Rex has kept busy helping with a remodel on the Dolly Steamboat. They took off the top deck and are building a new one which encloses more of the deck. He also continues to enjoy being a crew member on the cruises.
He also has been helping Charlie, the local handyman in the park. He helped build a set of front steps and a small back deck for Mary Jane, the lady whose dog we walk every day. They also built a new floor for her shed, insulated her shed and installed a washer and dryer in her shed.

Nancy has enjoyed hiking every Tuesday and Friday with groups from the park – unfortunately, Rex’s work schedule did not allow him to hike in December. Here are a few highlights from some of the hikes.

We hiked in Gold Canyon to Hieroglyphic Canyon, which goes to some great petroglyphs. Why it is called Hieroglyphic Canyon when there are petroglyphs and not hieroglyphics – no one knows! The petroglyphs have been dated from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1100 when the Hohokam Indians inhabited the area.



We also hiked past this interesting balancing rock – it doesn’t look very big here but is actually the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.


On another hike we went to the Wind Cave in Usery Mountain Regional Park.  It is not really a cave, more of a grotto. 

The hike to the cave was steep but the views of the Phoenix area were great - although a little smoggy today. 

We also hiked in the Salt River Recreation Area where we hiked above the Salt River. 

There are wild horses in this area and we were lucky enough to come upon a small herd. They walked on the trail in front of us for a while - what a great site! There were two colts with the herd. They look thin but when you look around the desert at what they have to eat you can see why!

We went to downtown Phoenix with our friends Bill and Sharon for the Christmas Light Parade. We had dinner at Applebee’s and then walked down the street to watch the parade. It was really nice and the first time we were able to watch a Christmas light parade without freezing.

Nancy took a park bus trip to the Petersen House Museum in Tempe. The Petersen House was built in 1892 by Niels Petersen an immigrant from Denmark. It is the oldest Victorian house in the valley and has been restored by the Tempe Historical Museum. The house is beautiful and was decorated for a Danish Christmas. Docents in each of the rooms gave us the history of the house and told us about Danish customs and traditions.

Another park bus trip was to Canyon Lake to ride the Dolly Steamboat. We had a great time on the cruise, the weather was great and we saw some big horn sheep. Rex, who worked the cruise, enjoyed having friends and neighbors from the park on the boat.

On the Sunday before Christmas, Nancy’s mom was hospitalized with a recurrence of Valley Fever. She was in the hospital in Colorado last June with pneumonia and in August they diagnosed Valley Fever. Valley Fever is a disease of the lungs that is common in the southwestern US. It is caused by a fungus which grows in the soil and becomes airborne when the soil is disturbed. There is no cure for Valley Fever but there is medication that helps control the symptoms. She was in the hospital for 4 days and is slowly recovering her strength.

Nancy’s parents joined us for our park’s Christmas dinner. We had ham and all the trimmings and, of course, ate too much.

The week after Christmas the weather turned cold and rainy. It actually snowed a skiff on Thursday! It was fun to see the few snowflakes we got, especially when we know we won’t have to shovel and it will be warm soon! The news said the last time it snowed in the valley was 1999. It only got into the mid 40’s for a couple of days and cold enough to freeze at night! This reminds us of why we do not spend winters in Colorado! It is suppose to be back into the 60’s soon - Yeah!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and the New Year brings you all good health and happiness.


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