Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Traveling – It makes you speechless and then it turns you into a storyteller ~ Ibn Battuta

Sandstone cliffs, ancient dwellings, and traces of civilization that date back 5,000 years, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced d’SHAY) is located on the Navajo Reservation near the Four Corners area of Arizona. Navajo families still reside in the canyon, trading, farming, and raising animals.


“Blame it or praise it, there is no denying the wild horse in us.” ~ Virginia Woolf

We started out driving the monument’s South Rim and came upon a herd of wild horses grazing. How wonderful to roam free, without restraint, and not be corralled. I’m so grateful to travel without the inhibitions of employment. My time and will is my own.

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If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing ~ Coco Chanel

It wouldn’t be a canyon without a raven flying by to say hello. It took quite a few shots to catch this fly boy in my lens. In some mythologies, ravens are said to be a symbol of bad luck, while in others, he’s a hero, a transformer, and a trickster.


Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer ~ Unknown

Down in the canyon is the original White House. Thousands of years before the existence of our Presidents residence, the Anasazi people built this multi-storied dwelling.  I shot this photo from the overlook, but there is a trail you can take for a closer look.


To get up close and personal to the White House cliff dwelling, take the 2-hour RT, 600 feet down then up switch back trail. This is the only trail accessible in the park to unaccompanied visitors. I’m sorry to say, due to rain and mud, I chose not to hike down to the ruins.


How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains ~ John Muir

There are a little under 100 families living down on the canyon floor. You can see an infrequent house and field from many of the overlooks. It is discouraged to take photos of the residents or their dwellings without permission. It is considered disrespectful.


Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. ~ Teddy Roosevelt

There are many examples of Mother Nature and Father Time’s work throughout the canyon. In addition to the ruins, I just love to see how the elements carved out patterns on the walls. I find rock formations so interesting ~ maybe I should have been a geologist.



Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind, and spirit ~ Ohiyesa

Rising high from the canyon floor, the sacred Spider Rock is a 700 ft. plus sandstone spire. In Navajo lore, Spider Woman taught the people how to weave, additionally, she is known to eat naughty children. Offerings (for weaving, not children, lol!) are still made today.


If you do not expect  the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail ~ Heraclitus

One last ruin on our way out. I can just imagine what the eye doesn’t catch.  The largest and best preserved site is Mummy Cave reached by the North Rim Drive (Canyon del Muerto). Unfortunately, with 400 miles to home, I think we’ll leave that drive for another day.


Each day is a gift. Don’t send it back unopened. ~ Unknown

A birthday gift and reminiscence of our trip from my hubby. Local vendors are at most pull-overs, mainly selling handcrafted jewelry. This was more my style.

Although the artist decoded the symbols for us, it went in one ear and out the other. Fortunately, he offered to put his name and address on the back with an invitation to send a photocopy that he would mail back interpreted.

Well, I had a marvelous birthday, doing what I love to do……traveling and exploring. Currently, I haven’t any plans in the making, but I’m sure that won’t last long. I hope you enjoyed the post.


A Monument, a Hat, and a Gooseneck

Beauty is before me and beauty is behind me, above me and behind me hovers the beautiful ~ Navajo Prayer

I spent my birthday traveling through the Navajo Reservation in the four corners areas of Arizona and Utah, exploring the breathtaking Monument Valley, quirky Mexican Hat and unusual Goosenecks State Park.


Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow ~ Norman Vincent Peale

I don’t know how I did it, but we passed up the Monument Valley tribal park. Too busy absorbing the amazing views. It is what it is. With the rain, I doubt we would have driven the dirt loop in our sedan, or taken the $60 open-vehicle tour. About the barbwire ~ wandering the land is off-limits without a Navajo guide.


“I’m pretty tired, I think I’ll go home now.” ~ Forrest Gump

Being big fans of the movie, we had to stop at Forrest Gump Point. This is where Forest decides to stop running and go home. From this shot, it kind of looks like the hubby has his own entourage! “Quiet! He’s gonna say something!”


What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a sombrero ~ Bill Waterson

Mexican Hat from a distance. Originally, I was debating whether to stay in Kayenta or  Mexican Hat (UT). I wish I had stayed in the smaller, quirky Mexican Hat. There’s a hotel built into the cliffs above the San Juan river. What a view!


I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding ~ J. O’Donahue

Just off Utah’s Hwy 163 is Goosenecks State Park. If you’re in the area, this amazing river meander is a must-see.  From the canyon’s edge, you can see the 300 million year-old results of the San Juan River carving its way through the desert below. Only five bucks to enter and ten to camp on the edge (bucket list!) ~ the view itself is worth it!

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What lies behind us and lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The advantages of wide open spaces ~ we were heading towards Hwy 191 and could still see Monument Valley from behind. It rained both days, but I didn’t mind, it was a much-appreciated shift from the weather and views of home. I’m just happy to be on the road, wandering!


Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself ~ Unknown

From Hwy 160 to Hwy 163, the desert landscape is pretty spectacular.  With vistas like this, sometimes it’s good to be in the present moment, on an empty, open road and in the middle of nowhere (now here).

Next stop is Chinle, Arizona and Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Hope you’ll join me.



Walking Among the Oregon Redwoods

The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always ~ John Steinbeck


No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable.  ~ John Steinbeck

Normally you think California when you think of redwoods, but fortunately for us, this grove was right outside our camp at Loeb State Park in Southern Oregon. We had to give this trail a try before heading to Eureka to meet up with my niece and her family.


In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks ~ John Muir

The loop trail is just a few miles round trip, but be prepared to climb. The trail starts out through a smaller grove and as you climb higher, a larger, older growth of redwoods come into view.


This is their temple, vaulted high, and here we pause with reverent eye ~ Joseph B. Strauss

The kids loved the hollowed out tree and thought it would make a great shelter. This was a great little hike and the kids and I really enjoyed it. It’s shady and there’s even a creek with multiple wooden bridges  to cross!


Serving food lumber camp style since 1890s

If you’re ever in Eureka, CA, check out the last surviving cookhouse in the West. Their  food is oh-my-gosh-delicious! It was French toast day, and even though I’m not a fan of French toast, I became one that day ~ yum, yum!


Happiness is having a large, caring, close-knit family in another city ~ George Burns

Before heading home, we took one last side trip to meet up with my awesome niece and her family for breakfast in Eureka, California. There’s four generations sitting at that table: aunt/uncle, niece, great-nephews, and great-great niece and nephew.

The last time I saw my great-nephews, they were ten and now they have children of their own. One of the best things about traveling is that you get to see the far away family you love and spend a little time with them.

Next…I’m heading out to Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly for my birthday!

A Needed Dose of Vitamin Sea

The problem with every story is that you tell it after the fact ~ Chuck Palahniuk

I got a little behind on posting, hope you enjoy our coastal trip in Southern Oregon.


Nothing better than a little Pacific Coast sea-habilitation

If you’re traveling the Southern Oregon coast, you must explore the 12-mile section of the Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor. From Brookings to Gold Beach, there are rocky shorelines, natural bridges, and dramatic scenery.


I hope you always have a shell in your pocket and sand in your shoes ~ Unknown

We decided to stop and beachcomb at the beautiful Miller Creek Beach. This little one is definitely a toes-in-the-sand kind of girl ~ I think she may also have saltwater in her veins.


Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly ~ Van Morrison

Why waste hours on the internet, playing video games, or watching YouTube when adventure and exploration awaits on a barely touched coastline. This is how kids should spend their time (and Grandma’s, too).


Not all treasure is silver and gold ~ Unknown

The kids spotted crab bodies and pieces of sand dollars as we walked the length of the shore.  It is a blessing to be able to share these times with my grandchildren ~ I hope they always remember our travels together.


One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure ~ William Feather

The viewpoint to the Natural Bridge is a 30-second walk from the parking area. A steep trail leads down to the arch. The kids wanted to try it, but we turned around after the grandson (in flip-flops) nearly slipped off the side. The trail is narrow and steep. Photo tip: opt for the morning to avoid the sun in your lens.


B.E.A.C.H = Best escape anyone can have ~ Unknown

Our last stop for the day, the rocky and beautiful Harris Beach. Sadly, there was a water advisory in effect due to a bacteria spill. That didn’t stop some families from allowing their children to play in the water. Gross. It’s human waste people.


I “whale” always love the time we spent together ~ Grandma Sandra

The spill didn’t stop us from having fun and enjoy our last dose of vitamin sea. With rock formations galore, we spent our time scrambling, climbing, faux whale watching and being in awe of Mother Nature.

Next, the end of the trip. Join me for a morning hike on the Oregon Redwood Trail and breakfast with the family at the famous, Samoa Cookhouse in Eureka, California.

Finding a Better Connection

There is no WiFi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection ~ Anonymous


Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time ~ Unknown

Our next stop was a cabin at Loeb State Park, located 8-miles outside the seaside town of Brookings, Oregon. This one-room cutie came with lights, electricity, heat, and rustic furniture. And the best part? All cabins sit above the Chetco River, which is a minute walk from the porch.


Think outside, no box required

The lazy, Chetco River is perfect for playing in and is easily accessible from anywhere in the campground.  We spotted kayaks, tubers, swimmers, and fishermen, all enjoying their time outdoors.

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In order to see birds, it is necessary to become part of the silence ~ Robert Lynd

Egrets, blue herons, and cormorants……oh my! With the coast being nearby, we were visited daily by a variety of seabirds.


Wander often, wander always ~ unknown

No TV, no internet, just good old-fashioned exploring. What did we do when we got bored? Who could get listless exploring an untamed river, a redwood trail, or the rocky coast of Oregon. Not me, nor my grandkids.

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Every journey begins with a single hop ~ Kermit the Frog

While my granddaughter spotted frogs in the river, our cabin-neighbor caught a Newt and let the kids hold it. We had the nicest neighbors in both campgrounds. Folks were so friendly, taking the time to say “hi” and converse. Reminded me so much of camping as a kid, when folks were friendly and not so disconnected.


You can’t be unhappy in the middle of a big, beautiful river ~ Jim Harrison

For me, the temperatures were wonderful and I enjoyed being away from the desert heat. Eighty degrees during the day and fifties at night. Mornings were cool with coastal fog, burning off and becoming warm enough for a dip in the river by the afternoon.


Take a walk in the forest and smell the wild air ~ unknown

 I am thoroughly enjoying my time in the cooler, Pacific Northwest, especially time spent exploring and connecting with my grandchildren.

Next up, we do some day-tripping up the Oregon Coast, stopping at Miller Creek State Park, a natural bridge, and Harris Beach for some beach-combing.  Stay tuned!


The Sweet, Simple Things of Life

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder


She may have a wild soul, but she’s a lover of simple things and quiet places ~ Ehixojie

After picking up the granddaughter, we began our trip at the Valley of the Rogue State Campground, in Gold Hill, Oregon. The wild, Rogue River runs alongside the campground, along with thorny bushes of blackberries ready for picking!


That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest ~ Thoreau

Instead of a tent, we chose to stay in a yurt. The yurt is furnished, has lights and electricity, and costs just a little more than the tent site. Bathrooms and showers were just a few feet away. It was fun and I’d definitely stay in one again!


Delight in simple things, and mirth that has no bitter springs ~ Rudyard Kipling

It was blackberry season and with Southern Oregon burning and smokey, we spent the day at the campground, wandering along the Rogue picking berries. The kids wasted away the afternoon running from thorny bush to bush trying to find the sweetest fruit.


Sometimes, the simple things are more fun and meaningful than all the banquets in the world ~ E A Buchianeri

We also came upon a wild plum-tree and added these delicious, purple treats to our days bounty. Guess what’s for dessert tonight?


There is beauty in simplicity……..

The camp ranger mentioned that folks could live off the land in this area. Although they were not ready yet, our third edible find for the day was wild grapes…..and when the season is right, if you bring a fishing pole you can catch salmon or trout.


It’s the little things in life………

We didn’t do as much exploring of the area as we normally do, but I hope my grandchildren will always remember the little things we did do: berry picking, river splashing and spending a few nights playing board games in a funny tent-like structure called a Yurt!

What if You Fly?

There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, “What if I fall?” ~ Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? ~ Erin Hansen


If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads ~ Anatole France

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend time tent camping on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Although the North Rim is not as popular (due to logistics), I found it just as beautiful (or maybe even a little more so) than the South-side.


Can you imagine sitting here, sipping your coffee, watching the sunrise (or set) over the canyon?

The Transept Trail is a three-mile, round trip, hike that follows the rim to the Grand Canyon Lodge.  It is about a five-minute walk from our campground, unless you’re camped in the tent only or hiker spots. These premium spots border the rim.


I love views that make me realize most of my problems aren’t that big of a deal ~ A. Gucciardi

The trail alternated from canyon edge to shady woodlands, filled with ponderosa pines and quaking aspens.  The trail offered many tree-framed niches, peek-a-boos, and open cliff areas allowing walking access to the rim.


A change of scenery can help everything ~ Drew Pomeranz

After reaching the lodge, if you continue another .5 miles, you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the canyon at Bright Angel Point.  If you squint really hard, you might see the North Kaibab trail (not in the photo) from the point. The North Kaibab trail takes you down to the canyon floor ~ something I hope to do one day.


Imagine, serenely rocking on the front porch and enjoying the view

If tent camping is not for you, cabins and rooms are available at the Grand Canyon Lodge, North Rim. I will have to admit, as an older person, tent camping at 8000 ft. plus, is a little difficult.  I was quite envious of the cabin lodgers, especially those who faced the canyon rim.

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Kaibab Squirrel

I was happy to run into this little fellow before we left. The Kaibab squirrel is only found in the forests of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Kaibab National Forest. No where else in the world.


Vermilion Cliffs

Heading home, we passed by the beautiful Vermilion Cliffs. Unfortunately, we had to admire them from a distance, but this orange-red national monument is on my bucket list for further exploration. I would love to hike “the wave” one day.


The poetry of earth is never dead ~ John Keats

Just had to stop and appreciate this gorgeous view from the Navajo Bridge of the Colorado River flowing through Marble Canyon. When I think of the South West, scenery such as this comes to mind.

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Not all those who wander are lost ~ Tolkien

Although this trip has ended, we happy wanderers have one more to go before bringing the grandson home. Thankfully, lodging on our next journey includes a yurt and cabin (woo-hoo, no tent!) and we will be joined by another grandchild.

Stay tuned for our Oregon trip. Hope you enjoyed!