Saturday, April 05, 2014



Had myself a nice reminiscent early childhood trip down memory lane when I crawled into my sleeping bag Thursday night.  As a kid when I would crawl inside my green & blue sleeping bag with a flashlight, some comic books, & my Pumpkin Head Teddy Bear I was in my own imaginary little world.  All dark, secure, & mysterious, not to mention warm, comfy, & cozy.  Well it happened again last night as I tucked myself in.  Didn’t have my Punkie Head, no comic books & no flashlight this time but I did have my Kindle.  What a marvelous device that is.  Cannot even ever remember the last time I was able to read in bed.  Decades ago I suppose but there I was late Thursday night reading away in my toasty warm comfy cozy sleeping bag again.  And I had company.  What!!  As a wee boy I had company too on those magical nights but this was more of a real kinda company.  And it knew how to fly.  And no it was not Tinkerbell.  Heard a soft whirring sound somewhere.  The whirring seemed to bump into the ceiling a few times then whirred right on by my left ear & across the face of my lighted Kindle.  Back the other way then there it was sitting on my screen.  A Moth.  Neat-O I had a little friend again & it had been attracted by the Kindles light & came to read along with me.  I didn’t shoosh it away I just read around the little fellow.  He didn’t stay long.  Maybe wasn’t interested in reading about UFO’s or perhaps didn’t like the way I disturbed him when I changed pages with a sweep of my thumb.   He soon flew off into the darkness leaving me with a silly little boy grin on my face to fall asleep with all over again.


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Sure turned cold in the night & we weren’t long in kicking on some heat this morning.  Disappointed to see a heavy cloud cover over us but did see a few sunny breaks low to the horizon in the East.  Took Pheebs for a walk on a nearby service road & she just loved racing around in the brown powdery sand.  By the time we returned to the rig we were seeing a few sun splashes touch down here & there. 


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Knew we could see the BETATAKIN RUINS if we hiked out to the end of Sandal trail.  Leaving Pheebs in the rig for this particular hike we set out dressed warmly & walked back to the Visitor Center where we knew the trailhead to be.  It was 7:35 a.m. as we stopped to look at a few exhibits first.


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How nice it was to not encounter a single solitary soul as we made our way along a flat wheel chair accessible paved foot path.  Sandal Trail easily wound it’s way through Pinyon Juniper, Sagebrush, & a whole host of other plants native to this area.  Of particular interest were the gnarled & naturally twisted trunks of the many Juniper & Sagebrush trees.


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It was evident right from the start we were walking in a very special place.  A deep sandstone canyon ran along off to our left & we could see for miles to the North-East.  Thoughts of both Zion & Bryce Canyon came to mind as I looked out over the layers of red & gold colored mesas & plateaus trailing off in the distance.


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Our path crossed a few small wooden bridges & we soon found ourselves at trails end staring straight over a 400 foot cliff into the long deep & narrow Tsegi Canyon.  A sturdy guard rail prevented us from becoming airborne.  Reader boards explained what we were seeing directly below & across the canyon in front of us.  At the base of a towering Northern cliff we could barely make out the ancient Betatakin Ruins sheltered deep in a shadowed alcove.  The morning Sun had not yet found it’s way into the enormous cave like overhang sheltering the ancient Hopi Indians many dwellings far back in.  Despite the far distant shadowed dwellings I was able to get myself a few photos anyway.


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What a beautiful place this is & what must it look like in Summer & Fall months with forests of Aspen Trees running along the floor of the canyon itself.  We could see creek beds & a faint path at the bottom.  Indians hunted & once grew corn & cotton here.  I would definitely recommend the NAVAJO NATIONAL MONUMENT for anyone traveling through this area to take the 9 mile drive from highway 160 & come on up for a look at Tsegi Canyon. 


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And for you serious trail hikers you will like this:::The 8:15 A.M. Betatakin Tour is a strenuous 5-mile round-trip hike and takes 3 to 5 hours using the Tsegi Point Trail. The trail head begins at 7,300 ft. elevation; loses and regains 700 feet.  The 10:00 A.M. Betatakin Tour is a very strenuous 3-mile round-trip hike and takes 3 to 4 hours. The tour begins at the Visitors Center at 7,300 ft. elevation, then by Sandal Trail, and continuing down the Aspen Trail. Elevation loss is 700 feet (218 meter) to the bottom of the canyon.


And for you really serious overnight on the trail hiking buffs check this out:::: The KEET SEEL requires advance reservation and obtaining a backcountry permit at the visitor center. Daily limit is 20 people for this 17-mile round-trip hike on a primitive backcountry trail; elevation loss and regain is 1000 feet. The hike will lead down steep switchback trails and uneven steps, and continue down a sandy slope and once at the bottom, there will be rocks, and expect to hike across ankle-deep stream many times.  Check the website for when these hikes are in season……


On the way back from our Sandal Trail walk we hiked about half down the steep Aspen Trail.  It was about this time we both noticed how winded we were & came to the conclusion (besides knowing we are out of shape) we were not used to the 7,100 altitude we are at.   Walked back to our rig in the Sunset Campground & gobbled down some egg salad sandwiches before heading back out for the Canyon View trail about a half hour later.  And this time we took the Pheebs:))


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Although Canyon View trails does have some great overlook views of Tsegi Canyon the trail itself is short but leads to an old wood cabin that has been a part of the National Monuments history since back in the late 30’s.


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We were back to the rig well before noon & just in time.  Our window of morning sunlight was short lived.  I had noticed some dark stormy looking clouds moving in from the West.  Temperatures dropped & just as we arrived back at the Winnie Wagon it began to snow.  Not hard mind you, just flakes in the air.  Wind picked up & that was about it for our afternoon.  Stayed inside & stayed warm.  Old Sol did manage to make a late afternoon appearance picking up our Spirits once again.  I am definitely powered by the Sun’s energy.



We will roll out in the morning but we are undecided as to which way we are headed.  Our plans of course have changed & we are looking at a couple new routes.  Been checking the Mountain Directory & weather for the next few days to our North-East.  Looks like we are in for sunny days & warmer temperatures regardless of which route we take so we will probably base our decision on where we can motor ourselves through the nicest scenery.  For me, scenery has always been one of the main motivations for RV travels.  Other things as well but I love being ‘WOWED’ by what I see & there is an unlimited number of WOWS out here in these parts of the country:))


Had ourselves an ‘awwwww nuts’ moment this morning.  We forgot to bring our propane ‘Buddy’ heater with us so that means using the furnace for this trip home.   We consoled ourselves saying if we get a larger Class A again we will just hook up our Legacy Blue Flame heater which we like much better than the Buddy heater anyway.


And I thought school teacher Cheryl Ann over at Deep Canyon had a particularly interesting & revealing post recently when she wrote AM I JUST WASTING MY TIME?  I have never gone through the parenting process & maybe in parents eyes I don’t have a leg to stand on but I understand in an unbiased way what Cheryl Ann has written about in ways parents too close to their children do not. 


And last but not least, IVAN is beginning to make some serious tracks North after some leisurely time spent in the Lake Mead area where Nina & Paul are still at, or are they??   READY TO GO...OR MAYBE NOTDSC_0121

GROANER’S CORNER:((  After church one Sunday morning, a mother commented, "The choir was awful this morning." The father commented, "The sermon was too long." Their 7-year-old daughter added, "You've got to admit it was a pretty good show for a dollar."


A young boy gave some serious advice to his little sister. He told her, "When you need help from our parents, don't ever tell them you made a mistake. Instead, say you want to talk to them about a recent learning experience. You get into much less trouble that way!"


  1. Go to Mesa Verde..... East of Cortez Co..

  2. Another nice early morning hike, slowly making your way home.

  3. Spectacular photos! I've always been fascinated with exploring ruins and imagining what life must have been like back then. Thanks for sharing. (I've been pretty much trying to keep up with you three when I can...and now that I'm back, I am going to give this blog thing another go. ;-)
    - Mary Ann

  4. I'm sure you can spend many more hours in such a place. Wowsers. Nicely captured in the photo department as well. Cudos.
    Keep warm!

  5. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics. Along with your narrative, it was almost like being on the trails myself. Safe travels and I hope u don't encounter anymore snow, at least not until you're back across the 49th.

  6. Nice photos! We took the detour to Navajo National Monument in 2011 for a lunch break and hike. It wasn't in our plans, just serendipity. I did a short blog post on it some time later, including a video assembled from the photos I took on the hike out to the viewpoint overlooking Betatakin cliff dwellings and back.

  7. I had no idea that this was there. Thanks so much for the wonderful tour and fabulous photos. What a life those people lived.

  8. Gorgeous photos as usual Al but I'm not sure we are ready for 7100 feet elevation!

  9. Al, this is one of the finest posts I have read in a long time. Your photos and descriptions really made me feel as if I were right there with you and Kelly. Thanks for writing this.

  10. Al, this is one of the finest posts I have read in a long time. Your photos and descriptions really made me feel as if I were right there with you and Kelly. Thanks for writing this.

  11. Would like to take the Betatakin trail one of these days. That ruin looks to be in marvelous condition with wooden vegas still in tack. Agree with recommendation of Mesa Verde. If you tour cliff dwellings keep in mind that Balcony House requires a lot of ladder climbing and faces east while Cliff Palace is a bit easier, and faces west. Directions depend on temperatures and time of day for tours.

  12. Beautiful post, Al, and photos! You are making me want to return to this part of Arizona again. Can't wait for your next installment. Keep warm!
    ~Cheryl Ann~

  13. What a gorgeous place to be in the early morning. I love to be on the trail at dawn. So quiet, the spirits can speak. Really beautiful pictures as always and thanks so much for the info on all the trails. I guess the sandals trail is a descriptive name comparatively.

  14. Oh, yes! We most certainly have to go and take that five mile hike. I was wondering if we could hike into the ruins. What an awesome alcove to build a community!

    Thanks so much for sharing!! What a beautiful area of the country!! I just love it:)

  15. I am soooooo jealous of you two....Enjoy that quiet history of our great country!!!~!

  16. as usual great post. sure wish
    riggs could/would walk w/o leash.
    maybe we can see you sometime and Pheebs can talk to him!

  17. The Navajo Monument is now on our bucket list. We've seen the Mesa Verde and the Gila Cliffs and a couple of others earlier. Lovely country scenery.

  18. Yes, this country has some beautiful and historic spots...The history is what draws me. Actually I do love those Canadian Rockies of yours too..Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise..all beautiful spots to visit...but if you camp it's gotta be in the summer!