Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Grand Canyon, Part I

My sister, Karen, promised me last year, after our trip to Yosemite, that she would take me to the Grand Canyon!  My, oh my, what a gorgeous trip we had.  Pictures actually do no justice to the beauty of this National Park.  We spent three days hiking and walking around the south rim.  We found a Best Western in the Village outside the park and rode shuttle buses to the Visitor's Center every day.

 These pictures were taken on the afternoon we arrived and as we wandered around the rim just to get an idea of where we would go tomorrow.

Karen, Dale, AnnMarie and Zeke hiked all the way down about 10 years ago and spent a night at Phantom Ranch, a trek of almost 13 miles!  People need to reserve the ranch a year in advance and Karen remembers waiting on the phone for two hours to secure their reservations.  

 The second day we decided to hike down and back up about 1 mile each way on the South Kaibab Trail.  Even the entrance to the trail caused me a little anxiety, but we made a plan to go slow, take some pictures and just enjoy the incredible views.  The shifting clouds made the colors change in the canyon, but for the most part we hiked in pure sunshine this day.

Ooh-Aah Point, our destination!  Well worth the trip down and climb back up!

Glorious photo depicting all the reasons we chose to spend time here!
 We enjoyed a lovely meal at this restaurant, exceptional service and a large screen that showed pictures of the history of the park!  I loved the daffodils at our hotel and wondered if any were blooming in Lewiston. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March Madness in Lake Havasu

I enjoyed a great week in Lake Havasu with Karen after the rest of the Kopczynski clan left to go back to work and/or go home.  Levi arrived on Tuesday and we hung out together and watched a lot of basketball.  He knows a lot about basketball and he programmed the TV set so we would not miss any of the Gonzaga games!  Marilyn sent Levi

this shirt in time for the Final Four, but I've included it in this post because we were always proud of our Zags!  I painted the Zag fan rock in Lake Havasu and added the hearts after I got back home!

Karen and I did a little hiking in the hills around Lake Havasu, which you can see in the background.  We were a little nervous this day because outdoor enthusiasts were practicing their shooting skills and we could hear the shots all during our hike.  It was an exceptionally warm day so we didn't waste much time getting back home and into the pool.
We all rode bikes to the London Bridge and the lovely bike trails in the park.

We spent one morning kayaking on the Lake and watching the birds!  I remember visiting with a man who paddled around on a paddleboard who crafted a cooler seat to the board!

Another day we painted rocks with Karen and Dale's friend Joe Johnson's lovely wife, Tammy, and daughter, Savannah.

 This is Joe and his fancy Razor!  Joe and Raylene Johnson's mother owned Latah Sanitation when Karen worked there years ago.  Karen and Dale and happy to have friends now living close to their house in Havasu.  
 I was happy to be riding with Dale because I thought some people might get a little wild and crazy.
 I think there were 15 different terrain vehicles all unloaded for this planned ride to the Desert Bar!  Jerry, Dale's neighbor organized this ride and some people drove 6 - 8 hours to join in the fun.
The facade looks like a church, but I think it's used for wedding backdrops.  The Desert Bar served mostly hamburgers, but also the biggest portion of french fries I've ever seen.
These people know how to have fun!  This picture was taken during one of three 30-minute beer breaks!  Ninety-degree temperatures demanded lots of beer and lots of breaks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Maureen's Birthday celebration

Maureen chose to celebrate her 50th birthday with all her siblings in Lake Havasu.  Thanks to Karen and Dale for hosting this big group and planning our special time there.  Five of us from the great Pacific Northwest arrived at the Phoenix airport and were greeted by Maureen and adopted sister, Christel.  We piled into a rented van and breathed a sigh of relief when all the luggage fit!  We Kop kids feel blessed and grateful that we enjoy spending time together, telling stories, eating "Bertha" food, walking and hiking a little, working on art projects, and mostly sitting around talking to each other.

 Karen greeted us with home-grown fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a picture mug for each of us
And we could take our pick of the lovely rocks she paints.
 When we flew out of Spokane it was 32 degrees, so imagine our joy to be able to enjoy breakfast outside in 80 degree weather!

It actually got really warm, 95 degrees, so we arranged to do our walking and hiking in the morning.

 We first walked to the wildlife reserve near Karen and Dale's home.

We also took a little tour of Havasu and had our picture taken in front of the famous London Bridge

 All these pictures were taken during our hike and boulder scrambling in Sara's Crack!

I've done this hike several times, but it was pure joy to share it with Connie, Allan, and Larry, who experienced the rope and ladder for the first time!

 We all made it through!!  Thumbs up.

Success for us, but we actually had it easy!
Dale and Christel hiked up to the picnic table and met us in the canyon

After hiking we met Don, Marilyn, and Joan for lunch and beer samples!!

Friday night we celebrated Maureen's birthday with wine from the Illinois cousins!  Larry brought the bottle in his suitcase and had duct tape wrapped around the corks.

 We laughed out loud when Don told the stories of being on PHS track team, a freshman star!
Most of us had no idea he played football and our parents probably never attended a game.  Those were the days.....
Conversation got a little more serious when Connie told her stories of prayer and faith.  We never tire of hearing the stories, laughing, and even crying a bit. We also toasted Maureen and "sang" of her virtues and other qualities that make her our favorite baby sister and prayed this blessing in her honor.

Gracious God, today we celebrate that Maureen
Has been Your gift to all of us,
A gift that grows more precious in our hearts
With each passing day.
Bless her on her birthday with
Blessings of good health, of laughter and happiness
Blessings of wonder and awe, amazement and playfulness
On this birthday may her heart overflow
With love for You, for us, and all of your creation.
On Saturday our Reed cousins, who live in Earp, California, during the winter, joined us for dinner.
Judy, Peggy, Jim, and Carol Reed shared more stories and hopes for our retired futures!

Sunday we did a little rock painting and added glass pieces to Karen's mosaic Circle of Life.  
 I took this picture to determine which one had the darker skin!

Some of us took a little walk to watch the sunset on Lake Havasu.
We all went to Mass and took this picture before Don and Allan left to drive back to California.
Happy faces, warm hearts!