Everyone ready for day six of our adventure? I definitely think the girls’ day was better than mine! If you missed last week’s entries catch up here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3,Day 4, and Day 5.
Day 6 (June 6, 1984): We left the Alpine Lodge and drove to the Rio Grande Wild River Area. We were by the Rio Grand Gorge. We saw the Gorge and where the Red River runs into the Rio Grande. We took a hike down to the Red River and back up. We camped at a height of over 7500 feet. The hike was nice but Mom and Dad got sore. I slept 13 hours (that night). We were the only people there. It was very clean and pretty. We made Jungle Stew for dinner. It was delicious. In researching the area I have surmised that we camped overnight at La Junta Campground and the 1.6 mile long La Junta trail (read the description at the bottom of the linked page) was the one that left mom and dad so sore. My 40-something year-old body is getting sore just reading about it.
Day 6 (June 7, 2017) 6:51am local time:
PJ: Hi Mommy I’m up I want you to know that me and Presley got the beds with the rock samples on the walls.
M: Cool. You’ll have to take a picture. What are you doing today? PJ: On our way to the river today.
They drove down Peach Springs Canyon on the Diamond Creek Road to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. When they talked with us that night the girls told a story of the Water Cockroach that Peyton had spied on the river with its eggs on its back and they actually got to see little spiders hatching off the roach’s back, but apparently it wasn’t interesting enough to write down in their journals.
Peyton’s journal: We went down to the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but before we got there we waded in some creeks (Diamond Creek). When we got to the river it (the water) was freezing! We had a water fight. It was very fun. Before we got to the river we saw a Tarantula hawk.(Which is actually a type of wasp) It was very scary. It takes a tarantula and paralyzes it, stuffs it in a hole, and injects its eggs in, and the tarantula dies, and later the eggs hatch. Gross!!
Presley’s Journal: Today we went down canyon to the Colorado River and splashed around. The water was FREEZING! We had a big water fight. When the boys splashed me they laughed, but I got a hold of a bucket they all ran for high heavens! Us girls also started a Sludge Spa. Boys would line up on the sand banks to get one of two treatments: Dry or wet sludge (from the river). After a while we only did wet treatments. Then we would grab (handfuls) of sludge and throw it on top of the boys calling it “high quality.” The boys called it, “hard quality.” After sitting in a freezing river, the chilly streams seemed quite warm. I thought I was gonna die when I got back in the river.
The girls and grandparents also finished their tie-dyed shirts this afternoon. I think they turned out really nice.
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. Accordingto 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.