Welcome back! Today is day 5 of our Grand Canyon adventure both in 1984 and 2017. I hope you are enjoying the trip.
Day 5 (June 5, 1984): Yesterday we found an ant hill (near our camp site) that looks like a crater. The ants have black heads and bodies but their back ends are reddish copper. Now we are feeding them Kelly’s leftover toast and bologna from breakfast. Isn’t it amazing how the smallest things fascinate children? An adult probably wouldn’t have given a second thought to the ants, but there we were feeding them. Mom and Dad say that we are now at an elevation of 4000 feet. In Indiana we are only at 500 feet above sea level. We saw some petrified wood (Petrified Forest and Nature Trail) yesterday and got to touch it and get our pictures taken by it this morning. (Unfortunately all my pictures have been lost). Now we are going to New Mexico after stopping to view the Black Mesa. The lake at Black Mesa is called Lake Carl Etling.
(Afternoon): We are driving down Highway 325. We are now in New Mexico. There are lots of mesas and low mountains which form the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. The road follows the Cimarron River which comes from the mountains. It looks more like a stream. When we got to Red River, NM, we started looking for a place to camp. We drove toward Questa, NM. We decided to stay at Cabresto Lake.
When I saw the rock road going up to it, I knew it was a bad idea, but Mom and Dad decided to go up. When we got up there we decided not to stay. It was cold and windy because it was on top of the mountain. (The whole trip has been windy). When we got back down (the mountain) we decided to go back to Red River a different way. According to my parents so we could see more scenery. Can you see my thirteen year old self rolling her eyes? We drove over and through the mountains on switchback (gravel) roads. We had a flat tire near the top of a mountain. By the time we changed it, it was almost dark. We drove to Red River and stayed in the Alpine Lodge, (Check it out! I can’t believe it still exists.) which wasn’t bad except it had rusty water in the bathroom. There is more that my adult self still remembers from that day: The tire seemed to take hours to change on that cold, windy, desolate gravel road. And my sister and I were so pleased to be sleeping in a motel (even a crappy one) rather than in the back of the van in a campground. We even got pizza for dinner rather than a meal cooked over the fire. We were in heaven, sort of. I remember the pizza (pepperoni, I think) had this amazing stretchy mozzarella cheese on it. It was the best thing I could remember eating since we had left home. Unfortunately after dinner my sister threw up (are you seeing the correlations between my trip and our daughters’?). My parents blamed it on that rich delicious cheese on the pizza. My mother said it must have been goat cheese. I now know that my sister had the same nervous stomach that Peyton has and the drama of the day had been too much for her.
Day 5 (June 6, 2017): Today our happy explorers went on a nature hike.
Presley’s journal entry: Today we went on a nature walk. Mike Cour (our counselor) told us about seeds and their way of migrating. He showed us some seeds with fluffy tails (similar to my cat, Kricket’s tail) and pointed ends. The boys immediately started stuffing them in their hats saying they were robots. When Mike said, ” We’ll have to watch out for that group,” an adult replied, “Well at least they’ll have WiFi.” It was so funny.
Now would be a good time to convey to you that the cell phone service near the Grand Canyon is spotty at best and wi-fi is nearly nonexistent, so the accounts we are getting from the girls are far from complete. (Apparently everyone was a little stressed about the lack of connection to the outside world. I bet they change their tune by the end of the trip.)
Here is a picture of Peyton with her brush she made from the yucca plant. Peyton said, “I pounded a yucca plant to make a brush. I pounded it with a rock.” According to her the native people used the plant to make baskets, floor mats, and fishing nets.
They also participated in a cool activity where Peyton was blindfolded and PopPop had to lead her on a short circuitous walk around the area and have her touch something. He then led her back to the start and she had to figure out where he had taken her and what she had touched. She succeeded and found the juniper tree with holly growing beneath it that PopPop had taken her to. Now it was her turn to lead PopPop. Her journal entry reads: “We went hiking. We played a game where I blindfolded PopPop and I led him to a tree and then I led him back to where I started and he had to find the exact same tree and he did.” It was a fun team building exercise and Peyton was pleased with her success.
Presley’s journal: During the blindfolded activity, I found a heart-shaped rock that Mama will love.
After lunch the group headed to Grand Canyon Caverns (210 feet underground). According to Presley, the giant black creature in the background of this picture is a black sloth, not a bear like I thought.
Peyton’s journal entry: We went to the caverns and learned lots of things. We saw Bob the mummified bobcat and we saw Robert the taxidermied bobcat. We saw the four-toed ground sloth named Gertie and she stands 15′ 4″ and weighs 2000 pounds.
Presley also told us about the ghosts in the cave. The guides were telling the story of their ghosts and saying that they had lots of paranormal investigators visit and had even been featured on TV. Presley asked, “Was it on Ghost Adventures?” They responded yes. She remembered seeing the episode and one of the ghosts threw a rock at the P.I. (That’s short for Paranormal Investigator in case you didn’t know). The guides were quick to debunk that account, saying that their ghosts were friendly and all that audio footage had been prerecorded before the investigators (haha!) even arrived at the caverns. Presley was blown away to learn that the Ghost Adventure reality show wasn’t real!
Tie-dying t-shirts was next on the itinerary and this is the text I got from Nana.
Nana: Have about 12 min to rest before shirt dying. I’m trying not to fall asleep! Caverns were 65* but crazy steep! I may let the girls dye mine and just stay in the A/C room. 94* out there!😅
I tried to tell her I’d taken a power nap for her that afternoon, but unfortunately it hadn’t helped her. I told her I’d try again tomorrow.