Petrified Sand Dunes

Southwest Utah is known for having, and showing plainly, strata from all geologic periods.  Snow Canyon, ten miles northwest of St. George, is included in a state park featuring giant Navajo sandstone petrified dunes accented here and there with big messy piles of black volcanic rocks, all in a wide open valley with vistas and sunshine all day long. Looking north in late March:

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Road Trip!

We decided to take an impromptu road trip through southern Utah last week with almost zero planning, staying at Airbnbs booked the morning before each night’s stay. Flexibility was important because weather was a factor: a storm front passed through Utah last week making some mountain passes less passable. The snow level was about 6,000 ft. Fortunately, the Utah DOT has a mobile app that gives detailed road information, including road surface temperature, air temperature, road surface status (dry/wet/snow/icy), and the realtime location of snowplows.

The objective was to visit National Parks that were omitted from our previous trips to the area. We hit Monument Valley, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands, and the Mojave National Preserve.  I’ll resist the temptation to post a bunch of pictures because they can’t capture the majesty of these places and because there are much better pictures available online. I was only armed with a mobile phone for photography. Besides, these vast panoramas must be experienced in person.... [Read More]


I Follow My Heart to San Francisco

I am going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks, to visit my two sons and my daughter-in-law.  Yes!  My darlings live and work in Calcutta-by-the-Bay.  They have done so for a few years now, and this is my first visit. I’ll behave myself.  May I call on you if I seem to be in danger of misbehaving?

We have plans! O, Ratty,  as our WiseWoman says, would you care to comment on these plans?  Your judgment and advice I prize most highly.... [Read More]


Longings from Virtual Travel

Maybe, like me, you have some favorite places on Earth. Switzerland captured my heart as a 25 year-old medical student in 1969. Back than, the world was a tumultuous place. The Vietnam War filled the daily headlines, but I was, mercifully, exempt – having failed my induction physical exam due to limited motion of my right elbow. Ten years earlier, I had tripped while making a lay-up basketball shot and fractured the head of the radius. I never regained full motion. In reality, this has not been much of an impediment, although on x-rays it looks really awful. It made me 1-Y. When I asked what that meant, the medical examiner, an older doctor, said it meant that if they took me, he would start to worry they might take him. From that time on, my graceless spill on the basketball court was known to to my family as “the fortunate fall.” I definitely would not have made a good grunt. [End Digression]

Another consequence of the ’60’s was my erratic academic performance, ranging from all A’s to all C’s, depending on my emotional state. I was thus not accepted to any stateside medical schools. I was, however, accepted to the Faculté de Médicine Université de Lausanne. My journey there in September 1969 was my first trip abroad and I immediately fell in love with the place. The physical beauty, I found, had a highly salutary effect on my normally bleak outlook on life (“gravity is superfluous, the Earth just sucks”). I truly loved the surroundings and felt secure by virtue of a crude SPS (Swiss Positioning System); by reference to distant mountains, one could triangulate one’s location pretty reliably.... [Read More]