Monday, February 28, 2011

2-28-2011 - last day in St. George

John and I got up this morning and ate breakfast and then went out to hike the Bear Claw Poppy Trail for the last time.  We hiked up to the cairn's and then back down under blue skies and Signal Mountain in the background with clouds hanging low on the mountain.  What a beautiful view and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterwards we came back to the condo and finished up packing as we will leave tomorrow morning for the Grand Canyon.  John has decided that we will go through Page, Arizona to get to the south rim of the Grand Canyon as it is really a pretty drive.

After we got done packing everything up I went swimming and enjoyed some time in the hot tub.  Our two months in St. George has been wonderful and I am certain that we will be back.  This area has everything that we could possibly want.  There is hiking trails all over, bike trails (hopefully they will all be repaired when we come back next time) and just about anything else we could ask for. 

Life is good!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2-27-2011 - Going to mass and then taking a ride to Pine Valley

We got up this morning and went to Mass in St. George and then decided to take a ride up to Pine Valley.  As soon as we got north of Snow Canyon we were surrounded by freshly fallen snow from the night before.    It is about a 30 mile drive up to Pine Valley with mountains and valleys all around us.  We first drove through a little town of Veyo (it is known for there fantastic pie shop) and then turned off of highway 18 to head towards Pine Valley.  What a beautiful drive and with fresh snow from last night it was absolutely gorgeous with the sun shining on the snow.  My understanding is that Pine Valley was discovered in 1855 when Gunlock Bill and Isaac Riddle were caring for some cattle and one of the cows strayed.  When they went looking for that cow they found Pine Valley.  It really is a peaceful looking little village up in the mountains. 

Now we are going to start packing up in hopes that the sun will be out tomorrow and we can spend our last day hiking in the St. George area before we leave on Tuesday!

Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2-25 & 2-26-2011 Paradie of Homes

The weather forecast for today and the next several days is predicted to be cloudy and rainy.  John and I decided that being we wouldn't be going out hiking we bought tickets and went to the Parade of Homes in St. George and surrounding areas.  There are 26 homes ranging from $165,000 on up to $4.3 Million dollars (yikes).  All of the homes were well decorated and just breathtaking with some incredible views of the St. George area.  It is unbelievable the amount of money that is spent on the homes out here.  We did enjoy ourselves and got to see some amazing decorating and designs with backyards with infinity pools, hot tubs, amazing barbeque grills and even some have fridges built right into their grill bars!  Of course most of the homes have the desert landscape but a few have small lawns to mow.  John said that it would hardly pay to even start a lawnmower.

When we got back to the Sports Village we saw that there was an open house on a condo that is for sale in the Sports Village so we decided to take a look at it.  It is a large two bedroom/2 bathroom condo with a large livingroom/dining room area and a very nice kitchen that overlooks the lap pool and hot tub.  It also has a very large wood deck.   Very interesting!

Only two more days and we will leave St. George and head to the Grand Canyon and then on to Wickenburg and Surprise to visit with friends before we head back to Wisconsin.  I sure hope the weather warms up in Wisconsin before we get there.

Pictures below are just a few pictures I took of some of the homes that we toured.  Obviously, a lot of people have way to much money! lol

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2-23-2011 Hiking Bear Claw

This morning John and I decided to hike up to the Cairn on Bear Claw Poppy Trail.  It was a beautiful morning but you could see as you looked at Signal Mountain that a storm is coming in.  We are suppose to have bad weather starting tomorrow afternoon and Saturday in the St. George area.  Once we got up to the top we sat and just enjoyed the view of all the canyons, bluffs, Signal Mountain, and St. George.  It is hard to believe that our two months of being in St. George is coming to an end.  We have so enjoyed it here and I am certain we will be back.  St. George has so much to offer as far as hiking and biking goes and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking in all directions.

This afternoon we decided to just go for a drive and we went out to Santa Clara and drove around a little admiring the incredibly huge and gorgeous homes in that area.  From there we went out to Kayenta and then up to Snow Canyon.  Afterwards, we came home and John grilled some chicken and I made a salad and a butternut squash.  We are emptying out our refrig. and trying to use up everything before we leave on Tuesday.

We have made plans to go to the Grand Canyon on Tuesday and hiking down to Plateau Point on Wednesday and then going to Lynn and Dick's on Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday morning we will leave and go to Surprise, Arizona to spend a few days with Dana and Bill Brown.  Hopefully, we will also get time to stop and see Eve and Chad at White Tanks (we may even bike up there as I don't think it is very far from where Dana and Bill are staying).  Our plans are to stop in and visit my sister, Sharon and her hubby in Scottsdale, Arizona.  They are going to be there from March 5th to the 12th.

Another great day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2-22-2011 Biking in Zion Canyon

We left the condo around 9:00AM this morning and headed to Zion to bike along the corridor.  When we first started out it was very chilly as the sun had not risen above the rim of the canyon.  We parked the car at the Grotto Parking lot and unloaded the bike.  We decided to bike to the east end of the canyon at the entry to the narrows and then decided to bike out of the corridor and into Springdale to get some hot drinks.  We sat outside the Pioneer Lodge and I drank hot chocolate while John enjoyed a hot cup of coffee as we read the paper.  When we started back biking an hour later it had warmed up and made for a beautiful bike ride.  We ended up biking and then stopping at our car to pick up our picnic lunch and biked down to where the climbers were out climbing along the rock.  We sat on a rock and ate lunch while watching the climbers.  I can't even imagine being able to do that - of course, John would love it.  In fact, we had stopped in to Zion Adventure to see what they would charge to take John out climbing and it was $250.00 for a half of a day.  No thank you!

After biking to Springdale for coffee and hot chocolate we had to stop and show our National Park Pass to get back into the park.  The ranger was curious about our bike and asked several questions and we told him that we had 16,000 miles on the bike and that we had biked from Wisconsin to Washington last summer.  His comment was "have the two of you thought about seeking counseling for this problem".  Then he laughed and we laughed with him.  It is amazing the different responses that we have heard from people that we meet when we are on our bike. 

We had a wonderful day biking and then loaded up the bike and drove up the switchbacks and thru the tunnel before heading back to St. George.  Tonight we are having a delicious salad, sweet potatoes, and grilled chicken for supper.  Yum Yum Yum!

Another great day!
Getting ready to ride in Zion - what an amazing place to bike!

Yes, we are biking and there is snow in Zion!

Virgin River running along the road into the corridor in Zion!

Entrance to Zion National Park

Virgin River - can't you just hear it running!

Majestic Views everywhere you look!

We love the blue skies!

Angels Landing!  One of John's favorite places to hike in Zion (Observation Point is his 1st place to hike)

Deer along side the road in Zion - they are not afraid of people or the cars - they know they are safe here!

What a wonderful bike ride!

Monday, February 21, 2011

2-21-2011 - Scout Cave at Snow Canyon

Snow on Signal Mountain!

Picture taken as we hiked up to Scouts Cave in Snow Canyon!

Here I am standing inside Scouts Cave!

Gosh, I love this man!

View outside of Scouts Cave!

Today we went out to Snow Canyon and hiked the 4 mile round trip hike to Scouts Cave.  It is really a beautiful hike and I think it is the last hike in Snow Canyon - now we have done every hike that there is in Snow Canyon.  We had a great hike and then came back to the condo.  I am feeling a little bit under the weather yesterday afternoon and today so I am just relaxing at the condo this afternoon.  John has gone out to hike up to the Cairn's on Bear Claw Poppy Trail.  So I am just going to watch a movie and relax and hopefully do some more hiking tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2/20/2011 - Took Solomon's to Las Vegas

We left home around 7:00AM this morning to take Marilyn and Gary Solomon to the Las Vegas airport for their flights.  Marilyn is going to go to Colorado Springs to spend a few weeks with her sister and parents and Gary was flying back to Ohio to go back to work on Tuesday.  We had a wonderful time with both of them and so happy that they could come out and do some hiking with John and I.  We have spent the rest of the day just relaxing as it was rainy/snowy out today.  We've watched more television today that we probably have since we arrived in St. George but it was a good way to spend a rainy day and plus I think we both needed more of a relaxing day after all the company we have had in the last month. 

According to comments on facebook it sounds like Wisconsin is getting hit with another snow storm.  It makes John and I even happier to be in St. George.

Life is good!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2-19-2011 - Art Festival In Kayenta - Movie 127 hours - Pizza Factory

First off I want to give thanks to God for bringing my nephew, Cole Hartl, safely home from Iraq!  Cole, as I have said many times over the last year we are so proud of you and thank you for everything you did to help keep our world safe!  We are truly honored to have you as our nephew!

This morning John and Gary dropped Marilyn and I off at the Kayenta Art Festival and they went and toured the new airport and then went to the Wildlife Museum in St. George.  Marilyn and I really enjoyed walking around and looking at all the beautiful art booths that were in Kayenta today.  It was to bad it was raining off and on all morning.  The guys picked us up around 2:30 and we went to the 3:05 matinee to see 127 hours which is a true story about Aron Ralston a hiker that hiked into Blue John Canyon and ended up slipping as he was going down into a slot canyon and a rock rolled on top of his right arm and pinned him in the canyon.  This is a true story and happened to Aaron in 2003.  I would strongly recommend it to anyone that wants to go see it.  John and I have read his book and also enjoyed the movie.

From there we went to the Pizza Factory and are now sitting at home relaxing.  Marilyn  and Gary are packing and we will be leaving tomorrow morning at 7:00AM to take them to the airport in Las Vegas.  We will now have 9 days before we leave St. George so we are hoping to get a lot of hiking and biking in before we leave.

Life is good!

2/18/2011 - Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

I had talked with John last night and we felt it was not fair to Gary & Marilyn to be in this beautiful area and not give them a chance to tour Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.  So on Friday morning we headed to Page and got there in time for the Antelope Canyon11:30 tour.  Marilyn and Gary went on the tour while we waited for them (we had just gone on this tour the week before with Paula, Larry, Lynn and Dick).  We also had gone on this same tour last March so we decided not to go again.  After they returned we went to lunch at the "Backyard Barbeque Restaurant" and then headed out to Horseshoe Bend which is an incredibly beautiful overlook of the Colorado River.  Of course, I didn't get close to the edge like John and Marilyn did but enjoyed the view all the same.  On our way back we drove thru Zion and enjoyed the scenery later in the day with the sun setting.  Gives parts of the canyon a totally different look with the sun setting.  The weather forecast for tomorrow is rain most of the day so not sure what we will do on Solomon's last day in St. George.
Gary & John at Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona

Marilyn enjoying the view from Horseshoe Bend!

Horseshoe Bend!

Once again, John isn't happy unless he is living on edge!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

2-17-2011 - Owens Loop & lunch in Snow Canyon

This morning we decided to go and hike the Owens Loop and crawl around on the rock on the Red Rock Reserve which overlooks St. George.  We did a few errands and mailed out a card and then headed out to do our hike.  It was another beautiful day with the temps in the high 50's and beautiful blue skies.  It was another great hike and then we decided to go to the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken, potato salad, drinks, and chips and then we went out to the campground area at Snow Canyon and had a delightful picnic.  Afterwards we hiked the Johnson Canyon trail and Gary found where the Snow Family had written their name on the side of the rock.  The last time that John and I was out there with Paula, Larry, Lynn, and Dick we were not able to find the writing on the rock.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing at the condo.  I think everyone is a little tuckered out and it felt good to just be lazy the rest of the day.  We also watched Shaw Shank Redemption and Wall Street this evening.  Tomorrow we are planning on doing a hike that John and I haven't done yet.  It starts up by Chuckwalla trail but you hike to Paradise Canyon.  I am looking forward to going on a new hike.

Life is good!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2-13 to 2-16-2011 - Solomon's in St. George

John and I picked up Marilyn and Gary at the Las Vegas airport on Sunday morning.  We decided to go to lunch before heading out to Hoover Dam.  We went to the Southport Hotel/Casino for their Sunday buffet and then headed out of Vegas to the Hoover Dam.  The skies were a beautiful blue and very comfortable temperatures.  We parked the car and then walked out over the dam and then decided to go up to the new bridge and walk across the bridge.  (Yes, even Kathi walked across the bridge)  What an amazing work of construction to build that bridge.  If you ever get a chance to go see it I strongly recommend it. 

We headed back to St. George and drove thru the Virgin River Gorge and got the Solomon's settled in to the condo.

 On Monday morning John, Marilyn, and Gary hiked up to the Bear Claw Poppy trail while I went and did some errands.  We came back and had lunch and then just drove around the area and went out to Snow Canyon to hike back to the White Rocks Amphitheater and then walked on the Petrified Rocks.   It is Valentine's Day so John and I had bought rib eye steaks for everyone so we came back to the condo and had a wonderful dinner.  After dinner Marilyn and I went over to the pool and swam some laps and enjoyed some good exercise and good conversation.   It was a great day!

On Tuesday we decided to go out and hike the Anasazi Trail in Santa Clare.  We picked up subway sandwiches and then went out to hike.  We stopped and admired the petroglyphs and then found a great place to eat lunch overlooking the Santa Clara River.  From there we went to the Kayenta Coyote Art Gallery and looked at all the beautiful art in the stores there.  After that we went and walked along the Kayenta Wash out towards Hellhole Canyon.  Marilyn and I both came back with pockets filled with rocks that we gathered as we were hiking along the wash.

Wednesday we decided to head out early to Zion National Park as the weather is predicted to get windy and cold later this afternoon.  When we first arrived at Zion it was starting to sprinkle so we went to the visitor center and watched a 20 minute video regarding Zion National Park.  After the movie we decided to do a short hike right behind the visitor center - it was an archeology hike to  where there had been a Anasazi home up on the bluff.  We hiked further along the bluff and spotted a lot of animals tracks and scat.  As we were hiking we saw a large jack rabbit running away from us.  The wind was starting to pick up a little so we decided to get in the car and drive up thru the tunnel and do the Canyon Overlook hike.  The scenery is so beautiful and you see several amazing slot canyons and then of course at the end of the hike is the view of the canyon.   We then got in the car and headed up towards Checkerboard mesa and ended up seeing three big horn sheep sunning themselves on the side of the cliffs.  We stopped and took out our picnic lunch and sat in the sunshine watching the sheep as we ate.

John had mentioned that he would like to ride our bike down the switchback.  Of course, my first reaction was absolutely not.  However, he came to me and told me that it is something that he would really like to do so I said I would ride with him.  So on our way back down the canyon, once we got thru the tunnel, we unloaded the bike and John and I rode the bike down the switchbacks to the Zion Corridor with Gary & Marilyn following behind in our car and taking a few video's and pictures of us biking the switchbacks.

At the bottom of the switchbacks Marilyn and Gary hopped on our bike and rode it to the end of the Zion Corridor and then back to the visitor center.  Approximately 16 or 17 miles.  It is an absolutely amazing ride and we were so happy  that we were all able to ride our bike in Zion.  As Marilyn and Gary were biking the wind was really picking up and the temperature was getting a little bit cooler.   There was sand blowing all over and Marilyn commented that she felt like she was being sandblasted.  Gary complained of grit in his teeth but they both enjoyed the ride.

I have asked John several times since we arrived in St. George if we could go out to Grafton which is a ghost town outside of Rockville.  We had time today so we headed out there after leaving Zion.  We drove aways on paved roads but then it turned to a rutted dirt road.  The Mormon's settled in Grafton originally to grow cotton but then found out that they needed the land as a food source.

 Grafton was first settled in 1859 one mile below its present town site.  In January of 1862 the town was completely washed away by a flood.  The peope rebuilt the town a mile further up stream at its present site.  By 1864 about 28 families lived here.  There were many log houses, a post office, church, school and community hall.  The town was deserted in 1866 due to Indian attacks.  The people moved back in 1868.  By 1920 only 3 families still lived here.  Grafton had parts of several movies shot here.  One movie that was partly shot here was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. To find more about Grafton you can go to the following link:

Today there are only 4 remaining buildings standing in Grafton along with a cemetary just outside of the town. 

When we arrived back in St. George we went out for a delicious chinese dinner and then came back to the condo - another great day!
Grafton was first settled in 1859 one mile below its present town site. In January of 1862 the town was Grafton was first settled in 1859 one mile below its present town site. In January of 1862 the town was completely washed away by a flood. The people rebuilt the town a mile further up stream at its present site. By 1864 about 28 families lived here. There were many log houses, a post office, church, school and community hall. The town was deserted in 1866 due to Indian attacks. The people moved back in 1868. By 1920 only 3 families still lived here. Grafton has had parts of several movies shot here. One movie that was partly shot here was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
completely washed away by a flood. The people rebuilt the town a mile further up stream at its present site. By 1864 about 28 families lived here. There were many log houses, a post office, church, school and community hall. The town was deserted in 1866 due to Indian attacks. The people moved back in 1868. By 1920 only 3 families still lived here. Grafton has had parts of several movies shot here. One movie that was partly shot here was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2-12-2011 Bear Claw Poppy Trail and then biking to Santa Clara, Ivins, Tuachan and back to condo

We headed out to the Bear Claw Poppy trail around 9:00AM this morning to beautiful blue sky with a high predicted for the day of 61.  We had a great hike and got back down around 11:45 and had lunch before we headed out to bike out to Kayenta and then back on the Snow Canyon Parkway (beautiful area) and then back to the condo.

Once we got home I went to the pool and did some laps before we got dressed to go to 5:30 church.  Tomorrow we will head to Las Vegas to pick up Marilyn and Gary at the airport.  They will be spending one week with us and we are anxious to show them this beautiful area.  We only have a little over two weeks before we have to pack up and leave St. George.  Our time is going very quickly and we have enjoyed every minute of it.  Temps are suppose to be in the 60's this week so it should be really great weather while Marilyn and Gary are here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11th, 2011 - hiking in the Red Cliff's Reserve in St. George

We decided to try hiking in a different area again today and went out to the Red Cliff's Reserve and spent about 1-1/2 hours hiking along the bluffs and crawling around on some huge red rocks.  Afterwards we did a little bit of grocery shopping and then headed back to the condo.  We had lunch and then we each took a book and we headed out to Snow Canyon and climbed up on the petrified rocks and sat in the sun and read our books.  What a great way to spend an hour with scenic views and beautiful sunshine.  From there we decided to hike the 1/2 mile Pioneer Name trails and stopped and spent some time watching some rock climbers.  Zion Guide Service was training two gals on the correct procedure for rock climbing. 

When we got back to the condo I went swimming and John grilled chicken, made sweet potato's, and a delicious salad.  When I got back from my swim I basically just had to sit down and eat dinner.  Am I spoiled or what!  I love it!

Life is good!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 10th, 2011 - hiking on the Owens Trails (parked car at Brook's Nature Park)

We originally had planned on doing a long bike ride today but after checking out the weather we decided to hike instead.  Although we had beautiful blue skies with no clouds it was a little chilly to go biking.

A gal that I had talked with had told me that if we drove to the end of Main Street in St. George there is a trail which is about 3 miles long and called the "Owen's Loop" so we decided to look for that today.  What a great hike and all the while we are hiking on the top of the bluff we had views of St. George.  It was a great hike and we definitely will go back there to do it again.  We also found another hike across the road from there and plan on checking that out at a later date.

We came back to the condo and ate lunch/dinner and I headed over to the pool to do some laps and John took a nap.

Life is good!

Owens Loop trail overlooking all of St. George, Utah!

Hubby enjoying the view!

Beautiful St. George, Utah in the background!

You would think we were in Arches National Park!

Cool name for the park - Brook we thought of you today as we did our hike on this trail that started at Brooks Nature Park!

Enjoying the hike!

February 8th & 9th, 2011 - Going to Valley of Fire on the way to Las Vegas

Paula and Larry packed up their belongs and we headed towards Las Vegas around 9:30AM.  On the way there we decided to go sightseeing in the Valley of Fire.  Another beautiful park and we enjoyed the views and also the visitor center within Valley of Fire.  From there we headed to Vegas and checked into our hotel and waited for Lynn and Dick to arrive.  We decided to walk about 2 blocks to a casino and have a wonderful buffet for dinner.  From there we headed downtown to the strip to walk around and enjoy several water to music shows and then we went over to the Stratosphere and Paula, Larry, Lynn and Dick went to the top to overlook the beautiful city lights of Las Vegas.  From there we went downtown and watched another light show before heading back to our hotel.  Morning came quickly as I think we all got back around 1:30 and we needed to get up early to go to breakfast and get Mader's back to the hotel for their shuttle to the airport at 8:00AM. 

We said our tearful goodbye's and John and I headed back to St. George.  Upon arriving we had lunch and then went out on the Bear Claw Poppy trail to hike 7 miles.  Needless to say we went to bed early as we were both beat!  We had such a wonderful time with our dear friends and we are so happy that we were able to show this special area to them.  Now they have an idea of why we like this area so much!

Sitting next to the love of my life!

There is something so special about "Best Friends"

February 7th, 2011 - Johnson Canyon in Snow Canyon

Lynn, Dick, Paula, Larry, John and I hiked 1.75 miles on the Johnson Canyon Trail near Snow Canyon!

Everyone did such a great job on all the hikes that we went on!

Trail back to Johnson Canyon!

Great day with great friends!

Larry did himself proud with all the hiking he did this week!

Great day!

Lynn & Dick in Johnson Canyon!

As we were hiking back to the car we noticed two billie goats on the hillside! 

Petrified Rock hiking area in Snow Canyon!

Lynn & Paula hiking up to meet us!

Two love birds on the Rock!
We decided to take a hike in Snow Canyon on the Johnson Canyon Trail - it is 1.75 miles round trip and a very nice hike with beautiful red rock all over.  Afterwards we headed into Snow Canyon and walked around on the petrified rocks.  It was a beautiful afternoon!