It Was a Good Trip...

That lame sentence is how I summarized our recent trip to Arizona in an email to a friend. She wrote back, saying, “Well I wanted to hear more trip details than that is was good and from Paul I only heard about the hotel swimming pool.”

OK – Here’s a new attempt.

We had an eventful, educational, even exciting time in Arizona. At time it was stressful, and sleep was hard to find as we were in six different beds in nine days, always with a little boy between Tim and I. Still, it was mostly restful, as we were removed from so many of the routine responsibilities and had instead time to play together, hike, and explore God’s creation in a part of the country so totally different from our southern Indiana hills.

My daughters have posted many pictures with a bit of commentary, so if you want a visual tour, check out Kara’s (Aug. 18 and earlier) and Kristen’s blogs.

Here are a few highlights:

Hiking: Arizona most surprised me by having much more variety in topography than I imagined. Partly this is due to the changes in elevation that you can experience as you move from Phoenix to Sedona to Flagstaff. Sometimes you only need to travel a few miles for a dramatically different scene. We took early morning hikes in the desert, to red rock formations around Sedona, into canyons, partially up a mountain, and in creek beds in Oak Creek Canyon. July/August is “monsoon season” in Arizona, and it did rain frequently in the afternoons, only rarely impacting our plans. The extra precipitation this year meant that everywhere things looked more green than usual, and apparently it was cooler than normal. Perfect.

Monuments: Right up there with the hiking, I loved the five National Monuments we were able to visit. All but one were Sinagua Indian pueblo or cliff houses, which were fascinating. Our favorite was Walnut Canyon, near Flagstaff, which had amazing cliff dwellings you could still enter, built in a limestone canyon in some ways more beautiful than the Grand one. Our young children worked on Junior Ranger badges in many of the monuments, sometimes irritating the older ones who were ready to move on more quickly.

Grand Canyon: We stayed at a lovely old hotel in the park, in a “bellboys’ suite” for some of our family. In the evening we looked out the window of our ground floor rooms to see elk and mule deer (not together) grazing right outside our windows. Tim and I and our oldest five children had the joy of riding mules down to the inner gorge. What fun! I think I smiled solidly for seven hours. Awesome scenery, pleasant weather, a gentle mule (mine, named Mister, was so well-behaved, I had no occasion to use the whips that we were told were essential) all created a most peaceful journey. Aunt Roberta took our little girls horseback riding, a wonderful consolation prize since they were too small for the mule rides. Mom-mom and Granddad cared for the little boys, and by the time we picked them up Ben was sleeping in the hotel lobby and my parents looked ready for the same. Kara and I resolved that in the future, bikers’ shorts worn under our jeans might help to cushion our backsides. We felt that saddle for several days after getting off.

And since we’ve been home, here are some random things that have occurred:

- Andrew and Kara turned around an almost immediately left for West Lafayette, to start their final year at Purdue, as undergraduates anyway.

- Kristen has started her sophomore year at home, and is enjoying the freedom of being a driver, allowing her to take English Comp at IVY Tech.

- The rest of us also started school with a bang, and the return to that routine has been a welcome one.

- Tim was asked to bid building houses for an entire eco-friendly small neighborhood. It’s an interesting project, and he’s been told he’s the favored builder, but there are downsides to consider as well.

- I was bitten by a dog while riding my bike, the first time that’s happened.

- Ben decided that pokeberries were tasty, necessitating phone calls to Poison Control, since the seeds are highly poisonous. He’s OK.

- We’ve entered “Birthday Season” in which we have four birthdays in less than two weeks.
So far – Happy Birthday, Tim!!! (Last Sunday)


Erica said…
Sounds like an awesome trip! I loved the Grand Canyon. It is definitely one of those places that pictures can't grasp. It is a must see destination.

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