Wacky Wanderers

exploring on the road as a family

Death Valley National Park

We were expecting this park to be open but without camping options, bathrooms or Visitor Center perks such as maps, advice, trail updates and the Jr Ranger Program due to the government shutdown. However, we were excited to find that the park’s partner non-profit organization had funded a skeleton crew of park rangers to work during the government shut down. The rangers were also keeping the bathroom maintained at the Visitor Center during hours of operation. It was so very kind and we were so thankful for these things. Boy, this park was amazing! I’m so glad we didn’t miss it.

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

While we were in Tucson, we made a last minute change of plans to head down to Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico.  Since the drive from Tucson to Puerto Penasco was to be 3.5 hours, we decided to break it up by making a one night stop at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.  Not only was it a beautiful park and campground, it allowed us to dump and top-off our fresh water tanks before making the trek into Mexico.

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Grand Canyon National Park

On our honeymoon trip we had visited the Grand Canyon North Rim.  Since we weren’t hiking down into the canyon, we had just walked along the rim a bit and checked out some viewpoints.  It was pretty, but far from our favorite of parks based on that experience alone.  This time, at the South Rim, we decided to hike down into the canyon (not all the way, but a little bit!).  It was a whole different experience, and left us wanting to come back and hike down farther!

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Hovenweep National Monument

At Canyonlands we had a little preview of the kind of structures that the Ancestral Pueblo people built to store their food, but at Hovenweep we had the opportunity to see many different Pueblo houses and structures.  The skill of these ancient builders was apparent in their handiwork, and being in the presence of their ruins made us ponder what life must have been like for the people that lived here 800 years ago. 

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