Catching up to our current location (even if not our current time)... we're in Flagstaff for the winter! We've always enjoyed our shorter stays here, although they've always been in warmer weather. Now we're talking colder temperatures and so far there has been one big snowfall. On the bright side - literally - there is plenty of beautiful sunshine, the snow has mostly melted, and (so far) it has been on the milder side of winter. And John gets to climb on roofs again. We're adapting to life in the travel trailer with freezing overnights and 40's-50's during the day.
One of our first forays into the plethora of sightseeing opportunities here was at Walnut Canyon National Monument. We'd been here over 11 years ago, but it's always great to explore cliff dwelling sites again.
It's a fun little walk down the stairs and around the circular path:
Using the natural landscape for your home - seems like a great location to work with:
One of many rooms along the cliffs:
Places to live - old (lower down) and new (on top):
As a long-time Austinite, I can usually spot limestone (the Kaibab version in this case, I think):
Imagine the cross-canyon communications between dwellings - "what time is the party on Saturday?" "At sunset, and ask your mother to make her famous cornbread"
It's the CCC again! Must have been such a different kind of experiment, with long-lasting positive effects. Although one guy in this picture doesn't look quite as thrilled.
Our boondock spot when we first arrived in Flagstaff a couple months ago, not far from Walnut Canyon:
Now we're hooked up at an RV park near town, back on the grid for a few months. I'm really enjoying living under the Ponderosa pine trees, with wildlife wandering through every day. I don't know what all of them are, but I'm pretty sure this is a Steller's Jay (and I always want to call it "stellar!"):
Good morning, Bert! Or maybe this is Arnie. There are several resident Abert's squirrels, so fun to watch them run around the park. Maybe eventually I'll have names for all of them, if they ever hold still long enough to get a decent picture:
Back when there was snow on the ground, I went out the back door and hiked up to Elden:
View from Elden of the San Francisco Peaks:
There was quite a snow drift at the top of the Heart trail! This snow is long gone, but at the time I was wondering if I had missed the window to run the Flagstaff Fearsome Four FKT
(no, the snow melted out in a lot of places, just not on Weatherford):
Fun rock formation near the top of Heart trail:
Enjoying the run back and forth and back and forth down Heart, because I wasn't in a hurry that day:
Another day of scouting for the FKT, more snow to play with, again thinking I was just collecting beta for another time.
Aspens in the snow:
John and I did a hike up Kendrick Peak, and by this time most of the white stuff had melted:
Way, way in the distance there's a Grand Canyon to the north:
Closer in, lots of neat little cones and volcanic topography (one reason we enjoy this area so much):
John in his happy place - doing trail work. Thank you, John!
Back at the "ranch", one of several types of woodpeckers I've seen and heard:
I'd be interested to know what type of bird this is - any thoughts? Not the best photo, I know. It has a gray head with a red cheek and tapered beak. Also a bit of orange-ish color on the bottom side of the dark, double-pointed tail feathers.
Update: Mom has ID'd this as a Northern Flicker, which might account for some of the more interesting bird calls around here recently too. Thank you Mom!
John got us started on the EV trend with a used Leaf while we were staying in the Bay Area a couple years ago. Since we're in one place for a while, he brought up the idea again. While I loved driving the Leaf around, I was interested in having a more-useable range this time. Hey, the Chevy Bolt can go over 200 miles on one charge. And the 2017's are reasonably affordable. We found one in Phoenix and brought it home - welcome Bev!
We were in Phoenix for a monthly orienteering meet put on by the Greater Phoenix Orienteering Club. I've been saying for a while that orienteering meets (at least the smaller ones) should be doable. The club takes great care to require masks at the start/finish, move people onto the course one group at a time, and then not gather after the finish. And we get to run around the hills and amid the saguaros to find checkpoints, yay! We really appreciate a tiny bit of normalcy and the chance to do an activity that we love. Worth the drive down the hill and back.
Eating outside at a cafe while we were there last month - John doesn't think this is saying much, but I love him more than a lot of other things too :)
So far Arizona has been a nice stopping place and we're looking forward to more outdoor activities around here.