We had quite a full day Friday, we covered a lot of territory on our bikes. We started out about mid-morning and John informed me that just possibly we may finish our touring in time to see the ducks march out of the water at 5 PM at the Peabody Hotel. I thought he had something figured wrong, surely we would not be on our bikes that long! However, I was not figuring that we would be spending a lot of time off our bikes. In the course of that day we toured an Arkansas conservation center, the Old State House museum, and the Capital Hotel. We also stopped for fruit lollies at the Market Hall. We had a perfect day weather- wise also; the temperature did not get much above 80 degrees, and there was no humidity. This posting will mainly be on what we saw along the Riverside Trail, which primarily includes Peabody Park. Our first stop was at The Rock. In 1722 a French officer was exploring the Arkansas River and identified "some rocky country" and a league further up to the right was a large rock which he called "French Rock"- today now know as "Big Rock". Apparently thus started the naming of Little Rock. People later traveling by land also became familiar with the river's rocky outcroppings and at a low water ford found some smaller rocks which became known as "point of rocks" or "little rocks". That spot served as a survey point in 1818.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
It was almost over-whelming Thursday, everywhere we went we saw masses of blooming pink and white azalea bushes. It seemed like spring had happened over night. Dogwood trees are now also in bloom as well as camellias, wisteria and roses.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
We parked our rig within about a mile of this lake Saturday. It felt rather nice yesterday to step out of our home and to see green grass with puddles of water sitting around- not like the flat sandy dry land which we had been seeing in Texas. It was also pleasant to hear the sounds of frogs, crickets and geese honking as they flew overhead. However, after touring around today, we are rather fed up with all the water standing around and the mosquitoes who are swarming over that water! Muddy trails kept us from from touring the Honey Springs Battlefield. I do believe that a little history lesson of this area is warranted before I proceed any further here. In the 1830s-40s The Five Civilized Tribes (Choctaw, Chickesaw, Cherokee, Seminole and Creek Indians) were relocated from east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory. The area around Checotah, Oklahoma became the home of the Creek Nation. The Civil War came to the Indian Territory at Honey Springs (located northeast of Checotah) on July 17,1963. The battle was historically significant because of the racial diversity of the soldiers. There were Indians, whites, Hispanics who came with Texas forces, as well as black troops from the Kansas Infantry Regiment. The majority of the Indians fought for the Confederates, while the black troops fought for the Union, there was a total of 9,000 troops. It was the first time when black units played a key role in a Union victory. At the battlefield there are 5 monuments for all the troops involved- pictured below is the monument for the Five Civilized Tribes.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
One of our goals for Tuesday was to see Jemez Falls. Here the Jemez River drops 70 feet through a spectacular series of falls. Unfortunately the trail from the road to the falls was covered with snow and, as we kept loosing the trail, we gave up on that idea. We drove on to Valles Caldera, called the "Super Volcano of New Mexico". It's eruption was ten times bigger than Mount St.Helens and it is the third largest volcano in our nation. The one at Yellowstone comes in second. We stopped at Valle Grande, largest of the numerous valleys within the crater. It is now mainly a preserve for elk and cattle who graze here during the summer months. Unfortunately the road into the preserve was closed for the winter. We do need to come back during warmer weather! I would love to hike some of the trails within this caldera.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The weather here had taken a turn for the worse on Sunday. A cold front had come through with winds up to 70 miles per hour. That horrible wind blew sand and dirt into the air, it was difficult to be outside for any long period of time. Add to that mix a little splatter of rain and soon mud covered one side of our home as well as our little car. It looked like we had been driving off road in the back country! Consequently on Sunday we decided that it was about time to visit a museum. The Albuquerque Museum of Art proved to be an excellent choice- presently eighty sketches of Francisco de Goya, which are currently on a national museum tour, are at the museum. While at the museum we were also fortunate that a concert was being performed which featured chamber music of two of Goya's Spanish contemporaries. By Monday the wind had died down, but it remained cold. On Tuesday the weather had not warmed up as the weather man had predicted, but we thought that we should still venture out. If we could not be outside, then at least we could sit in our warm car and look at some scenic sights. We chose one of New Mexico's most scenic drives which is Highway 4. Our first stop was at the Pueblo Jemez Walatowa Visitor Center. We were informed there that pictures could only be taken of the rock formations, as we were on tribal land. It had been cloudy and cool up to this time, but the sun now shone brightly over the red rocks.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Hard to believe that we have been here almost a week and I have not written one posting. So I consequently have a bit of catching up to do here to let you all know what we have been seeing and doing. This is about the third time we have been in this city so we have not been too busy sight seeing. As we drove along Interstate 40 last week, leaving Arizona and entering New Mexico, we saw beautiful red rock formations. In this northern part of Arizona we drove through a corner of the Painted Desert as well as the Petrified Forest.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Most everyone has been to the Grand Canyon, in fact it was the honeymoon destination of my parents. However, I still feel a compulsion to give some basic information on it. The Grand canyon is one large canyon with two rims. The rims are 10 miles apart as a raven flies, but 215 miles by road. South Rim elevation is 7,000 feet, the North Rim is 1,000 feet higher. The South Rim is open all year round. North Rim services are open mid-May to mid-October. When we were there Tuesday the South Rim was heavily populated with people from all over the world. The most likely reason that many people were there, especially families, was that children are out of school for spring break. Our first stop at the South Rim was at the Watchtower. Mary Coulter was the architect of the building when it was constructed in 1932. She did a lot of research before building it. It is a re-creation of strange prehistoric towers found scattered over large areas of the southwest.
John and I have been to the Grand Canyon before, however we just had to see it again. It is such an awe-inspiring landscape of rugged cliffs, buttes, pinnacles and slopes that it has drawn many people to its grandeur over the years. It speaks of time, the millions of years it took for its numerous geological layers to form. And it also speaks of continuing erosion by the Colorado River and its tributaries which cuts down and deepens the canyon as well as creating smaller canyons. As a park brochure has noted, "with enough time and gravity water dominates rock". We attempted to walk down into the canyon via the Grandview Trail, but it soon became treacherous because of the presence of snow and ice. We then had to satisfy ourselves with the Rim Trail which is paved and offers some beautiful view of the canyon and the Colorado River. By late afternoon the sun was setting and the canyon had a softer look to it with contrasting light and shadows.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
John was not completely correct about the squirrel I saw two days ago. The Kaibab squirrel is a distant relative of the Abert squirrel- I found out from a national park ranger yesterday that he was the one I saw. He can be identified from his relative by his lighter colored fur. Both squirrels are entirely dependent upon the ponderosa pines for food and habitat. Yesterday we took a side trip to Sunset Crater and Waupatki National Monuments before driving over to the Grand Canyon. There is a 35 mile loop road off of Highway 89 which connects both sites. I mentioned, in a previous posting, the presence of the San Francisco Mountains in the Flagstaff area. We discovered yesterday that the mountains are a large volcanic field with more than 600 hills and mountains. The volcanism has migrated from nearby Williams, Arizona during the past 6 million years.
Monday, March 12, 2012
It was a long day today traveling from Hurricane, Utah. It was the mountainous areas which slowed us down. John had a choice of two highways, and he chose the scenic road because it looked like the shorter route to Flagstaff. We ended up on narrow winding mountain roads, and for awhile I questioned his judgment. John claimed it was scenic because of the snowy pine forests. After that we were back in flat desert land and began seeing high reddish colored cliffs off in the distance. I did not question the scenic drive anymore. "These are the Vermillion Cliffs!", John exclaimed. He remembered reading about them in National Geographic a few months back. They were quite beautiful and we followed them for miles.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
After visiting Bryce Amphitheater we took the 37 mile round trip through the park. The one main park road has outstanding views of the canyons and southern Utah scenery. There are a total of 13 viewpoints where one may stop and take in additional features of the park. Our first stop was at Sheep Creek Swamp Canyon.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday morning we got the pleasant surprise of warmer temperatures and no blowing wind. Unfortunately we still wanted to see Bryce Canyon, which at the highest elevation is about 9,000 feet above sea level. We were sure to encounter cold temperatures and snow. Bryce Canyon is 76 miles northeast of Zion Park, which we drove through on the first leg of our journey yesterday. We then left the high rock walled canyons and drove on Highway 12 over some rather flat land dotted before reaching Red Canyon. We learned at a rest stop along the way that the Mormons settled in this valley in the 1870s. It was one of those settlers, Ebenezer Bryce, for whom the canyon is named. At Red Canyon, located in Dixie National Forest, we got a foretaste of what we were to soon see at Bryce Canyon- hoodoos in all different kinds of configurations.