Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Run Ragged" by Haley

Have you missed us?  Instead of the Trail of the Ancients for the last week - we have been looking at the future with Granddaughter Haley who has kept us busy with dance classes, sleepovers, entertaining in a teepee, hunting for pumpkins, picking cotton, getting face paintings, dinners, shopping and other fun events -


Dance class is fuuuunnnnn!

C'mon Gramps, you can at least try to fit in here.

This one..or this one..or, hey, look at this one over here.

The corn box is COOOOL.

Bales of fun, or, too corny?

Cheeky bas.....ds.


We're having a cotton-pickin good time.
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Amazing what you can't find at the pizza parlor.

Isn't she cute??

A couple of rounds of golf and an ‘adult’ dinner with Mom and Dad managed to find their way into the busy schedule also.  
All in all - a lot of fun in Lemoore;-)
See you in Scottsdale - E & G

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More National Parks;-)

In the last five days we have visited FOUR National Monuments/Parks and Los Alamos! WHEW!

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (NM) just outside of Santa Fe, NM provided one of our most favorite hikes - EVER! (This is a MUST DO if you are anywhere in this area!) “Kasha-Katuwe” means “white cliffs” in the language of the Pueblo de Cochiti. The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6-7 million years ago. There are boulder caps that are precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos. There are bands of grey interspersed with beige and pink colored rock. A two mile out and back trail through the Slot Canyon to the top of the mesa provides breathtaking sights around every corner - and some of the corners are pretty small -

Heading out into the Tent Rocks Nat'l Monument

Tight squeezes in Slot Canyon .... glad I was traveling light.

The tent rocks towering over Elizabeth.

While Kasha-Katuwe was a geological site, our next stop - Bandelier NM - was back to the ancient Pueblo and cliff dwellings. The Ancestral Pueblo people here had cultural links with the people of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon. (Since details of these cultures and related time periods have been covered in prior postings, I won’t bore you with all the details yet again!) It is just very interesting to us to see remnants of these societies in so many different locations - and see such similar sights. The Kiva, the same construction and room layout and dimensions and, of course, the cliff dwellings. It was a lot of fun to again be able to have such access to the cliff dwellings - we love the ladders;-)

A bird's eye view of the Bandelier Pueblo Ruins.

Checking out the loft accommodations in the cave dwellings.

How would you like to come home to this every night.
Trick or treat anyone?

Hmmmmm, think I can fit through here?

Notice the smoke residue on the ceiling.

The smaller holes in the center are where the roof support logs were inserted.

Note the pictograph in the center. It is covered with a clear protective pane to try and preserve it.

Our lunch spot at Bandelier.

We stopped here to fill our propane tank.
Didn't realize we could pick up our sheep at the same time.

Talk about culture shock - we went from Bandelier NM to Los Alamos!! That is right - the laboratory established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, the nations’s top-secret program to develop the atomic bomb. There we eavesdropped on discussions of neutrons and electrons at the local Starbucks (NO joke!!) and visited the Bradbury Science Museum. This museum was quite interesting and shouldn’t be missed if in the area, as this is an important part of our history and the continued research affects everyone of us today. However, I must confess that I understood where the movies were shown and where the restrooms were and not much else. The brain went on overload after about 5 minutes!!

Moving west into Arizona, we spent a fascinating morning on a private jeep tour with a local Navajo tour guide of the Canyon de Chelly NM. Archeological evidence shows that people lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years. In later years, the same Basketmakers from Mesa Verde and other surrounding areas came here (200 BC - 750 AD). Followed by the Ancestral Puebloan people (750 - 1300) - predecessors of today’s Pueblo and Hopi Indians. Finally, the Navajo entered the Canyon around 1700. The Spanish and the Americans fought with them - ending in 1864 with Kit Carson’s brutal campaign to round up all the Navajo’s and march them over 300 miles to internment at Fort Sumner. This was after they destroyed all their homes and animals. In 1868, the Canyon was given back to the Navajo and they were allowed to return to their homeland. Today the descendants of those given the property in the Canyon still live there on their ancestors land. Our guide is one of those descendants.

The Canyon walls rise from 30 feet where we entered the Canyon to over 800 feet. There are many cave dwellings on the ledges of canyon walls, pictographs and stunning beauty.

A great view of Canyon de Chelly.

The Spider Rock spires are in the middle of this shot.

We saw more petroglyphs..

Cliff dwellings..

The white figures are several hundred years older than the rust colored antelope.

Did I tell you about the campground Magic enjoyed at Canyon de Chelly?? It was a very spiritual place high up on the mesa above Spider Rock. We managed to get Magic ‘wedged’ into a beautiful spot. It was a ‘dry camp’ situation, so we had to conserve!

Dry camping tonight.... a tight fit for Magic, but beautiful.

Glad we travel with our own loo.

Last, but not least (well maybe - this was not our favorite), was the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. This was again more of a ‘geological’ experience than a ‘people’ experience - no ladders to climb;-( Perhaps the most interesting factoid learned is that the petrified wood is not really wood! Two hundred million years ago conifer trees did grow here along the banks of the many streams that existed on a vast floodplain. The trees fell and swollen streams washed them into adjacent floodplains. A mix of silt, mud, and volcanic ash buried the logs and cut off oxygen slowing the logs decay. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs and replaced the original wood tissues with silica deposits which eventually crystallized into quartz. The quartz was encased in the ‘cast’ of the tree and preserved as ‘petrified wood’. The various colors come from the minerals in the silica-saturated waters. Iron, carbon, manganese, cobalt and chromium produced patterns and blends of yellow, red, black, blue, brown, white and pink! This ‘wood’ is VERY heavy and VERY hard (7 on a 10 point scale).

Petrified logs.

The color spectrum in some of the petrified pieces were amazing.

Lots of petrified 'wood'.

Petroglyphs on the Newspaper Rock in the Petrified Forest.

Descending into the Blue Mesa.

Doesn't it look like someone used a ruler to make the lines?

While there are still many sites to see along the ‘Trail of the Ancients’, we have put a pretty good dent in them on this trip - and enjoyed every minute. The family now awaits - so, we are off in the direction of Lemoore early tomorrow. Pictures of our granddaughter and more golf outings will be forthcoming.

Please stay tuned - E & G

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

!!!Balloon Fiesta!!!

Have you missed us?? Did you think we fell off a mesa??
NO - It has just taken this long to sort through the 1,000+ pictures Gary took at the BALLOON FIESTA;-) Needless to say we had a blast! Of course, it really helps to know someone flying balloons - especially the wonderful ‘Special Shapes’.
Although the weather did not entirely cooperate with the Fiesta - it did let our friends, Mark & Dianne, inflate their Special Shapes - Gizzmo, Hopper T Frog and Pumpkinhead - so we could see them (along with thousands of other spectators). We even got to help with the process - which starts VERY early in the morning!!

Mark & Dianne's crew assemble to begin the inflation of Gizzmo, Hopper T Frog & Pumpkinhead.
Getting Gizzmo ready.

Getting inflated! Pumpkinhead in back, Hopper T Frog in the middle and Gizzmo in front.

Gizzmo is ready to go.

The awesome trio - Pumpkinhead, Hopper T Frog and Gizzmo.

Dianne & Mark enjoying the morning revelry.

The Shapes Days are really special - so, even my friend Kacy drove in from Santa Fe to visit and see them -

Our friend Kacy paid us a visit.

After two and a half days of cancelled events due to wind, pouring rain and even snow -

Fresh snow on the mountains above the launch field. Good thing Elizabeth brought her parka.

we finally got to see a ‘Mass Ascension’! What a sight to see;-) Again, the Shapes are really Special -

This is how Old Glory was presented during the Star Spangled Banner

The variety and number of balloons were amazing.

Preparing for lift off??

The weather finally cooperated to let the evening ‘Glow’ take place. This is awesome to see all the balloons inflated on the field and ‘glowing’.

The evening Glowdeo was a wonderful display, though quite a challenge to photograph.

The Sunday morning ‘Farewell Mass Ascension’ is unbelievable! Hundreds of balloons inflating on the field getting ready to fly and hundreds in the air - and thousands of people to watch. You have to be here - but, Gary did a pretty good job of capturing the sights -

Elizabeth chatting up one of the launch officials.
Kinda looks like W.C Fields doesn't he?

Couldn't get enough of the mass ascension.

Any doubt which ones are the Race for the Cure entries?

No joke.

As you wish.

When we got back to Magic, balloons were landing all around us.

I guess, in a pinch, a pilot must take whatever landing spot presents itself.

From a balloon to the launch field, this Navy Seal is presenting the Colors.

After all this excitement and long days (up at 4 to take in the morning events and not back until after 9 with the ‘Glow’ and fireworks!!), we were ready for some relaxation time with friends Kathryn & Robert in Santa Fe. They were kind enough to show us some unexpected, non-tourist sights, including the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos. If you are ever in Santa Fe - this is a must see as it is most unusual.
Millicent Rogers (1902-1953) grew up in New York within privilege and wealth and she was often referred to in the press as the “Standard Oil Heiress,” since it was her grandfather, H.H. Rogers who was the co-founder with John D. Rockefeller of the Standard Oil Trust. Rogers came to Taos in 1947 with a heart broken by Clark Gable, and physically weakened by rheumatic fever as a child. She moved here, completely taken by the landscape and the Native American art in its many forms - and became an avid collector.
At the Millicent Rogers Museum, one enjoys many outstanding historical collections of Native American art and jewelry, contemporary paintings, weavings, and pottery, including the Maria Martinez family collection. Also showcased at MRM are hispanic textiles, metalwork and sculpture, as well as a wide range of contemporary Anglo-European Southwestern Art. Don’t miss it!
Oh yes, there were a couple of wonderful dinners, lunches and even a round of golf squeezed in with Kathryn and Robert during the couple of days in Santa Fe.

Incognito golfers. A great day spent with Robert and Kathryn.
Deflated and back on earth - E & G