Walnut Canyon National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument is a United States National Monument located about 10 mi southeast of downtown Flagstaff, Arizona, near Interstate 40. The canyon rim elevation is 6,690 ft; the canyon’s floor is 350 ft lower.

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Of all of the ruins we have lately been exploring, this was number 2 of our favorites, number 1 being Mesa Verde, so far. The ruins are up close and personable, yes it’s a hike but well worth it, 244 steps down to be exact. The views around every corner are truly spectacular and the ruins are very well preserved. Walnut Canyon lets you experience the ruins along the very trail the ancients used. This was Grampa and Gramma Thompson’s very favorite ruins to visit and we can now see why.

Next Adventure follow us to The Bio Sphere2

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Canyon De Chelly National Park

Canyon De Chelly

Cottonwood campground is located at the entrance of Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The campground consists of 92 sites, two group sites. All campsites are paved, no electric or water or sewer, its dry camping all of the way.  The campsite has three restrooms no showers, water station and dump facility. The campground is first come first serve, No reservations and cash only for payment, which is $14.00 a night. Park is open year round popular during October to April. www.navajonationparks.org

Now that we have  our trailer settled in our camping site it was time to make reservations for a jeep tour of the canyon.  We contacted Arizona Jeep Tours, spoke with Oscar Yazzie, 928-781-2113 and yay we had a tour at 9 am the next morning. Oscar advised us to dress warm, bring water and snacks and a personal guide would pick us up at our trailer. Sure enough, our guide was spot on time and arrived at 9 am sharp, in an open blue jeep wrangler, hence the dress warm.  Our guides name was JJ and he is pure Tseyi’ Dine’, not Navajo he assured us. Per JJ our guide Navaho means STUPID. We rode off towards the entrance to Canyon De Chelly; you cannot enter this Heritage area without a guide. The four hour and 30 mile round trip tour was very informative; we learned much about the people and their beliefs.  The ruins were highly historical yet slowly deteriorating due to the hands of man and Mother Nature. Many petroglyphs and pictographs remain in amazing condition. Be sure to bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares. If you are on a quest for history of the Navajo/Dine’ people, the jeep tour is highly recommended.

Later in the day, we took the scenic roadway that takes you on the south upper rim along the canyon with outlets to observe the canyon. Again – Bring cash because every time you stop along the tour there are many Dine’  (Indians) selling their goods and wares in the parking areas.

CHEERS FROM JUST AROUND THE BEND 

 

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Join us next time at Walnut Canyon for more Indian Ruins

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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde is truly the Land Of The Ancients. Accessing Mesa Verdes premier sites is physically challenging. Most cliff dwelling trails are steep, uneven, with numerous steps, ladders, cliff edges and tight passages. The 7500 elevation and very dry windy hot climate can drain you fast if you are not properly prepared. Luckily, we arrived at the end of the season; temperatures were in the 70’s and nights 30ish. We found a lovely camp spot at Morefield inside the park, an seven-mile drive from the entrance, with a beautiful panorama. Being it is at the end of the season, no frills here, no, water, electric or sewer, pure dry camping-we did get a fire pit and very nice picnic table. This was a true test for our Solar and its working perfectly, I can blow dry my hair, vacuum, we even made sweet potato smoothies in the bullet. The park fee with The Senior America the Beautiful pass was $10.00 a night.
The first day we headed to visit Longhouse, we couldn’t get tickets as it was closing for the season so we opted to walk to the viewing platform, a 3 ½ mile loop, partially paved, with 4 additional Pithouse sites along the way named Badger House. The drive from our campsite to Longhouse parking was 23 miles of twisting, winding, curvy and a very steep roadway. Warnings along the way advising you cannot be over 25 feet long to drive this roadway, glad Julie was not on this road trip. The walk to see the ruins is worth it, unlike anything we have ever seen, the preservation, building skills and humans’ being able to survive in a bleak and harsh environment was astounding.
Our Next day’s adventure we were able to purchase tickets for a park ranger tour of Balcony House, $10.00 for two, named the most adventurous cliff dwelling tour. We met at the trailhead, approx. thirty of us in all and proceeded down a 150 ft. decent straight down, very, very steep steps. Then straight back up a huge ladder 32 steps to be exact to a ledge overlooking the vast Ancestral Pueblo Valley. If you happen to be claustrophobic, I would advise do not do this tour. We spent most of the tour on the ledge of an open cliff face with stone steps and tiny crawl spaces through rock tunnels. It is exhilarating, our Park Ranger was outstanding being an anthropologist he was informative and entertaining. The rest of the day, we spent self-touring other cliff dwelling and ended up at The Chapin Mesa Museum. The park is well marked with informative signage and easy to follow directions. There are a lot of dwelling you can visit, with wheel chair access and easy paved walking trails.

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NEXT ADVENTURE CANYON DE CHELLY
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Arches National Park Utah

The Adventure Begins
We are new snowbirds, very new, as this is our first time to say good-by to our home and not return for 5 months. In the past the longest we have been gone is around 32 days and that was in Canada. Setting off when the fall leaves are at their prime, saying good-by to our friends and neighbors was a very heartwarming for me. We tried to remember everything we thought we needed-ha, I’m sure we way over packed!! We winterized our house and yard, set the alarm, closed our eyes and drove away. We have a full agenda planned with memories and explorations to be made. Follow us as we head out to the daily unknown with the first Thompson Snow Bird Adventure.
Day 1 – Driving, Driving, Driving, left home with a snow storm and 28 degrees – burr, drove until 3pm when we arrived at the elks lodge in Caldwell, Idaho, $15.00 for overnight, included water and electric.
Day 2 – Caldwell Idaho to Mona, Utah, drove most of the day, decided to fill up with fuel and stay overnight at a truck stop-Free.
Note: This was our very first truck stop experience, actually not bad.
Day 3 – Up at 5 am – yikes, where is a Starbucks. We realized (our navigator GPS – Phoebe) took us a little past our turn off, we turned around and headed back to Spanish Fork (20 mile detour) oops. Then it was on to Moab, that’s when the landscape started to get amazing. Around every corner was a new surprise, beautiful this time of year with the landscape slowly changing into its fall colors and massive red rock canyons. This is when it gets difficult to drive, so much beauty to look you need to pull off often. We arrived in Moab at around 10 am heading to Goose Island, hoping and praying there was a site available. We lucked out, as this is a BLM first come first serve facility (no reservations) and luckily, as we arrived, someone pulled out-yay-we got a spot. This is pure dry camping, no water, sewer or electric. They do have very nice vault toilets, garbage, very nice picnic tables and fire pits. Sometimes it pays to be a senior as the fee for us was $7.50 a night, thank You America the Beautiful Pass.
Here we are settled in our camping spot Litterly on the Colorado River, looking up at Arches National Park. There are no words to describe the majestic beauty and serenity of the Moab area.
Day 4 – Off to explore Arches national Park, the entrance fee is $25.00 a vehicle, with an America the Beautiful Pass it is free. Leave super early as its crowded and limited parking. Touring this park, you need good hiking boots, 2 quarts of water each and a sun hat, walking sticks help on some of the dicer trails and Shade is limited. Even though this is the end of the tourist season, you need patience, as it is crowded and snowbirds move slowly.
NOTE: Summer daytime temperatures can reach 110 degrees, heat and dehydration can be fatal – advised 1 gallon of water per person per day.
We stopped at every turn out and vista view area working our way to Landscape Arch a 1.6-mile moderate walk located at the Devils Garden trailhead. A hidden gem just off the roadway was Sand Dune Arch (0.3mi) an easy sandy walk and great for kids as it is a huge natural sandbox with narrow partition rocks to climb through and at the end a hidden arch. Of all of the National parks we have visited in our lifetime, I have to say Arches is the most spectacular. Every corner you hike around is another wow!
Day 5 – Boy are we out of shape! Today we visit Balanced Rock (0.3mi) beautiful paved trail, wheelchair accessible. Double Arch (0.5 mi) Easy trail through some loose sand, spectacular arch. Delicate Arch (3mi) round trip – Difficult trail with elevation gains, no shade, at the end open slickrock with close exposure to heights-not for faint of heart, but worth it.
Day 6 – We are going to stay around camp today, catch up on laundry-walk the beautiful bike trail that leads to Downtown Moab that just happens to be 200 feet from our campsite. Does it sound like we are resting today, ha not us as we have 6 Geocaches calling our name along the new bike trail!!!

Don’t forget your America the Beautiful Pass
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Cheers From Just Around the Bend♥♥♥♥

Next Adventure we are off to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point

 

Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge, HOH Rain Forest and La Push-Wa

Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Hurricane Ridge is located 17 miles south of Port Angeles on Hurricane Ridge Road, off Mount Angeles Road.

 

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HOH Rain Forest

The Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state, USA. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation

Two short nature trails loop through the forest near the Visitor Center — the Hall of Mosses Trail (.8 miles), and the Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles). Now for the big walk (we missed this one today)  Hoh’s major hiking trail is the Hoh River trail, which leads 17.3 miles to Glacier Meadows, on the shoulder of Mount Olympus. The Hoh Lake trail branches off from the Hoh River trail just after the ranger station and ascends to Bogachiel Peak between the Hoh and the Sol Duc Valley.

We opted for the two shorter walks and it was incredible. Highlight of the day, we encountered a huge male elk. Thank goodness he was just resting as they had warnings there had been several elk attacks.

 

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Last stop on our Olympic Rain Forest Adventure is La Push,Wa. La Push is a village on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It lies at the mouth of the Quillayute River, surrounded by Olympic National Park. It’s known for wild Pacific beaches like First Beach, with its huge waves. Forested trails lead to Second and Third beaches, where numerous birds gather on offshore rock formations. At Rialto Beach, tide pools surround Hole-in-the-Wall, a natural rock arch.

 

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See You On The Road – Just Around The Bend♥♥♥♥♥♥

 

 

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