Tag Archives: Arizona

Four Corners

Standard

img_5756

Toby ended a busy day by walking ALL THE WAY from Arizona to Colorado…Show Off!

 

Each of the kids began this seven week road trip with a plan as to what type of souvenirs they would be collecting. They each had a plan to collect something from the stops along the way with the money they had saved.

Grace decided to buy patches from each national park to sew onto her favorite backpack, making it a special reminder of all the places she has been.

img_6096-2

Rusty decided to collect key chains that he could attach to his backpack.

img_6093-2

Molly opted to collect postcards from each place we visited. She chose postcards because they were inexpensive but also a great visual reminder of all she has done.

img_6088-2

Toby and I were collecting magnets from each stop to add to our magnet collection, as well as starting a sweet bumper sticker collection on the back of the Gnome mobile to highlight where it has been.

img_6105

And we’ve been covering the ceiling of our bus with flyers and ticket stubs.

img_6100

Ozzie decided to collect maps from every state we traveled through and every park we visited. This turned out to be the cheapest souvenir of all since free state maps are available at rest stops and National Parks give out park maps to guests.

img_6084-2

His choice to collect maps wasn’t surprising. Ozzie LOVES geography. He loves reading maps and can spend hours playing around on Google Maps. An Atlas is his idea of good bedtime reading.

Being such a fan of geography and maps, you can only imagine the excitement he was feeling as we drove to Four Corners monument…the only place in the United States where you can stand in four states all at once.

I remember thinking Four Corners was such a cool place as a kid, and have a picture much like this one that we recreated, with a hand in two states and feet in two states.

img_5775-2

The drive to Four Corners took us down poorly maintained back roads for a 40 minute drive off the highway.

Owned by the Navajo Nation this is a privately owned monument located on Navajo land in the middle of nowhere.

img_5740

The cost to enter is $5.00/person, which is a bit steep when you consider all that is there is a granite disk marking the boundary where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet,

but in the end we felt the fee was worth the experience.

Here is a little info about this unique place:

“The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to this area’s being called the Four Corners region. The monument also marks the boundary between two semi-autonomous Native American governments, the Navajo Nation, which maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation.

The origins of the state boundaries marked by the monument occurred just prior to, and during, the American Civil War, when the United States Congress acted to form governments in the area to combat the spread of slavery to the region. When the early territories were formed, their boundaries were designated along meridian and parallel lines. Beginning in the 1860s, these lines were surveyed and marked. These early surveys included some errors, but even so, the markers placed became the legal boundaries, superseding the written descriptions of geographical meridians and parallels. This includes the Four Corners Monument, which has been legally established as the corner of the four states.

The monument where “visitors can simultaneously straddle the territory of four states” is maintained as a tourist attraction by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department. Unlike many other attractions based on what are primarily political boundaries, such as the Berlin Wall, Four Corners Monument is an example of a political boundary that is a tourist destination in its own right. The monument consists of a granite disk embedded with a smaller bronze disk around the point, surrounded by smaller, appropriately located state seals and flags representing both the states and tribal nations of the area. Circling the point, starting from north, the disk reads with two words in each state “Here meet in freedom under God four states”. Around the monument, local Navajo and Ute artisans sell souvenirs and food. An admission fee is required to view and photograph the monument. The monument is a popular tourist attraction despite its remote and isolated location. As early as 1908, people traveled long distances to take pictures of family and friends at the monument in Twister-like poses, sitting on the disk, in a circle of friends or family around the disk, or for couples to kiss directly over the disk.” -Wikipedia

We arrived and were pleased to discover we were one of a few tourists there. This meant more of an opportunity to take multiple pictures, an opportunity that wouldn’t have been available had there been a line waiting. During busier times they ask that you limit the number of photos you take to three.

img_5741-2

Ozzie was beside himself, gleefully calling out, “I’ll see you in a little bit, Mom. I’m headed to New Mexico!”

img_5767

Tyler loved jumping the border lines with Ozzie, shouting, “Now I’m in Utah. Now I’m in Arizona. Now I’m in Colorado!”

We waited for our turn to take pictures.

img_5778-2

The actual monument was quite pretty, surrounded by the flags of each state and local tribal nations, with a granite disk reading, “Here meet in freedom under God four states.”

img_5773-2

We started by getting a group picture with the kids all picking the state they wanted to stand in. Grace opted to stand in the center where the four states meet.

img_5751-2

It was crazy to say,

“At this moment all my kids are scattered across four states!” 🙂

Then some of the kids requested pictures alone on the monument.

img_5753img_5755img_5770-2

We ended our visit with a stroll around the booths that encircle the monument where Native Americans were selling their wares.

img_5746-2

We all enjoyed watching one artisan demonstrate how he chips away stone using deer antlers to create arrowheads.

img_5759

The girls loved all the turquoise jewelry and each bought a pair of earrings.

img_5783-2

There isn’t a lot to see or do at this stop. It is a 15 minute- 60 minute stop, but it is very cool.

It is one of those “Bucket List” stops. For where else can you go and say to your children,

“Kids, its time to go! Tyler, get out of Utah. Molly, it’s time to leave Arizona. Rusty, you need to head out of Colorado. Meet me in New Mexico at the bus. It’s time to leave.”

Very Cool!

Next Stop: Mesa Verde

 

The Grand Canyon

Standard

grand

“Vast, magnificent and inarguably beautiful, the Grand Canyon is easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark – and a natural wonder that you simply have to see to believe. Stretching 277 miles from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest.

In the Grand Canyon,

” Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world.” – Theodore Roosevelt

grand-canyon-north-rim

Grand Canyon National Park encompasses canyons, river tributaries, and surrounding grounds. The Grand Canyon is situated in Arizona’s northwestern quadrant. With five million visitors making the trip to the canyon each year, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. In addition, the park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. 

The Grand Canyon had a long and arduous road to becoming a national park, beginning in the 1880’s with several failed congressional bills. After making multiple visits to the area, Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a National Monument in 1908. The bill to grant national park status to the area was passed in 1919 and signed by then-President Woodrow Wilson.
 
There are two public areas of Grand Canyon National Park, the North and South Rims. At 7,000 feet above sea level, the Grand Canyon South Rim is the most accessible section of the national park, with numerous places where visitors can pull over to admire the views. The Grand Canyon North Rim, 1,000 feet higher than its southern sibling, isn’t as popular because it is harder to get to, especially when harsh winter weather closes access roads. By car, the trip from one rim to the other is 220 miles. However, if traveling by foot, the distance across the canyon is 21 miles via the Kaibab Trails.”

It was a shock to our systems moving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

This probably wouldn’t have been the case had we visited the South Rim but we chose to visit the North Rim so we would be in closer proximity to our next few stops. As we climbed from the desert of Vegas to 8,000 feet elevation the temperatures dropped from over 100 degrees to 58 degrees.

img_5182-2

We also encountered our first rain of the trip since our first day in St. Louis. 

img_5193-2

The drive in was beautiful. The drive into the Northern entrance takes you through a forest of Ponderosa Pine and yellow Aspen trees. You have no clue you are approaching the Grand Canyon until you run into the Grand Canyon Lodge, situated right on the edge of the canyon.

img_5184-2

When we got out we were greeted with chilly temperatures, drizzly rain, and thick, pea soup fog. We were a bit disappointed by the limited visibility due to the fog but were determined to make the best of it and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience, nonetheless.

img_5201-2

“Can you see our breath?”

 

Our first stop was to the Ranger Station to walk through the visitor’s center and so the kids could pick up Junior Ranger booklets to work on while we explored the park.

img_5213-2

One of the requirements for earning a Junior Ranger patch at the Grand Canyon is to attend a Ranger led education program. We headed over to the lodge to sit in on one about condors.

img_5228img_5224-2img_5227-2

After the program we stepped outside where Toby and the kids caught their first sight of this awe-inspiring view. I had visited the Grand Canyon as a kid but was still blown away by the awesome site, not fully remembering how impressive the Grand Canyon is in person.

img_5231-2

The low laying fog prevented us from seeing the full vista, but it was still an incredible experience. We were able to walk along the rim and even step out  on a walkway that extended over the mammoth crevice.

img_5242-2

The walk out to the end of the walkway was heart stopping for Rusty and I. Precarious under the best of circumstances, after a day of rain the muddy walkways made the climb out to the edge feel down right treacherous.

img_5282-2

As Rusty creeped to the edge he just kept saying,

“Why are we here? Why are we doing this?!”

It definitely didn’t feel OSHA approved with its crumbling walkways and large gaps in the railing.

walkway

Rusty was shocked by the complete lack of safety measures and expressed his concern with:

“Really?!! Someone could die!”

To which a passing stranger responded with a laugh, “Only if they jump.”

Seeing the risks for two impulsive boys off their ADHD medication, Toby kept an iron grip on both boys.

img_5258-2

The walk out was terrifying for this Momma, who is scared of heights, but the views made the risks worth it.

img_5278-2img_5268-2

WOW!

We opted not to hike, as originally planned. The muddy trails made hiking challenging and by the end of the day the boys were having a harder time controlling themselves. So we stuck close to the lodge and just walked around the rim of the canyon.

After an hour in the rain and cold everyone was chilled so we stopped in the lodge café for hot cocoas to warm us up while the kids finished their junior ranger booklets.

img_5296-2

We left the Grand Canyon by 6:00pm for the long drive we still had ahead of us to reach our campsite for the night just outside Bryce Canyon.

img_5299-2

Next Stop: Bryce Canyon National Park