Browsing Category "travel"
5 May
2016
Posted in: travel
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Take a Trip: Canyon de Chelly

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016.

If there’s a theme to our vacations, besides national parks, it’s canyons. There’s not a canyon rim hike we haven’t enjoyed, from the Grand Canyon to Canyonlands to Yellowstone. We love the views across a canyon and peering into the depths below. We’ve watched videos and viewed displays at several visitor centers explaining the natural wonder of canyons.

Canyon de Chelly intersections of canyons

Several days before we visited Grand Canyon National Park over spring break, we stopped at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northern Arizona. I didn’t know much about Canyon de Chelly before visiting except that it could be easily visited on our driving route. Canyon de Chelly is stunning and rich in Navajo history.

Canyon de Chelly rim view

The area has been occupied for almost 5,000 years, and the 84,000 acres of monument land are all part of the Navajo Nation. There are families who live on the land, and private houses are on both rim drives. Canyon de Chelly features several hiking trails as well as options for guided tours in the bottom of the canyon. Guided tours are available for a fee from authorized guides.

Canyon de Chelly rim view

cliff dwelling ruins in Canyon de Chelly

The monument has two major canyons to explore: Canyon del Muerto and Canyon de Chelly. Several trails lead to overlooks featuring ruins. We hiked in both canyons. Mummy Cave Overlook was our favorite hike in the monument. I think our boys were drawn to the hike by the name and the hope they would find a mummy at the end of the trail. There are no mummies, but the trail leads to the overlook for one of the larger Puebloan ruins which was occupied until 1300. There are no bad views at Canyon de Chelly. Every rim overlook is beautiful in it’s own unique way.

Spider Rock at Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly has seven overlooks along the South Rim Drive, all with slightly different angles to view the canyon. Our favorite spot at the monument is at the end of South Rim Drive, Spider Rock. This was THE spot a park ranger told us to place at the top of our list while at the monument. Always trust a park ranger. Spider Rock is a sandstone spire towering 800-feet above the canyon floor. The view is everything one could hope for from a canyon rim.

White House ruins at Canyon de Chelly

White House Trail is a 2.5 mile round trip trail leading down into the canyon for a closeup view of cliff dwellings. It’s the only trail into the canyon that doesn’t require a guide. We had good intentions to hike this trail until falling snow and 30-degree temperatures thwarted those plans. So much for the hopes of warm temperatures on spring break. The weather didn’t stop us from short hikes at rim overlooks to enjoy the beauty of Canyon de Chelly. The short hikes satisfied our adventuresome spirit and gave us a solid understanding of the monument.


 
Take a Trip: Flagstaff Area National Monuments
By     |    Apr 27, 2016
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Take a Trip: Flagstaff Area National Monuments

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. When anyone inquired where we were headed for spring break this year, I answered northern Arizona, which translated as Grand Canyon to everyone who asked. While Grand Canyon was on our list of stops over break, it was just one of several. The Flagstaff area is home... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park
By     |    Apr 18, 2016
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Take a Trip: Grand Canyon National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. We spent years talking about visiting Grand Canyon National Park. We couldn’t ever peg down a good time of year to visit. There were other national parks ranked higher on our wish list. Excuses piled for why we never chose the iconic American spot. This year was the... [Read More]

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Just One More Quarter
By     |    Apr 6, 2016
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Just One More Quarter

I sat in our vehicle on our way home from a week-long spring break vacation believing I was rejuvenated. Spending time with my family, traveling and enjoying the outdoors free of distractions speaks to most of my love languages. I felt waves of anxiety flow away and tense muscles relax over the course of those eight days. There are eight weeks of school left, and I was prepared to bring my A-game to the final quarter of the school year.... [Read More]

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Not-So-Fun Side of Family Vacations
By     |    Mar 22, 2016
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Not-So-Fun Side of Family Vacations

Rule #1 for family vacations is to expect the unexpected. We’ve notched thousands of miles in road trips and spent hours planning each vacation, but not one trip has gone as planned. Some unexpected occurrences are good. We’ve discovered places by listening to locals or veering from our plans because of a roadside sign. We always have an idea of what we want to do or see on vacation, but are known to be easily sidetracked. Some of our best... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Rocky Mountain National Park
By     |    Mar 14, 2016
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Take a Trip: Rocky Mountain National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. My husband and I spent 44 hours this weekend without children enjoying the tail-end of winter in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The start of 2016 has been rough, and we needed to regroup. Snowshoeing in the park was the most peaceful I’ve felt in months.... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Devils Tower National Monument
By     |    Mar 11, 2016
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Take a Trip: Devils Tower National Monument

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Devils Tower National Monument, the first designated national monument in the United States, is located in northeast Wyoming. It’s a geological beacon sprouting from the prairie of the Cowboy state. There are nothing but rolling hills on all sides of the 867-foot tower which overlooks the Bell Fourche... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
By     |    Feb 26, 2016
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Take a Trip: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Across the United States there are over 400 National Park Service entities. That’s a lot of places deemed worthy to be protected for historical reasons or the natural beauty of an area. I let go of any dream of visiting all of the entities a few years... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Arches National Park
By     |    Feb 5, 2016
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Take a Trip: Arches National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. This winter is relentless. There’s been snow on the ground for months, and it’s part of the permanent forecast these days. You know there’s a lot of snow when your son’s Nordic ski team can’t practice because they aren’t able to get up the mountain. It’s that... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Mammoth Cave National Park
By     |    Jan 25, 2016
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Take a Trip: Mammoth Cave National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. We had a bucket list of places we knew had to be included on our driving route for our Epic Road Trip to Florida last summer. One of those near the top of the list was Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. We’ve visited several National Park... [Read More]

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Take a Trip: Capitol Reef National Park
By     |    Jan 18, 2016
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Take a Trip: Capitol Reef National Park

This year is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. There are over 400 entities run by the NPS. I’ll share tips from different National Park Service sites we’ve visited throughout 2016. Capitol Reef National Park is located in a remote area of Utah. We visited several years ago (March 2011) over spring break and essentially had the park to ourselves with only a handful of other visitors to share the over 240,000 acres. I’m a sucker for rocky... [Read More]

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Tips for Visiting Kennedy Space Center
By     |    Nov 19, 2015
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Tips for Visiting Kennedy Space Center

I recently finished reading “The Martian” by Andy Weir. I was skeptical I would enjoy a book heavy on science, space science at that, but I devoured it. The main character is compelling and funny, even in dire circumstances. There were science and math sections that didn’t hold my attention, but nothing that kept me from needing to continue with the story. I had to finish it. I was invested in Mark Watney. Those last 50 pages had me simultaneously... [Read More]

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