JYC – Snow! – Day 2

This year I’m participating once again in the “Journal Your Christmas” project for 2010 at www.shimelle.com.   I signed up for it last year and the cool thing about it is once you pay for the class, then you can participate for free every year afterward.

This is a class geared toward those who enjoy scrap booking, journaling and/or blogging.  “Shimelle” provides inspirational ideas for each day of the month and you may choose how you want to express yourself with the idea.  As you can see, since it’s December 2nd and this is my first post, I’m not firm about having to do the posts every day because I know how busy the month is.  My goal is to do more of these posts than last year and  I only did one or two in 2009, so the bar is pretty low.

The prompt for today was about taking pictures of the snow and since I live in Phoenix, Arizona and we may only get a light dusting of snow every decade or so, that’s not exactly possible right now.  What I will do is share a picture that I took in January when my husband and I traveled about 2 hours north to Flagstaff after a big snowstorm.  It was just gorgeous!

Thick Snow on a wooden fence

I am familiar with snow.  You see, I lived in Ohio for my first 16 years and I really love the glittery crystals.  It brings back so many memories of winters growing up.  I never had to drive in it so I’ve got a somewhat romantic view of snow.  Some of my most fond memories are…

  • Waking up on Christmas morning to a snow-covered world.  It was somehow more magical when it happened overnight at Christmas.
  • Learning about snow at school and going out to collect snowflakes with the class so we could look at them under a microscope.  Did you know that every snowflake really is different?  They are amazing works of art.
  • Waking up on a school day to lots of snow and listening to the radio to find out if the schools were going to be closed for the day.
  • When we learned that we had the day off it wasn’t long before we were out playing in it.  Building forts, making snowmen, snow angels, igloos and so much more.
  • Substituting socks for the lost mittens that should have been on our hands…sometimes adding a plastic bag over the sock to try to keep our hands dry.
  • Coming back into the house cold to the bone, stripping off all our clothes and switching them out for dry and warm ones.
  • Standing by the heater vent trying to warm up my cold red hands and feet.
  • Sitting inside the house enjoying the quiet of a snowy day.  It’s like having an extra layer of insulation all around the world.  Everything is just quieter somehow.
  • Walking down to the neighborhood outdoor ice rink where we’d skate all day.
  • Sledding on “Cardboard Hill” a few blocks from home.
  • Walking way out onto a frozen Lake Erie.

Oh how I wish I had pictures of some of those early escapades!  I really do love all the various seasons of the year and I appreciate them so much more now that I live in an area that has very little change.

How do you feel about snow?  Do you love it, hate it, or have never experienced it?

Snow Day – Flagstaff!!

Sometimes my heart just aches to experience the changing of the seasons.  After growing up on Ohio, with the full range of sights, sounds, and smells of the season, I just miss it so much that I need to get somewhere out of town.  I especially feel the tug in the Fall and Winter.  We get our own share of Summer and enough of a feel of Spring that I don’t miss that too much.

The last few weeks there have been so many reminders of snowy winter, especially last week with all the snow that they got in northern Arizona.  I started thinking about a road trip to Flagstaff probably on Thursday, but the storm continued thru Saturday which made it dangerous to drive up there before last Sunday. So that  morning we got up and decided to hit the road.

It was a perfect day!  The roads were totally clear, the traffic was light and the sun was shining as we headed up the mountain toward Flagstaff.  This was our first glimpse of the snow in the distance.

We drove thru Starbucks in Cottonwood on the way up and Terry picked up an apple fritter with his coffee.  He didn’t want me to take a picture of him eating it (he’s supposed to be watching his carbs, you know. But I think this is incriminating enough.

Next we started to see snow on the ground by the road…then we really got into snow country!  Look how heavily it was covering the trees.

Look at this gorgeous shot of the mountains coming up from the south of Flagstaff.

Not sure if you can tell (below), but we’re actually parked in the road.  The off and on ramps were plowed, but not the road that they lead to.  There was a 6 foot pile of snow in front of the car from the plow blocking the road, so if there was anyone living down there, they wouldn’t have any way to get out unless they had a snowmobile or something.

This is the sign that goes across the road. I’m not thinking that anyone’s going to get anywhere in that direction on something with wheels.

Here’s Terry starting up the hill.  You can see that it was thigh high in most places.  Fortunately it was pretty good packing snow and there were a few paths that were packed down enough that we could walk on them without sinking down too deeply.  There were a couple of times that I “fell in” and Terry had to pull me out so that my camera wouldn’t get in the snow (which happened once).  It’s so funny because there’s just no leverage to push yourself up, since your hands sink down in it too.

It had been so long since we’d been in the snow that we forgot to bring extra pairs of pants.  Fortunately, we didn’t get too wet and we did have dry socks, so we were o.k.

It was so sweet to hear the crunch of the snow under our feet!  I love the SOUND of Winter.

And look how amazing the trees were!

We watched showers of snow coming down from the branches very regularly.  Fortunately we weren’t beneath any of them.

Isn’t it cool that there were icicles hanging from the tree’s needles?

When we first got there, the only people around were a couple with their little boy.  I’d guess him to be around 5 and he was having a blast…so were his folks.

Then just before we left we were joined by a young family from Phoenix with 3 boys who had NEVER seen snow!  What an exciting day that must have been for them.  And the littlest one couldn’t have been more than 3 years old.  As they were trying to climb the hill he kept sitting down in the snow and his mom kept telling him to stand up.  Then the dad suggested that maybe he couldn’t stand up with all the clothes bundling him up.  He was SO adorable!  That’s him coming down the hill on the sled all by himself.

It brought back some great memories of our snowy adventures with the kids in years past.

After playing in the snow there for a bit, we started driving toward town then decided to head toward Lake Mary to see if we could get there.  Our prospects didn’t look good, but we stopped at the visitor center and had a chance to take a few more pics, of course…

My Birthday Surprise (Day 4)

This is the last one for my birthday weekend 2008. Whew!

We woke up on Monday morning and Terry gave me my choice of doing whatever I wanted to do. Since he had been so good to me and spoiled me all weekend, I decided that I would choose something that he’s always talked about doing. Whenever the subject of Meteor Crater comes up, he always comments about the fact that he’s never been there but would like to go, so even though he made no requests to go there, that’s where we went.

Just as we arrived a group was leaving for an hour “tour” of the crater. Basically we walked along the top edge for a short distance and heard some of the history about how they think it happened and the man who discovered, tried to mine and then preserved it for research and the public to enjoy. You can read more about it here. There was also this adorable German family on the tour with 4 little kids (about 2 – 8 years old) that just couldn’t stay still. The guide (and Terry) were freaking out that they might fall down the edge of the crater, which probably wouldn’t be too hard to do. The parents seemed pretty oblivious (as parents can tend to be when they’re used to the chaos of having little ones). Thankfully everyone survived with no more than a scraped knee and a few tears.

The crater is essentially a massive hole in the ground where a meteor struck long long ago. It’s about 550 feet deep, 4000 feet across and 2.4 miles in circumference. Cool thing is that many of the astronauts that went to the moon trained at the crater to try to simulate the lunar surface. In fact, when one of their training suits was torn by a rock, NASA realized that they needed to make changes in the design because a tear of that kind on the moon would have meant certain death.

The gray fenced area at the bottom of the crater is an area where they tried to mine iron in the early days after discovery, but were unsuccessful. If you enlarge the picture you might be able to see the full size cutout of the astronaut and American flag to give you an idea of the scale of the crater. You really can’t see it with the naked eye at all from the top. It’s very hard to get true perspective on the size from the ground pictures, so go to the website if you want more detailed information.
After we left the crater, we decided to drive down part of historic Route 66 thru Winslow and on to Payson then Phoenix. We had recently watched an Arizona Highways TV show about Winslow and remembered some interesting sights that we thought we’d check out…and how often are we going to get to Winslow anyway?
While driving along the highway, this train engine reminded me of my younger days when we lived just a few blocks from the railroad tracks. Whenever we were near the train we would always signal to the engineer or the caboose to blow the whistle and they obliged. My brother, Rusty ran away to California when he was only 13 by hitching rides on empty train cars too. I realize that trains may be obsolete someday. Cabooses already seem to be obsolete, which is kinda sad.
When we pulled into Winslow, first we stopped to see the statue commemorating the famous line from the Eagles song, “Take it Easy”. You know the one, “standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona such a fine sight to see…”.

I know it’s cheezy and definitely just a way to get tourists to stop, but I took the bait and indeed stopped to snap a few photos just for fun. We also stopped at the gift shop across the street and I bought a spiffy little Route 66 coffee mug as a souvenir of the weekend.

On the way out of town we passed by their 9-11 Memorial which we had seen on the show, but completely forgot about until we saw it. There are photos here of the two twisted beams that the town of Winslow requested and received from the World Trade Center towers after 9-11. The plaque and American flag all stand at this same memorial at the edge of town. You probably wouldn’t even know what it was if you were driving by, but if you get up that way, be sure to stop. I find it touching that this little town has chosen to honor the tragedy and those who died in this precious way, so far from New York, out in the middle of the Arizona desert.

After this stop we headed south thru Payson, then stopped for dinner in Scottsdale before heading home after a truly amazing weekend.

Birthday Surprise Day 3 (Part 2) Exploring around Flagstaff

Don’t forget to scroll down to my post about the book giveaway and add your comment to get in the drawing. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday night.

So, on to the next report…after the kids headed east and west, Terry and I checked into our hotel, then decided to head out to a place that we hadn’t been since the kids were young. Walnut Canyon, a great place to go in the summer to get out of the Phoenix heat and enjoy the cool and green of the north country.


Walnut Canyon is filled with Indian ruins and caves in the rocks that you can actually walk in and imagine what it would have been like to live in these dwellings hundreds of years ago.

Unfortunately, when we arrived we were surprised to discover that two separate rock falls had damaged the main trail at Walnut Canyon National Monument last December, 2007, depositing a 49-ton boulder, several other large rocks, and 100 additional tons of debris on the most popular Island Trail.The slide demolished concrete stairs, handrails, and a bench.The trail was immediately closed to the public, and park staff began assessing the cleanup process.According to reports, the project has proved more complicated than it first appeared, and the trail will remain closed through at least September of this year. If you plan to go up there sometime, I’d recommend calling first to see if
the trail is open, since it serves as the only access to the cliff dwellings (the most interesting part).

Posted here are some pics of some of the wildlife that we saw. If you click to enlarge

the 4th photo you can see at least 3 different dwellings in the sides of the canyon. You can see in a couple of the other photos what the dwellings look like from closer up.

In the 6th photo from the top, you should be able to see the large bird (hawk?) flying on the right side of the picture. It was really cool to see these birds soaring below us, when we stood at the overlook.

Even though we couldn’t walk down to the dwellings, we still had a nice time. As you can see the clouds were a bit ominous and we heard some thunder and got sprinkled on a little, but we look forward to that around here. It’s a nice change of pace.

Next we visited the Flagstaff Arboretum…

Birthday Surprise Day 3 – Sunday (part 1- the long goodbye…)

I thought I’d post a little bit more about my birthday weekend since the kids had to leave on Sunday, but Terry and I continued on till Monday night. I’ll post it in pieces so you don’t have so much to read in one sitting.

On Sunday Amy & Andrew had to head back to L.A. (7+ hour drive) and Kevin had to head back to Omaha (18+ hour drive). (I still can’t believe they were all able to get there.) We all slept in a bit, then just got up, and went down to the restaurant at the hotel for breakfast. It was o.k., nothing special, so we were 0 for 2 for great breakfast places. Oh well, the dinner Saturday made up for it all.

Since the temps in Sedona were getting into the mid 90’s in the afternoons, Terry and I decided to head up to Flagstaff for the last night. It’s just about an hour north, but the temps are 10 to 20 degrees cooler since it’s higher elevation. A & A and Kevin were both planning to head thru Flag on the way home, so we all drove in a caravan through Oak Creek Canyon and up to the Oak Creek Vista Overlook, then stopped to take a group photo and say our goodbyes.

By the way, I love the way our colors coordinated in the group photo. You’d think we had planned it, but we didn’t.

We were so sad to see the kids go, not knowing exactly when we’ll see them again. But we were so thankful that we had that precious time with them. You can see how sad Amy was in the photo below, and I think Kevin was wiping away tear. (just kidding)

We had an amazing time!

Coming up next I’ll post about our visits to Walnut Canyon and the Flagstaff Arboretum, so stay tuned…