Saturday, March 17, 2018

Northern AZ

From Tucson we wandered off to the Petrified Forest National Park. We spent the first day driving through the park stopping at all the cool things to see easily, did about 6 miles of hiking all the little trails to get to things.
 This is an 800 year old home made out of petrified wood that was reconstructed. They now know there would not have been a window.

 This was my favorite because it actually looks like real wood still that is desiccating.

hiking blue mesa

We found out while there we could go exploring in the wilderness and camp out as long as we hike out one mile from the road. There are no trails, you just go out and navigate on your own to get out and back. We thought it would be fun for a night. We didn't go out very far but it was very quiet and couldn't see the road. 

 Matthew is testing out a new pack situation..

Our bedroom for the evening

The next day we did an 'off the beaten path' hike. They give you directions, but again there was no trail, you just figure it out on your own. We hiked to Martha's Butte, which has a bunch of neat petroglyphs.

 Martha's butte behind him

Our next stop was to hang out around Flagstaff. We went to Walnut Canyon national monument (some really cool cliff dwellings) then Sunset crater (erupted about 1,000 years ago), Wupatki national monument (Pueblo ruins, along with a bunch nearby).

Walnut Canyon

Sunset Crater

Wupatki... followed by others (sorry don't remember the names, but they were all within a few miles of each other)

We did some rock climbing the next day and didn't take any photos!! Oops. We then went down to Sedona for a day. Holy guacamole we had no idea how uppity and busy that place would be. The plan was to stay for 3 days of hiking, we did one and couldn't wait to leave. Just too many people. It was gorgeous and we'd love to go back if/when there are less people. We did a 10 mile hike that was majestic.

top of the hike, I enlarged this in hopes you could see the bridge in the center of the photo.. that's where we started.

Our next stop was the Grand Canyon. Again, a bit busy here but found some good free camping off a forest road. We did a day of driving around to the two museums, not very impressive. The next day we did a 13.2 mile hike down the canyon to the Colorado river and back. I'm pretty sore, but it was SO fun. We ran almost the whole way down, took about an hour break, then slowly made our way out enjoying the views in both directions. The Grand Canyon is massive and impressive. My reaction at first seeing it was "holy $&!^" lol

Next stop is a hot spring to ease our weary muscles. We will be near Las Vegas but passing on going. I've been and Matthew has Zero.. no Negative interest in going. Then off to Joshua tree for world famous climbing and hiking!!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Long rest stop in Tucson

We spent two weeks in Tucson! After the gathering we already planned to explore around Tucson and we met a friend, James, who offered for us to stay at his place. He has a lovely house with a pool. One of the first days there we went out on a hike, followed by delicious Ethiopian food for dinner.

James and Matthew celebrating a new bromance

Matthew discussed with James that he needed to change the clutch on the truck, and James being a diesel mechanic thought they could do it together. They did some research and got to work. I guessed it would take them four days, it only took two and a half! I was highly impressed. Matthew just wrote a post about it...

Somewhere in there another friend James met at the gathering joined us, Sigh moon. I remember seeing him at the gathering but never met him. It worked out nicely for me because while Matthew and James worked on the truck I got to hang out with Sigh moon. He taught me a few different stitches for buckskin that were really fun to do. I made a pouch while learning, basically replicating a class he took while at the gathering.
All the pieces for the pouch

 Yes, it's crooked but it's mine!

I really like the stitch on the back, it was hard but looks good and very tough

These were special days for Matthew and I. We are extremely fond of both James and Sigh Moon, it was a joy getting to know them. James made plans with an elder from the gathering to meet at his Sufi community to consider being an intern for a year. He would learn to live off the land and such. The plan was for him to be gone for a week and he has a cat that needed a sitter. We offered our services to have the opportunity to see more of Tucson and to hear about his week with the elder. Sigh moon was spending time with us waiting on a ride to get to his next stop in California. His ride arrived the night before James was leaving, it was Woniya, the teacher who taught the buckskin stitching class! They were supposed to leave that evening but decided to stay one more night, we all got tacos and they left in the morning.

It was super quiet in the house after they left except Lil Mumu Patena (the cat) is very vocal.. and adorable. She is definitely an outdoor cat, loves running around outside but by twilight we keep her in to protect her from predators. She is very snuggly in the evening, often curling up to me or on me.

Sigh moon and Mumu

Matthew had even more car work to do and spent several more days doing smaller jobs like changing all the fluids, except an oil change. During that time I started on my tablet weaving project which I did a post about...

Once Matthew got his fill of car work we got a day to go out and play, we went outdoor bouldering for the first time. We stuck to the easy stuff and had a blast. I think we only spent about and hour or two, then got tacos. I forgot to mention we went back to the same place for tacos about 5 times while in Tucson. Highly recommend La Palma at the corner of 22nd and 6th if you get the chance. It's seafood only, they do a bunch of stuff but we stuck to the fish tacos and shrimp tacos.

 At the top of a climb

This is as far as he got on this one, it was way trickier than a V1.. to us lol

The day James was getting back we did a hike along Bear Canyon to Seven Falls. It was a lovely hike, fairly easy too. Not much elevation gain except a little at the end. On the way back to the house we stopped for the best gelato we've ever had. I got strawberry champagne with.. can't remember the name but it was a cookie flavor similar to biscoff, Matthew got baileys with blackberry. When we got to the house James was hungry so we returned for tacos one last time. After that he wanted ice cream so we went to another ice cream place and got some funky named ice cream that was delicious but we really didn't need it. None of us were interested in dinner but I had already promised James cookies when he got back so I baked chocolate oatmeal cookies that we nibbled with tea that evening.

These boots make every outfit better lol


drooling just looking at this photo again

We finally said goodbye to Tucson with promises of seeing each other again soon. He plans to do the internship and will be there by the time we are heading back east for the wedding, so with luck it will work out for us to swing by.

I forgot to mention this amazing place we found in Tucson called Everest Souvenirs. It's a small shop with Nepalese and Himalayan goods. We bought yak wool shawls and pants. They owner is an adorable middle aged lady that does kukri martial arts, as well as others. We loved the place and yak wool is amazingly cozy!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Back West

It's been a little over 5 weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. I have not been as diligent in updating. We worked our way west stopping in Missouri to visit our good friend Adam. From there we went to Kansas, stopping in some amazing campsites, then on to Steamboat springs where I learned how to ski with one of my besties, Marissa. Sadly I have hardly any photos of any of that since my phone died while there. I have this one because someone else took it and sent it to me...

Midway through snowmobiling, SUPER FUN

We stopped in Colorado Springs for about two days to visit with Tanya (Josh was out of town) and to pick up a new phone I ordered. It was great to see her and the pups.

Playing with my new phone

From there we headed south into Santa Fe for a few days of exploring. Santa Fe had a good vibe except for the drivers... they were oddly aggressive for a place that otherwise seemed so chill. It was nice to see all the buildings the same color, it just blended nicely with the desert. I'm sure many would find it dull. We spent a day just walking around town, going to the farmers market and stopped in Kakawa Chocolate. If you are ever in Santa fe, and love dark chocolate, stop in! We got the most amazing hot chocolates, they were so rich you only needed a small amount... and we definitely went back before leaving town.

The joy of chocolate

Nambe lake, did a short 6 mile trail to get here but all in krampons and it was exhausting! but worth it

On our way out of Santa Fe we stopped in Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks national monument. It was a short hike to explore it, had a blast.

We had a day in Phoenix and explored the Musical Instrument Museum. There were instruments from all over the world. It was phenomenal, way too much to absorb in one day, we stayed until closing and had to rush through the last of it. We also did a laundry and food shopping before heading out.

Our next stop was Wintercount! It is a primitive skills gathering held in Florence, south east of Phoenix. If you recall we spent a week at a gathering early on in our travels. It has been almost two years and we were craving some inspiration. We both had a fantastic week of learning, meeting new people and having wonderful experiences. We took a lot of different classes during the week, to name a few I did felting wool (made a pouch/clutch), pit to palate (cooking in the ground), did a Walkabout with David Holladay (one of the top 5 known survivalists) and Matthew did a moccasin making class, Flat fabric camping (using blankets and cordage to make your pack), and a pine pitch making class. Aside from classes during the day there are different events that go on at night, there was live music every night. Some of the evenings we just hung out by a quiet fire with the sounds of camp all around us. I don't have many photos, I started to take shots at the beginning of the week and then... just got distracted, didn't even think about taking photos.

 view from our campsite, sunset with teepees

 Starting a fire with song on the first day during morning circle

 pit for cooking

 Cooking salmon and steak on a ground fire, we also did potatoes and corn

drum circle with a few dancers and one of the last shots I took

The Mocassins on the left I bought from the guy that taught Matthew how to make his, on the right. The pouch with the saguaro I felted. The wool is from a sheep named freckles, I just love that.

The day we left, we went to Oak Flats campground which is on sacred ground for the Native Americans in the area. I get confused about the specifics but I know there were both Navajo and Apache there. They meet there every year and have ceremonies. This year they were looking for support to protest a mining company that wants to strip the land. We were honored to be there, I was able to witness a religious ceremony and we were greeted warmly. I learned about this from some others at the gathering. We stayed for a short time and talked to an elder that seemed happy to share some history with us and help us understand what was going on. It was interesting, we didn't really know what we were walking into but were glad we went.

We are now in Tucson staying with a friend we made at Wintercount named James. We are going to explore here for a few days then head up to the Petrified Forest national park then to Flagstaff. I feel like this really doesn't give you the full story of the past 5 weeks but it would just be too much all at once. Many amazing experiences... and more to come.