May 2020), my husband and I stood together on our property for the first time.

Happy on our half acre

We’ve come a long way in one year, figuratively and literally! We are moved in and enjoying everything that goes along with building! All during a pandemic, no less.

New mfg home

Our vacation of choice in 2021 will be a “staycation” since we are new to our home and hoping people visit us as we continually move in. Will the unpacking and getting everything just right never end?

If camping in an RV counts as a vacation, then our 2-month stay in North Spokane RV Park was quite lovely despite winter/early spring-living while we waited for our home to be ready.

Like this Canada Goose family enjoying their home near a local lake, we expect to enjoy all the area has to offer. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Canada Geese Family

We plan to take some local overnight and weekend trips to the German/Bavarian town of Leavenworth; the Columbia River Gorge near Mt Hood, Oregon—motivated by windsports; and Sandpoint, Idaho; and beyond.

I know several bloggers who live near these areas, so lets meet up when the time is right!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • 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 into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

June Themes are on my Sunday Stills Photography Page

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

Good Gray Matter in these Blogger’s Links

I am looking forward to seeing your favorite places where you vacation and relax! Speaking of relaxing, Sunday Stills is taking a break next Sunday as my family celebrates a long Memorial Day weekend. See you in June and have a great week!

SUPSIG

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Sunday Stills: The People’s National #Parks

Half Dome View from Glacier Point

Did you know that today, Sunday, August 25th is the National Park Service Anniversary? So what, right? The NPS celebrates this day along with two other days with FREE entrance to all US national parks!

“For the first time in human history, land—great sections of our national landscape—was set aside, not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everyone, for all time.”

From the National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns

The last time I was near a national park was during our winter road trip to Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. We were thisclose to the Grand Canyon, but icy roads, unexpected snow, AND the US government shut-down prevented us from getting to it safely.

One of these days! But we did visit Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and I got my photography fix.

Slot Canyon Hike
Almost Antelope Canyon

Here are a few photos of the National Parks I have visited. After 25 separate visits in my lifetime to Yosemite National Park, I may have a few pics! Here are some of my favorites.

A view of Mono Lake (National Monument) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. You can just make out the road in the bottom right that winds through the town of Lee Vining and connects with Hwy 120, the gateway to Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance.

View of Mono Lake

As much as I thrill to the iconic image of Yosemite’s Half Dome located in the Valley…

Half Dome View from Glacier Point
Half Dome View from Glacier Point

…my heart belongs to Tuolumne Meadows in the high country a few miles in from the Tioga Pass entrance. At almost 10,000 feet in elevation, the air is crisp, the water insanely blue, and the tourists are few!

Tuolumne-Meadows-River
Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River runs near the campground (Yosemite National Park)

For more on National Parks, consider visiting my previous post NPS Celebrates 100 Years.

Moving away from the North American continent, Hawaii boasts several national parks and recreation areas.

In January 2018, before the Kilauea crater and nearby vents erupted again, we spent a day walking around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo on the Big Island.

Kilauea Crater
Steam rises from the very active Kilauea Crater (Painnt filter applied)

On an earlier trip to Oahu in 2006, I also was fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial and see the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. Within this structure is the huge memorial plaque with the names of those who perished.

I have been fortunate to visit a variety of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, mostly in California, all US public lands. I never will forget my parents’ insistence on visiting these locations during my life.

  • Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
  • Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma, San Diego)
  • Death Valley
  • Devil’s Postpile Nat’l Monument in Mammoth Lakes
  • Fort Point Presidio and Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate park
  • Lassen Volcanic
  • Mojave Nat’l Preserve
  • Muir Woods Nat’l Monument North San Francisco Bay
  • Pony Express Trail (came through Old Sacramento),
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
  • Yosemite National Park

Even if you miss the free admission day, paying the entrance fee for a day or a week is worth more to you in the long term than paying your HMO’s co-pay when you must visit the doctor for effects of lack of exercise!

Have you heard of ParkRx? Doctors in South Dakota get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. For me, I would love to get a prescription to visit a park rather than drugs to lower my cholesterol!

“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

Whether you live in the US or another country, why is it so important to visit our national lands? Because someone with vision understood the vital importance of setting aside public lands for all of us to enjoy and for future generations.

Next time you visit a National Park, a public playground or any other public leisure space, say a quick thank you to those visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, Steven T Mather, among many.

I dearly love this image of my brother-in-law’s posture as he takes in his first view of Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite is the People's Park

This post is partially inspired by Snow’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Tourism.

I am taking a short break to get caught up with school prep and other exciting things, so there is NO photo challenge for September 1, Labor Day weekend. Thank you to all who participate each week!

Sunday Stills resumes September 8. September themes are up on my Sunday Stills Photography page

Which national parks, monuments or public lands have you visited so far?

On the #Road for Sunday Stills

Spokane's Urban Forest

I enjoy road trips. I love to drive and see the countryside as I travel.

This Veteran’s Day holiday weekend finds me “on the road.” Well, in the air, actually, as I fly home from the Eastern Washington state. Believe it or not, when I planned this theme, I did not know I would be taking this short trip to visit our family in the Pacific Northwest.

While enjoying our time there, we get out and walk along the stunning suburban forest roads.

Spokane's Urban Forest

My husband’s brothers live in Spokane, and his mother is also there in an Assisted Living care situation. She turned 87 years old in October and we haven’t seen her in 18 months!

I posted about “Time” for last week’s Sunday Stills challenge, and as they say, “life is short!” Hubby recently found out his auntie passed away at age 92. She lived in Germany and he only met her once. She was his deceased father’s sister.

Two weeks ago, we hurriedly made plane reservations for this short trip north to be with Mama Hella…because we never know… Time is not on our side.

Last year on this very weekend I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with fellow bloggers in Palm Desert. This was truly a road trip, with a 9-hour drive from Sacramento to San Diego, then from there, north two hours to Palm Desert (just outside of Palm Springs).

Travel Trailer

Now that we have our wonderful 27-foot Jayco travel trailer, and hubby finally got his new truck, being on the road will be a pleasure. Especially when we can take our dogs along for the ride.

As I hinted in my last post, we have a major road trip planned for late December into the second week of January. I have always wanted to visit the American Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Utah) but never had the opportunity to do so.

This trip is inspired by author Tony Hillerman, whose works include the fabulous mystery series featuring two Navajo tribal policemen set in the Navajo region of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Covering thousands of miles of territory, the characters often found themselves on the road, driving from one area to another as they chased suspects and solved crimes.

As I read, I could imagine the sun setting behind the iconic monoliths of Monument Valley and feel the heat of the summer monsoons.

Although I have driven through Arizona on the Hwy 10 over the years, I have never been to the Grand Circle area known for National Parks like the Grand Canyon, Antelope Valley, Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Other areas of interest include Sedona and the Hopi and Navajo Reservations.

With the help of Pinterest and some blog posts I’ve read, I am creating a customized road trip with a drive that starts in San Diego and eventually ends back in Northern California via (or should I say viva) Las Vegas. If the predicted El Nino weather pattern has its way, there should be more sun than rain.

What sights have you enjoyed on your road trips? Here are a few of mine!

As we enjoy our holiday weekend, please remember the Veterans who served in the military whose sacrifices made our country (and perhaps yours) great!

I can’t wait to read what you have in store for Sunday Stills this week! Link up here or ping-back to this post!

Autumn SIGNature

I Feel the Earth Move

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls

If you are a wilderness geek like me, you might know that today, April 21st is the 179th birthday of John Muir. If you didn’t know, let me tell you why he may have been considered (in my eyes) one of the most important men on Planet Earth.

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. He was the founder of the Sierra Club.

According to sources, Muir petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite as our second National Park. Do you know which was the first? (hint: also starts with a “Y”).

The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas.

He is today referred to as the “Father of the National Parks.”

The above excerpts are from my previous post Wander a Whole Summer if You Can.

How fortunate we are as a nation to be the beneficiaries of the natural world that so moved Muir to strongly advocate for the preservation of our Earth.

In wildness lies the hope of the world. John Muir

Even though I have stepped foot in Yosemite National Park 25 times, I am still moved and awestruck at its incredible beauty!

Happy birthday, John Muir, and thank you from the bottom of our nation’s collective hearts!

April 22 happens to be the 2017 date to celebrate Earth Day.

On Earth Day, we celebrate all the gifts the world and nature make available to us. We recognize our complete dependence on its bounty. And we acknowledge the need for good stewardship to preserve its fruits for future generations. John Hoeven

This post was included in Where’s My Backpack’s Travel Theme: Earth.

Do you live near one of America’s 410 National Parks? To help celebrate Earth Day, take advantage of this weekend’s FREE entrance into any National Park and get back in touch with the Earth.

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Commemorative Cherry on Top

Tioga Pass Entrance

If you are a fan of the US National Parks, 2016 marks to 100th Anniversary of the NPS (National Park Service). Without these national treasures, visited by people worldwide, our planet would be a sorry place indeed.

“The Centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks through recreation, conservation and historic preservation programs.” (Yosemite Guide 6/22-7/26, 2016)

August 25th is the official anniversary date! If you happen to be in Yosemite, there will be activities and events commemorating the event. Visit Yosemite Guide online for more information.

These photos were submitted for two photography challenges: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge Cherry On Top and for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.

What makes this a “cherry on top” moment is the mere fact that National Parks are vitally important to our heritage as Americans. The flag in the photo is a symbol of America and its positive influence on society.

My love for the national parks and Yosemite, in particular, can be attributed to this man, my dad! His “cherry on top” moment was not only catching this fish in the Dana Fork of the Tuolumne River in Tuolumne Meadows, but celebrating his 80th birthday here!

Still Fishing at 80

Without his love for the outdoors and our summer vacations to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, our family would not have been exposed to camping, recreation and the need to be present in nature.

I would love to hear about any visits you might have made to a National Park this year.

These photos were taken by my new,  “cherry-colored” Canon digital camera.

red camera

Thank you for visiting today!