Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

Montezuma Castle…a little southwestern history lesson
December 12, 2009


The Sinagua people of the Arizonian Verde Valley were cliff dwellers. While many of them lived in caves and carved out alcoves in the mountains, a group of them built this castle using the sandstone and water from the nearby Beaver Creek. While land in the watershed area of the creek was plentiful for building dwellings, it was reserved for for growing crops. The castle itself housed about 50 people, while the nearby cliffs housed between 100-200.


The alcoves of these cliffs kept them cool during the summer months and warm during the winter months. In the Beaver Creek area there were at least five different Pueblo communities that traded with each other.


The Montezuma castle was home for the Sinagua natives during the 1100’s to 1400’s, but it was never home to the Aztec’s, as the name “Montezuma” suggests.

It Really is a “Grand” Canyon…
December 11, 2009


By Amber:

DSC02717The Grand Canyon was amazingly beautiful with it’s snowy plateau’s and canyons. At first I was a little scared that I would fall off the edge because there was only a stone ledge or little railing to stop you from falling and it was a long way down! I still saw a lot from about four or five feet away from the edge.

Mom’s interjection: Amber is our resident safety patrol! She did not get very close to the edge. In fact, at first she stayed about 20’ away!



    • 50 people have died from falling off the edge from 1925-2008
    • The Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River. The sediments and rushing waters sliced down through it.
    • You can hike or ride mules down into the canyon.
    • There are Native Americans that still live in parts of the canyon. They have lived there for 100’s of years.


Doesn’t it look like my parents are standing in front of one of those fake screens?

It’s real!


The Grand Canyon
December 10, 2009

Northern Arizona
December 10, 2009

First and foremost, to our dear friends and family in Michigan who are right now bracing themselves for a second day of the storm that has impacted 2/3 of our nation,we are perfectly fine, no storm here. We postponed our trip into Northern Arizona for a day because the storm was blasting Flagstaff and the higher elevations of Arizona. We got groceries, did laundry and enjoyed our beautiful campground in the desert just outside of Phoenix.  Tuesday morning when we did head out, our drive north into the snow was breathtaking!

mountainsWe had to  take a detour into Jerome, Arizona. An old mining town that is a self-proclaimed “drinking town with an artist problem.” It is a tourist and biker stop on the steep cliffs, with a former Charlevoix resident as the chief of police. Scott went to school with Alan Muma, and Alan is a brother to Scott’s right hand man and long time employee, Rob. We checked out the little town, bought gifts at the local T-shirt shop, and discovered the girl that checked us out grew up in Michigan and spent her summers on Walloon…small world!

DSC02655 DSC02654 


The town’s wishing well was quite interesting too!

 After our brief stop we headed towards Sedona…Wow! What a beautiful place. There were red rock formations everywhere. I wish my photos did it justice.

Sedona 1 Sedona 2

As we left the desert and the elevation rose we saw more and more snow…but our roads were clear. On the mountaintop (elev. 6500) and in Flagstaff (elev. 6900) there was at least three feet of snow…a winter wonderland. Amber and Tyler were wishing we would have put the snowpants and boots in the trunk before we left the RV back in Pheonix.

DSC02686 S. of Flagstaff

Mountiantop Elk

To break up the drive to the Canyon, we planned on spending one night in Flagstaff. We had a reservation with a a motel that had a covered pool…and when we arrived we learned that it really was covered…in three feet of snow. We kindly declined that one, and found refuge at a Holiday Inn Express, and spent the afternoon at the Flagstaff Aquatic center, swimming and climbing the rock wall. The kids had fun and our driver got a well deserved break. For dinner we went to Black Barts Steakhouse, where the waiters and waitresses entertained us with song and dance.


They sang while seating us, and serving us too!

Sonoran Desert & Phoenix
December 8, 2009

We said goodbye to California and headed east. We drove through the Sonoran Desert and all eyes were glued to the scenery.

I had no idea that cacti could grow so big! And YES, they are very prickly…just ask Scott!

We also saw a number of these…We were never suspected of being illegal aliens, and we decided against driving across the U.S./Mexican border. This big bus, our blue-eyed blondes…we might look like tourists, or targets.


After crossing into Arizona, we were looking forward to meeting up with Scott’s  cousin Bob and his family. We were so happy to arrive at their home in Chandler, just outside of Phoenix. We enjoyed a great southwestern dinner at “Abuelos” and the teen girls jumped up on his (Abuelos) lap… my girls loved spending time with another girl cousin! I guess you can never have too many!

After church on Sunday, lunch and many laughs, it was time to say goodbye, but we left Hilary there for the night to get in a little more “teenager time.” One of the things that we enjoy most about this trip is spending time with family and friends who live far away…

The Hittenbergers, Chad, Bob, Julie, and Heather

…and we always seem to leave wishing we lived closer!