Arizona The Beautiful

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical, Travel

Most things that naturally occur can become petrified over time, but the sight of petrified wood is something of beauty, history, and wonder. In northeastern Arizona, just a short drive off US191 on highway 40, is the Petrified National Forest. The park covers about 146 square miles, encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands in the Navajo Nation. The northern part of the forest is a gateway into the Painted Desert. From beautiful colored wood to beautiful stone, the properties of both aid the other in thier creation.

The vast landscape of the Painted Desert features rocks in every hue – from deep lavenders and rich grays to reds, oranges and even pinks. The desert is composed of stratified layers of easily erodible siltstone, mudstone and shale of the Triassic Chinle Formation. These fine grained rock layers contain abundant iron and manganese compounds which provide the pigments for the various colors of the region. Thin resistant limestone layers and volcanic flows cap the mesas. Numerous layers of silicic volcanic ash occur in the Chinle and provide the silica for the petrified logs.  An assortment of fossilized prehistoric plants and animals are found in the region, as well as dinosaur tracks and the evidence of early human habitation.

The Painted Desert is not where this adventure stops;  it is so close to the Grand Canyon National Park, you would be a fool not to press on to see the largest canyon in the US. Geologists say that over the last several million years the Colorado river has carved the canyon to what it is today

Three Beautiful Sights, one amazing state..

It is not the deepest canyon in the world (Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal is far deeper), nor the widest (Capertee Valley in Australia is about 0.6 mi/1 km wider and longer than Grand Canyon); however, the Grand Canyon is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape.

While writing this I wondered to myself “How Long Does It Take For Wood To Petrify”. I googled that very question and came up with an article by John D Morris that was titled just as such.  His explanation below about the difference of petrified would in Yellowstone National Park vs those found in the Petrified National Park I found most interesting.

“In the first type of petrification, the wood decays in a hot, silica-rich environment. As each molecule of wood decomposes and is carried away, it is replaced by a molecule of silica. Eventually the replacement is complete, with the mineral impurities in the silica being responsible ”
“The other type of petrification involves the total infiltration of the porous wood by silica-rich water. The silica (or in a few cases calcite, or a combination of both) plugs up the pores, preventing complete decay. This allows individual cells to be remarkably well preserved, and in many cases the tree ring pattern can easily be seen. The petrified trees in Yellowstone Park are of this type, with tree rings readily visible.for an array of beautiful colors in the final product. This type of petrified wood can be polished, and often becomes an object of incredible beauty. Once silicification is complete, there is no organic material remaining, but since on occasion the light and dark portions of the tree’s growth rings may decay at different rates, hints of the tree rings may be preserved if the minerals present change over time. Many of the petrified trees found in the Petrified “Forest” of Arizona are of this type.”

“Wood can also be petrified in field settings. During one field experiment, researchers dangled a block of wood down inside an alkaline spring in Yellowstone Park to see what effect this hot, silica-rich environment would have. In just one year, substantial petrification had occurred. I recently read an advertisement in a magazine for real “hardwood floors.” The company was petrifying wood commercially. The point is, it does not take long ages to petrify wood, it just takes the right conditions.”


Three Very Unique Stops in Blanding Utah

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical, Travel

Blanding, Utah is located in San Juan County of southeastern Utah, 21 miles south of Monticello on US 191, and only 75 miles south of Moab, UT which is rapidly becoming one of the most visited cities in the United States.  The town is surrounded by pastures with easy access to mountain recreation. Edge of the Cedars State Park is located in Blanding. The park holds an extensive collection of ancient Pueblo artifacts. Blanding is also within what people call the dinosaur triangle which is one of the few remaining places to unveil real dinosaur bones. That is why in Blanding you will find the Dinosaur Museum where visitors can see what dinosaurs really looked like. In addition to being a major part of ancient history, Blanding is also the gateway to the 100-mile Trail of the Ancients.

Blanding is a great place to come and take a look into the past, or be a part of your future. Like Moab, Blanding is rich in endless miles of trails to hike, bike, four-wheel; explore however you prefer. On these paths of dirt and red rock, keep an eye out for artifacts. You never know what you might find in Blanding!

Among the amazing sights that I found in Blanding where three very unique store fronts . Each of these places I was greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff  that clearly had something rare to contribute to the community.

Blue Mountain Trading Post and RV Park

Inside of Blue Mountain one will find high quality, hand crafted, locally made Indian crafts and arts. The trading post gets their turquoise directly from local mines and each piece is then crafted individually. Apart from jewelry, Blue Mountain also houses rugs, skins, their own rock shop, dinosaur bone,

Blue Mountain Trading Post and RV Park petrified wood and even petrified dinosaur poop!!! It’s no wonder they have been in business over 4o years. In addition to the trading post, Blue Mountain is also and RV Park. They pride them selves in an exceedingly clean facility and fair rates. The park has 43 spaces that range from 28-32 dollars a night depending on the size of your RV. Blue Mountain is definitely a place I would recommend to those who are looking to stay in Blanding or pick up a high end treasure/souvenir on your way through.



Lickity Split ChocolateLickity Split Chocolate

This hidden gem was “started by a group of children trying to figure out how they were going to earn money to go to the movies. Little did they know the birth of their idea to start a chocolate company would have a profound impact on their lives, the community,and inspire the world!” The bakery not only does chocolate though; I enjoyed a delicious cinnamon role during my visit and couldn’t help but be intrigued by the story of Lickity Split. The Navajo children that created this tasty bakery specialize in treats that are both meaningful and a beautiful representation of their culture. With chocolates that have an array of different symbols and pictures on them, they are almost too stunning to eat (unless you are a chocolate lover like me). “They are recognized internationally for their can-do spirit” and I felt honored to support such an amazing quality and idea. Lickity Split ships all over the country if you too would like to  support such an inspirational idea!


Hunts Trading Post (and ESPRESSO)
This was the last of my stops in Blanding, but certainly not the least. I was greeted by both a sincere smile and the sweet aroma of espresso as I walked through the door. All day I had been craving a good cup of Joe, but couldn’t find one. Hunts Trading Post I was told is the only place in Blanding for great coffee. After a look around the store, taking note of the fair prices, I decided I must indulge. My final decision was swayed when the owner informed me they also had Chai! Being that Chai is my favorite and it was a hot day, I had it on ice. It was a yummy refreshing treat that put a smile on my face for the hot car ride ahead. When I am back in Blanding, I will be stopping by again:)


Hunts Trading Post and Espresso

Hubbell Trading Post National Historical Site

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Historical

As I traveled north up US 191 and pulled into the Hubbell Trading Post I looked down at my phone and noticed that the time had dropped back one hour. At first I thought that my smart phone may have been a little confused until I realized that in the Navajo Nation they do not practice the same time as the rest of Arizona. There was a sign on the way in that reminded me and gave me a sense of how special this land and piece of history is that I was now Entrance to Hubbell Trading Postentering .

Hubbell Trading post is located in Ganado, AZ and has been serving selling groceries, grain, turquoise, hardware, horse tack, coffee and Native American Art since 1878.  The squeaky wooden floor greets your entry into the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation. Among the unique items the historical site houses is animal skins, rugs, beautiful native american paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewlery and much more!

A look into history….

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is a meeting ground of two cultures, the Navajo and settlers who came to the area to settle in what is now northeastern Arizona in the late 19th century. These settlers came from Mexico from the south and eastern United States. In 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased this trading posEntrance to Hubbell Trading Postt, ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to their homeland from their U.S.-imposed exile in Bosque RedondoFort SumnerNew Mexico. This ended what is known in Navajo history as the “Long Walk of the Navajo.” The park is located in Ganado, Arizona. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

Canyon De Chelly National Monument in AZ

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in Travel

Canyon De Chelly National Monument, ArizonaThere was something truly magical about Canyon De Chelly in Chinle, AZ. Just a 5 minute drive off US 191. The gigantic rock formations and deep valleys are great reminders of just how small we really are. As I walked the foot paths of the scenic over looks I could here beautiful flute playing off in the distance. When I returned to the parking lot, there stood a Navajo man and his girlfriend who was selling home made jewelry. The man spoke of kokopelli(god that represents the spirit of music)and I couldn’t help but feel like I had stepped backwards in time.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument ( /dəˈʃeɪ/ də·shā′) was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service. It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Reflecting one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo. The monument covers 83,840 acres (131.0 sq mi; 339.3 km2) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, ArizonaThese canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument. None of the land is federally owned.

A Little Piece of Heaven, 2nd Hand Treasures, St. John, AZ

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Travel

A few days ago on my journey north up US 191, I passed through St.John, AZ.; a quaint town in the white mountains that is all about community. There I met Estelle White who owns an amazingly diverse shop called 2nd Hand Treasures. The shop sells both new and used items and definitely has something for everyone. Inside you will find antiques, a man cave as well as a women’s side (all clothing sold here is washed prior to display), local art, and  home-made arts and crafts including jewelry and little jewelry music boxes made from real eggs! These items and much much more make 2nd Hand Treasures  a great stop for all. Aside from being a unique shop for tourist and locals alike, there is a lot more to this store front than meets the eye. Estelle teaches art classes in the back of the shop and also offers her students an outlet to display and sell their art right there at 2nd Hand Treasures.

Estelle spoke very highly of the community and gave reference to several scenarios where the people in St.John have pulled together to help one another when the economy dropped out. Often on the weekends you can find most locals at the city park facility. This offers  a picnic area,  tennis, swimming in an indoor pool,  raquet ball, horseshoes, a playground, and even a place to grill for outdoor events. This paste weekend on May 19th was St John annual classic car show and chili cook off! (which Estelle won last year). This event and others brings in a great crowd to St John, AZ.

Apart from owning a unique store, teaching art, and being involved in the community, Estelle also gives back by donating many items from the store to veterans in need. Her knowledge and involvement does not stop there though; she also sells real estate in the white mountain area. There are several amazing ranch homes in and around this area for those looking to get away. If interested please contact Estelle at

Estelle was very pleasant and knowledgeable to speak with on all fronts and even took the time to tell me about other

Realtors in the area as well as referring me to the Arizona White Mountain magazine, the local Apache County Historical Society Museum ( which houses a variety of prehistoric woolly mammoth tusks and camel leg bones est to be over 24,000 years old), Frankies restaurant (affordable and wonderful food) , and several places to play golf around the area.

Within an hour of St John Arizona you will also find the Lyman Lake State Park,the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, the Petrified National Forest which boarders the painted Desert and is not far out from the Grand Canyon, as well as many Apache, Zuni, and Navajo reservations.

St. John was a personal favorite of the White Mountain towns that I stopped in and definitely worth the visit to those who are planning to explore Arizona. Don’t miss out on all that this beautiful area has to offer!


Coronado Trail Scenic Byway in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, Travel

Today I drove the Coronado Trail Scenic Byway which takes you through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. It reminded me so much of “Going to the Sun road” in Glacier Park, MT. It was a drive that leaves one on the edge of their seat and speechless. Only this beauty is located in Arizona via US191 all the way through the Rockies. I hopped on Coronado on the south end in Clifton, AZ and traveled it north to Springerville/Eagar, AZ. There were several paths and places to pull off that I couldn’t help but stop. The views of high mountain tops, desert cacti, and lush greens of the conifer forest took my breath away. I would have to sat this is now one of my new favorite places in the United States. At the start of the trip was the Morenci mine overlook where you could catch a glimpse of how mountains that have been and are being moved to produce copper. The difference in color of the rock formations was like no other part of the Rocky Mountain Range I have viewed yet to date. A ways further up 191, I was able to photo some friendly deer, who didn’t seem to be bothered by my presence. The roads constant switch back and low speeds really give you an opportunity to take all the scenery in. This seldom traveled well kept secret is truly a must see!

A Historical note…

The Coronado Byway got its name from the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s seeking the riches of the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola, 1540. His route ran very close to this scenic byway.

Morenci Mine Overlook, AZ

Palisade Falls, Bozeman, MT

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, Travel

A story from one of our customers…..palisade falls, Bozeman, MT

My fiancé and I arrived in Bozeman on a beautiful July day and our tour guide, Ian, took us straight away to one of the most beautiful places… A waterfall, (Palisade Falls), in the mountains that was breathtaking. It made such a lasting effect on both my fiancé and I that we wanted to say our wedding vows next to it. The whole area seemed peaceful but at the same time, full of hope and wonder. I may not remember the name like I should but the experience of sharing that gorgeous piece of nature will stick with me forever.

Palisades Falls National Recreation trail is a short .5 mile asphalt-coated surface to a beautiful 80 foot waterfall. Walking through towering Engelmann Spruce and Red Fir as you switchback up to the base of the volcanic cliffs. Palisades Falls is the result of prehistoric lava flow, complete with massive hexagonal basalt columns.

From Bozeman drive south on 19th Street 5 miles to Hyalite Canyon Road. Go south on Hyalite Canyon road 20 miles to Forest Road – Go west one mile to Palisades Falls Picnic Area and trailhead.

Disc Golf at the Bohart Ranch!

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure

Bohart Ranch is carved out of the foothills of the Bridger mountains one mile past Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. This course offers plenty elevated tees, and defined fairways. For those that appreciate tough mountain courses this one's a must play! The 18 hole seasonal course that was opened in 1998 is very hilly and heavily wooded. It's only 5 dollars to play and just a short drive off I-90 just outside of Bozeman, MT. I have been playing for a few years, but I am not pro by any means. I found this course challenging, but very enjoyable. I took as many pictures as I did throw disc! A great day at golf and amazing views...what more could you ask for?!!Bohart Ranch is carved out of the foothills of the Bridger mountains one mile past Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. This course offers plenty elevated tees, and defined fairways. For those that appreciate tough mountain courses this one's a must play! The 18 hole seasonal course that was opened in 1998 is very hilly and heavily wooded. It's only 5 dollars to play and just a short drive off I-90 just outside of Bozeman, MT. I have been playing for a few years, but I am not pro by any means. I found this course challenging, but very enjoyable. I took as many pictures as I did throw disc! A great day at golf and amazing views...what more could you ask for?!!Bohart Ranch is carved out of the foothills of the Bridger mountains one mile past Bridger Bowl Ski Resort. This course offers plenty elevated tees, and defined fairways. For those that appreciate tough mountain courses this one’s a must play! The 18 hole seasonal course that was opened in 1998 is very hilly and heavily wooded. It’s only 5 dollars to play and just a short drive off I-90 just outside of Bozeman, MT. I have been playing for a few years, but I am not pro by any means. I found this course challenging, but very enjoyable.  I took as many pictures as I did throw disc! A great day at golf and amazing views…what more could you ask for?!!

West Yellowstone, The Lower Falls

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, blog, Travel



Nothing took my breath away like standing on the top of the 308 foot tall water fall in West Yellowstone park! Billions of gallons of water cascading over the cliff right beneath you every second creating a giant mist below! To add to the magical view from this spot, the sun blazes into the mist forming a rainbow that is the start of the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone Park.  Looking out from on top of this massive water fall, the water zig-zags between the cliff walls of the rocky mountains in the park. The lower falls are actually taller than the upper falls in height, they are only lower in elevation. This place reminds people just how small we really are…and just what a beautiful place this world really is..naturally

West Yellowstone Lower Falls, looking downLower Falls of West Yellowstone Park

Truly a must see!

Lower Falls of West Yellowstone Park


cliff diving, Ennis Montana, thrill seeking, adrenaline junkies, The Moose, The Pinnacle, free adventure

Cliff Diving in Ennis, MT

Written by Jennifer on . Posted in adventure, Travel

cliff diving, Ennis Montana, thrill seeking, adrenaline junkies, The Moose, The Pinnacle, free adventureWhat a thrill seeking adventure it was to cliff dive from 40 feet at a place the locals call “The Moose Head”. At this particular spot, you can jump from 40 feet, climb up another 10 feet to the pinnacle top and jump from there, or swing into the river from the rope swing below. For the real adrenaline junkies though, the adventure lies across the river. The current is not that strong here, but I still would only recommend to experienced swimmers and always with a buddy. At the other side (where the rock formation actually is that looks like a moose-head) there is a spot you can climb up and jump from 60-80 feet!!! The free-fall actually gives you time to think “I wonder why I haven’t hit the water yet”. What a rush! The drive back to this spot is gorgeous, its free to do, and an experience I will NEVER forget! Live Out Loud!!!


rope swing, Ennis Montana, thrill seeking, adrenaline junkie, The Moose, The Pinnacle, free adventure