Showing posts from March, 2012

Hiking the South Kaibab Trail

Today we chose to do a more challenging trail. Instead of hiking to the bottom we chose to do hike part of this trail. It was a great choice and a great day. I don’t really have much to say other than this place truly takes my breath away so I’ll just share some photos from this incredible place.

Happy Trails..........................

Hiking and Biking the Grand Canyon

The last two days the weather has been next to perfect. Temps are in the 60s with sunny skies. Tuesday we headed out to hike the rim trail. We took the shuttle eastbound to Yaki point which is the most eastern spot that the shuttle will go. We just wanted to see this spot. The rim trail starts one stop earlier at the South Kaibab trailhead and we thought we’d see this area and then jump onto the shuttle again and go back one spot. However, the westbound shuttle skips that stop on the way back so instead we went one more stop and started our hike at Pipe Creek Vista. The rim trail is just what it says: a walk along the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is easy hiking and is paved for most of it. We walked to Bright Angel Lodge. The views were beautiful and when you would get far enough from the visitors center, the crowd would thin out some but it is a very busy trail. We hiked about 4 miles, but it seemed longer. At Bright Angel Lodge there are tons of people but inside there is a little ba…

Captains log: A new critter in the desert

Well, John got inspired to write another post - Yeah!!! Its actually from our time at Homolovi SP. So here's Johnny.......................

Our first trip after retirement was to the South West to enjoy the warmer climate and our new mobility. While we were in New Mexico, we discovered a new kind of water fowl: the coot. They kind of looked like ducks, but with beaks instead of bills and without the webbed feet. Very strange and, as many of you pointed out, very common.

My latest discovery is a desert bug a couple of centimeters long and solid black. It's easy to get a close look at it because it's active during the day, and slow. No camouflage and no speed. And no sense. If you get too close, it stands on its head. I thought maybe it was trying to hide by sticking its head in the sand, but that wouldn't be a great survival trick with its rear end stuck up in the air for all to see. Its last trick would be to moon whatever was about to eat it.

Our next stop was the Homol…

Arrival at the Grand Canyon

We have arrived! It was a windy drive to Flagstaff but got better after that and by noon we were at the Trailer Village Campground in the Grand Canyon Village. It wasn’t too busy when we arrived but later in the day there were many RVs arriving. Its not full but definitely busy. Our site was an easy pull through and as level as we’ve had in a long time, no blocks necessary. Once we got set up we decided to get the lay of the land so we hopped on the shuttle bus and headed to the visitors center. Instead of going in the visitor’s center right away I wanted to give John his first view of the Grand Canyon. I have been here once in 1977 on a girls road trip when I was in college and John has never been here. There are some things that just make a deep impression on you, one that you never forget and for me the Grand Canyon was like that. So off we went on the short walk to the rim. It is a busy place but we got a spot on the railing and all John could say is “Wow”. We walked along Mather P…

Homolovi Ruins State Park, Winslow AZ

We have moved on to the Homolovi State Park near Winslow AZ. This is a small park that houses the ruins of the early Hopi tribes. The campground has a only a few rigs in it now but this weekend they are expecting a large group that is part of a trail ride from St.George, Utah to Winslow.  However it is Saturday morning and no sign of this huge group they talked about.  Thursday we took a hike to the Homolovi I site, not much to see but some info on the Hopi communities that existed here almost 800 to 900 years ago. The clans moved on to the Hopi Mesas due to frequent flooding in the area. Originally we were just going for a walk around the campground but when we saw the sign to the ruins just 1 mile away on a park road we made the hike. It was ok but it got us out walking so that was good. Friday we biked to the visitors center and asked about hiking trails. They didn’t have a hiking map so the ranger tried to draw them in on the park map. What we found is this is more of a driving par…

Holy Buckets of Wind

Sunday morning was calm at Elephant Butte so I went on to checkout what the rest of the morning would be like. We had done most of our packing up the night before so we were up early and ready to go. It looked like if we got on the road right away we could get to Albuquerque before the big winds began so off we went. The ride was pretty uneventful until about 30 miles south of Albuquerque. The wind picked up and now up ahead you could see lots of dust in the air. The truck and trailer did fine in the wind but just before we got to our exit off I40 a tanker truck ahead of us was having lots of trouble. He must have been empty as his back end was really getting blown around. We slowed down and put some distance between us as he exited the freeway at the same exit, good idea for him. Now came the challenge, setting up in a sand storm. The wind blew me in to register at Enchanted Trails and then we headed to our site. The temps were still relatively warm but the sand in the win…

Captain's Log: Thunderbolt kid

John and I both read this book recently. It is by the same author as A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson. We would find ourselves laughing out loud and reading portions to each other. I thought John should tell you about this book as so much of it mirrored his own childhood. So today you are treated to a Captain's log.

Captain's Log: The Thunderbolt Kid

"The Thunderbolt Kid" is a book by Bill Bryson about growing up in the 50's and 60's. Since we're about the same age, his reminisces about growing up in Des Moines Iowa reminded me of growing up in Carlsbad New Mexico and the upper peninsula of Michigan.

I spent my first four years in Carlsbad, so I don't remember a lot, but I remember my first girl friend, Vicki, the girl who lived across the street. She had a younger brother who liked to eat dirt. Mr Bryson talks about running behind the DDT truck that would drive through neighborhoods trailing a fog of insecticide behind it. I remember that: a group of k…

A couple great weeks at Elephant Butte NM

As I mentioned in the last post we decided to stay an extra week here at Elephant Butte and we are so glad we did. Now, last Saturday we wondered about our decision as it got very cold on Friday and then on Saturday we had snow showers. That is not something we enjoy seeing, however the air temp was still in the 40s so it melted as it hit the ground. Sunday we moved into our new space and even though it was a little chilly for the move by afternoon the temps were on the rise. From Monday on it has been in the 70s and the 80s. So all in all we have had more good weather than bad and we are glad we stayed. 
Tuesday we drove down to Hatch NM, the place all those great green chilies come from. We actually did a quick drive through on our way here but the place we wanted to eat was very, very busy. That’s always a good sign of quality. The place, Sparky’s, was recommended to us by Loren that we met in Kerrville. I also wanted to check a couple of their retail places. So off we went and we w…

A Wind Blown Day

Not much new here at Elephant Butte except for the wind. We knew this was coming and it is March so we expect some windy days. The trailer’s been rockin’ since late yesterday afternoon, but it’s supposed to quiet down a little tonight. I am glad we are as far south as we are. Northern New Mexico has a winter storm warning and is expecting snow. I do worry a little since we have reservations at the Grand Canyon the last week in March. I hope the weather doesn’t mess that up too much. On a brighter note we’ve decided to stay here another week and I actually decided to book one of the reserved sites. They really have nice views and even with the reservation fee are very affordable. So after walking around the two reservable loops we picked #22 and will move to that site on Sunday. We will need to dump our tanks anyway so moving sites won’t be anymore inconvenient than if we left and moved on. After that we will have a week to make our way to the Grand Canyon. One thing we have been doing …

I have missed this

What is this? The quiet, the solitude, the peacefulness, the big sky and the beautiful views. I didn’t realize until last night once we got all set up and we sat down to relax. I told John to listen, what do you hear? Nothing, it was so calm and quiet. There is no road noise here and they are very few people and so the quiet was overwhelming and beautiful. 
As the sun went down we made a fire, we’ve been carrying around fire wood since October but have had no opportunities to burn it. The wood was a gift from some folks who we met at Glen Elder State park in Kansas. I love a campfire and 4 months without one is just too long, so a night by the fire was just what I needed.  We are at the South Monticello campground at Elephant Butte State Park in New Mexico. We stayed here last year at the end of March. It was one of my favorite campgrounds from our travels last year so it was an easy decision to return. If you haven’t checked out the New Mexico State Parks you should put them on your li…

Impressions of Texas

Tomorrow morning we head out towards New Mexico. We will still have one more night in Texas, possibly Balmoreah. We’ve been in Texas two full months. We have been in the south costal area in Port O’Connor, in Galveston, Houston, Rockport, the Austin area and the hill country. I’ve been thinking about what we have experienced here in Texas. So here are some of our impressions of this state: It’s big. Yeah you always here it but there’s a reason and that’s because it is BIG! You need at least a couple days to get anywhere.Most of the ranches and farms are huge and they seem to all have gates. I’m from an agricultural area but you don’t see gates like these at all the farms in Iowa.I thought I would see lots of cattle, and we have seen some but what we have seen more of are goats, lots and lots of goats. We’ve been told they are raised for meat and a lot of it is exported.It is diverse. We’ve been in large urban areas, the flat coastal lands, the hills of the hill country (duh) and flat h…