America the Beautiful

Happy 4th of July!  In honor of the fourth I figured I’d post some of the pictures from my recent trip to Salt Lake City.  While I was out there on business (and have to return again in a week), I also had to take some time to enjoy the mountains – which I did!  I was able to complete two shorter hikes, the first on an evening after our training was over, and the second on a short afternoon after lunch.  While I had hoped to hike a little bit longer on each hike, the timing of everything just didn’t allow it.  But, none-the-less, here are some pictures (taken with my iPhone, so the quality isn’t great) of the hikes

The first 16 pictures are from my first hike, which was up the Bells Canyon Hike.  This was actually just a few miles outside of downtown Salt Lake City and it took me roughly 3 1/4 hours.  You can see the details of the hike on the last two slides (which have time, date, elevation, distance, etc).

The rest of the show are pictures are from the Silver Lake trail.  Again, this was a canyon hike but the elevation was significantly higher (as you’ll see from the stats at the very end of the slideshow).  I had hoped to get to the top but because of time constraints and snow I had to turn around after only a little more than an hour on the trail (it was only supposed to take me 45-50 minutes to get to the trail head but there was some considerable construction on the way and the road was closed to a one-lane road for a little while, so it took about an hour and 40 minutes – which significantly cut into my hiking time!)  Anyway, both hikes were absolutely breath-taking (literally – for someone who lives at an elevation of 67 feet above sea level), and the pictures don’t even do the countryside justice, but they’re a taste of what I experienced out west.

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One of the amazing things about our country is the diversity of not only the people but the landscape as well.  The week prior to my trip to Salt Lake City I spent on the beaches of North Carolina with my family on vacation.  We rented a house literally 500 feet from the ocean and spent most every day down at the sea side.  And this was only about a three hour drive from where we live!  Within a two week time I went from spending a week at sea level to flying to a business training and living for a week gazing at peeks well over 11,000 feet and hiking up to almost 8700 feet!  I got to experience first hand the first verse of America the Beautiful:

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

Enjoy the video below:

I’m going to wrap up this post by sharing the final stanza of Katherine Bates’ poem, the one that honors not just our land but the people who gave everything to secure it for us and our children.  Pay attention to the last four lines of this stanza – the prayer that’s offered for “nobleness” and a focus on the divine.  I pray this prayer regularly, and find it a challenge to live my life in the way I should.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!



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