Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Big Baron Family Treasure Trove Trip

We jumped into this summer's activity right away! School got out on Thursday and Leif's brother and sister arrived with most of their children on Friday. I have managed to write all of our fun down. But I'm still working on gathering photos from everyone's cameras. I'll post what I have and then make another post to let everyone know I've updated the photos.

Saturday we spent the day together here in town. Everyone spent the first part of the day at a local charity event. One of the auto mechanics set up a mini country carnival outside their station. The proceeds went to a local family who needs help with medical bills. It was fun to go and have hamburgers and listen to the local musicians show their stuff. The kids had a lot of fun playing in the bouncy and winning prizes from the Fishing Pond. In between all of that fun, we took Jakob to a Bike Safety activity sponsored by our DARE officer. It just so happened that we purchased Jakob his first bike the day before. He's still unsure about how to get the bike moving. But it's a fun start.

As grandma made dinner that evening the kids decided to play with water ballon bombs. They filled up regular sized baloons in grandmas kitchen sink and played with them on the trampoline. They played until one exploded all over grandma's kitchen. Larissa and Leif picked our radishes. They are the first harvest out of our garden and they turned out beautiful. That evening grandma made some delicious white chili and we had a good time visiting up here in the barn.

Sunday we went to church together. That afternoon we had a wonderful birthday celebration for our sweet nephews. I was so grateful for our "great room" up here in the barn that allows us to entertain the whole family for dinner. After dinner we gathered everyone up and headed over to the home of Ron and Sherre (family friend's). They have an unofficial petting zoo on their property. We played with their puppies, found the eggs under their brooding hen, fed their bottled fed calf, chased the roosters, pet and fed the horses, and watched their mountain goat along the cliffs above their back yard. It was so nice to be able to let the kids run free. While the kids played we sat down with Ron and Sherre and made plans for the upcoming few days. Sherre was raised out on the Navajo Indian Reservation near Page Arizona. She has literally roamed the cliffs and valleys throughout that area and into the area near Colorado City Arizona throughout her entire life. We sat in their living room and Sherre asked us what we wanted out of our upcoming trip with her. These were the words that were said: safe, fun, non strenuous, educational, dinosaurs, horses, cemeteries, and an experience. And boy did she ever deliver!

Sunday night we came back to our house and had a good ol' fashion Taffy Pull. It was fun to try to flavor the taffy (which didn't work) and then explain to the kids that we were calling them over to Pull the Taffy, not EAT it.:) One of the special moments as a family was our Family Scripture Study each night (Thanks brother for heading it up!)

Monday we headed out over the Kaibab mountain and then towards Marble Canyon. This is always a beautiful scenic drive. This time of year there are wild flowers that line the side of the road and when you get out to the desert the cactus are in bloom. As we drove closer to Marble Canyon there were huge boulders that had rolled off of the mountains and Jakob called them "tree rocks" because some of them were shaped like trees from the wind blowing along the sides. It was incredible. We had lunch at the Navajo Bridge visitor center. From there we walked along the original Navajo Bridge that was built over the Colorado River in 1928. Sherre is a wonderful story teller and was an endless source of fascinating facts and experiences as we traveled along throughout the day. As we came to the end of the bridge she scooted us over to the side where there was a stone wall built and she showed us where her father had signed his name after he constructed the wall. She talked to the kids about how one should never throw anything over the bridge but she assured them with a wink that paper airplanes flew especially well as they caught the wind just right off of the bridge. The funniest story she shared about the Navajo Bridge was of the Indian named Jake who supported his liquor habit by stopping tourists who crossed the bridge and insisting that it was a tole bridge.

From there we piled in two vehicles (from the three that we came in) and drove down to Lee's Fairy. This is a ranch that was established by the Fairy Master's family who ran the fairy across the Colorado River. When you get to the ranch, if you were to come without a special tour guide) you were enjoy the serenity of the beautiful orchard and cabins that have been maintained on the property. You would walk down in the root cellar and meander through the grass and look at the trees and flowers along the way. But when you go with Sherre, you always walk just a little further then you think necessary and a whole new world opens up. This is what happened to us. As we followed Sherre we came upon the family cemetery where many family members were laid to rest. Including almost all of one family's children who died from a fever they caught from another family whom they had taken in and cared for. Imagine the trial of faith that would have been. As we continued up past the ranch and cemetery we saw the river. Apparently Sherre learned to swim in this river. The kid's were thrilled to have all of us walking together through the brush to the river. It wasn't swimming weather (we actually had a rain burst hit us as we were walking through the ranch) but it was definitely great ship sinking weather! Sherre broke off some large sticks (ships) and we all threw rocks at them as they flowed down the river and tried to sink them. Simply Fun and Great Memories!

From there, we drove down to the big river (the Colorado). At that point of the river you can really notice when they hold back or let out water from the Glenn Canyon Dam up stream. We were lucky that the tide was low. There was a lot of beach and a few tide pools. The kids were in heaven. They ran and jumped in the tide pools and soaked themselves to the skin. They wrote their names in the sand and walked along the edge listening to stories that Sherre told them about growing up along the rivers edge. She told us of how her father would swim the river with three year old Sherre clinging to his back. And the time that she was sunbathing on a rock in the middle of the river and fell asleep only to wake up and realize that the water had been let out of the dam and she had to swim back to the edge rather then hop across the rocks. This little trip to the river was great fun for all of us! To end the day we went out to good ol' Burger King and stuffed the kids full of their favorite cuisine. Then we stopped off at the Glenn Canyon Dam and looked out the window at the spectacular view below. By then the kids were tired! We were surprised to hear them ask to go home and play at grandmas. Sometimes, it's too much to take in. But in reality, the kid's had a great time it was just an incredibly full day! And that was only the first...

Tuesday we met up with Sherre again and headed out to C B (I am trying to keep this place secret for reason's you will note soon.) Sherre drove us out to her family's ranch. When you arrive you immediately feel a welcoming spirit. The grounds are set up in a way that beckons one to sit and visit. As you enter the home you find a trove of treasures unlike anything you have ever seen in your life, let alone inside a rural country home. For privacy reasons I will not go into great detail. But I will show a few photos and say that it definitely made an impact on the adults as well as the children.

After walking through the home we went out to the horses. Along the way Sherre made a special stop to show me something she knew I would appreciate. It is called the bath house. It is literally where the family would bath. Against the back wall there is a small stove where they would warm the water to fill the bath tub. It definitely got me thinking...And finally, we came to the horses. Sherre saddled up one of the horses and we each got to ride through the corral. I wasn't going to get on a horse. But it wasn't right for me to practically force Jakob to get on and then refuse myself. So we ALL got on the horse except for grandma and grandpa. Everyone was asking for another turn when it was time to go eat lunch. Me personally, I felt like a fish out of water. I have no muscle strength or coordination to get myself on or off of the horse. Once on, I was okay. But it's not really my cup of tea. Jakob on the other hand was extremely nervous as Sherre situated him on the horse. But once he started to ride he had a great time. We're pondering riding lessons for him. Living out in the country provides many opportunities to go horseback riding if you're so inclined. As a mother and a City Slicker, I just try to avoid thinking about the safety issues related to horses...

But getting back to the moment, we all had a fun time and I was the only silly one who walked away with a battle wound. I wore shorts because I had no intention of getting on a horse. Of course I ran my shin across the saddle belt as I climbed down. Duh!And now, for the Grand Finale! Our Dinosaur Tracks adventure! This part of the trip was especially designed for my Jakob. We all piled into a big truck and headed out. Sherre led us out through the brush. We stopped and pulled off of the dirt road. I tied Caleb onto my back (I could sense that this was going to be more of the hiking adventure type of activity.) So Sherre calls Jakob over and designates him as our official dinosaur tracks hunting guide. She then asked him which way he wanted to go. He pointed toward the hills. So, we began climbing up the sand dunes and sagebrush. My father in law found me a great walking stick that I was really thankful for by the end of our little hike.

As we hiked Sherre would help the kids take note of where we were and where we wanted to be. I have to admit that I was wondering if the adventure was all about imagination. No, it was not all about imagination. We had climbed up the hills above what we could see as a large watering hole for animals. As we came upon the scene Sherre asked Jakob just the right question (something like "where would dinosaurs go to get a drink if they were out her?") that made him direct us towards the watering hole. As we got down there we were all thrilled to find a wide variety of dinosaur tracks in all shapes and sizes. Everyone had fun "Tracking" them. In some places you can literally see where the dinosaurs climbed up the rock from the water. And to top off the experience, thunder started to roll off in the distance and it started to sprinkle rain. Come to find out all we needed to really do when we got out of our truck is continue down the road and into the water wash. But I am really grateful for the off road dinosaur hunt that we were led on. However, as we walked up the wash Sherre stopped us to show us something in the sand. It was a piece of pottery from an old Indian pot (she gave it to Jakob). That inspired all of us to keep our eyes open. We actually did find another broken pot along the way. Several of the other kids now have a special treasure. They were also excited to find different animal bones along the way.

As we were driving home it began to rain. The beauty of a desert rain is a sight to behold. The sage and grass that dots the sand dunes and sand stone is extra green and the cliffs take on a shimmering silver tone that makes you wonder if it is actually snow that is falling rather then the rain. Beautiful...As the day came to a close we knew that we were in no way in the mood to cook. So, we ordered Pizza! We ate a lot and enjoyed each other's company the rest of the night. Erik and his family joined us and we had a great time.

That night all of the older kid's. Leif, Larissa, Erik, and Stacey all decked themselves out in black and played "Night Games" until midnight. I was in the Barn with my little ones. But Leif said that grandma sat out on a bench with a couple of grand kids and watched the games unfold. Precious Times!As I have taken the time to reflect and write about the last couple of days I am amazed at all that has taken place. I am truly grateful for the opportunity that we had to take the time together as family to explore the secrets and beauty of our surroundings. And how grateful I am for our dear friend who took the time to create such a precious and memorable experience for us. And I would be far amiss if I did not conclude with thanking the one who created the beautiful land that we have just explored. How grateful I am for the beauty of this earth!


Molly said...

Thanks for the update. We can't get much out of the kids when we talk on the phone. It looks like wonderful times! Thanks for your help in hosting and caring for the guys.

Patricia Potts said...

Wow, what great memories Lena. Thanks for sharing!! Love ya

Janee said...

Love the pics! Looks like you guys are having a great time! Can't wait to see ya this summer!

Melonee said...

Wow! That looks like quite the adventureful week! How fun!

BTW, I replied in the comment section on my blog about our music class!

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