2011 January

frozen water 001It got so cold in January the water in the cup INSIDE the RV froze overnight!

When January rolled around,  Roberta decided that she was not ready to leave the winter wonderland of Utah quite yet.  She really wanted to do some snowshoeing and cross country skiing before we headed to Arizona to see the grandkids and Dave, being the nice guy he is, obliged her wishes.  In December Roberta had been unexpectedly contacted by her cousin, John, (isn’t Facebook wonderful) who happens to be the manager of the ski shops in at Alta Ski Resort.  He was happy to get us on the slopes for a great day of cross-country skiing.

ALTA 2010 Xcountry Dave (distant)Could we have picked a better day?

ALTA 2010 XCountry Dave coming up little hillThe day reminded us what amateurs we are on X-country skis – but we had so much fun and got some great exercise anyway!  Roberta always seemed to be ahead of Dave on the course – but usually because she found it easier to slide down the hills sitting on her skis!

ALTA 2011 Roberta with Johnny & Anita DuncanThanks Johnny!!!!

Later that week we headed up to Sundance to do some snowshoeing.  Again, the weather was AWESOME.

Sundance drive 4The road to Sundance

Sundance drive 5

Sundance Snowshoeing 1 - distanceAs usual, we managed to be all by ourselves in the wilderness.

Sundance Snowshoeing 5 - Scenery

Sundance Snowshoeing 4 - Picnic TablePicnic, anyone?

Sundance Snowshoeing 11 - Mtn. ViewNight begins to fall – time to head home, ahhhhh…

Sundance Snowshoeing 13 - RobertaCan you see the satisfaction on her face?  Another day well-spent, for sure.

We wrapped up the first week of January in Utah at an REI snow day held on a local golf course.  We took classes in snowshoeing and cross-country skiing for free, compliments of the local REI.  We really learned a lot and improved our cross country skiing immensely!  We were following our instructors so intently we forgot to take any pictures.  Oh well!

On Monday, January 10 we finally headed south.  We spent the first night in St. George, Utah and the next day found ourselves in the “Arizona strip” – the northern part of AZ that is completely cut off from the rest of the state by the Grand Canyon.  It was still pretty cold – but the snow was behind us (for now).

Arizona Strip 2What a contrast to last week!

Traveling into the Arizona strip we entered the town of Fredonia and happened upon a little known national monument called “Pipe Spring”.    Here’s some history: A reliable water source is a rare feature in this generally dry and rather barren country, but early Mormon settlers found such a supply in the mid nineteenth century, about 15 km from the Utah/Arizona border on land which now forms part of the Kaibab-Paiute Indian Reservation.  Over the next few decades the spring became the focal point for various buildings and eventually a small fort (named Winsor Castle after its constructor, one A.P. Winsor), intended to protect the spring and neighbouring cattle grazing lands against Navajo Indian raids from the south, although this threat never materialized. Now, the fort, outbuildings, and various agricultural relics are preserved and serve as an interesting illustration of pioneer life.

Pipe Springs, AZ 3Remnants of the Native Americans who were once here…

Pipe Springs, AZ 5followed by westward traveling pioneers…

Pipe Springs, AZ 6who finally built the fort-like home for protection from the Indians.

Pipe Springs, AZ 17

Pipe Springs, AZ 15

Pipe Springs, AZ 13

We continued on toward the Grand Canyon and were delighted to find yet another treasure along the way – a tiny roadside town called Hatch.  The area was discovered in the  193o’s when a woman whose car broke down took refuge from the hot desert sun in the rocks there until help came.  Over the years many people have stopped there and added to some of the natural rock formations to make shelters & “other things.”

Grand Canyon 47 - Hatch 34Rock House built in the 30’s

Grand Canyon 25 - Hatch 13 Stone House inside 1Inside the Rock House looking out

Grand Canyon 27 - Hatch 15 Stone House inside 3The main room in the rock house, complete with fireplace

Grand Canyon 60 - Hatch 47An adjoining room with a window

Grand Canyon 54 - Hatch 41Part natural & part man-made…

Grand Canyon 63 - Hatch 50Big enough to walk in…

Grand Canyon 55 - Hatch 42or sleep in ?

Grand Canyon 59 - Hatch 46Looking out the entrance from inside of the structure

Grand Canyon 51 - Hatch 38Wow!  She’s strong!

Grand Canyon 23 - Hatch 11 Top heavy rock other sideWonder when it will fall over?

Grand Canyon 50 - Hatch 37Now THAT’s a BIG rock!!

Grand Canyon 33 - Hatch 21 OuthouseSomeone even constructed this outhouse!

Continuing on our way we came to Lee’s Ferry, the area considered to be the official beginning of the Grand Canyon, and the area from which most rafting expeditions begin.  In 1871 John D. Lee  was directed by the Mormon Church to establish a ferry across the Colorado River so the pioneers could cross the river without having to go all the way around the Grand Canyon.  Until the early 20th century it was the only crossing from Moab, UT to Needles, CA.  The ferry quit service in 1928 when the Navajo Bridge was completed.

Grand Canyon 75 - Lee's Ferry 4Looking down the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry

Grand Canyon 72 - Lee's Ferry 1A crew preparing for a rafting expedition

Grand Canyon 90 - Lee's Ferry 19We hiked along the edge of the River…

Grand Canyon 98 - Lee's Ferry 27to the place where the Spencer steamboat sank in 1921…

Grand Canyon 104 - Lee's Ferry 33& still sits undisturbed on the  banks of the River.

(The Charles H. Spencer was a steamboat that was briefly used c. 1910 on the Colorado River to transport coal for gold refining operations at Lee’s Ferry.)

Navajo Bridge in Marble Canyon was our next stop.  The original bridge was constructed in 1927;  the new bridge was built about 1994.  The original bridge is now where you walk across.  It is the only land crossing the Colorado River for nearly 600 miles.

Grand Canyon 114 - Navajo Bridge 3As beautiful as it is functional

Grand Canyon 132 - Navajo Bridge 21

Grand Canyon 123 - Navajo Bridge 12Looking straight down into the Colorado River from the bridge

Grand Canyon 120 - Navajo Bridge 9Looking eastward at the Colorado River from the Bridge

We had hoped to  visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but it was closed because of the snow,  so we continued on to the South Rim.   We still encountered snow in many places along the way, and it made for winter views of the Grand Canyon that ranged from beautiful to spectacular.  We ended up spending about three days there!  We stopped at almost every lookout point each day and on our last day walked about 5 miles along the rim to the lodge and back.  It got VERY cold late in the day, but it was sooo worth it!  We even had a little surprise as we were just about back to the parking lot – a small herd of elk were out grazing!

Grand Canyon 11 - ribbon roadCool road!

Grand Canyon 4 - first viewOne of our first views

Grand Canyon 1- road with snow

Grand Canyon 231Sunset turns the rock so many different colors.

Grand Canyon 158Winter in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon 166 - Watchtower closerThe Watchtower

The Indian Watchtower is at the eastern end of the south rim of the Grand Canyon. From a distance the building’s silhouette looks like the Anasazi watchtower it was meant to mimic.  Opened in May, 1933, it provides the widest possible view of the Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting: this was architect Mary Colter’s goal when the Fred Harvey Company hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area at Desert View. Colter’s answer was the Watchtower.

Grand Canyon 168One of the many view from the Watchtower

Grand Canyon 175

Grand Canyon 184Of course Dave has to walk to the VERY edge to get the best shot.

Grand Canyon 189

We would have loved to have hiked down to this path below, but because of slippery ice the trail was closed.  Guess we’ll just have to come back when the weather is warmer.  Where does that path lead anyway??

Grand Canyon 190

Grand Canyon 195

We often saw the Colorado River winding through the Canyon below us.

Grand Canyon 198

And suddenly, there they were – about 15 elk out for their evening meal…

Grand Canyon 205 - Elk Herd 2

Grand Canyon 213 - Elk Herd 10

Grand Canyon 218- Elk Herd 15

Grand Canyon 220 - Elk Herd 17They didn’t seem to mind our presence at all.

Grand Canyon 228 - Elk Herd 25

After leaving the Grand Canyon. we spent a week in Quartzsite, AZ with some California friends.  We had a GREAT time seeing our friends – the only thing we really miss from California is all the great people we left behind.  We didn’t, however, get the attraction to the rocks.  When we arrived it was the middle of the annual Rock Week – they all looked the same to us!  The following week was RV week though – more up our alley…

We arrived in Mesa about the third week of January.  Roberta had not seen Emma (now 2 1/2) since she was a month old, but Emma took to her right away.  In fact, she preferred Roberta to Dave for about the first week – must be a girl thing(?)  Tyler (now 3 1/2) loved ALL the attention from both grandparents.  And, of course, both grandparents loved giving the attention!

Tyler upside dwn on sofa 2Tyler – or Trek, as grandpa Dave calls him

Emma with RobertaEmma – or Tricity, as Grandpa Dave calls her

More on the grandkids to come in February…..


About meanderingmomma

A retired school teacher hits the road
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