Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here is the Rexburg family, seated comfortably alongside the Parade route.
From left to right: Jeffery, Kristi, Camilla and Laura with their heads turned toward something far more interesting than their old grandpa, Anna, then Liz next to Jacob, and Liz's sister Rebecca, dark, short hair and sun glasses.

Saturday, July 3, we accompanied Jeffery, Kristi and family to the annual Independance Day Parade here in Rexburg. It was cool enough that some of us desert dwellers had to put on jackets. Of course, the Idaho natives were in shirt sleeves. This is summer!

Wednesday, June 30, we drove through Provo and Utah Valley on the I-15 and continued past Salt Lake City, stopping for the night in South Ogden.
We were close to our destination, but we had traveled far enough for one day.
Thursday morning, July 1, we completed our drive into Rexburg, Idaho. There on the hill above the BYU-Idaho campus is the beautiful Rexburg Temple.
We were sure happy to see our Rexburg family, Jeffery, Kristi, Jacob, Camilla, Laura and Anna. They were waiting for us and quickly tucked us in and made us comfortable in Anna's bdrm where we have stayed before. How good it is to be settled in to one place for a few days and not be living out of a suitcase. How good it is to be with the members of our family!
We look forward to our oldest granddaughter's return from her mission in Chile in just 5 more days! Hermana Adele Chapman!; now a fluent spanish speaker and an accomplished representative of the Church, who, over a period of 18 months, saw the lives of many people changed forever as they accepted the restored gospel. We look forward to being with her and other members of the family as her twin brother Jacob and his fiancee Liz Whitaker are married in the Rexburg Temple, July 10th. What happy and meaningful events we are privileged to experience!
Hoorah for Israel!

Mount Nebo towers above the cultivated fields outside of the town of Nephi, Utah. You see it for miles as you travel along US 89 from Gunnison. It is one of those landmarks that lets you know you are nearing the Wasatch front; that line of rugged, massive mountains that border Utah Valley, Salt Lake Valley, and the cities of Bountiful and Ogden that are nestled between the Wasatch and the Great Salt Lake, north of Salt Lake City.

This is typical of the terrain as you travel on up US 89 through south central Utah. This is the road north of Panguich, in the Sevier River valley, south of Richfield.
This picture was taken as we continued our trip Wednesday morning, June 30, from Kanab. Another beautiful day to travel down the open roads of America!

Atop the Kiabab National Forest, north of the north rim of the Grand Canyon we always stop at Jacob Lake Resort and Restaurant. Here is another meaningful location on our journy as it is named for our ancester, Jacob Hamblin. A pond of water, hardly big enough to be considered a lake, is nearby. It was a stopping and camping place for Jacob Hamblin and other early explorers as they made trips by horseback from communities in southern Utah to trade or conduct missionary efforts among the Indian tribes of the region.
This is a view to the north, after leaving Jacob Lake and continuing down off the Kaibab toward the small Arizona town of Fredonia and its sister city Kanab, just across the state line in southern Utah. We had a restful night's sleep in The Victorian Inn in Kanab Tuesday night. It had been a long, but beautiful day of travel from Show Low.

When we reach the small Indian community of Bitter Springs, we keep left and take the alternate US 89 ("The Road Less Traveled") and enter my favorite part of our journey, the Colorado River basin of northern Arizona. Here we cross the newly constructed bridge that spans the deep gorge through which the Colorado River passes, 500 ft. below. Next to the new bridge is the original Navaho Bridge, now open to the public for foot travel and picture taking. It is an awsome sight (not pictured).
What is pictured is this great open valley, called Marble Canyon, seen here after traversing the canyon floor and beginning the winding road up on to the Kiabab mountain range that borders this canyon on the west. This view is from an overlook on Alternate 89, looking back to the east across this endlessly pleasing sight of the Vermilion Cliffs in the far, far distance. This area is just beyond the extreme east beginning of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Situated a short distance east of Navaho Bridge is the historic Lee's Ferry area (not pictured), the site of an early pioneer river crossing where a ferry was maintained to assist the wagon trains of pioneers from Utah, sent by Brigham Young to colonize locations in central and eastern Arizona and northern Mexico. The crossing is named for John D. Lee, a prominent figure in Mormon pioneer history. Lee was called by Brigham Young to take his family from their holdings in southern Utahwho and establish and operate this ferry, which he did maintain for a number of years. Hundreds of pioneers made this crossing in the late 1800's, including some of our own ancesters.
Our own great, great grandfather, Jacob Hamblin, was believed to be the first white man to make a successful crossing of the Colorado River near this location, since the "Crossing of the Father's" (The Spanish explorers). His solitary travels by horseback across this vast and lonely land make it all the more meaningful to me.

On this Tuesday, June 29, as we continue up the 89 toward our Colorado River crossing we marvel at the meeting of the earth and sky before us, with its everchanging forces of cloud, wind and rain and the endless variation of colors brought on by the changing light and shadow.

As we continued north, past Cameron and across the Little Colorado River, beyond the turn-off for Tuba City and Hopie land, we are greeted by this sight: a wall of red rock that stretches off to the north for mile after mile.

This gives some sense of the far reaching horizons that you experience on the drive along US 89, between Flagstaff and the Colorado River basin.
This is a view to the north, just after dropping down off the slopes of the mountains outside Flagstaff.
Now we are on the edges of the Navaho nation, the largest Indian reservation in America. And, we are crossing Coconino County, the largest county in Arizona and perhaps the largest in the USA.
If you live out here, you better know how to take care of yourself because the response time of the Sheriff's Department is going to be measured in hours, not minutes.

Flagstaff offers another few moments in the high country of pine forest, situated as it is on the slopes of the towering San Francisco Peaks, but we have only begun our journey and we head north, leaving the I-40 and taking US 89 toward the canyon lands that are part of the vast plateau region of rock and sand that includes northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado, northern Arizona and southern Utah. Of all the places in the inter-mountain west these offer the most expansive and everchanging scenes of earth and sky.
Tuesday, June 29, was a particularly clear and beautiful day to be traveling through northern Arizona. This is the view as we topped the high point on US 89 near Sunset Crater, just out of Flagstaff and head downward, out of the pines and onto the great plateau towards Navaho Bridge on the Colorado, the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon.