Tuesday, April 7, 2009
You could be here
As we all grow weary of the winter weather, our hearts and minds start daydreaming about a great summer getaway. As you envision yourselves lying on a beach or snoozing in hammock, I’d like to plant a different thought.
A few years back I took one of my most memorable vacations ever. I can’t think of anyway it could have been more satisfying. Blue skies, amazing scenery, natural wonders, fresh air, good food and great people.
My inner most animal (and nature) lover led me to one of the most magical places in the great southwest – Best Friends Animal Sanctuary – located in Angel Canyon in the heart of the Golden Circle in southern Utah.
Best Friends is indeed a sanctuary. Encompassing a five mile spread carved out of the beautiful red rocks, it is home at any given time to about 2000 animals. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, pigs, goats, burros…all are given the opportunity to live out their lives in peace and good health.
Our volunteer vacation started each day with a four hour shift working in one of the dog dormitories, feeding and walking about 15 dogs. I was nervous about the thought of visiting a “shelter”, but Best Friends has done an amazing job of making sure their creatures enjoy a wonderful life. No where did I encounter an animal that looked unhappy.
But it wasn’t all work. After lunch in the employee cafeteria, we would head out for an afternoon of hiking in one of the nearby magnificent national parks that create a ring of natural bliss known as the Golden Circle. Bryce Canyon. Mt. Zion. Lake Powell. The Grand Canyon. All are within an easy drive from the sanctuary.
But enough with the jabbering. A picture is worth a thousand words.
This is the view from the employee cafeteria. It is natural beauty as far as the eye can see. Best Friends was fortunate to acquire the land about 20 years ago when it was affordable. With all this land they were able to develop distinct areas of the sanctuary for different species, allowing all to thrive in harmony with their surroundings.
This is a view of one of the hiking trails in Bryce Canyon. Get in shape before you go. The walk down is a piece of cake, but coming up is another matter. Even if you just dawdle at the top, it’s a spectacular slice of scenery. And the lore of the Hoo Doos is quite charming.
As a girl from the flatlands, I was fascinated by the southwestern flora and fauna. Magnificent trees would pop up out of sand. Wild flowers hung to the side of rock hills. Blooming cactus were brilliantly colored.
This could go on forever, but some famous comedian once said,”…leave them wanting more.” For information on visiting the sanctuary,you can click here. Or if you can’t visit but want to see some happy faces, click here.
If you go, let me know just how wonderful it was. If you have any questions, leave it under comments and I will get back to you.
Happy tails. (Yes, that’s a pun, not a typo.)
p.s. The smiling face pictured at the top is a resident of Best Friends