Saturday, July 16, 2011


Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.
John Newton 1725-1807

Walking through tall grass, I felt drawn to them - compelled to get closer, study their intricate detail, admire their beauty and fragrance. They came in all colors, shapes, and sizes; I raised my eyes to take in the larger scene and they stretched as far as I could see.

Purple vetch - obviously an escapee from cultivation - painted many of the hillsides a pale blue.

Lupine, lavender asters, bright yellow blanket flowers, others I couldn't name filled in spaces between.

The beautifully translucent, porcelain-like prickly pear blooms reminded me of our time in Texas and my experience of making prickly pear jelly from scratch. So many memories associated with wildflowers raced through my mind.

I was overcome by the beauty of the setting - of huge sky, rugged hills striated and carved through eons of erosion.

The mighty Snake River lay far below, winding and rushing through it all. In between exposed rock, unseasonably heavy precipitation had turned much of this harsh landscape green. Wildly euphoric and totally at ease, I felt comfortable right where I was.

I wondered why I did. Seventy miles upriver from where we boarded the boat and miles from any road, we were pretty far removed from civilization. No Television, cell phone signal, or hot water. Still, I loved the place; even more, I loved that we traveled to get there. So many of us travel these days and seem to enjoy it, it set me to thinking - WHY?

Part of the answer, I believe, is that human beings have always traveled. Since the dawn of creation, some have needed to - for hunting and gathering food; finding materials for clothing, tools, housing, and utensils; escaping disaster or other dangers; finding mates outside of their immediate clan.

Although early travelers needed to be acutely aware of their surroundings and probably appreciated the positives and negatives of those, some undoubtedly simply reveled in the experience. Of those, we know for certain through history, some chose to continue their travels simply to find what was 'out there" beyond the realm of what they were familiar with.

For some of us, that continues today. Still, in the distant past and now, most of us are glad to have a place to call "home".

But I also think that not everyone in the past needed to travel. Those fortunate enough to find themselves in a location with a moderate climate, abundant food and materials, and other groups of people living not too far away obviously had no need to travel. Many of those people were content to remain where they were, sometimes for centuries, unless (or until)  war, the climate, natural disasters, or their numbers changed drastically forcing them to move in order to survive.

Content though they might have been with where they'd always lived, travel they would if need be. My family, and very probably yours, ended up where they now are because someone in the past was willing to pack up and GO - probably more than once.

I could not stay among the wildflowers in Hell's Canyon, beautiful as it was. We packed up and headed back down the Snake, over several mountain passes, through sun, dust, rain, hills, plains, and mountains, 39 to 98 degree days, four states, and nearly 2,500 miles. We packed well, carried our lunch, and tried to be prepared. The scenery was terrific, the company good, and we had a great time. 

Still, it's good to be home!

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121: 8

For more information on Hell's Canyon:

**THANKS Captain Dan, Bill, Mary & Jimbo
for making this an
UNFORGETABLE experience!!**


  1. what an adventure!! first...i just wanted to run through the fields...the wildflowers...then i wanted to ride down the river...feeling the water splash in my face...gazing at the awesome scenery...the rock...mountains...the sky!

    it's nice to get away like that...no phone, no tv...it's always a good thing to give it up for a while...

    what is that last picture...the flower...what kind??

    we have lots of prickly pear cactus around here...jelly?? yum! i'll have to look that up!

    thanks for the trip and the gorgeous pictures, ladybug!!

  2. The last flower is the milkweed - a plant necessary for the beautiful Monarch Butterflies! The whole flower head was about as big as my hand.

    What I remember about the prickly pear jelly is that it was a pain & I only did it once.I don't really remember what it tasted like, but it did have the most beautiful color - gave most of it away to friends & relatives. Here's a link that might be helpful:


    Thanks for stopping by, Laura!

  3. THANKS!! i'll go take a look..but if it was a pain in the....
    then i'll probably hold off on it...or see if i can find someone else to try to make it!! (ha!) and then share it with me! :)

    the milkweed is beautiful!! i know we have some around here...but i don't think it looks like THAT!!

  4. Wow! What amazing pictures! I have to go back and look at them all again. I grew up near prairie grasslands filled with wildflowers, so they have a special place in my heart. The scenery there is breathtaking! What a trip!! Thanks for sharing it with us. :):)

  5. @Laura - there are a lot of different milkweeds. This one is the Showy Milkweed. This web site shows it and some others - maybe you can find the Florida one(s) here:


    @Rita - yes, wildflowers stole my heart a long time ago. Unfortunately, even in this pristine setting, invasive species abound! I did not have the time to thoroughly research which of these are truly native, & which are invasives, but I do know that the asters, lupine, & prickly pear cactus ARE native there. Nevertheless, they are all beautiful and to see them strewn across that vast lanscape was breathtaking! Glad you came along for the ride!

  6. LOVE this post -- those BREATHTAKING photos, what you had to say, your enthusiasm for the travels, and your return home. I relate to all of it.

    Your love of nature comes through...

    Thank you very much for this inspiration.


  7. Ladybug, you are a woman after my own heart! How I would love to take that same adventure! I have seen the Snake River in eastern Idaho but have only read about and seen pictures of Hell's Canyon. What a gorgeous place. That kind of scenery just lifts my spirit and makes me feel at home. At the current time we are renting an apartment and I keep wondering where my next "HOME" will be. My husband is not quite so outdoorsy so he would never do a trip like this. I can only dream...