A Place Of Wonder


Again, there are no words to describe this place….The Grand Canyon.  Showing pictures is like picking up a handful of sand and telling you that this is what the beach looks like.


Yet….yet…I must try!  So that if you haven’t seen this place of majestic wonder you will be inspired to come here.  I am grateful to be able to look on this grandure yet again.  Each time I visit it grows sweeter and even more beautiful in my eyes.  These days I can’t look into the canyon without tears welling up as I try to take in this beauty-beyond-measure…try to absorb it…try to bring it to live within me, and be part of who I am.


How can rocks be so beautiful?


How can this vast expanse wrench my heart so?


I love watching the Ravens grab the updrafts as they fly over the openness….I want to fly too!


Joy makes me nervous.  She likes to go right to the edge and her vision isn’t so good these days….but she seems to grasp the grandness of it.


And so does Shiloh.  He sees something that makes his ears perk!


Yup, I’m really here!!


The Watchtower at the far eastern end of the canyon.


From the Watchtower area it’s easy to see the Colorado River.


And then there is our camp at Mather Campground….


With friends wandering Through….


And they don’t seem to  mind Shiloh at all!

It will cost you $30 entrance fee these days to get into the Grand Canyon, (good for a week) unless you have the Senior Pass, aka the America The Beautiful pass.  Or some other pass, which brings the price down to 0…..and then camping with the pass is $9 a night no hook ups. ($18 without the pass)  There are water spigots and bathrooms around, and showers and laundry at the front of the campground.  There is a campground with full hook ups too, for quite a bit more money.  If you are not into camping, there are many beautiful hotels/rooms to stay in, but no deals there.  Also you can stay outside the park, and just drive in to visit.


People ask me about my favorite places that I’ve seen in my travels, and I find it really hard to choose…but I can say for sure that the Grand Canyon is in my top 5 list….a place of wonder…not to be missed.

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Between Flagstaff and Winslow

When we leave Eager, Arizona on Sunday, October 8, we head on down to Meteor Crater RV Park to stay for 3 nights.  I not only like this park, but It’s in a great  location, too.   The nightly rate for pull through water and electric with the Good Sam discount is $30… not the cheapest, but worth it to me.  There are lots of very private showers, and you get a whole bathroom, not just a tiny shower.   There are  nice, clean washers and dryers, 2 large fenced dog areas plus a great dirt road with no traffic to take walks on.  I have a favorite site and have not failed to get it when I ask for it, when reserved ahead.


Last nights sunset from Meteor Crater RV Park.

Nearby of course you have the big Meteor crater 6 miles down the road.  And I do mean BIG!  It’s worth it to go see it and take the tour.  But also to the west there are various other sites for day trips, including, Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, Wupatki, Flagstaff with Lowell Observatory and all its other adventures including the San Francisco Peaks.  To the east Winslow (where you can stand on the corner and take it easy!),



There’s that flat bed ford!  It’s all right there by Route 66.

Just a few blocks down the Route is The La Posada Hotel.  (The Resting Place).


This beautiful hotel was designed and decorated by Mary Jane Colter (she is famous for her magnificent buildings at the Grand Canyon, but this was her favorite) and built by Fred Harvey for the Santa Fe Railroad.  It opened in 1930 and was the finest hotel on Route 66 for many years.  But…it was closed in 1957 because rail travel was becoming less popular.  Forty years later it was purchased and remodeled room by room by The Winslow Arts Trust.  It is once again a stunning Spanish Hacienda, and a lovely place to visit, stay or go for lunch or dinner to its lovely Turquoise Room Restaurant.


When we were here in this area in March I went to Walnut Canyon and wrote about that experience here.


This is an area of ancient ruins that it just fascinating.  At that time I took the trail into the canyon.  There are lots of steps but I highly recommend it if your knees/back/feet can handle it.  There is another trail along the rim that I took this time.  It’s only about 3/4 of a mile round trip and has no stairs.  Not as impressive but still amazing.  Bring binoculars.


The homes were built right into the sides of the canyon. Those are the San Francisco Peaks in the background.


Here’s a closer look.


Near Walnut Canyon we take a walk on a trail in Coconino National Forest. (Dogs are not allowed on the trails in Walnut Canyon).


These trees are callled Gambles Oak.  Leaves turn golden brown in the fall.


And then, back to the RV Park….


The trees have changed a lot in just the three days we’ve been here.

And then you have those Arizona sunsets!


This sunset happened tonight, and those are the San Francisco Peaks there, as seen from this park.

Tomorrow…..oh my gosh…I’m very excited….we will be heading to the Grand Canyon for a week!!


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Gold On Gold


On Sunday, October 8 we travel the short distance of about 50 miles from Show Low to Eagar, Arizona, to Bear Paw RV Park. (Weekly rate comes out to about $21 a day.)

Eagar is at just over 7000 feet elevation, not quite high enough for Aspen to flourish.  The amazing trees in these pictures are in nearby Apache National Forest and on the Apache reservation, where the elevation is more in the 8000 to 9000 feet range.


Gold on gold.

Pictures work better than words here, so I’ll just let them speak…..






And then there are the Ponderosa Pines…..


Reaching for the sky.


It’s hard to stop taking pictures!


We’ve taken many walks on the trails here this week.

On Sunday we’ll be moving again….heading back near Flagstaff for a few days, .on our way to the Grand Canyon!

Excited to be there…but happy to Be.  Here.  Now.



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Seeking Autumn

We come to the White Mountains of Arizona to find fall on October 1.  It’s all about elevation…1000 feet can make a difference in the color change, and what trees we see.

We stay at Walthers RV Park in Show Low for a week. (Weekly rate comes out to $25 a day.)


Elevation here is 6347 feet, but just a pleasant drive south onto the Fort Apache Indian Reservation brings us into the over 7000 feet range where the Aspen are quietly donning their fall finery.


When I mention the White Mountains of Arizona I often get blank stares.  Show Low ( the name of this town was derived from a card game, in case you were wondering) is northeast of Phoenix, about 50 miles south of Holbrook and I-40.

This is off subject but just north of Show Low is the town of Snowflake.  You’d think they must get  a lot of snow, right?  They do get some, but the town got its name because of the two guys who founded it…. that would be Erastus Snow and William Jordan Flake.  I kid you not.  In 1993 the movie Fire In The Sky was about Travis Walton, who lived in Snowflake and was abducted by aliens.

Ok, back to falling leaves….😊🍁🍂


Aspen leaves on the ground.


The white tree bark sets off the gold and green and blue so nicely.


That’s called A-1 Lake.


A little fisherman at Hawley Lake.


We found a meadow area next to Hawley Lake where Joy and Shiloh could run free.


And a beautiful stream where Joy could soak her belly.



All the above pictures except for the campsite were taken on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.

There is a great trail system (White Mountain Trail System) in the Show Low area.  We walked on the Rim Trail for a bit.  That would be the Mogollon Rim (named for Mr Mogollon of course, and pronounced ‘muggy-on’.)  This is a geographical feature that runs across Arizona for about 200 miles, forming the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau.  (Monument Valley is part of the Colorado Plateau).  If it were in California it would probably be commonly referred to as a ‘fault line’,  but I don’t hear that much around here.


Walking on the nicely paved Rim Trail.


Joy overlooks the Mogollon Rim.

Today we plan to move on to Eagar, AZ, about 50 miles  east of where we are now,  still in the White Mountain area.

Still seaking autumn….


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Utah, part 2 (Be Here Now)

Before I write about Monument Valley….


I feel the need to say some things about the horrific Vegas Massacre.  I unexpectedly have tv where I’m staying this week, and I’ve been watching the news.  It’s beyond imaginable.  The survivors speaking on camera this morning are breaking my heart.

“I probably walked past people who didn’t know they were going to die.”

” Tomorrow is not promised.”

“Love your loved ones and be the best person you can be.”

“I feel guilty.  Why did I live and so many younger people had to die?  I can go back to my daughter in LA this morning, but they can never go home.”…..this last said by a man…a lawyer  with tears running down his face.

These survivors haven’t really had time to process all this yet, that may take weeks or months, but one thing is for sure, all of the 22 or 23 thousand people there Sunday night have had their lives changed forever.

I try not to take life for granted…even tomorrow.  It’s why I write things like ‘the plan is….’ or ‘if things work out….’ or ‘I hope to….’.   Because I just never know.

I just never know.

But this is a wake up call that brings the tenacity of life into better (and shocking) perspective.  We…none of us…know if we have tomorrow.

Be in this moment.  Be Here Now.  I remind myself to live this day as if it were my last day on this beautiful earth.  I hope you will to.


And now to Monument Valley.

I continue driving down the eastern part of Utah,  past the red rocks and walls of Arches National Park and Moab (went to those places last time I was here), almost to the boarder of Arizona.  There are so many bucket-list-worthy places in Utah.  If you come here you can easily spend 6 months!

Monument Valley is …I don’t know….I continue to search for words to describe this place, which is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to write this blog.  I still don’t have the right words.  Oh I can tell you the physical attributes and show you pictures, but those things don’t do it justice.


Physically it’s red buttes, rising straight out of the red earth as high as 1000 feet, shaped over time by sun, wind, rain, ice, heat and cold.  The Navajo park covers about 5 square miles, though the buttes are scattered through a much larger area than this.  Depending on how the light plays on the, they look different.


For me the area is special in a mystical sort of way, related to an experience I had here many years ago.

It’s so much more than ‘awe-inspiring’ or ‘beautiful’ or ‘amazing’.  It reaches out to me on a spiritual level and I just can’t explain or describe the feelings that I have as I stare off at these odd formations.  Mere words seem blunt and stiff and useless here.


The concentrated area is a Navajo Tribal Park, and it will cost you $20 to drive through it.  A Senior Pass will not decrease the price here.  The road is terrible, and I mean REALLY terrible.  There is a museum, a gift shop, and a hotel here now too.  A better idea might be to take a tour of the place, rather than drive your own vehicle through it.  Also this way you can learn so much from the tour guide.


The unassuming grocery store.  It looks so tiny.


The airport and a hogan….and a lot of open space in muted colors.


We camped at a brand new campground, not even finished yet.  It’s called Monument Valley Camp Park, and has views all around, but nothing fancy in the campground.


Horses (cows and sheep as well) are allowed to run free in the Navajo Nation, including on the road, so be careful.  Here they are in the RV park enjoying the rare grass.


But then, someone comes to round them up…..


On a motorbike!

I hope you are able to come to this very special place someday.  Spend a little time, not just looking, but contemplating too.  You won’t be disappointed.


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Utah (part 1)

Our trip south through Utah is relatively quick, but we stop for two nights at two places That i love.  Part one is about the first one we come to.

On September 25 we are on our way to DEER CREEK STATE PARK.  This will be our third stay here since we have been on the road.

Its another day of driving through rain sleet and snow to get there though.


It seems even more scary than my last snow drive (see last post).  The road is even more windy.  The higher the elevation the lower the temperature and it reaches down to 31 again, same as it did a couple of days ago. In places there is slush on the road but it doesn’t freeze.

After we pass through Heber City the stuff falling from the sky eases up.  Ten miles further on we reach Deer Creek State Park and the precipitation has all but stopped.


The temperature is in the low 30’s though so I set up quickly and we all retreat into cozy WS where I run the electric heater and warm my hands.

The next day is perfect, clouds making way for sun and in the 60’s.  We stay for two days during which time we take frequent walks and just admire summer, turning into fall, turning into winter….all at once!


Site CC13.  I’ve reserved this one each time we’ve stayed here.  $30 a night.  Full hook ups, covered picnic table, grill and fire pit….and such beautiful views.  Most all the sites have beautiful views and are well spaced.  Some are pull through, and this is one of them.  Hehe.


The rest of the pictures are scenes from our walks…of the varied seasons…all within a couple of days!











There are showers and bathrooms here, and a boat launch area too.  The small town of Heber City is about 10 miles away.  The whole area is just beautiful and I could easily spend 2 weeks here.  Highly recommended!


Utah part 2 will be about Monument Valley, with breathtaking beauty of another sort.

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It feels like late November or into December.  I’m resisting playing Christmas music.


“Following the weather” hasn’t worked for me this year.  We are in Utah now, heading for Arizona.  It actually got up to 52 here today but that was a heatwave and tomorrow, where I’m headed the high is supposed to be 34 degrees.  Meanwhile Marie in Tawas, Michigan tells me it’s 91 there today.  Ok, that’s too hot, but what the heck is going on?


Heading for Idaho from Montana.  This is “Big Sky Country”.  Big sky full of snow clouds….






We approach Monida Pass which is …hmmm…around 6,500 feet.  (Monida=Montana+Idaho).


It maintains 31 degrees and sometimes there is rainy stuff and sometimes snow, but it doesn’t freeze.


But I’m not having what you would call a good time as I drive the pass. Thankfully the worst….over the pass…is only somewhere between 10-15 miles, and things get much better.


Snow in the mountains is so beautiful to look at, but not to tow in!


Dogs like it!  That’s Joy rolling in it.  Legs straight up in this picture.


Sorry, so blurry.  Snapping a picture of the Utah sign as I wizz by.  You can see there is some blue sky….but….


I took this a little while ago on our walk.  I think the weird weather is following me!  Or attached to me somehow.

However, it’s not as bad as hurricanes nor is it as bad as being in the midst of an earthquake, so I’m just going to try an appreciate the snow…and the cold….and keep heading south!

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