Posts Tagged ‘hiking’

Grand Canyon Travel Advisory!

June 7, 2013

grand canyon

Yes, I’m here as your valued travel adviser having returned from the grandest of canyons a mere three hours past.  Here are my Top Eleven-and-a-half Suggestions for visiting the Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona (brought to you by Hershey’s smooth milk chocolate bars):

11.  Hold onto small children around the rim.  There are not railings everywhere…. I mean, come on… it’s 277 miles long on EACH side.  Safety first, people.  The guide told us that 12 people die each year from falling in.  WHAT?  Yep.

10.  Take your camera.  This may seem like a DUH!, but I didn’t have one with me as ours landed on the ground too many times.  My friend brought hers and hopefully she will share her pictures!

9.  Engage those around you.  We met delightful people from Utah, South Africa, Maine, Germany, Pennsylvania, South Korea, South Carolina, India, China and even California!  There were plenty of elderly folks who love to chat.  They asked to see our paintings, asked to take a picture of my drawings, asked if all these kids were mine and visited about lovely information of their experiences from their homelands.

8.  Stay until sunset at least once.  The colors are unbelievable, incomprehensible, and awesome!

7.  Plan an extra hour for every event you want to attend if you are taking the free shuttles.  Yes, they are free.  No gimmicks.  The only place in the USA where FREE isn’t a catch word for “sucker”. Thank you, U.S. Government, for providing free shuttles in the park.  At the beginning of the week, I thought the bus drivers were grouchy and mean.  After four days of witnessing what they go through with wild American kids that can’t sit in a seat for the love of God, and ALL the lovely foreigners who just needed more help with the maps, the schedules, the standing-in-the-white-space-by-the-door law, the back door and front door loading and unloading rules, the no eating and no drinking rules and the back-away-from-the-curb-when-bus-is-approaching guideline….. I realized I would probably be grouchy too, or supremely sarcastic, which is usually over foreigners’ heads and would cause MORE confusion.

6.  Go inside Kolb’s Studio.  Downstairs they still play the original moving pictures that the Kolb Brothers showed to visitors in the 1930s.  The artwork in the studio is outstanding!  Well worth the time, it’s air conditioned and the historic photos are the BEST of these two renegades, even at the age of 93!

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5 1/2.  Drive all the way to Desert View Point and climb the smelly tower all the way to the top.  The views of the Colorado are supreme.

desert view tower

5.  Bring your own food from home.  And solid blocks of ice, if you are camping.  Prices inside the park are astronomical….. seriously from outer space. A 2 litre pop was almost $4.  If you are coming from Northern Alberta, that is a reasonable price, I understand.  But you can go to Walmart in Flagstaff and fill up on 2l pop for $.99 each on your way.  One trip I purchased 1 bag of charcoal, 2 bags of ice, a lemonade, a greeting card and 2 packs of gum….. guess how much….. go ahead….. guess…… higher…… higher….. yes, $30.26.

4.  Camp!  Ok, I know you hotel-cushies just rolled your eyes and I lost ya, but seriously, to stay at least four days and not spend your children’s college funds, camping is the way to go.  You will never forget the stars in the night sky!!!  Amazing!  No bugs.  Hot showers.  Or rent an RV and use the microwave.  Be somewhat cushy.  The camp sites are only $18 per night.  The CHEAPEST room in a lodge on the rim is $169 per night/low season/2 people.  Or stay at a motel outside the park and use the free shuttle every day.

3.  Carry your own lunch.  This is from experience, people.  Take responsibility and pack in your own food.  Mine “accidentally” got set down at a shuttle stop somewhere… and I had to beg for 1/2 sandwiches from my sons.  Some lucky soul is now carrying a bright yellow lunch sack with Linda Crosby written across the bottom.  If you see him/her, please tell them you read my blog.  It looks exactly like this:

yellow lunch sack

2.  Plan at least 4 – 5 days to see everything.  There is SO MUCH to see!  We stayed five days and I still didn’t get to tour the insides of the historical buildings or hike down a bit of Bright Angel trail (you know, just to say “Yeah, I’ve hiked Bright Angel.”)

and the NUMBER ONE Suggestion for visiting the Grand Canyon is….. (drum roll, please)…. WEAR SUNSCREEN!  Learn from my mistakes, people.  And take it from me, if you think your facial make-up has sunscreen, you may be fooling yourself.  Mine used to… and stopped including it without my knowledge…. and my face got toasty roasty… but not as bad as my red v-neck burn.  Say no to skin cancer and wear sunscreen…. waterproof sunscreen, because you will sweat.

Spring Break #1, 2012

March 31, 2012

I love homeschooling.  I think I’ve mentioned that here before.  I love it for several reasons…. one of them being the freedom to make and follow (or not) your own schedule.  So, way back in August when our co-op moms were deciding on Spring Break, we picked the first week of April.  That sounded good to all of us.  Done.  Bam.  Then last week we got a call from my husband’s brother asking if we wanted a week of company for their Spring Break.  SURE!  So today wrapped up Spring Break #1.

Next week starts Spring Break #2, only because it was already on the schedule and we don’t have to go to class on Wednesday as per usual.  The Crosby’s will be doing school work, but it will be a tad relaxed.  And everybody said…. AMEN! 

Spring Break #3 will be later in April, when our son has a cycling race in Monterey.  We don’t plan to bring any school work on that trip either.  I did alert the pupils that the same amount of math, history and English will need to be done by the end of Spring Break #3….  in order to keep the water flowing in the primed schoolwork pump. 

See why I love homeschooling?  Here is a photo tribute to spring Break #1, 2012.

Street Hockey Championship in the cul-de-sac.

The Metate Trail in the Spur Cross Recreational Area…. HUGE saguaros!

What would a hike be without some planking?

And to finish off hike #1…. some ruins. 

Spring Break #1, Hike #2 at Black Canyon Recreation Trail

The cacti are just beginning to bloom their AMAZING blossoms.

And we discovered there was a river at the bottom of the trial….. that we didn’t plan on… in time, water or food… so we will return to this hike someday when we are prepared.

Goodbye Spring Break #1.  Hello Spring Break #2!  (I love homeschooling.)

I love Little Kids

January 15, 2012

Luke, our nephew, came for a hike with us last weekend.  I am SO entertained by the sayings that come out of his little 7-year-old mouth!  This was a hike on a preserve where there are also mountain bike riders as well as people on horseback pounding the trails with us pedestrians.  Nora and Luke were hiking a bit ahead of my husband and I, when we noticed that they stopped and were analyzing something on the trail that lay between them.  As we approached, we saw the it was horse poop.  I asked, “What in the world is that?”  Luke answered right away, “It’s poop from a cow.”  We have never seen cows on the hills behind our house!  Ever!  And we’ve seen the horses getting in and out of their trailers at the trail head.  It made me laugh.  Obviously a city-fied boy…. once you’ve seen a cow pie, you could hardly mistake them for horse droppings!

A half hour later, we had come to a T in the path and turned west, having never gone that way previously.  My husband suggested that we take a picture of the trail map (from the trail head) when we get back so we could figure out where we had hiked.  I remarked that the trails are probably on a state website and we could just look them up on the computer.  Luke chimed in stating the obvious that I had obviously missed, “Auntie Linda, there aren’t any computers out here!”  As if to say DUH!

Last year when Luke was in kindergarten, every time I saw him I would ask him if he went to school that day (even on holidays and weekends.)  Did his teacher show up?  Did she teach him anything he didn’t already know?  And I tried with great effort to get him to raise his hand in class and ask, “When are you going to teach me something I don’t already know.”  I coached him.  I prodded.  I modeled. But he never asked.  Smart kid.

Tahoe Day 8: Hiking

June 16, 2010

Fallen Leaf Lake, just east of Emerald Bay, has a flat and easily hiked trail that leads from campsite 78 to the lake.  It wasn’t until 4:00 pm that we arrived… it was a bit further than it looked on the map.  Personally, I don’t think the map was drawn by anyone who understands perspective or proportions.  Anyway, despite the 45 minute drive, the scenery was spectacular.

There were two paths that diverged in the woods from which to choose, and yes, we quoted the Robert Frost poem.  Being a lover of safety rules and caution, we took the one most traveled… AND marked with orange and blue plastic streamers so we couldn’t get lost unless we really tried.

No matter where we go, or what we do together, there is always much laughter and frivolity… especially with these three giggly girls. Can you guess which one is a forest ranger?

With seven kids between our two families, we do much switching and swapping of children when traveling together.  We had the boys the first half of the day and then Austin moved to the other car, or so I thought.  The last time I saw him, he was heading to the bathroom (term used lightly) at the Fallen Leaf campground with his father.  I only witnessed his father’s return, but was informed the my eldest son did indeed trade vehicles.  Forty-five minutes later, we are in the Safeway parking lot in Tahoe City and I watch the other car drive by and I don’t see Austin.  As any good mother, I was sure that we had left him back at the campground.  I texted my friend to ask if they had Austin.  It didn’t go through.  Patiently I sat in the van awaiting my husband’s return from the grocery store…. to inform him that we are horrible, no good, very bad parents and left our 13-year-old son FORTY-FIVE miles back, and didn’t notice until now.  Then Austin came out of the store with his dad and all was well.  I’m still an OK mom, who has only left one child one time in the McDonald’s playland… but that was YEARS ago.  Don’t judge me.  It’s not like I drove away.  A kind lady came out of Micky D’s holding his 2-year-old hand and asking if he was mine.  I said yes, and tried to convince her that I would have figured it out when I did up all the car seats.  See!  Only once in 16.5 years.

I’m Not Pushing Up Daisies

January 30, 2010

In case you thought I ran off and died, or something, I didn’t.  I’m not dead.  It is simply NEVER a dull moment around here… not that it needs to be dull to blog… but seriously, I blinked and eight days flew by. 

Nothing out of the ordinary, other than my brave, strong and sore husband hiked the Grand Canyon last weekend…. in rain and sleet and even snow.  C-R-A-Z-Y… totally.  A clue to the weather conditions may have been the closed highway leading to the canyon… but NOOOOOOOOOO!  The 17 C-R-A-Z-Y men found an alternative route and kept right on going.  Instead of a leisurely three and a half hour drive it was EIGHT hours. Yes, the following photos were all taken in Arizona. 

(photo courtesy of Barnabas Moses… who also didn’t put in his deposit for next year.)

After the delayed drive, the need arose to take the FAST five mile trail to the bottom, to beat sundown.  As if hiking the Grand Canyon in rain and sleet and even snow wasn’t bad enough….. imagine it in the dark!  It continued to snow the entire next day while the men rested at Phantom Ranch… and the next day as well…. providing fun five foot tall snowdrifts across the trail on the way out… that could only be passed on their hands and knees.  But I digress.

(photo courtesy of Andy Leebrick… not sure if he put in his deposit.)  Notice the bottom left corner for more hikers on the switchback trail.  I think Rick is the mostly blue person in the number four spot… but I’m not sure.

Rick is back home.  He’s mostly fine, but he did walk funny for a few painfully slow days.  He did not put his deposit in to hold his spot next year.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  He said it was the hardest thing he’s ever done in his life.  Hence, the tight-fisted deposit money still in his tightfist.

Cactus in snow is just wrong.  Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

P.S.  I’ll have pictures SOON of Zaza’s tea table and chairs!!!!  I’ve been a busy bee painting them!

THE Hike

March 18, 2009

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Yesterday we hiked West Fork Trail 108 in Sedona.  It is past Slide Rock, for those who know the area.  It is a four mile hike that crosses Oak Creek seven times…. on rocks, logs, mud patches and twigs.  Twigs were my personal favorite. Well, it’s actually 14 crossings if you count in and out.  Only one kid fell in from our group.  We did witness another kid fall in twice.  It’s not deep, just FRIGID!

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It was an absolutely beautiful day!  Sunny and breezy.  Perfect for hiking.

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There was an abandoned homestead on the way to the creek and this was their chicken coop.  Keeve thought it was a barber shop.  Not sure what’s up with that?  Oh, Larisa took all of these pictures.  I carried the sandwiches.

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The beauty God mixed together in this valley is sublime.  Red rock, green trees, blue sky, white snow…. yes, you read that correctly… SNOW.

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My niece, Whitney, came with us too.  We went with two other families, the Fooks and the Browns.  All together there were 3 moms and 11 kids ranging in age from 6 to 19?  Not sure about that last one.

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What a groovy day.  :o)