Saturday, January 24, 2015

Payson

Last week we went up to Payson for the day. I had a lot of plans and some fell apart but overall it was a good trip. Our first plan was to go to the Mogollon Rim. So we drove around the rim but when we got to the road to go to the lookout it was closed. The visitor's center was also closed, I think until May 1st. So our first stop was across the street from the visitor's center. We parked in the lot and let the kids play in the snow. We only stayed about 45 minutes because we weren't dressed for snow. I knew it would be cold but wasn't expecting snow and Natalie didn't bring a heavy jacket with Zach which is why he's in his sister's sweater in the pictures.
 
After the rim we went geode hunting. I found directions online to get to this place but they weren't the best. It would have been much better if they just provided GPS coordinates. So we got to the road that I thought was the right one but it was dirt so I figured it had to be wrong. So we turned around and went headed north. A mile down that road and I decided we had to have been on the correct road the first time. So we went back, past the spot, and pulled over to have lunch. While eating lunch I was looking around for rocks and a family of four pulled up in a van. They were looking for the same spot as us and got directions from the same website. So I told them I think we needed to park a mile back down the road. We parked a mile down the road with them and went geode hunting with them. Adri found the first geode, already broken open about 200 yards from the parking lot. After that we headed up the hill and found hundreds more. There were piles of them that looked like dinosaur egg nest.
 
After about an hour we had all the geodes we could take so we decided to head to our next spot. So we followed these people over to diamond point to look for crystals. This was a ten mile drive down a dirt road through some really thick forest. About two miles before the lookout that we never made it too we saw a big sign that said crystal collection site. This was not as easy as geode hunting. We did a lot of digging and only found a few crystals. Of course we really didn't have the right tools for this. I have made a sifter for our next trip and will be bringing a shovel and some buckets.
 
So now that we kinda now the area and where everything is we are planning on going back next week. I found some cabins online so we're going to spent a 3 day weekend out there.
 

 
Mogollon Rim











The only two pictures I got from the rim.










 






 

Christmas Break

This year we decided to do something different for Christmas. No wait, we didn't. For the third year in a row we went out to California for a couple weeks. The problem with leaving town for Christmas is having the kids open their toys. So we did do something a little different this year and we had them open there toys the day before Christmas. This is when the discussion started on how long we are going to lie to our kids about Santa. Apparently some people get really bent out of shape about this topic (no one in our family) and they think I'm a Grinch or a Scrooge or something. But this year Adri has been asking questions. How did Santa show up at the Bass Pro in Mesa and in Rancho Cucamonga? Then after she opened her presents she saw her kitchen set box in the garage. I was out there packing up the car to leave and she came out, put her hand on her mouth, and said "Wait a minute that's my kitchen set". I had to lie to the kid and tell her Santa was messy. I have to say I feel really stupid lying to my kids when they are clever enough to figure things out. Just so I don't screw up her childhood and have her blaming me for it later I'll continue the lie a couple more years.
 
We spent Christmas Eve at my aunt's house and Christmas at my parents house. The holidays just aren't the same as they used to be. Part of it is that I'm a cynical adult who feels like Christmas has become commercialized and the other half is personal issues. Not going to go too deep into it here but things are getting really bad with my mom. She has no clue what Christmas is, half the time she doesn't know who I am, and she constantly either wants to go home (when we are out) or she wants everyone to leave her house. It's quite the change of Christmas just five years ago.
 
 










Zach's first taste of ice cream.
All the kids got roller blades from Grandpa.
It's obvious I was not there watching the kids. Safety third.




Table Mesa

Two weeks ago I hiked the furthest south part yet of the Black Canyon trail. To get there I found GPS coordinates online and had to drive 25 minutes on a dirt road right off the redundantly named Table Mesa road. This was a really cool hike but I doubt I'll ever do it again since I may have been shot at near the end of the trail.
 
Most of this hike was fairly easy. A little more than a mile into the hike I ran into a herd of four wild burros. I had heard that they have them in this area but didn't expect to see anything. After shooting a few pictures I headed up to one of the peaks in the area. When I got to the peak the trail went underneath some really high powered electric lines. I could hear the lines making a crackling noise so it was a little intimidating walking under them. I decided that I was going to take a different path down the mountain and shortly after heading down I came across some antlers which I took home with me.
 
Near the end of my hike I think I got shot at which is why I'll never be hiking there again. There are signs everywhere telling people where they can shoot. No shooting is allowed near the trails. Well about half a mile before I got back to my car I'm pretty sure I heard a buzzing noise go past me a split second before hearing a loud rifle shot. I had heard gun shots all morning but none of them were following a buzzing noise. I looked up on the hill about a half mile to my west and there was a white truck up there. I don't know if someone was randomly shooting, if maybe I was imagining things, or if Obama stuck the an assassin on me, but it gave me a good scare. So I walked fast out of there and no bullets went whizzing past me after that. Time to find a new place to hike.

 

Some Burros.
Cactus growing in the rocks
The power lines I hiked under. Could see them going for miles over the hills.