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.


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!

Being Present in the Wild Kingdom

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment. Fully alive, fully aware ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately, I’ve been leaving my camera at home on local hikes.  Honestly, I haven’t been inspired enough to bring it along.  Same trail, same view.  On the contrary, hiking without the camera allows me to be present, in the moment, and fully aware of my surroundings. Maybe that’s why this week I’ve stumbled across my own version of the wild kingdom.


Something told me to take the Blue Trail today and bypass the Green until the cove. My knee and hip have been hurting (yes, I’m old) and I wanted to avoid steep climbs. Good thing, because the trail was occupied by a family of Javelinas ~ Two adults, a mama, and two babies! Amazed, I stopped and watched them until they disappeared over the ridge.


After reaching the cove,  I decided to soak my feet in the river and rest a bit. The cove has a BLM camp site with a picnic table and restroom ~ It’s a great spot to sit and re-charge. Looking up at the cliff above, I spotted a few Desert Bighorn Sheep checking me out.  This is the second time this week I’ve run into Bighorn Sheep ~ apparently they like hiking in the cooler weather, too!


Tired, I headed back to the trailhead via the Blue then Yellow Trail. The Yellow Trail runs through a wash with high rock walls on both sides. As I stopped in the shade for a quick drink and rest, my eyes focused on a little Chuckwalla blending into a little niche in the wall.


Hiking this week, fully present of my surroundings, I was fortunate to catch sight of quite a few wild creatures. Two weeks ago, I shared space with a bobcat in the cactus garden at the state park. Of course, in each circumstance I was without camera.

And maybe that’s why I was gifted a peek into their world….it was a reminder to stop being so preoccupied and to awaken and just be present.

It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses ~ Charles de Lint


Note: All photos are from MS Word online clip art.


Urge for Going

“She’s got the urge for going, So I guess she’ll have to go…”  – Joni Mitchell

I heard this beautiful melody on the radio recently, and although inspired by wintertime, I found it quite relevant to my migratory nature and love of wandering. Here’s a link if you’d like to listen.

Thanks to the Adventure group I joined, I discovered a wonderful new place to get “going.”  Cattail Cove State Park is located between Havasu and Parker, Arizona, and offers some nice hiking trails.


Whyte’s Retreat Trail

The one and half mile Whyte’s Retreat trail follows the Colorado River shoreline winding in and out of coves and ending at the BLM campsite of the same name. Gorgeous!


Wayne’s Way with the state park in the distance

The more strenuous Wayne’s Way and Ted’s trail lead up and down through desert hills and shallow gorges. A section of Ted’s trail runs through a wash with bluffs on both sides and includes a few dry “waterfalls” to scale.


Grow where you are planted

I’m always surprised what can grow in areas where climates and conditions are harsh. So wherever you are today, adapt, grow and bloom where you are planted.


Arch Rock Loop Trail @ SARA Park

“I dressed and went for a walk – determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”-   Raymond Carver, This Morning

After spending Saturday afternoon reading Claire Miller’s, “Mile 445: Hitched in Her Hiking Boots,” I got an itch Sunday morning to don my boots and stretch my legs on the Arch Rock Loop Trail in SARA Park.

With temperatures in the 40’s and winds light, conditions were perfect for the uphill climb to the arch. I had one worry, the path to the arch is what I call a goat trail – a narrow, arduous footpath fit more for a mountain goat, not a sometimes wobbly grandma.


From this trail, you descend down into the wash (not shown) and  back up the Arch Trail

Determined to see the arch, I cautiously moved each foot forward, placing each shoe in a previous hikers imprint.  As I walked, all I could think about was having to go back down. The thought of descending the trail through loose rocks and rubble caused a little concern.


Checking out the arch

With the arch all to myself, I rested for a while appreciating nature and it’s wonders. I wasn’t interested in tackling the trail back yet, so I headed off on a side path and enjoyed the solitude of walking the desert terrain.

By the time I decided to double back, the winds kicked up making the descent quite frightening. I was so thankful for someone else’s foot prints guiding the way down and keeping me from sliding. Following one strong wind gust, I finally threw my pride to the side and shimmied down on my bottom.

After taking in what nature had to offer, all I can say is one time on the Arch Trail is enough for this grandma.


Serendipity (n.) – luck that takes the form of finding pleasant things that are not looked for.


I was on my way out of the house a few days ago, when I happened to see this beauty nibbling my Lantana bush.  What makes this event so serendipitous is that the butterfly waited for me to run back into the house and grab my camera, waiting for its close up.

This weekend, I returned to the Hualapai Mountains to take advantage of the trail system and cooler weather.  This morning, I decided to hike down to the Silver Bell Mine. The path was not clearly marked and I  found myself off trail a few times, ready to give up.

I was debating on turning back, when  I was pleasantly “directed” to a little chipmunk sitting dead-on the path. Could this be another example of serendipity?  I continued my hike and stumbled across a small herd of elk – two cows and a bull with very large antlers. My morning was full of surprises.

I never made it to the mine, the elk blocked the path so I returned to the cabin. They’re beautiful creatures, but I’ll admire them from a distance, thank you. If they approach me, I’m out of there!

Sometimes what you’re looking for, comes when you’re not looking at all.” – unknown.

Tillamook, Yachats, and the Oregon Coast

We said our goodbyes and left Sandy bound for the coast and a little town called Tillamook.  A cheese fan, I had my hopes on touring the plant and sampling the goods, but I’m not a fan of big crowds, so we ordered up ice cream (Huckleberry, of course) and moved on to the Tillamook Air Museum.

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The museum is small and really not worth the entrance fee, but we enjoyed seeing the old planes and WWII posters.  After touring the air museum, we continued on Highway 101 along the Oregon coast to Yachats and an overnight stay at the Fireside Motel.

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The Fireside is an older hotel with great rooms, plenty of amenities, and million-dollar views.  After sampling fresh fish at a local restaurant, the hub and I sat on the balcony and watched the sun set.  We retired to the room afterward to a toasty fire and the sounds of the crashing waves. Heaven!

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The Oregon Coast trail passes in front of the hotel.  I’m an early riser, so I set off on the trail passing huckleberries and blackberries until reaching an outlet to the beach. I spotted green sea anemone’s clustered in tide pools and got creeped-out by the clacking of the mussels and other shell-fish.  It’s an odd sound.

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I hurried back to the hotel with only 30 minutes to pack.  Next, we’re off to Medford for one last hug from the daughter and granddaughter before heading home tomorrow.  The hub decided he’d drive straight through since we have no interest in stopping in California’s heartland. I’ve seen enough agriculture to last a life time.

I’m sorry to see this trip end, Oregon is a beautiful state with plenty to do, but I look forward to planning my next excursion. Where to go next–any suggestions? Happy trails!