Archive for July, 2007

On, K wrote a very personal piece about her attitudes on
. This inspired a wave of comments on the blog, and a wave of
thoughts in my own head. Like mph, I decided that it wouldn’t be
right to fill so much space (disk space?) on their blog with all I
wanted to say, so here it goes.


In my email this morning, from

As someone who has purchased “The Road Less Traveled” or other books on religion and spirituality from, you might be interested to know about these new inspirational books…

Woah! I haven’t purchased “The Road Less Traveled”. I didn’t even know it was about religion at all. I have purchased several books about atheism and religion from the point of view of atheists. So apparently that put me in a category to receive notices about religious books. So I received this list of suggestions, which all sound pretty Protestant at first blush:

  • Faith and Inspiration
  • Transformation Journal
  • Writing Tides: Finding Grace and Growth Through Writing
  • Vessel of Peace: A Guide for Pilgrims of the Spirit
  • Film & Religion: An Introduction
  • A Doubter’s Guide to Heaven: Walking a Path from Doubt to Trust
  • The Eight Blessings: Rediscovering the Beatitudes
  • Strong Was Her Faith: Women of the New Testament
  • Soul Tending
  • Soul Shakers: Inspiring Stories from a Presidential Speechwriter

Of course I don’t really think that Amazon’s computers are trying to convert me, but the thought has to enter your mind when you order books about atheism and are told “you might also be interested in A Doubter’s Guide to Heaven: Walking a Path from Doubt to Trust“. Presumably people who ordered the Qur’ān were put into the same “interested in books about religion” category, I could imagine some of them might be much more offended than I am (I mostly think it’s funny). If I were Amazon, I’d be a bit more careful about this.

An overview of where all we wentWell Hi! How are you? Great, glad to hear it! Me?? Oh, great great! Yeah, vacation was great, thanks for asking!

Those of you who also read Priscilla’s Blog have already seen the link to all of our pictures. We edited out about half of them, but there are still over 300. But, we’ve got them neatly arranged by place we were at, at there’s thumbnails and everything, so you can actually scoot through them pretty quickly if you, like me, have limited patience for looking at huge collections of photos.

Or you can just get the highlights here! First, that map there shows basically where we went. We flew into Denver, so if you want to follow along on the map (just click it if you want to) start on that side. You can zoom in and see the path with enough detail that you can use your inate-to-humans “snap to road” ability and pretty much know exactly where we went. Or, like I say, you can just look at the whole thing, it gives a pretty darn good overview, just not as cool (read: geeky). (Thanks once again to the amazing Gmaps Pedometer for making such things possible).
I’m not going to type a play-by-play of everything we did. But here’s a text overview, with quick reviews and links to photos:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park: We were more impressed than I expected us to be. If you go there, I highly recommend the Mill’s Lake Trail.
  • Snowy Range Road: We had a nice campground and a nice scenic drive, neither of which were in our original plans.
  • Grand Teton National Park: Amazing mountains, although not a lot of great trails or other things to do.
  • Yellowstone: Big and famous, but unlike anything else on Earth
  • Arches: From the mountains to the desert, and uncommonly beautiful desert at that
  • Canyonlands: It seems like it’s gotta be as big as the Grand Canyon. Probably not, but awe-inspiring and beautiful.
  • Manti-La Sal National Forest: Amazing campground on a mountain with amazing views of Canyonlands that sadly didn’t photograph very well.
  • Bryce: I can’t think of anything as closely linked to my sense of visual beauty as this park
  • Zion: Another home of yet another kind of rock formation. Also home to two unique hikes: Angel’s Landing and The Narrows.

Click to play with the google map overlayIn addition to all of those links to photos, I’ve also got just a couple of google map projections of GPS recordings of trails that we walked. My favorite is definitely this one of the Fiery Furnace in Arches. The rangers warned us that the GPS wouldn’t work in there, which was largely true… but apparently it got enough glimpses of GPS satellites to give a sense of where we went, although I bet a lot of these data points are pretty inaccurate. Still, despite its lack of precision, I love that aerial view of the furnace. And of course, you can zoom in and out and see the whole park from above, if you like.

I also have projections like this one of the Flattop Mountain Trail and the Mills Lake Trail (both in Rocky Mountain National Park) if you (like me) can’t get enough of this GPS/aerial photo stuff. (Thanks once again to GPS Visualizer for making this kind of thing so incredibly easy and so deeply satisfying). (Ok, and yes, thanks also to Google Maps. But unlike the other two things, everybody knows about Google…)
Anyway, as I hope is evident, we saw some amazing natural wonders, and we also had a great time. If all of this isn’t enough detail for you, I’m sure you’ll have no trouble convincing either of us to talk and talk and talk about it, so don’t hesitate to ask — at least, not for OUR sake. :)