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Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Good morning all!

Christian and I camped out with some friends last night and stayed up really late, so I’m getting a late start this morning. Still re-adjusting to the Alaskan climate, though it is a little warmer than normal for this time of year here. After the 100+ degrees we went through in the deserts, 55F felt kind of chilly this morning. I think we’re getting ready to go into our fall rainy season soon.

Our arrival at the Grand Canyon brought a lot of ooh’s and ah’s, as the largeness of it all spread out before us. It was partly cloudy when we first arrived, and the shadows from the clouds caused the many colors in the canyon walls to change as the clouds moved overhead.

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We entered the park through the south entrance, and then drove all the way through to the end of the east side, stopping at almost every pullout and trail along the way.

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Many of the viewing areas do not have any hand rails, and there were some places where my vertigo kicked in, causing me to feel dizzy. I had to stay back from the edges in those areas. We were also up in elevation, which affected our breathing a little. But we took our time walking around and enjoying the scenery. There was a type of ground squirrel running around in several of the areas we visited. They blended in so well, it’s hard to see them in the pictures.

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There were plenty of opportunities to see wildlife along the way, though some species were more allusive than others.

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One of the most impressive things about viewing the canyon were the many unique rock formations. Christian and I both have enjoyed rock collecting and learning about all the different types of rocks, and here we had the opportunity to learn about the different ways that rocks are formed and shaped.

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Evidence remains of a previous year’s wildfire, though new growth is taking hold again.

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The maps we were given for the park where a little obscure in their details. While looking for a certain trail, we took a wrong turn and got a little lost. We decided to make the most of it and stop for a lunch break. The hood of the car made a nice make-shift table top.

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After receiving several heavy rains, our first glimpse of the Colorado River was a bit muddy. But it was still cool thinking about how that river had carved all these amazing forms out of the rock cliffs.

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I found out that I’m not the only one bothered by heights.

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At the end of the park on the east side, our last stop was at Desert View Watchtower. We toured around the outside before going in and climbing to the top. It was quite educational learning about the earlier people of this region and their lifestyles. The tower was also a credit to the period’s architecture. It is a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower, built in 1932 and designed by Mary Colter.

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Walking through the tower made me feel like we had gone back in time.

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After we left the watch tower, we headed back to the center of the park to catch a tour bus to the west side. That side is not accessible by car, but the buses run every 15 minutes and drop you off at the designated stops. There are also trails you can hike as well.

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As we continued on our way down the western end of the park, we watched a storm rolling in from across the canyon.

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Shortly after this picture was taken, we began to see lightning strikes across the canyon. A park ranger was warning people that we should probably start heading back, away from the canyon rim. He said that lightning can strike from 10 miles away, and it can also jump from the metal hand rails we were standing next to. The storm was already at the north rim, less than 10 miles across from where we were.

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Christian was getting excited (and a little nervous) hearing the thunder and seeing some of the lightning strikes. We were almost at the end of the bus route, so we decided to make one more stop at the end of the line before heading back. It was a place called Hermit’s Rest. The building there had been turned into a little gift shop, so we went in to grab a few souvenirs. By the time we came out, the storm was almost on top of us. Lightning was hitting in the canyon on both rims.

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We stayed under the eave of one of the outbuildings for shelter, waiting for the last bus back to the village center. As the bus pulled in, several lightning strikes in a row hit, and we were all treated to a nice light show on the ride back. By the time we got back to the village center, it was pouring down rain. So we got soaked running from the bus stop to our car. Lightning was hitting all around us, so we stayed in the car and enjoyed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and enjoyed the show. We were all amused at getting to see 3 spectacular lightning storms in 3 nights.

After the lightning faded away, we drove on back through the park and exited out the east end. I drove on to the town of Cameron, where we stopped for gas and a nap.

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Our nap in Cameron only lasted a couple of hours, and I continued on driving north. We crossed the 3,000 mile mark shortly after leaving. Amy was kind enough to hold up the sign for me, though I don’t think she was overly happy about it. I guess some folks just aren’t early morning people. 🙂

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I let Amy and Christian sleep until just before sun up. By then we were on the north rim of the canyon. I’ll post more about that tomorrow. Right now I need to get some chores done, so I’ll sign off for now. I hope everyone has a wonderfully funtastic day! God bless – Amber & Christian

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Good morning!

As promised, here is the segment of our trip from Sedona and Flagstaff through to the Grand Canyon. I know God was watching over us, providing not only safety from the storms, but providing us with spectacular evidence of His splendor in the beauty of His creations.

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A little gecko perches on a rock, waiting for the sun

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The view driving through the town of Sedona

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Views on the way to Flagstaff

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A small tree finds a way up through the rocks

There was a place called Water Slide Park along the way to Flagstaff, where there was a naturally formed water slide. I had heard about it years before during a winter visit. It was too cold to go then, but since it was in the 100’s again, I thought it would be a good place to visit and cool off. Apparently every other tourist in the area had the same idea. By the time we got there, it was so full that we couldn’t get in. The parking area in the park itself was full to capacity, and there were more cars lined up along both sides of the road for at least a mile in each direction. People were walking along the road, looking for places to access the river and many more already in the water. It looked like a really fabulous place, but we just couldn’t get to it. The road is very narrow through this section, and between all the parked cars and people walking along the road, we used extreme caution driving through. I took a few pictures but they didn’t turn out well. There was no where to stop for pictures, and since we were moving, the ones I took turned out blurry.

Christian was pretty disappointed that we didn’t get to stop. He was really looking forward to the water slide and going swimming. I promised him that we would try to find a motel in Flagstaff with a swimming pool.

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We stopped at a few places along the way, enjoying the scenery, and at a U.S. Park for a brief history lesson of the area.

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We didn’t get to drive the whole road, but we did get to drive on it through Flagstaff! 🙂

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One of the beautiful old churches in Flagstaff

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Working off some pent up energy with a good arm wrestling match

As I had promised Christian, we got a motel with a swimming pool and a hot tub. So once we settled into our room, we went swimming. There were other children already there, and Christian quickly made some new friends. While the children played, Amy and I soaked our bones in the hot tub. It felt great to just relax in the hot water.

We hadn’t been there very long when we noticed dark skies in the distance. As the clouds got closer, we began to see lightning and hear thunder. We didn’t stay in the water very long after that. We ended up sitting in the motel room with the door open, being treated to another fantastic lightning storm. One strike hit so close, it made Amy and Christian jump over the bed. The storm continued for a couple of hours with heavy rain and lightning. Once the storm was over, we went to bed, ready for a good night’s sleep. We planned to get an early start since we knew we wanted a full day exploring the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff is only about an hour and a half away from the south entrance, so we were getting close.

Tomorrow I will continue with our journey into the Grand Canyon. Until then, I pray everyone has a great day filled with God’s love and sunshine! God bless – Amber & Christian

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Good evening! My internet connections have not been as available as I had hoped, so hence the long delay in posting. We arrived back home in Palmer on July 30 and have spent the past few days recovering and unpacking from our trip. But I’d like to pick up on our journey where we left off.

When we left Texas, we hit a few rain storms before entering the desert. The temperature was in the high 90’s, and we drove on through to New Mexico. This part of the country is fairly flat and dry, with roads flat and straight. There wasn’t much to look at, and Christian slept through most of it.

 

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For much of the drive, there wasn’t a lot to look at, so I don’t blame him for wanting to sleep. On the good side, the speed limit averaged 75 – 80 mph, so I put on some good music and enjoyed the cruise.

We made it into New Mexico and stopped to visit an old friend. After going out to dinner, we were tired so we took a few hour nap at our friend’s and left early in the morning. We watched a beautiful sunrise at Guadalupe Mountain, while being serenaded by a lone coyote nearby.

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Christian found it a little hard to believe that it could feel a little chilly in the desert, but was thankful for his fleece jacket.

We crossed our 2,000 mile mark of our journey while going through another desert back into Texas.

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We finally arrived in Tucson, AZ mid afternoon on 7/16/13. The temp was up around 107F, way hotter than what we’re used to. If it hadn’t been for the “Frogg Toggs”, I think we would have melted. But it was really good seeing our family. Christian’s uncle taught him how to drive a golf cart, which he enjoyed very much. And we went swimming at the pool which was really nice too.

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We attended church with Uncle Ron in Tucson and had a great service. The church was much larger than what we’re used to, but the pastor had an awesome message, and the people were really friendly. When we got home, Grandma had a surprise for Christian.

Christian celebrated his 4th birthday this year at Grandma’s house. I think he’s getting a little spoiled 🙂

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Christian was thrilled to receive a few adventure books for his birthday, signed by the author Will Hobbs, one of his Grandma’s neighbors. All in all, he had a great birthday.

There were a few small visitors to the beautiful garden in Grandma’s back yard while we were there. Some were too quick to get pictures of, but this little butterfly stayed a while.

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We spent a few days visiting and getting a few things done with the car, and then had to say our goodbyes. The visit was too short, but greatly enjoyed.

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We left Grandma’s house late morning on July 19 to pick our friend Amy up at the Phoenix airport. The temp was about 104F that day, and I had a hard time dealing with the heat. By the time we left the airport, the sun was beginning to go down and it was cooling off a bit. It was really good seeing Amy again, and we were all excited about our journey. We headed off to Sedona, stopping along the way for pictures of desert life.

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Before we knew it, the sun went down and in the darkness we could see a lightning storm approaching off in the distance. We were heading right into it as we continued on to Sedona. Christian had never seen a big lightning storm before, as we don’t usually get lightning where we live. So it was a special treat for him, and Amy and I as well. It turned out to be a big storm even by Sedona standards. We stopped for  a while along the way just to watch and enjoy. We finally arrived in Sedona late that night and stayed at a motel. The next morning we enjoyed a little trek through the town, being typical tourists, taking pictures of everything and buying more souvenirs than we needed. We finally left town mid afternoon and headed toward Flagstaff. We were unprepared for the beauty we were about to encounter.

Well, it’s time to stop for now. I’ll begin tomorrow’s post with our pictures of Sedona and through to the Grand Canyon. In the meantime, I hope everyone is well, enjoying life and God’s creations. Until tomorrow, take care and God bless! – Amber & Christian

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