Here is what has happened in the past few days:
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park has the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. They call it a geological wonder, and so they should. It's wonderful! When we were there, huge icicles hung from the 183 feet high ceiling of the arch, and every now and then one would detach itself and bombard down onto the rocks below. It sounded like a gunshot, which almost gave me a heart attack. These photos don't do it justice at all.
|Water is falling down the natural bridge.|
|Big frozen icicles at the waterfall.|
Today, we met up with our dear, dear friends Brandie and Bradley. They lived with us last spring and summer, but moved to Flagstaff in the fall, and we miss them terribly. It was quite a reunion, with the kids running to hug them, totally besides themselves with joy at seeing their buddies again. Brandie and Bradley are avid rock climbers, and they know this area well. They are perfect tour guides!
We explored Fay canyon with them – we Pacific Northwesteners wide eyed and awe struck at the beauty of the rock formations, the shades of red in the rocks, the moon rising over the cliffs, and all the dramatic scenery that goes with it.
Camping here is strictly regulated, and since we wanted to camp wild, we had to navigate our RV on a rugged forest service road to find a camp spot that would fit our rig and Brandie and Bradley's home made trailer.
|Brandie and Bradley hanging out with Kai and Lukas.|
We spent the day exploring more ancient cliff dwellings. The boys and I bicycled a few miles to the site while the rest of the gang followed in Brandie and Bradley's car. What a commute!
Every day I tell myself that the next day can't possibly get any better or any more beautiful, and every day proves me wrong. Frankly, I am lacking the words to describe all this beauty, and since I am not a native English speaker, I should just describe it in German.
We could only visit the cliff dwellings by participating in a guided tour, since they are severely monitoring over-use and traffic to these sacred sites. When we came to the part with the pictographs and petroglyphs, the guide later told me how impressed he was by Kai and Lukas. They listened to him attentively and actively engaged in conversations and questions. The really fascinating part about this part of the journey was the diversity of the cliff art's age. There were prehistoric markings mixed in with “newer” petroglyphs that are only a thousand years old. There were symbols from the forefathers of the Hopi mixed in with Apache cave art. I love the mystery surrounding all this... What exactly do the symbols mean? How old are they really? Why were they painted there? By whom? What kinds of ceremonies were conducted there?
I am falling in love with this country, not just because it is beautiful, but also with its energy. There really is something special about this area...
Later in the day, we just relaxed at our camp spot, knitted in the sun, went for small excursions, shot bows and arrows, and visited with Brandie's mom who joined us for dinner. The sun tan is deepening, folks! May you all be as happy and carefree as we are right now!
|Brandie and me.|