Friday, November 04, 2011

Intrepid Explorers

Today while getting ready to leave for Girl Scouts with Aine, I asked Dave what he had on his agenda today. He said he would like to take a day trip. Just the words made me a bit antsy. I am a planner. I am not good at last minute. I reminded him that we wouldn't be home until noon, but he was nonplussed.

When Aine and I arrived home, the adventure was set into motion. Dave said we would head out to the Gila Bend area. I mentioned that there were severe wind advisories along the interstates, but he wasn't worried. We piled into the car and set out. I was still a bit apprehensive, but I was not driving. With Dave at the wheel, I started an audiobook and began to knit.
Our first stop was a drug store to pick up motion sickness bands for Aine. Unfortunately she has inherited her mother's queasy stomach. She is not comforted by the fact that I have mostly outgrown it.

The weather was weird as we drove out of town. Our destination was Painted Rock Petroglyph site. The sky was very overcast and the blowing dust caused limited visibility in some spots.
Everyone jumped out of the car to explore the petroglyphs. We immediately encountered heavy winds which almost blew us away! We read about the rock markings and were amazed at the abundance. A lot of the rocks were covered with petroglyphs. The kids helped point out the two types, archaic and gila, based on what we read on the signs.
As we walked around the site, we were struck by the lack of petroglyphs on the north side on the rock pile. the reason was not clear. Why were the petroglyphs concentrated on one side? We also talked about the Gila River and its absence from the landscape. At one point in history the area we visited was a vibrant landscape with a flowing river. Now with dams and diverted waterways, the vegetation and wildlife has changed.

Leaving the petroglyph site, we ventured to the Painted Rock Dam. While driving on dirt backroads to hit a couple other historic sites along the way, Dave and I screeched, "There's a spider in the road!" We turned around and climbed out of the car to look at the giant spider. Everyone enjoyed the jaywalker. The spider crawled under the car and curled up by our wheel. Dave didn't want to crush it, so I climbed out to direct his driving to avoid the spider!
A historic pioneer cemetary was on our route as well as old historic homes made of stones. We encountered a detour on the way to the dam. Dave had wanted to view another site along the way, but we were told the road ended and was not open. Following our GPS,we set out for the dam. Little did we know, but we were driving in a huge circle. We ended up back at the Petroglyphs!

Undeterred our family continued on to the dam. As we drove, we saw volcanic rock. Eamon wanted to  touch and examine some of the lava rocks, so we stopped.
 Once we were back on the highway, we realized that we would need to postpone our trip to view the dam. The sky was starting to quicker darken as the sun went down, and we decided it would not be much fun in the dark. We headed home with images of giant spiders and ancient writings. I am excited to start our day trips again even if they may be last minute. I think I may just be moving out of my comfort zone (heck, did you see that spider!)


  1. what a great day trip... i of course would have stayed in the car screaming about the HUGE spider. lol

  2. Anonymous11:41 AM

    What fun! I do love adventures, but agree last minute ones set my teeth on edge. I'm already planning - in detail - for our weekend in Portland on the 18th of this month! Love that hairy spider. Very cool!

  3. what a fantastic place - was thinking how much i'd love to visit .. until i saw the spider! ;^)

  4. Wow! What a trip - the look on the children's faces watching that spider is priceless. xxx

  5. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Oh. My. God. That spider! I would have died!

  6. What a neat little trip!