Apr 20, 2016

Explore Where You Live: Tuzigoot and Montezuma

Everywhere Cameron and I have lived (5 towns now), we have had people tell us the same thing. “You guys know all the places to see around here!” We’d only lived here in Winslow for 2 months when we started hearing that from people! We don’t feel like we’re out scouring town every night, or off on adventures every week, but somehow we do tend to know the funky little hikes around, the delicious Mom and Pop restaurants, the festivals, and the sites to see. Most are free or cheap (because that’s how we roll).

Exploring where we live is important to us. It is a vital part of our relationship as a couple, our relationship as a family, and our relationship with ourselves. We’d felt this way from the start of our marriage but in 2014 an article from the #StayMarried blog gave us more of a social-scientific explanation: “There is a term in sociology called the ‘crescive bond’ – the bond created between people through shared experiences – which is vital for healthy family relationships.”
“Families have memories, inside jokes, and crazy stories together. However dysfunctional family can be, the thing that brings us back together over and over again is that crescive bond and those irreplaceable memories. Taking a trip together, whether it’s a two hour road trip, or an international adventure, helps create those shared experiences much more than simply going through the motions of your everyday life.” 
Now, we love our Netflix binges every now and again. We love evenings at home. But sometimes we get in a rut and that’s all we do. It’s these times that our relationship suffers, our satisfaction with life suffers, and we find ourselves less happy with ourselves. It’s so easy to come up with reasons to not do things. We’re too tired. It’s getting close to Darrow’s bedtime. We’re broke. I’m cranky. Cameron has lesson plans to write. You can ALWAYS find an excuse. 
However, when we get past our excuses and just do it we find out this exact thing over and over again:

It’s so true! Going on a sunset walk through the artsy district of town doesn’t really give me ideas on how to be a better mom to Darrow, but it does make me feel closer to my family and want to serve them more (and my family is definitely part of my work!). Touring a historic building doesn’t give Cameron much by way of lesson material for his Biology class, but he feels so much more relaxed and has more of a clear mind when he is working on his lesson plans. And Darrow is much much happier when we get out of the house and do anything even for 10 minutes…it inspires his play and obedience.

Now Cameron and I are horrible budgeters. Horrible!! We’d love to take big international trips, but we also really love that mole enchilada from E&O’s Restaurant, taking last minute car rides out to see a local site, making new food at home together, and visiting family. When we look at the big picture we can’t say that a big trip to Scotland would make us happier than doing these small things we love. We’ve come to learn that creating a life we love is so much more important than trying to escape a life we hate every now and again for an occasional fun vacation only to have to come back to our dreaded existence. Some people are lucky enough to afford both, but that’s not us right now. And I imagine that’s not many of you either. So instead of dreaming of escape, we’ve learned to make our lives something we don’t mind living in. Something we love.
And, as I mentioned at first, one of our favorite ways of doing that is exploring where we live. So this past Monday Cameron took his last day of leave for the school year and we went exploring some new sites in Arizona. And we had a ball! Nothing fancy, but it was fabulous! 

We started our trip by heading down through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. We didn’t get out to play in the water, but we still loved the green and the gorgeous canyon.

Our first main stop was Tuzigoot National Monument. After spending 2 summers working for the National Park Service at Fort Bowie National Historic Site, we have a special spot in our hearts for the National Parks. We just bought our 2nd America the Beautiful Pass and plan on using it fiercely this summer. It’s great! We don’t feel like we have to spend hours and hours at the park dragging around cranky kids to get our admission fee worth. We can just go and spend 30 minutes to and hour and be done because we’re not trying to get $20-$40 worth of an adventure out of the experience. Pretty much we just have to hit up 4 parks with a fee entrance and we’ve make our pass pay off. We plan on hitting way over that number this summer!
But I digress.
This was a great park! We LOVED it! Darrow could run the trail easily, which meant that he loved it too. 

 Of course he’s picking his nose. Thanks child. 

 It was soo cool to get to go up on top of the ruins! The view was so pretty! They sure picked a great spot to live!

Darrow is into jumping now and spent a good chunk of the day jumping along the trails. Man he was worn out by the end!

From Tuzigoot we made a detour up to see Jerome. It’s a cute town up on the hill!  

From Jerome we went over to Montezuma’s Castle. I remember seeing the sign for this as a child and the images I came up with in my head were spectacular! The ruins didn’t end up being as cool as my little kid mind made up, but it was still neat to go see them and, again, a perfect place for Darrow.

It’s been too long since we were somewhere with trees! Darrow couldn’t get enough of watching the shadows go across his arm. I’d almost forgotten that he did that!

Our last stop for the day was Montezuma’s Well. We almost skipped this, and we would have regretted it. I think it was our favorite stop of the day! It’s amazing to see this bowl in the desert. The water pours into the bowl from the bottom, and then there is a small natural tunnel off on one side that the water spills out of, traveling through the hill and out the side, keeping the water fresh instead of getting stagnant! It’s really something!

Here’s where the water comes out of the hill on the other side. It’s really amazing! 

We thoroughly enjoyed our family day together exploring the state! Winslow is perfectly situated with all the National Parks around. We have so many day trips to choose from! This gave us a taste of summer, and now we can’t wait for school to get over so that we can get to all the upcoming weddings and hit as many National Parks possible!

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