The Historic Railroad Trail ~ Lake Mead, Nevada

We are not makers of history. We are made by history ~ Martin Luther King

In 1930, 30-miles of railroad track was built connecting Boulder City, NV to the outskirts of Hoover Dam.  In the 80’s, the tunnels and pathway were nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and in 2015 it was designated as a National Historic Trail.

DSCN7244

Pair of boots and a sack of clothes…..free and easy down the road I go ~ Dierks Bentley

Keeping with my desire to “experience” my birthday, I was treated to dinner and a nights stay at the Hoover Dam Lodge. Of course my real motivation was an early morning stroll on the historic railroad trail,  which was accessible below our hotel.

DSCN7389

Make your heart like a lake, with a calm, still surface, and great depths of kindness ~ Lao Tzu

I set out early, hoping to complete the 7.4 mile round trip walk before check out time. The trail is easy with a beautiful view of Lake Mead. Don’t be discourage about the mileage; with cool October temperatures and a flat trail, it’s do-able.

DSCN7314

Let my steps stay on your tracks so my feet will not stumble ~ Psalms  17:5

There are five tunnels along the trail, approximately 300 ft. in length and 25 ft in diameter. The trails signage notes that they can be home to bats, but I was spared a visit.

DSCN7312

Every exit is an entrance somewhere else. ~ Anonymous

Here’s a clearer inside view of one of the tunnels; it was so cool to walk through them and experience this bit of history.

DSCN7271

Happiness is a simple walk along a lake ~ Anonymous

My goal was to make it to the dam, but after walking for 3.5 miles, I discovered the trail lead to a parking spot. Not once, from the trail or the highway, did I get a glimpse of the Hoover Dam.

DSCN7359.JPG

Life is a journey worth traveling ~ Anonymous

With an 11:00 a.m. check out, this was end of the road for me. Don’t believe the signs that say “your almost there” ~ you’re almost to the visitor parking lot, not the dam.

DSCN7347.JPG

Don’t believe everything you read!

If you’re interested in touring the Hoover Dam, I suggest you drive your car to the facility. Well, it looks like if I want to explore Hoover Dam in depth, I will need to return. With time on my side and the comfortable fall weather, I’m up for a return trip.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Drive all Night

“well I, swear I’ll drive all night again, just to buy you some shoes…” ~ Bruce Springsteen

I grew up in the era of Springsteen, but I don’t remember ever hearing this song. It’s melody and mood caught my attention this morning as I was driving home from my early morning walk. Although it’s more of a love song, I took a little different take on it.

The line about shoes made me laugh, because living in a small town, there’s not many choices for much of anything, hiking shoes included. I’m in need of a good pair of hiking shoes/boots and the closest REI is in Henderson, Nevada, two hours away.

A few month’s ago, I  took a chance and purchased a pair of Merrell Moab Ventilator’s online.  Big mistake for a large-footed woman, who should really be fitted in person. My second oversight was not to read the return policy before testing the boots outdoors. Wearing the boots outside, even once, rendered them used and non-returnable. Darn.

DSCN7165.JPG

If anyone is interested in a pair of women’s, size 11, Moab Ventilator’s, gently worn once, let me know.  You can have them for free, but will need to pay for the shipping costs.  If you normally wear a 10 or 10.5 shoe, they should fit.

DSCN7166.JPG

As for me, it looks like I may have to drive all night, or at least a few hundred miles, just to buy me some shoes. Sigh….

 

 

Cathedrals of Time ~ Sunset Crater & Wupatki Nat.l Monuments, Arizona

“Ruins are the cathedrals of time” ~ Marty Rubin

Winding up our summer travels with the grandson, we set out for one last hurrah to Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monument before returning him to his Mama in California.  We originally planned to RV in Sedona, but 25 miles out, our A/C failed. Naturally, with triple-digit weather, we returned home and made plans to visit Flagstaff.

DSCN6941.JPG

Advice from a volcano and a Grandma: go with the flow and have a blast!

 

Sunset Crater Volcano was decreed a National Monument in 1930 by President Hoover after a Hollywood film company planned to detonate explosives on it exterior for a movie. Thank goodness for public outcry and a concerned president for saving this beautiful, historical and interesting land.

DSCN6954.JPG

Each time a volcano erupts, life begins anew ~ NPS

Sunset Crater is located just outside of Flagstaff and is the youngest in a string of volcanoes related to the nearby San Francisco Peaks.  I’ve passed the exit for this monument many times during my I-40 travel and never thought to stop and visit.  

DSCN6978.JPG

Exploring the 1-mile Lava Flow trail

Due to severe erosion from past volcano-climbing visitors, you can no longer climb to the top of Sunset crater, but you can climb the nearby Lenox Crater and Doney Mountain cinder cones. We considered the 1-mile Lenox Crater trail, but with extreme humidity and a steep ascent, we opted to explore the 1-mile Lava Flow Trail instead.

DSCN7005.JPG

The grandson checking out a hornito, or spatter cone alongside the trail.

Spatter cones are one of the main types of volcanic type landforms and are made from lava that was ejected from a vent [worldlandforms.com]. Don’t I sound scientific, ha, ha! We just thought it was cool.

DSCN7012.JPG

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell

Oh, darn, access denied! At one time this ice cave could be visited, but it closed after a partial collapse of the lava tube. I’m discovering Sunset Crater National Monument is quite interesting and educational.

DSCN7034.JPG

“Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure” ~ Rumi

Keep driving the 35-mile dual park loop and you will reach Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki is abundant with ancient dwellings dating back to the 1100s, including the above Wukoki Pueblo.

DSCN7050.JPG

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens” ~ Carl Jung

Surprisingly, you are allowed to walk upon the ruins. The short door ways are more for protection and don’t depict the occupants height.  For me personally, these are the largest and most well-preserved relics that I’ve ever visited. I’m so impressed with this park!

DSCN7075.JPG

“A storm was coming, but that’s not what she felt. It was adventure on the wind and it shivered down her spine.” ~ Atticus

The day turned stormy and humid; but the thunder and lightning did not deter us from continuing our travels. While the hubby opted to stay in the car, the grandson and I had no qualms about getting wet or dodging the lightening ~ it was an adventure on the wind.

DSCN7083.JPG

Wupatki Pueblo

The park was named after this antiquity, the Wupatki Pueblo. Thought to have housed over 100 people, these remains are one of the larger villages dotting the parks massive landscape. The Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo are descendants of the original dwellers.

DSCN7130.JPG

“Modesty is the citadel of beauty” ~ Demades

Atop the Citadel Pueblo. The lightening was getting a little too close, so the grandson headed back to the car. If you take the time to look,  you can see an array of pueblos in the distance from the Citadel.

DSCN7123.JPG

The landscape in the park is so diverse; we walked through pine trees at Sunset Crater, then desert at Wupatki.  In the distance are San Francisco Peaks, which are on my must explore list.

DSCN7136.JPG

Regrettably, I ran out of battery prior to arriving at the Lomaki Pueblo and left my spare at home.  Lomaki has a .5-mile walking path that leads to multiple dwellings sitting above a dry box canyon. It’s desolate, but I really got a feeling of community here.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

I truly underestimated the wow-factor of Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument.  Many times we bypass those little brown signs on the side of the freeway directing us to the lesser-known monuments or historical places of interest for the more renowned national parks. If you’re ever in the Flagstaff, AZ area, stop and check out these monuments, it is worth your time.

Something of Marvelous…….

In all things of nature there is something of marvelous ~ Aristotle

A road trip wouldn’t be complete without a few snapshots of the countryside. I’m more of a passenger, than a driver and I’m always on the look out to capture mother nature’s “something marvelous.” Hope you enjoy the photos.

DSCN6635.JPG

The guard tower at Manzanar  WWII Relocation Center

DSCN6641.JPG

Some colorful hills off a scenic byway

DSCN6659.JPG

Tufa’s from afar ~ Mono Lake

DSCN6660 (2)

The eerie waters of Mono Lake, Highway 395

DSCN6712.JPG

Somewhere on Hwy 395 near Bridgeport, CA

DSCN6702.JPG

Mt. Shasta from the back roads, Highway 89

DSCN6886 (2).JPG

California’s golden hills, Interstate-5

DSCN6927.JPG

Coming home to monsoon skies

 

The Best Things in Life…….

The bests things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and the memories we’ve made along the way ~ Anonymous

DSCN6690.JPG

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing.” ~ John Muir

As a kid, I had so much fun spending time outdoors with my family – traveling, camping, and hiking. I hope my grandson will look back on this time with fondness and remember hearing the waterfall sing.

Gator.jpg

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experiences. ~ Paulo Coelho

Spending the day at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point, OR. The kids loved holding the gator……my daughter looks a little worried. My brave babies.

DSCN6748.JPG

“Rivers know this:  There is no hurry. We shall get there some day” ~ A.A. Milne

We were on our way to the coast and stopped for lunch and a dip in the Smith River at Jedediah Smith State Park. Kids are like rivers….they’re in no hurry.

DSCN6790.JPG

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

Letting their spirits fly……dodging the waves in Brookings, Oregon. Remember when kids didn’t need anything but nature and a few friends to have the best time? Good times.

DSCN6808 (2).JPG

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

My youngest grandson experiencing the ocean for the first time ~ he was so fascinated with chasing the waves and playing in the sand. In nature, life can be so sweet and simple.

DSCN6827.JPG

“It’s a party. It’s a celebration of another year of life..” ~ Kim Etheredge

Celebrating my youngest grandsons 3rd birthday with Mama, Big Sister, and cousins. That blonde hair and baby blues sure run in the family. Who needs Chuck E. Cheese when you can spend the day at the park with family.

DSCN6857.JPG

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard….” ~ Winnie-the-Pooh 

It had been two and a half years since I saw my girl and grand-kids; I’m so grateful to have the means to spend time with them. Although, I love exploring nature and experiencing the beauty of the outdoors….. nothing can take the place of spending time with my family. It was hard to say goodbye.

Goodbyes are not forever ~ Goodbyes are not the end ~ They simply mean I’ll miss you ~ Until we meet again ~ Anonymous

 

On the Road Again….(Yay!)

On the road again…..going places that I’ve never been……seeing things that I may never see again….and I can’t wait to get on the road again ~ Willie Nelson

DSCN6321.JPG

Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway………

We’ll be hitting the highway this Sunday heading out to see my youngest daughter and two grand-babies in the cool, green, Pacific Northwest. With temperatures today rising to 120 degrees, I will be more than happy to return to living out of a suitcase.

We’re bypassing our usual route up central California, and driving by way of Highway 395.  We’re stopping to see the hubby’s uncle in Bridgeport, CA and then his sister in Reno, NV.

Seeing family is one of the bonuses of traveling, so we always make an effort to stop by and say hello.  You never know what tomorrow holds, or if you will see someone again, so make the time to see people….even if it’s for just and hour or two. Life truly is short, you know.

Coming Home…..Last Stop, Kolob Canyon

It’s a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize whats changed is you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

DSCN6470.JPG

Driving through a secondary fire on I-15 outside of Beaver, Utah

All good things must come to an end……or so they say.  For our last hurrah, we wanted to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, a smaller version of Bryce Canyon, but the Brian’s Head fire foiled our plans.

DSCN6493

Billowing smoke from the Brian’s Head Fire, Utah.

It’s said that the fire was started by a resident burning weeds around his cabin. I was considering purchasing a weed burner for my yard, but, after what happened to this gentleman, I think I’ll pass. Weeds, winds, hot temps and fire just don’t mix.

DSCN6583

A smoky view of Kolob Canyon

With our original plans hindered, we decided to visit Kolob Canyon instead.  The canyon is located at the tip of Zion National Park and accessed via exit 40 on the I-15. There is a lovely scenic drive and multi-level trails for day hiking.

DSCN6536

Timber Creek Trail

 

We chose the easier Timber Creek Trail to the Finger Canyon’s Overlook considering the poor air quality in the area. Like most canyons its uphill, but the view is beautiful.

DSCN6542.JPG

The Grandson at the overlook

 

We ran into some pesky biting insects throughout the trail. My grandson managed a smile before making a break for a bug-free zone. Where is that bottle of “Off” when you need it!

DSCN6599

Virgin River Gorge, I-15 AZ

Well, we are home now but I’m already packing for my next trip.  In nine days we’ll be hitting the road to Oregon to see my youngest daughter and grand-kids.  As Mr. Fitzgerald said, coming home may look, smell, and feel the same…..but in exploring our beautiful world, I realized I’ve changed.