Monday, November 23, 2009

The Homeschoolers Vacation - Part 1

Homeschoolers can not simply take a vacation.  No.  Everything they do must revolve around some type of education.  And bloggers must always be thinking about what they will write about when they get home.  When you combine the 2 you get some of the most off the wall vacations anyone has ever gone on. 

So the daddy is on vacation - I bet you never guessed.  We decided to head out to Northern Arizona, get out of the city and breath some fresh air.  First stop: Montezumas Castle.  Educational Stop #1.  Did you know that the yucca plant fibers is used to make everything from rope to sandals to baskets tight enough to hold water?  And you can't break it.  Its incredibly strong.  My boys had a go at tug of war with some rope made of it. And these kids break everything.  I am thinking of investing in some of those sandals.  Surely someone still makes them! 

I simply can not imagine living up in the side of a cliff like that.  And here I thought Pittsburgh was bad.  It is beautiful though and I can see why the Indians picked that spot to live. A river runs by, you have beautiful farming land and living in the side of the cliff is a great protection from predators and enemies.


It was very educational and I love to see my kids get so excited to learn about something.  They really enjoyed the replica of what the inside of the "castle" would have looked like.  Of course it helped that there was a real spider living in there, really drew attention after my oldest pointed that out. 

Second stop was Montezumas Well.  This was Educational Stop 2 as well as the "Scare the Pants of Daddy" stop. We didn't know there would be a sheer drop off with little boundaries.  There was a guard rail of sorts as you approached the well.  Probably to keep people from running right off ala Coyote and the Road Runner. There was a path to walk down, which we didn't venture, partly because daddy was gonna have a heart attack and partly because we still had a lot of walking to do and it was a long walk.  No, really it was a LONG walk.  Check out the ducks in the picture, it was a more like a trek. Those little white things are ducks.

Montezumas Well is a collapsed limestone cavern.  It has organisms found no where else in the world and yet has no fish due to the high concentrations of carbon dioxide.  There is also cliff dwellings there, but we didn't go down to see them.  Rule #1 when traveling with children - Always Research Areas you might go to; especially if you have a daddy scared of heights.

Education Stop #3 was the Fish Hatchery in Page Springs.  We actually weren't planning on doing this at all.  We were going to back track and go to Fort Verde and then on to Jerome.  Rule #2 when traveling with small children - Always Leave Room in Your Schedule for Improvisation.  While we were at Montezumas Castle we talked to a Ranger who suggested the Fish Hatchery to us.  And we are so thankful because neither the daddy or I had ever been to that part of Arizona before.  And it was simply breath taking.  If we were to say there is a lot to do in Northern Arizona it would be an understatement and we will definitely be taking another trip there to finish off what we missed this go around. 

Living in the desert doesn't afford much in the way of season changes. My children have never experienced playing in the leaves.  They had never seen the canvas of colors that is fall.  They never smelled the scent of fallen leaves or heard them crunch under foot.  This day they did, and partly because of the advice from the Rangers.  But, aside from discovering falling leaves we also got to feed the fish.  We saw the race ways, the long thin rows where the fish grow, and discovered school of  fish really do swim in circles.  You know I had never seen a baby trout before. 

Here my kids are up close and personal with some fish.

Tomorrow we stay in town to visit some local museums. Part 2 of The Homeschoolers Vacation will be up late tomorrow.  But we will have to take another trip up north after the holidays.  Perhaps see the Painted Desert or Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest.  

The Bloggers Vacation will be later in the week.  Be ready to get your laugh on.

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