Hidden Cave

Our friend Will, who we met here in Cottonwood last year, has lived in this area for 15 years or so. Over those years, he has probable logged a thousand miles or more of hiking in the area. He is a very spiritual person that has regaled us with stories of the ancient people that lived here and their native customs. Last year he took us to two caves, Shamans and Hidden Cave. We knew that if we ever had the boys here with us that we would love for them to experience the hike to one and also if possible to have Will as their guide. Lucky for us, when we arrived this year Will was still in the area and over the weeks before the boys arrived we had been able to spend many nights around the campfire rekindling our friendships. 

This day we set off with the four of us in the jeep, and our friend Brenda driving with Will out to Hidden Cave. Located off a fire service road about 15 miles north of Cottonwood, I can’t really tell you how to get there other than 4 wheel drive helps. A relativley short but steep hike leads you around the base of a mountain and up the path to the cave. An even steeper, cactus lined, path takes you straight up to the entrance of the cave. Will stood at the entrance and asked for permission from the spirits that we may enter in peace. The boys are young, and while I don’t think they understood what exactly it was he was doing with his hand on his heart and eyes closed, I do feel they knew it was important. 

We entered the cave quietly and the boys walked around in the darkness looking at the ceiling as Pa explained the ceiling was black because of the fires the ancient people had used to live in it. A large cave, at least 30' deep, part of the roof had caved in and gave us our seats as we had our snack and listened as Will told us the  Legend of the Boy who turns into a Eagle. A Hopi Indian boy is banished from his village after he defies tribal law and frees a sacred, sacrificial eagle. After surviving in the wilderness he returns to his village where he is again rejected. Fleeing, the boy climbs a cliff and jumps off but before he reaches the ground turns into an eagle. Our boys listened silently and gazed out of the mouth of the cave to the mesa on the other side of the wash. 

As we left the cave Pa asked if they wanted to hike over to the mesa, so we left Will and Brenda to relax in the cave and headed across the brush. The first "brush with cactus" of the whole trip was had by Carson, but he was a trooper as Pa took out the thorn. 

A great day hike, ending with a rock skip contest when we found an animal watering hole.

Broken Arrow Part 1 and 2

This first-time Bob and I hiked up to Broken Arrow trail we had started at the trailhead (TH) to Little Horse, then connected to the Arrow right after crossing over Chicken Point. It was a beautiful hike, light breeze and big puffy white clouds filled the sky. When we were about a mile into Broken Arrow we started hearing, and then seeing, all the Pink Jeeps coming up over the hills. Seems this route is a favorite for the tourist rides. I watched in amazement as they careened close to the sides and then over the large boulders, but Bob says “that’s really nothing”. Not sure how he is going to get me up some of the trails he has planned in our jeep.

The hike back to the TH was a nice easy downhill most of the way, and the entire loop was about 6 miles. We knew we wanted to bring the boys back here as one of the many trails we had planned, so Bob started doing some research to see if there was a shorter route. 

A week later: Bob had found another route up to Broken Arrow that cut off about 2 miles of the hike. We parked at the Chapel TH, this time with the boys along for the hike. This would be our first longer hike with them this year. The Chapel truly is a church built into the side of the Red Rock and is a tourist mecca all on its own. We strapped on our Camelbacks and set out across the red rocked rim towards the rock formation known as Two Nuns. The boys are great hikers, and after a few minutes I was left in the dust, literally, red dust, as they and Bob took off up the steep hill towards Chicken Point.

Hiking with young ones is totally different then with just an adult companion. We all hike, or wander, in our own way. Bob likes to have his music up loud and set out for a destination. I prefer to wander at my own pace, lost in my thoughts and being brought back to reality by a bird overhead singing or a photo that needs to be taken. The boys however are boys! Lizards need to be chased, cacti need to be avoided, every large rock is just a kick-off point to get to the next one, and everything is new and exciting. 

We made it up to Chicken Point, so named apparently by the Pink Jeep drivers because some would not venture to the edge. The rock formation overlooks the valley below with Big Bell and Baby Bell off to the south, and Two Nuns staring down upon you. The wind had really picked up by this point, and Carson kept a tight grip on Pa’s hand as they, and Cash made it out to the edge for a photo op.  From there it was on to Broken Arrow trail and another couple miles of exploration.

The trail at this point runs along the east side of Two Nuns, so it was wind protected and shady. We tucked in by some trees and settled in for our snack with the perfect view of Pink Jeeps. It was also the week before the big Jeep rally in Moab so there were lots of others to watch as they climbed up and over the huge boulders. 

The hike out always seems so much shorter, and the wind was picking up as we made it back to the Jeep. A stop at BRobbins on the way home concluded a great day and the first of many hikes to come. 


1 small reason.......

One small, as in 3 years old, reason why I am having such a wonderful time in Florida! Today we re-discovered why Nana (me) likes slip-n-slides.
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A trip to the nursery........"in Mud Season"

Today we decided to venture out in the rain to visit a local nursery in the Brunswick area, Skillins. I had read about their open house in the weekend edition of the paper, and it seemed like it would be fun to see what "Spring" looks like at a Maine garden center. The pamphlet we were given when we arrived told us of their 124!! year history as a greenhouse/nursery/garden center and gift store. We walked around through the flowers, Cash and I stopping to smell the sweet scent of all the flowers they had in their greenhouse. The best part, at least to Sara and I, was when Bob stood for a few minutes trying to figure out what a small tool was that was hanging from a basket. "A seed spreader?, "A watering tool?" , "What could this be....???" We finally stopped a gentlemen that was walking by, dressed in "Skillins Green", and asked him exactly what this small tool was used for..............He kind of looked at us funny, like where are you from????? California or something. Well actually, somewhere better, Nevada! Turns out the tool is used for tapping Maple Sugar trees. If only Sara had one a few weeks ago, she could have tapped all the maple trees that cover the back part of her property.

We left with a new plant for Sara, and some great new ideas for our own place. It doesn't seem to matter where you garden, whether there is acid soil or alkaline, huge rhododendrons ready to bloom, or sagebrush spreading their seeds....when it comes down to it, spring in the garden center is all the same. The sweet smell of fertilizer and compost filling the nostrils in every aisle, blooming flowers awakening the senses, and people wandering through the seed racks filled with all the promise of crops to come.

I do love this business.................called gardening. See ya soon, Susan