This past Thursday, I was one of the lucky parents who got to chaperone Jodi Lorenz's fifth grade class from Frontier Elementary School to Canyon de Chelly. This was the neatest trip.
We took off early Thursday with 44 students and 14 adults for two days of fun, and that's just what we had. Let's not forget Bob Closs, our bus driver. The kids think Bob is the coolest, because he plays really cool music. Little do they know we all grew up listening to those cool oldies but goodies. Let's not give away our age.
This was my first camping trip and I thought I had a lot of gear until I met Laura Noggle and Kim Reed, two other parents who had enough gear for an army. They kept taking items out of their vehicle, and I knew there was something about them that I liked.
Our first stop was the Hubbell Trading Post, which is a National Historical Site. We got to see John Hubbell's original homestead with all the great antiques, some very old farm machinery, and the art of rug weaving by the Navajo women.
Then on to Canyon de Chelly. The first thing was to hike down the canyon and back up. Now, you wouldn't think this was a big deal but we are talking one and a half miles each way. When we got to the bottom of the canyon we walked along paths that led us to some Navajos selling their wares. Some of the areas were hard to walk because of the sand which had accumulated on the ground over the years.
We took a break and got some wonderful pictures of the canyon and the ruins that still stand high above the canyon floor. The wind-blown sand had swirled and compressed over time and created these spectacular rock formations.
Multicolored cliff walls surrounded the canyon. They were breathtaking. For centuries the Navajos built caves and lived in the cliffs high above the canyon floor to protect them from enemies and floodwaters.
The upper White House ruins still stand today within the Canyon de Chelly walls. After lots of pictures we headed back up. Going down was fun, coming back up was a challenge, but we all made it.
We headed to our campgrounds, set up our tents and waited for dinner. Thanks to William Houdek and Dr. Jim Schouten and Rick Galloway for cooking the food. Dr. Schouten can cook a mean hot dog. I think he only lost one to the ground. William Houdek cooked the beans and Rick Galloway helped set up. After dinner it was storytelling time.
A Navajo lady was on hand to tell us all about the Navajos and their traditions. Then the students put on some funny and talented skits for the adults. I especially got a kick out of Troy Graham. He was a robot CD player and the fact that he brought his cardboard costume along on the trip deserves an A.
All the students did great, as did some of the parents who were also in the acts.
After the entertainment, we each went to our tents for the night. It was a dark, cool night, and then the coyotes started and you could hear a lot of whispers in the tents. They stayed on the outskirts of camp and just added that extra touch to our sleepover.
The next morning it was time to break up camp, eat breakfast and head out on a three-hour jeep tour.
It was a beautiful day for a ride. Our guide had to drive fast because of the sand and the kids loved it. We went down in the canyon and got some great pictures, and had a ball riding and sliding on the sand.
What a trip we had.
Teacher Jodi Lorenz did an awesome job. Thanks for the memories.
Tonto National Forest is under fire restrictions. These restrictions apply to all of Gila County. The county is aggressively enforcing this ordinance. The Sheriff's Office will have zero tolerance for any open burning charcoal grills, campfires or slash burns.
The Firebelles will be doing a brats and bake sale on Saturday, May 27. If you can help out with lunch or bake, give Phyllis Agnew a call at (928) 478-4774 to volunteer.