Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friends, Fun & Freezing

IMG_2368 Trees!

We’ve been excited to get back to the land of trees.  Winter in the desert has left us feeling short, scrubby and somewhat prickly.  It also left us considerably warmer than other locations would have so we are thankful for that.  But it is time to see things.  Things like TREES! 

Trees we are seeing.  We are also seeing another nice shift in terrain.  The desert is not giving in easily and still maintains a hold on certain sections but the mountains are shifting.  Peaking in more artistic ways.

Like this beautiful desert tower.

The ninety mile drive to our latest destination was certainly made easier by the scenery we were taking in along the way.  We also saw some unique things that we had been told to look out for.

This is the Navajo coal-fire plant.  It supplies power to AZ, NV & CA.

The poles in these photos hold the wires for the all electric railroad that delivers the coal to the mine from the Navajo and Hopi Indian Reservations at Black Mesa.

IMG_2385The overlook at our destination, The Navajo National Monument.

As you are driving up the road to this destination, it sure doesn’t look like much.  Actually, it looks like a field of hard packed sandstone with some low lying scrubs.  A few miles down the road, you glance out the window expecting to see more of the same but in the blink of an eye the ground drops away and reveals the canyon.

IMG_2389Our campsite table and lunch with a view.
Friends, Gail and Dale arrived the same afternoon and tucked into a nice spot.IMG_2400
A ball of flowers.

The canyon is actually a mountain in reverse.  Shorter, more hardy, pinion pine grow out of the hard packed ground where we stood and the taller aspen trees take in the moist soil down on the canyon floor.

We had heard the weather was going to turn cold… below freezing to be exact.IMG_2494IMG_2491 No, that isn’t a dirty window.  It’s the snow flurries we woke up to one morning.

We sure were happy that Gail had knitted us these socks!
She even got Darlene knitting and pearling to her hearts content.

Knowing that the weather was going to turn cool, we got in a few of the local trail hikes on our first two days.  They’re easy to manage and present some wonderful views of the canyon as well as the Betatakin cliff dwellings.




We stopped to take it all in and chat now and then too.



IMG_2472The ruins are in that big arch.
Not the ruins.
The ruins.
They looked like little miniatures.  Almost unreal.IMG_2462It gives you a perspective of the height of the canyon walls.
There is a more strenuous hike to another set of ruins in the park.
It has been closed for a year however due to flooding.

These ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ trees are all over the place.
A pine cone flower bouquet.
Dale was eager to show us his latest rock hounding acquisitions.
You can see some of them on the tail gate behind the two hams!

We were excited to get his opinion on some of our latest finds and were thrilled to learn that we had actually found two pieces of petrified wood.  One still had some bark on it (we thought it was just dirt).  We had also found some nice agate that he’ll help us slice up one day.

Despite the higher elevation and super cool temps some spring color still flashed.

We were happy to meet up with our friends again and thankful that they were able to work it out to see us.  Although much of our time was spent inside, we had a great time.  They shared a couple of their favorite videos with us, caught up on our travels since we last saw each other, we learned a new game called Mexican Train (a version of Dominoes) and Darlene can now make us socks!  Looks like the fun won’t be ending too soon though as G & D would like to show us one of their favorite spots along our current route before we part the ways of East and West.  So, we’ve all made plans to depart in the morning. 


The photo above was supposed to be our last great shot of the canyon before moving on.  The blog was all ready for upload and then we woke up… to this!

IMG_2510 IMG_2514

There’s a van under there, somewhere!


With our departure obviously delayed we took Dale up on his offer to make us some delicious omelets.

The master chef at work.

We hung out for a few hours until the sun appeared to be shining and then we all made a break for it.  So, it is goodbye to the Navajo, the canyon and (we hope) the super cold, hovering around freezing temps.  And now, THIS is our parting canyon shot.

Until next time…
IMG_2429Dare to be different.