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the newman family 2012 trip

Hi, all. We are en route to Tampa to catch our flight to phoenix. Thank goodness that the boys' bball teams did not play last night - we definitely needed the time last night for packing more and more stuff into those bags. Christian in particular is in serious danger of exceeding the bag weight restrictions. Everyone is super excited!

Diary Entries

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Location: sedona arizono

Sedona was terrific yesterday. Maggie and I had a morning of poking around the many, many shops of Sedona while the boys did a mountain bike ride on the red rock hills and trails. The.shops were a mix of t.shirts and native American art and jewelery and crystals with reported mystical power. I would definitely go back to Sedona. We had di
nner at a great Mexican restaurant (though Raney was disappointed at the absence of queso on the menu).

The missing days: biological nightmare is I think how Christian put it. Suffice it to say that I wouldn't be surprised if our names were on some sort of Zion ban list. The day after our recuperation day, we got out to do an amazing hike on the narrows, the boys a little further than Maggie and I made it. It was maggie's bday but she wasn't not quite at full speed. The narrows are incredible with much of the hike in water. We even rented walking sticks to help with balance and, for the boys, special water boots.

It was a great vacation...

Friday, 15 June 2012

Location: sedona arizono

Sorry for my lack of entries over the last few days but the plague kept us out of commission for a day or so. Sedona's red rocks are incredible though the drive into Sedona seemed more like Colorado with tall trees and mountains on all sides. Sedona is quite developed and luxurious -- just what we need at this point.

Posted some pics of our detour to do some zip lining yesterday. Otherwise spent the whole day driving through incredible sites. The Vermillion cliffs are just stunning. Almost fake looking.

When we got into Sedona, the boys played 9 holes of golf in the lovely par 3 that is right outside our patio door. It's an old-ish hotel but nice and in the middle of red rocks and a great golf course. Despite having lost many golf balls, aidan us now obsessed with going to hit more balls.

More later...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Location: zion national park

We played mini golf last night but it was our fastest round ever - it was freeeeezing out there.

We got up early this am and hit the road for Zion national park. The winding road toward the Lodge, where we planned to meet the warrings, was gorgeous. Red rock and checkerboard patterns and incredible cliffs. There are two tunnels, one that is Like a mile long, at one point the longest tunnel in the us. One of my thoughts in winding our way down into the canyon was that I can't believe that I rode my bike in and out of this place.

We did a couple of beautiful short hikes with the warrings and then did another after they hit the road. There were several wateringfalls coming down from nowhere it seems. every once in a while there is a cactus; every once in a while an amazing blooming flower (that I am sure mom could identify but I haven't a clue).

Mire hikes tomorrow...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Location: zion ponderosa utah

We had a lovely drive from the grand canyon yesterday, through incredible red rock canyons to areas where the it looked like the earth was just splitting down the middle. We drove through navajo country with little roadside shacks carrying native American mementos. In some areas the contrast between the intensely red rock and the lush green vegetation springing out seemed almost unimaginable. We drove past lake Powell which is really quite pretty. A weird story since it is now a water "Disney world" all thanks to fanning up the Colorado river.

Zion ponderosa is a family resort before you get to the entrance of Zion. The cabin is quaint and clean and in the middle of tons to do. You have never seen a kid so happy as when aidan stepped into their basketball court and started shooting. Today mags and Raney did wall climbing and both reached the top. They also did a zip line which involves them getting harnessed to a line and soaring across part of the ranch. Aidan opted for more bball. All the kids road mini all terrain vehicles. Maggie got going a little too fast and fell off but got right back on and she is fine (wow, is she tough). We have played pool and fussball and ping pong and are doing the pool later. The boys are playing paintball now (FYI Raney has a plan to get uncle mike and Joe, Katy, Mary and kerriann to do paintball in ny).

Love to all...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Location: zion ponderosa utah

Hopefully my photo page is up and running so there are a few shots of the kids at the grand canyon. My iPad does not seem to be capable of doing the blog so I am left with just my phone to make entries, including any photos.

We had a beautiful ride from the grand canyon to Zion yesterday, through amazing Ted rock canyons to spots where the contrasts between the red rock and lush green vegetation sticking up was almost too hard to believe (names of the towns like Hidden Springs explained how this was possible. We rode through Navajo country with periodic (and pretty pathetic) roadside stands selling to the white peoples' affinity for buying anything native American when out here. Lake Powell is really quite pretty once you get past the fact that it is created by damming up the Colorado river.

The Zion ponderosa was where aidan got his glimmer back in his eye. Only kidding but seriously he was smiling ear to ear dribbling a basketball to the little court where he played with Raney. Mags and I played on the beach volleyball court. The food at the only restaurant where we have been eating every meal is quite good.

Today we have done a bunch of activities. While aids and I played bball, Raney and mags and Christian did the climbing wall. You should have seen little mags make her way to honk the horn at the top. We played pool, ping pong, fussball. The highlight for mags and Raney was the zip line -- they are harnessed to a zip line that let's them soar across part of the ranch. Then all the kids did mini ATVs - like 4 wheel motorcycles. Maggie took a spill but she us fine. She is absolutely the gutsiest! She brushed herself off and got right back on. All three boys are headed to do paintball right now (FYI, Raney and I contrived a plan to get uncle mike, Joe, Katy, Mary and kerriann to do paintball).

Here at the ponderosa it is very wooded and fairly green. We haven't even set foot in the national park yet - tomorrow. It's been good to let off some steam with all of these activities. And of course we are thoroughly enjoying our bathroom.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Location: zion ponderosa utah

Arrived safely in Zion. I will give details later. Tried to upload some photos. Going to take more if kids doing mini ATVs.

Friday, 08 June 2012

Location: grand canyon arizona

Another lovely day at the grand canyon. It's sunny and 80s and very dry here. In fact we are not allowed to even use the fireplace in the cabin due to fire restrictions. We hiked the blue angel trail about a mile down the canyon and then saw the Kolb studio where the kolb bros set up a photo business in 1902 or so. The kolb brother that ended up with the biz after a sibling quarrel took photos in the canyon until he died in 1976 at age 95. I

We had a terrific lunch at the blue angel lodge and then "weird" ice cream for the kids -- in cylinder shapes to start.

Last night at the cabin was fine. We even had a warm shower each, thanks to our new solar shower. The kids are anxious to get back to the cabin to work on a little fort.

More tomorrow once we hit the road to zion.

Thursday, 07 June 2012

Location: grand canyon arizona

Second installment: the kids did a classic rendition of "are we there yet?" For our first fifteen minutes on the trail which was a somewhat steep traverse down into the canyon. Than I mentioned that we had only been gone for 15 minutes. They were great hikers after that and we did about a 2 hour hike. We saw a few California condors, back in the canyon thanks to a big condor restoration project.

So Hull Cabin. First let me say that it is close to the canyon, in a lovely forested area with basically no people and is a historic building having been built around 1870. It is pretty cool in concept. Now here is how I earned the merit badge that will go alongside the one that I got when I camped with 2 toddlers when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant.

Short break for today's medical event. Aidan just had a nose bleed. No big deal. Dry air.


So back to my short experience as Mrs, ingalls. No electricity buy we do have propane. Raney is my bunkmate. My workout this morning involved steps-UPS and pushups and various other exercises on a big log lying on the dusty ground. We have an outhouse. I need not say more but I will add that I actually thought about whether using clothes pins for our noses would be a possible option. It is rough living for a few days but we are together and having a ball (and I have already divided my plan for "making up for roughing it").

On the side, the kids have been reading and drawing and making survival bracelets (today's version of those bracelets that we always got on the cape).

Love. J and fam

Thursday, 07 June 2012

Location: grand canyon arizona

1st installment for today because we are on a shuttle headed towards the trailhead of kaibob trail at the grand canyon. More about our first night at Hull Cabin later since that can't be described quickly and without considerable editorial comment.

So the grand canyon. We headed in this morning from sort of a back entrance through the kaibob forest. We were literally in the middle of the somewhat dense forests and then quite suddenly we went round a curve and there it was. Amazing. Amazing. I think that I was worried that the rest of the clan, none of whom have seen it, would be disappointed after all of my hype. No chance. This is my fourth trip to see it and today it brought tears to my eyes. Even despite it being just almost too hard to grasp, the kids live it. We took a nice walk, got sort of lost, got lunch and bought Maggie new socks to replace the ones that I just noticed she wore down to holes. Now we are finally taking our hike, loaded down with water, cameras and power bars.

More to come....

Wednesday, 06 June 2012

1st installment for today: it has been quite the interesting day, making our way towards the grand canyon. Right now, we are the only customers (possibly in the last decade) at the Hilltop route 66 cafe. There is one little navajo man here running the place, including all the cooking, so we tried to keep the orders simple. We are off of Route 66 but I haven't yet given my spiel on the old road. (Always the librarian's daughter). We felt too bad for the guy to leave, and we are trying to avoid chains.

We just left the painted desert where we ran into our friends the warrings. Total coincidence. I heard someone yell for Maggie and before I knew it she was running into her little friend macey's arms. The painted desert was amazing though brief and the petrified forest was just as Mom remembered it from our trip. :). The mist excitement at the petrified forest was when Raney was goofing around, flung his hand back and got stuck by a few dozen cactus needles (having punched a huge cactus plant by accident). no worries -- I pulled each of them out with a big yank and slapped on some neosporin. A day is not complete without one of us needing a little neosporin.

More when we have internet access...

Tuesday, 05 June 2012

Location: Alpine, Arizona, USA

Day 3 (well, technically) at the Beaver Creek Ranch. After a hearty breakfast, we headed out to the corral where we were matched with "our" horses. We took a long, long, long trail ride with our wranglers, Billy, Steven and Rett. (there are several other wranglers here that have helped us -- many of them are high school kids who come for the summer and help out at the ranch. We just met one wrangler who just arrived today from Germany. It is his 18th summer back here, and he just comes to get a change from his life as a documentary film maker). We took a different trail today. Today, we say lots of absolutely lovely meadows. The landscape is such an interesting contrasts between winding brooks and creeks and tall, tall pine trees. I think I mentioned yesterday that there was an enormous fire here last year. The burnt trees (which cover the entire region here) dotting the landscape make for a really amazing picture. We will have pictures and hope to even download some this week (but haven't figured out how to do this yet).

The kids are doing an amazing job on horseback (and so is Christian!). They were totally comfortable, even veering off the trail and riding along side Billy (the owner and chief of guides). Aidan in particular kept wanting to get Avanti to trot, and I think he would have taken off with the horse at a gallop if Billy had not reminded him to stay "behind the leader." Again, the ranch folks are totally amazing teachers. The kids did not want the ride to end -- oh, to be young -- Christian and I were sore in so many places about half way through the ride! We so wanted our horses to trot but it hurt so much.

After our mexican lunch (Raney is just in hog heaven with the food, all cooked by Caren, the owner), we took in the amazing surroundings and read (and napped in the case of Christian), then headed out to the rodeo corral. The kids took turns going around barrels. They improved so much since yesterday. One of the hands, lindsay, said over and over that Maggie is just plain naturally talented. (Christian and I are bracing ourselves for a new interest for Mags). Raney and Aidan both sped through the barrels with no problems at all. What a great experience for them.

(Oh, I forgot to say that at the end of the trail ride, Avanti got spooked and Aidan fell off. The wranglers were down in a flash but Aidan was fine and got right back in the saddle again.

Late afternoon, while I did a Jodie workout (if they saw me through the window, they definitely know that I am nuts), the kids and Christian hiked to a little natural cave and dug around for bones and pottery.

Tomorrow we head to the grand canyon. If I don't blog tomorrow, catch me the next day. Signing off with love....

Monday, 04 June 2012

Location: Alpine, Arizona, USA

So we made it to the dude ranch -- Beaver Creek Guest Ranch in Alpine, Arizona. It took us FOREVER to get here yesterday, but the look on Maggie's face this morning as she rode her horse, Stormy, on the trails makes the trip well worth while.

We spent most of yesterday getting ready for our adventure here. Got our "supplies" and headed on the beautiful trek out of Phoenix: from dirt dry, hot prairies to vast, rocky steep and winding roads. The ranch is in a fairly remote part of Az, and we didn't arrive here until 7. Luckily for us, they waited on dinner. Aidan actually used the word "phenomenal" to describe the ranch owner Karen's homemade french bread. I think the only other time he ever used that word in the context of describing food is Grandma's ricotta cookies!

We are staying in a cute little cabin which the owners rebuilt last year after the Alpine wild fires of last year destroyed everything in this area of Arizona. It is rustic (and I will certainly be ready for some spa conditions) but it is clean and warm when it needs to be. (Nights are cool!!).

We forced ourselves to sleep but couldn't contain ourselves for too long. The horses were out in the pasture pretty much right outside of our cabin, so Maggie was out there by about 7:30, waiting for the horses to come up to the fence. We had a hearty breakfast (of course) and then went to do our first trail ride! We each had our own horse: Raney had Ranger; Aidan had Avanti ("Avanti, Avanti" Aidan says in an Italian accent); Maggie had Stormy). The kids took right to the riding. We did a long trail ride, probably a few hours long. Through beautiful meadows, across numerous creeks (sometimes to my fear of crashing), through the wooded areas. It was really great, and everyone did a great job.

After lunch, the kids went into the corral area and had some lessons on better guiding the horses, through barrels, etc. Aidan's horse was a bit pokey despite his kicks and slaps across the bum. Maggie's horse was a little stubborn. But both Maggie and Aidan ended up with a couple of fabulous runs. Raney really seemed to have some natural ability to guide easily, even at a trot.

A couple of the ranch wranglers took us fishing in a nearby river. Raney caught one! Everyone caught some crawfish. They all had lots of fun!

We are pooped but not thinking about work,that's for sure. Having trouble getting any connection on the ipad, so borrowing the owner's computer. More tomorrow....

Sunday, 03 June 2012

Location: phoenix, arizona , North America

Good morning! Christian is already on Arizona time and woke us up at 630. Everyone is planning to use the weight room this morning and then we head off to REI (Christian's favorite) and Walmart (the store we dread but that sometimes is the only option) to stock up on supplies and possibly even some boots with heels. We need to be at the dude ranch around 2. That will definitely make for some interesting tales.
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Last night we just relaxed after grabbing an early dinner and ice cream. Phoenix is like 100 degrees and definitely felt every bit of it. We took a swim of course. Aidan is in search of Steve Nash but so far no luck. We will keep looking...


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