mothers day

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Grand Visit with Wonderful Friends

Jewel and Andy standing by the last remaining wagon from the Hole in the Rock

I was going to title this "Great Visit with Old Friends" but that was just a little bit too literal!! Where did the years go? Jewel and I decided it had been about 35 years since we had seen each other!!! She still looks like Jewel...I would have recognized her anywhere - she couldn't say the same about me. Nor Andy - and he hasn't put on weight - just the gray hair. When he grinned I finally saw the old (young) Andy.

I guess a little bit of history here -Jewel was my first roommate in College in 1965 - I remember she and Pat moved in with me about the first day of school that fall quarter. Pat didn't come back after Fall quarter and Linda and Sally moved out of the dorms and in with us and the four of us roomed together for two years after which we ALL got married - first Sally, then Ed and I , then Linda and then Jewel. I helped do the decorations for her wedding. Jewel and I are third cousins!! Through Lars Nielson on my dad's side and on her mother's side. We had never met before becoming roommates. She grew up in Oak City - just 14 miles from Leamington!

After college Jewel and Andy moved to California for a short while until he was drafted and went to Vietnam. Jewel finished college and then went to Blanding to teach. Andy had been born and raised in Blanding and Jewel lived with her in-laws and taught school there. A few years after he got out of the Army Andy got a job in Kayenta Arizona (about 80 miles South of Blanding) and he stayed there for 35 years until the job closed - he retired from that company in 2008 and he and Jewel returned to Blanding. They had bought a nice piece of property in 1982 just North of the city and that is where they are now living. They have a lovely home and are really enjoying it. I didn't realize that Monticello is over 7000 feet in elevation and Blanding is over 6000 feet. When I asked Jewel about their winters - she just said "IT IS WINTER!!" After 35 years in Kayenta I would imagine it would be hard getting used to cold winters again!

Jewel and Andy have three children, two daughters and one son, and one grandson. When we arrived Tuesday afternoon we talked and talked and talked. We went to the Monticello Temple Tuesday night. Then we talked and talked an talked some more the whole week! We enjoyed our visit with them so very much. It is amazing that after 35 years we could feel so comfortable with virtual strangers at this point!

Wednesday we went four wheeling out of Bluff Utah through some of the same areas that our ancestors traveled over. We got to see and climb up to some Anasazi ruins from 900 AD - 1200 AD!! We could see their sleeping areas and their storage areas and were amazed that the mortar in their bricked up areas was still so solid after a thousand and more years!

We ATV'd to San Juan Hill which is a rough rocky hill that couldn't be traversed around - they had to go over it and they still tell how they would hitch 7-9 horses, oxen and mules to each wagon to pull them up and over that horrible hill. They said that as one horse would start to founder others would be getting back to their knees and still others would be pulling...then another would go down and on and on and on. They said that by the time they got all of the wagons up and over the hill it was covered in the blood and hair of the animals knees(?) ... this was the Hole in the Rock group who had already spent six months trying to find a way to the Bluff area. I think the main 'climb' of the hill is farther to the left. I will have to see if Ed has a better picture of it on his computer.
This is the one wagon still 'living' after all these years that was part of the Hole in the Rock Expedition.

We went into Bluff and went to the museum there - they had a fascinating movie that told about the trials of the pioneers who went through the Hole in the Rock

They are in the process of rebuilding the fort there - the descendants of each family group that had a home in the fort is invited to donate about $15,000 and a couple of weekends to go in and rebuilt the cabins where their family lived. I wonder if the Lillywhites will do that. (Ed's great Aunt Mary Ellen Willden Lillywhite was part of that group with her husband and five children, one little boy less than six months old! She would have been a sister to Feargus).

After we left the museum we went to a fun restaurant called The Trading Post - I believe it is run by Indians, and had some Indian Fry Bread. I THOUGHT I had had Indian fry bread before but that was always served with butter and honey. Imagine a delicious taco salad served on fry bread instead of taco chips!! Wow! It was so good. I wonder if there is anywhere here in Northern Utah that you could find it! Jewel and I had little ones and they were huge but sooo good to the very last bite.

The next day we went out towards Bridges National Monument and four wheeled all over - saw lots of lizards and a rabbit. The cactus are in bloom right now and they were beautiful. We saw yellow blossoms and pink blossoms and red blossoms.

This is a view half way up the mtn that we traversed - very dry desert

We were looking for an arch that we never found but we did find slick rock (ugh) and drove through mud and sand and water and found some horrible ATV roads and some pretty good ones. We drove up the old road from Bluff to Hite and it is no longer used for a road but I wouldn't have wanted to pass another vehicle on it when it was in use - it is kind of like Farmington Canyon but alot narrower. The guys both had their Garmin's but neither had any maps loaded into it so we were lost a good part of the time but that just adds to the fun! (Ed left his computer at home by accident, and he called Jamie from Beaver worried that he had left it under the carport but not loaded into the truck. Jamie made Kelly go over and break into the house and make sure that it was still in the house. It was - it had never made its way out of the basement! Thanks Jamie and Kelly!) Thus no maps on Ed's Garmin. We NOW know where we were and where we should have gone!!! But that is what makes four wheeling so fun. Andy felt bad that he couldn't remember the way to the Arch but we had a great time looking for it!! And that is what it is all about.

I thought this was a fun picture of Jewel, Andy and Ed all looking out and taking pictures of the Anasazi ruins near one of the 'bridges of Bridges National Park"

You will have to enlarge this picture to see the ruins - they were across a big gully but fascinating to study. They are tucked into the cliff with a small living or storage area at the far left, a bunch of 'homes' in the middle. To the far right we could see even more ruins. The climb down to the water was not an easy one - but the Indians would have been very protected from their enemies when they pulled up the ladders or whatever helped them up and down the cliff side.

The experts think that the people that lived here only did so in the winter and moved up onto the high plateau areas in the summer where they farmed! There was a natural bridge here but you could only see it 'sideways' so I didn't even take a picture of it!!!

This was the third of the three bridges in Bridges National Monument. This is actually the smallest of the three but it is also the most famous - There are pictures from the early 1900's of men on horses posed on top of it! It is called 'landscape arch'.

These are some friends at Landscape arch - I have a picture with all four little chipmunks out at the same time but I pulled in the wrong picture. I set the raisins there on the rock thinking they might want to eat them, but they just sniffed them. It will take them a while to decide they are safe!

At this point we headed back to Jewel and Andy's for a delicious meal. Jewel is a great cook and she fed us well the whole time we were there. Both Wednesday evening and Thursday evening I worked on jewelry while we set and visited. I gave her one of my copper illusion necklaces to say thanks for such a fun week- I hope she enjoys it.
Finally - it was time to head back home. We packed up and told Jewel and Andy good bye and headed out - we headed back North through Monticello and on to Moab. Arches National Monument sits just North of Moab and we thought we would just drive through and look. Hah!! We ended up spending several hours hiking and looking and enjoying the beautiful arches. We hiked about a quarter of a mile to see we were taking pictures I told Ed that we were dumb!! We see this arch on our license plates every day!! But again - seeing it in person is really special. We took the short trail - there was a 3.5 mile hike we could have taken and gone right out under the arch. If you enlarge this picture and look closely you can see the tiny ants - those are people out there taking pictures and walking up to and around the arch.

We did walk up to this arch - it was only a few hundred feet away and it was gorgeous. It is actually three arches in one. I climbed right up in it. It was so beautiful - an totally amazing when you think that it started out to be solid rock but through thousands and thousands of years of wind and rain and freezing opening were literally carved out of rock.

We got home late Friday evening - tired but so glad we made the trip. Thanks again Andy and Jewel for a wonderful week and some great memories. You are still wonderful, old friends!!


Kecia said...

Fry bread! So much better than scones, eh?! There is a navajo family in our ward, they make it and sell it at city events. We go looking for them everytime, I love fry bread. I actually could get the recipe if you wanted...

It looks like you had a lot of fun and saw some amazing things! Who knew there was so much in blanding? I love the Indian ruins, especially those under the edge of that cave over hand. I can't believe they are so well preserved. Impressive!

Kristanne said...

I am glad you had a good time. It is fun to get together with friends that meant so much. I am so grateful that Mary Ann and I have kept in touch over the years. It has meant a lot to me.