Sunday, July 27, 2014

Day 5: Mesa Verde

On Thursday we camped at Mesa Verde.  Our campsite felt like we were out in the middle of nowhere.

We even saw a few deer right behind our tent!

After we set up camp we hiked to Spruce Tree House, the most accessible cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde.

John waves from in front of a kiva, or ceremonial pit.  He's become quite the camera hog on this trip. :)

Anna and I

We got to climb down into one of the kivas.

After Spruce Tree House we drove to the highest point in the park, over 8,000 feet above sea level.

I am almost getting used to beautiful views, but this was amazing.  They say that you can see four states on clear days; as it was, we saw several different rain storms across the valley.

All our menfolks at Park Point
On Friday we toured the Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America.  The hike involved lots of steps and several ladders, so the little boys loved it. :)

The view of Cliff Palace was  definitely worth every step to get there!  We really enjoyed our ranger-guided tour of the cliff dwellings.  We had had concerns about safety--after all, it is a cliff dwelling--but it turned out to be very family friendly.

Our little cliff dweller, James

Mommy and Daddy...

...and the children

* * *
After Mesa Verde we climbed back into our home away from home--a.k.a. the van--and drove on to  southern Utah.  We had reservations at a campground near Arches National Park and we looked forward to some hiking and picture-taking.

Check back for pictures of a really fun hike and a hot campground!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Posing on the Corners

We lined up in age order to stand on the four corners.  Daddy gave us ten seconds each to get our picture; I'm not sure we were quite that fast, but it was close.  The people behind us probably had a good 110 second laugh!

As promised, here are the shots of what we did when it was our turn to be in four states at once:


Me (Delie)








Sweetest couple in the world! (I guess it wouldn't be authentic without all the little children running around.)

Lastly, our whole family got a photo together.  It was a fun experience!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 4: Four Corners

As Joy said, we spent a wonderful night at Wetherill Inn.  Those beds felt really good!  After a yummy breakfast buffet, we hit the road for Four Corners.

Daddy kept our place in line while we looked at the various vending booths.  The Navajo jewelry is beautiful.  George bought a handmade arrow.  
When it was our turn to stand on the corners, we each posed.  (We plan to do a separate post with those pictures.)
After that Daddy and Mommy treated us to Navajo fry bread (pictured below) made by one of the vendors.

It was delicious--better than a doughnut!  (Or was I just hungry?)

We are now safely at Mesa Verde National Park.  Can you believe we're actually staying where we planned to?  The view here is breathtaking. Almost everyone else is in the tent now and I have a bug crawling on the screen, so I guess I'd better go.
Posted by Delie

Day 3: The Grand Canyon

After discovering that you must have a reservation (or get there earlier than we did) at the Grand Canyon in order to camp there, we ended up camping in beautiful Kaibab National Forest.  I would highly recommend this campground to any family, except that there was no electricity or running water other than a pump.  However, we all loved our first night in the tent!

The next day we toured the south rim of the canyon.  The pictures below are in no particular order, as I am blogging from the iPad and don't really know what I am doing.  :)

We saw elk (above), deer, rabbits, lizards, and many birds.  George was so excited to see his first elk!


The Grand Canyon was so much better than I had expected!  The pictures of it are good, but they don't really do it justice; the canyon was just so deep and wide.  I guess that's why they call it the GRAND Canyon.

Got sunglasses?

Mommy and Daddy

Sweet William

After taking a short hike along the rim we drove on through the Navajo Nation.  We could not find a place to camp so we planned to stay in a hotel in Kayenta.

(Okay, typical trip story here: Kayenta only has three hotels--the trashy hotel, the chain hotel, and the interesting-looking hotel.  We passed the trashy hotel by; we tried the chain hotel, only to find that there was no room at the inn; and in desperation we tried the interesting one.  Lo and behold, there was one room left, so we took possession of it.  It was tight, but it was great.)

All of that was yesterday.  As I write, we are driving to Four Corners, and then we intend to camp at Mesa Verde, but judging from our success rate we may or may not find a campsite :)

Check back for more updates on our crazy western journey!

Posted by Joy

Day 2: Petrified National Forest

We rolled into the beautiful Painted Desert early on Tuesday morning.  We really wanted to be in the Petrified National Forest when they opened at seven, and to our surprise, we were actually on time!  But there was a hitch: the gates were still closed.  Oh well, we thought, they must be opening late this morning.  After waiting for a few minutes it hit us that we were in Arizona, where it was only six!  If you know us, you know that we're late to everything everywhere, so this was a major accomplishment. :)

We decided to eat breakfast in the parking lot while we waited for the gates to open.

A friendly hippie--I wish we had a picture of his van-- took our picture in front of the sign.  I guess we'll have to credit him for our Christmas picture this year!

Four of the best brothers in the world: James, Samuel, William, and Thomas
Taking in the view

Miles upon miles of no signs of civilization=breathtaking

We took a short hike (or run, for the little boys) along the edge of the cliff.

I love my beautiful sisters--and the background as well!

We took a hike through a "forest" of petrified wood, some of which was huge.  Delie took this picture of George next to this log for scale.

After spending five hours in the Petrified Forest (and wishing we could live there), we ate lunch at a cute diner on Route 66.  The restaurant was a family business and the food was delicious--and there was a lot of it!

Then it was on to Grand Canyon, where we planned to camp for the night.

Posted by Joy

Day 1: The Cowboy Museum and Ute Lake

We left home around 2:30 this morning and have driven in five different states since then.  Here's a brief recap of our first day:

We ate breakfast at a rest stop in OK that had tepees!  Really, that's so much more exciting than regular tables; couldn't TN come up with something creative like that...guitar-shaped tables or something along those lines.

Our first major destination was the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City. The boys had been looking forward to this for a while, and they weren't disappointed.  In fact, we all really enjoyed it. I hope to post pictures soon.

After the museum, we piled (or crammed) ourselves back into the van and drove through Oklahoma and Texas.  The scenery was beautiful!  I wanted to belt out How Great Thou Art at the top of my lungs, but I refrained, fearing that John (usually a good traveler) would awake and start belting something out at the top of his lungs.   And it would not be great.

God's creation is beautiful, isn't it?

Edit: It's 10:45 Mountain Time, and God's plan is different than ours.  We were rained (or blown, or lightning-ed) out after watching a beautiful sunset over the lake.  Now we are driving through the night (again) to make it to the Painted Desert by sunrise.  
All this to say, we are not at Ute Lake, we do not normally drive through the night, I do plan to post pictures in the near future (tomorrow?), and God's ways are not always ours.