Where on Earth Did You Get Those Christmas Gifts?

Dear Maia and Isaac,

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas!  I am glad I heard from Maia a little bit this holiday!  Anyway – thanks for letting me know you liked the gifts.

I thought I would spend a few minutes talking about where your gifts came from.  You see, I don’t go Christmas shopping like most people – I go road trip shopping and save my trinkets to send to you on Christmas or your birthday.  I want to start including a photo of where I got each gift in the package with the gift, as I am not sure if/when you will discover this blog.

So, I’ll start with Isaac this time.  That snake . . . you know, THAT snake . . .

Arizona snake

Well, he came from a place called Saguaro National Park, way down near Mexico in Arizona.  I take my road trip in April before it gets too hot.  But, it is still pretty hot for my dogs.  Maizzy had just had surgery for skin cancer and Sazi hurt a bone in her back and had to be carried.  So, it was pretty hot for me, too.  But, it was pretty.  There were all kinds of cactus growing down there.

Saguaro National Park, AZ

And the dinosaurs . . .

Petrified Forest dinosaurs

They came from a place called the Petrified Forest in Arizona.  We stopped there coming home from Saguaro National Park and other points south.  It was the day of the windstorm.  There were 50+ mile an hour winds blowing ALL day.  I hiked with the dogs to a place called Agate House.  This is where the Ancient Pueblo Indians build a house out of petrified wood.  It is one of my favorite ruins to visit because it is different!  I stopped and got your dinosaurs at a gift shop near the trailhead to get out of the wind for a minute.


Agate House, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
My dogs pose for a photo in the windstorm at Petrified Forest, AZ

Now, Maia’s turn. First, the amethyst.

Amethyst from Moab, UT

That amethyst actually didn’t come from my April road trip.  It came from my annual birthday hiking trip to Moab, Utah.  I’m lucky that my birthday and President’s day are about the same time.  Moab has some of the coolest rock formations in the world!  It is mostly beautiful red sandstone.  The dogs and I hiked a couple of places – Corona Arch (I am not going to be able to hike here again until I only have 2 dogs, again, because this is where Sazi hurt her back from climbing where it was too steep.)  The next day, we hiked at a place called Dead Horse Point.  It is my favorite place with dogs.  And, guess what, it was another day with a bad windstorm . . . but we hiked out to the tip, anyway.  It was the morning that we left that I stopped at the rock shop and got the rock for you.

Corona Arch near Moab, UT


Sazi, Kachina and, Maizzy at Dead Horse Point State Park, UT

The quartz crystal (yellow color) . . .

Quartz Chrystal from Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

This came from my road trip the same day I got the dinosaurs for Isaac.  There is a little store just south of the Petrified Forest National Park where I stop to look for rocks for you.  The one I got you last year came from this same shop the year before.  I tried to stop the first day of the trip there, before the windstorm, but they were closed.  So, the dogs and I hiked at a place called Chrystal Forest.  I love that Petrified Forest is dog-friendly.  We take this hike almost every year.  Funny thing is I remember going here as a little kid and being so mad because my parents made me take a hike – and I think it was at Chrystal Forest.  I like the name, too.

Kachina, Maizzy, and Sazi next to a petrified log in Chrystal Forest, Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

So, that is it for Christmas.  And, I haven’t had any adventures for over a month.  Work is busy and I just get kinda bah humbug in the cold.  I was hoping to do a 1st Day Hike today – but we have 5-7 inches of new snow and my two dogs still need to be carried.  It was super cold, too.  So, I watched a movie instead.  I am guessing I will get at least a couple local hikes in before my Moab birthday trip in February!  I can’t believe it is time for Moab, again.  I will be shopping for more surprises for you because it helps me to bring you along on my adventures with me.  It’s way, way more fun than shopping on Amazon!!!

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year!

Love, Grandma Hartt

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