Oh, the places we've been and the things we have seen over the past year! It has been full of new sights and new experiences, as well as great times with family and friends. Journey with me through some of the wonderful things we have done. If I did a blog post on the highlight, you can click on the highlighted word or phrase to see more information.
January found us back at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, where we volunteered for three months. It rained a lot that month (at least for Arizona) and I captured this sunset in a pool of water.
In February we attended the Gourd Festival and were amazed at the wonderful things artists can do with those rather ugly plants.
We do a lot of hiking and really enjoy the Arizona desert. One of the toughest hikes we have ever done was to the top of Picacho Peak with Ron and Barbara, later in February. Whew, I will never do that again, but I am really glad I did it once.
We left Casa Grande Ruins in early April and started a 3 1/2-month trip around the southern, eastern and northern two-thirds of this marvelous country. Our most interesting stop before we left Arizona was the Chiricahua National Monument in the south-eastern corner of the state. We took a beautiful hike and enjoyed all the wonderful rock formations.
One of our stops in Texas was at Goliad State Park. We visited so many historic sites over the summer, starting with this town, which was founded in 1749 as the site of a Spanish presidio and mission. It was the only Spanish fort on the Gulf Coast between the mouth of the Rio Grande River and the Mississippi River. We visited the Holy Spirit Mission and the Presidio La Bahia, but I didn't blog about it. This is a view of the mission, which is right next to the campground we stayed in.
Cypress trees and this snowy egret were highlights of our stay at Sam Houston Jones State Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
By the time we reached Alabama in early May, the Gulf oil spill was the focus of national news coverage. When we visited Dauphin Island at the south end of Mobile Bay, we saw some of the booms placed in the water to protect these spectacular white sand beaches. We don't often find ourselves in the midst of a national event like this.
From Texas through South Carolina, with stops in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, we took in lots of sea shores--something missing in Colorado. We also explored a Civil War fort on Mobile Bay and another near St. Augustine, Florida, where the British and Spanish fought for control of Florida. Later, we toured Civil War battlefields and a fort in New York that was built to keep the British out of French territory and which later saw American Revolutionary forces kick out the British. There was yet another fort on Mackinac Island, Michigan, which the British used to protect the area during the Revolutionary War and there were later two battles during the War of 1812.
Savannah, Georgia, was one of the highlights of the summer. What a beautiful place!
Then we on to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where we visited Brookgreen Gardens. They are spectacular!
In June we started out in Virginia where we visited the Fredricksburg National Military Park, the Chimborazo Civil War Medical Museum, the Richmond Battlefield Park and the Museum of the Confederacy. We were immersed in Civil War history during the 10 days we spent near Richmond.
The absolute highlight of our visit to the East Coast, and the reason we were there, was to see our granddaughters Rachal
Then we were on to New York City, where we were deeply moved by our visit to the Ground Zero.
We also went to Ellis Island and had a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty. We truly live in a great country.
We had never been in North Dakota before, so we took the northern route back west in July. During a visit to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, we got our first look at wild horses
and watched a herd of bison move across the prairie.
Then is was south to Colorado for a family reunion in Estes Park.
We spent several weeks volunteering at Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg, CO, where we had deer in our front yard.
We had great time with our grandchildren Kylie and John, both at Lathrop and visiting Thomas the Tank Engine in Denver.
Of course, there also was our photographers' special trip on the San Luis Rio Grand Railroad. We took lots of photos of trains, and also of photographers. And John was one of the winners of the photography contest, with this picture.