Winter Chases Us South

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After two weeks of playing in Moab with 60 and 70 degree days, the weather was changing. The forecast called for 20 degree nights and 30 degree days. That was our sign to move on and head south. We were headed to the Mexican border so that Ashley and I can go check on Samadhi and pick up a few things. When we left Samadhi 5 months ago we planned on only being gone for 3 months. Now we will not return to her until next fall. We had to get more school curriculum for the kids as well as the next sizes of clothes both of which are on the boat. We also wanted to get some of our water toys as we have been near many lakes this last summer and planned to visit more and a SUP and kayaks would be nice to have. A snow storm and a mechanical issue on my parents coach had us stop in Flagstaff AZ for a few days. We took this opportunity to drive our car to see the Grand Canyon. It was great to see a very popular National Park without all the crowds. There was snow on the ground with cloudy skies threatening more. The temperatures were just above freezing so there were very few people around. A lot of the roads were closed but we were able to see the canyon and read about its amazing features and history. We took a short hike along the south ridge and then back to the car for some warm lunch.

After the coach was fixed and the snow melted from the roadways we all continued south. We stopped at the Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument. We chose this destination because it is just north of the border and less than 5 minute drive to the border crossing. That makes it about a 90 minute drive to the town of Puerto Panasco and Samadhi. Ashley and I crossed the border at 6am and were at Samadhi by 7:30. We dropped off some things and packed the car tightly with toys, tools, clothes, shoes, and stuff. Everything looked good with the boat and we were very happy with our decision to have it fully wrapped and the hull and decks were only a little dusty.  It was emotional saying goodbye to her as this time we would not be seeing our home for nearly a year. We made it back across the border with a car full of stuff three in the afternoon. When we arrived it was like Christmas. Alexander and Victoria had been living without many of their toys and stuffed animals. They had been rereading the few books that we had with us. Now most all their toys were here, a large amount of stuffed animals made the trip north and every single book we own is now in the coach. They also had all of their clothes and shoes of the next sizes. So as packed tightly as our coach was before it is now even more so. Our car has become our trailer and is full when we are traveling and needs to be unpacked if Ranger goes anywhere with us. Oh well, it is all worth it and having more of our things with us makes the coach feel a little more like home.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a really nice place to visit. There are many hikes in the area as well as desert roads to explore by car. Victoria and Alexander participated in the Junior Ranger Program so they had to spend time investigating the area and learning about the flora and fauna that surrounds the monument. There is a visitor center near the campground has a small museum explaining the history and describing the natural ecosystem of the area. Victoria and Alexander had the place to themselves as they studied and worked out their Junior Ranger workbooks.

Winter hiking in the Grand Canyon
Winter caught up to us in Flagstaff!
Winter weather camping is NOT what we were expecting in Arizona!
Ashley, Victoria and Alexander enjoying the views of the Grand Canyon
Hiking the south rim of the Grand Canyon
Time for a haircut!
Organ Pipe Cactus
Hiking with Grandma and Grandpa Murphy in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Alexander hiking deep in the desert!
Victoria and Alexander working on their Junior Ranger books and learning about this amazing desert environment.
Alexander explaining the characteristics of this Prickly Pear Cactus!
Victoria documenting the relationship between cactus and this tree.
Victoria making notes of the Fish Hook Cactus’ unique characteristics
Alexander using his observations to answer questions in his workbook.
She can spend hours just observing nature!
They are discussing how much they love nature and deserts. Or was it desserts?
Alexander being sworn in as a Junior Ranger.
Victoria receiving her Junior Ranger Certificate.
Victoria leading us to her mine.
Grandma and Grandpa with the kids at the remains of Victoria mine.
We did a 4.5 mile trail run to the Victoria mine getting back to the campsite just before dark.

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