Posts Tagged ‘Flagstaff’

Mystery Monday: Flagstaff Day Trip

Every family should have one last Hurrah! to say goodbye to summer. This summer, the folks have been super busy with home improvement projects so they haven’t gotten out much.

(I’ve been camping without them! A LOT)

But yesterday, we all decided to head to Flagstaff to celebrate the last weekend of summer before mom heads back to teaching on Tuesday. The original plan was to ride the ski lift at Snowbowl but the monsoons just were having none of it!

Instead, it was a trip to Bookmans!

I love Bookmans. It’s a HUGE used bookstore with stores in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff. I found some great resources for future blog articles! (And a couple of cookbooks just for me!)

From there, it was on to lunch at, you guessed it: Flagstaff Brewing Company! There’s this post that I keep seeing around Facebook that goes something like: “Just how DID we ever survive without seeing pictures of your breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack…” And while I whole-heartedly agree with that statement, I couldn’t help snapping this pic of my beer.


My favorite part? The guy’s back in the background!

And yes, I had the French Onion Soup! It’s to die for. If you’re ever in Flagstaff, go to there. Order it. Enjoy. Tell them I sent you!

Since it was still raining, we drove out to Mormon Lake to see if there were any elk grazing in the “lake”.

Rain on the windshield!

Rain on the windshield!

Let me explain about Mormon Lake: it’s the largest natural lake in all of Arizona. And it is massive! But really really shallow. Mostly it’s more like a marsh than a lake. But it’s also a great nursery for cow elk to raise their calves. There is an abundance of water, grass, and you can see for miles so mama can keep track of the herd, her calf, and any potential threats.

We figure there were upwards of 300 elk on the lake. Just munching and moseying from one primo patch of grass to the other. Now I know these elk look tiny but they’re really quite large animals! And thank goodness for a 35x optical zoom. Everybody else’s pictures just looked like green grass.



Sorry the color is so weird! I edited it a bit. The wet weather caused everything to be VERY washed out and the elk weren’t clear to see at all! I figure neon green isn’t too much of a price to pay for being able to SEE the elk!




And a few artsy fartsy pictures for your viewing pleasure:


Between dodging rainstorms,


we also checked on five of our six geocaches in the area. Here’s the entrance to my favorite: The Groaning Gate.

And then it was on to drive the back roads. And I must say, I should be old enough, but I did fall asleep in the truck! I woke up long enough to marvel at this:


Nope, that’s not a stream. Or as we call them in Arizona A RIVER. That, friends, is a wash. Running. And doing its best to wash out the road!

Mystery Monday: Flagstaff Snowplay Guide

It’s that time of year again: Snow has come to Flagstaff, AZ. And that means that the updated 2011-2012 Flagstaff Snow Guide is now available.

Flagstaff Snow Guide Cover

As always, this is a 100% free publication. All you have to do is provide your email address so I can send you any updates that might occur over the course of the snow season.

Flagstaff is the MUST-VISIT Arizona winter destination for all things snow: sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and snow play. There are even places to cross country ski, snowshoe, and ride snowmobiles. In Arizona! (Crazy, I know!)

Your eGuide is a 32 page printable Adobe .pdf book. It is Mac and PC compatible and you can print it all, a selection of pages, or save it to your laptop computer to take with you.

Do you own a Flagstaff business? Would you like to promote it in the Snow Guide? Contact Kim at Pricing starts at just $50 for an ad that will be seen by THOUSANDS of Flagstaff winter visitors.

Download yours today!

Flagstaff Snow Guide

Do you live in Arizona? Have you ever been to Flagstaff to play in the snow?

Flagstaff is the MUST-VISIT Arizona winter destination for all things snow: sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and snow play. There are even places to cross country ski, snowshoe, and ride snowmobiles. In Arizona! (Crazy, I know!)

For the past 5 years, has been producing the Flagstaff Snow Guide. It’s an all-in-one resource for all your snow play needs including maps, pictures, driving directions, GPS coordinates and more. Plus, it has great special offers from Flagstaff businesses.

The 2010-2011 guide is here! It’s been fully updated with all the current information INCLUDING a brand-new Flagstaff Sledding Area!

The guide is a 30+ page .pdf download that covers Flagstaff sledding, skiing, snow play and more!

Flagstaff Snow Guide

Mystery Mondays: Flagstaff Elk Adventure

Do you ever just have one of those days where you just HAVE to get away? Well, yesterday was one of those days for the entire “Royal” Family. I had articles to catch up on, ESP Boss had taxes to do, and The Queen Mother is getting ready for fall, but we all decided to hop into the truck and head for Flagstaff.

(If I seem a bit crazy this week, it’s because I am! Corporate tax extensions are due on September 15 and ESP Boss and I are working like crazy to get them all done!)

We stopped in Flagstaff for lunch at the Flagstaff Brewing Company. This is a great little restaurant we discovered when we were camping in June. I had the French Onion Soup. Now, I’m not a huge fan of onions, but this soup is to die for. The waitress told us that on Saturday, she had a table full of Japanese tourists that had come in JUST for that soup. (I’m sure they were in Flagstaff to go to the Grand Canyon though!)

I'm going to have to learn how to make this!

Then, we headed out Lake Mary Road to go check on one of our geocaches that had turned up missing. Unlike The Quiet Zone which was stolen by a bear, the No Cows Here cache had clearly been muggled. I reset it, moving it a bit further away from the road.

Since it was getting on towards dusk, we headed to the Mormon Lake Lookout to see if there were any elk standing in the shallow waters of Mormon Lake. It’s a little early for the rut (elk mating season) but we were hoping to hear an elk bugle.

ESP Boss looking for elk.

The first lookout had a few nice elk to see. WAY out in the lake though. There was another family (I’m sure all those girls are future Outdoor Princesses) also scoping out the elk.

All those kids politely took turns with the spotting scope. Their parents should be proud!

I was more interested in the fantastic views. Look at that yellow field; all wildflowers. And yes, that really IS the color!

I'm sure I'm allergic to them, but they're so pretty to look at!

A new lookout had just been finished so we headed that way. To our surprise, we saw a doe and a fawn playing in the water. You can’t really tell, but that fawn still has spots!

Fawn and doe in the waters of Mormon Lake.

See the spots?! I took this photo THROUGH the spotting scope. It's not going to win any awards, but at least you can see the spots on the fawn.

And the pleasure of the evening was when we heard a bull elk bugle. If you’ve never heard it before, you’ve got to head to elk-country and check it out. The sound is fantastic!

Then it was back into Flagstaff for a quick ice cream cone and then home early.

So we could do more taxes. Yuck!

Mystery Mondays: Camping Story from The Queen Mother

It’s raining.

I was born in Arizona. My dad was born in Arizona. Our mantra is “we need the rain.”

But you know what?

After about an hour of the rain, I’ve about had it. Okay, bring on the sunshine!!!

Of course, a few days ago I was ready for summer to be here and its only January! As I was looking out the window willing the clouds to go away I was remembering another time I wanted things my way.

Usually this family goes camping in October for just about 2 weeks. I teach school and fall break happened to fall during the Best Camping Season of all!! The weather is cool, the colors are vibrant in Northern Arizona and the campgrounds are not crowded.

The camping rig.

The camping rig.

I was packing up the trailer in August. No fall break this year. I really need to learn to be grateful that I was even going camping at all.

Pine Grove Campground, just outside of Flagstaff was beautiful. And full of people!! I must admit though the place was full of outdoor lovers and considerate campers. We pulled into our reserved spot, set up camp, unloaded the kayaks, set up the screened dining fly.

Geez there are a lot of flies and bees in August who love camping, too.

Bruce and I were taking a stroll around the campground that first evening when a lady came race-walking away from the trash can area.

“There’s a skunk over there!” She was moving fast and just sort of jerked her head in a general direction.

We kept walking and sure enough there he was making his way into a culvert. Yuck!

The second week into our outing Kim and Lily (the dog) joined us. One evening Kim and I were washing dishes and putting all the dinner makings back into the trailer. It was still pretty light out and the lanterns hadn’t been lit yet. I heard a scratching noise and looked up and dropped the washrag I was using.

That skunk had walked right into our dining area!

I think he was smiling.

He must have been far sighted because he paid no attention to Kim, Lily (who was sitting quietly in her crate) or to me.

I don’t think I ever moved so fast in all my life! It was a good thing that the zipper on the dining fly was down or I would have gone through it! I stopped half way to the trailer, ran back, grabbed the dog in her crate and raced back to the trailer.

To this day I have no idea where Kim was at or what she did. I jumped into that trailer and slammed the door. That skunk was just as calm as could be; he helped himself to a drink out of Lily’s water bowl, found a crumb of something on the dirt and ducked out the same way he came in.

Bruce just stood there laughing; he hadn’t even tried to get away from the critter.

Out outdoor "kitchen." With the tips of the kayaks under their tarp in the lower left corner.

Out outdoor "kitchen." With the tips of the kayaks under their tarp in the lower left corner.

For the rest of the week that skunk came by every evening, like he was on his way somewhere important and we were in his way. He never sprayed, or even smelled skunky.

We had a wonderful vacation. We fished, hiked, geocached, kayaked, ate way too much, but what I really remember about that trip was that pesky skunk.

Building memories is important to my family and by golly that skunk sure had a hand in our summer at Pine Grove Campground.

Mystery Mondays: Staying Warm on Winter Outdoor Adventures

I’m the first to admit that I hate cold weather. I hate being cold and I hate being wet. Still, I head to the great outdoors as often during the winter as I do during the summer. Most of the time, my winter “camping” is limited to day-trips, even though my area of northern Arizona isn’t all that cold (say compared to Flagstaff, AZ or Idaho!)

Here are some of my tips to make sure that you enjoy your winter day-trips.

Common Sense
If you’re not comfortable with your cold-weather gear, don’t go out! If you’re expecting rain, snow, wind, etc in your area and if you’re not 100% sure you know what to do, that’s the PERFECT day to go to and plan a spring activity.

Layer your clothing. Wear several layers of lighter clothing instead of one heavy layer. This way you can better regulate the amount of insulation. If you get warm you can take layers off and add some more clothing layers if you get cold.

Wet = cold! And you can get wet from rain OR from sweating. Remember when buying clothes for cold weather that wool retains most of its insulation properties when wet, while cotton does not.

Long underwear can be cute AND warm!

Long underwear can be cute AND warm!

I have and use long underwear! I picked mine up at in the women’s section, so it’s very cute. In the men’s clothing section, I bought a pair of very baggy cargo pants that I wear over my long underwear so I can still move around. I recommend getting something you’ll actually wear — if that’s color or style. Here’s some options.

Fleece pull-over.

Fleece pull-over.

I can’t wear wool, since I’m allergic. A great alternative is fleece, like the stuff made from recycled plastic bottles. Fleece wicks away moisture from the body, so it feels dry, even when soaking wet. It offers tremendous warmth in comparison to its weight. I tend to get men’s sizes so they’re big & bulky. Perfect for layering. Here’s a suggestion: Russell Athletic Men’s Dri-Power Hooded Pullover Fleece Sweatshirt

Wear a hat or hood (or both!) since we lose most of our heat through our heads.

My very ugly green camping jacket is a lined canvas with a deep hood. I put on a hat, pull up the hood, and I’m usually protected from the wind. I also wear a scarf, since the zipper is where most cold air gets into my jacket.

The Outdoor Princess in the ugly green coat.

The Outdoor Princess in the ugly green coat.

I also have a coat that has a material in it that protects from the wind; you know the type of wind that just cuts through all layers like they weren’t even there. The only thing is I don’t like to wear it out to much around in the woods! It’s too nice. But here a pick of us all out geocaching LAST winter and I am wearing my good coat. A winter storm was coming in but I was toasty warm.

The Outdoor Princess & Family.

The Outdoor Princess & Family.

Athletic shoes and nylon hiking boots do not provide enough insulation. Wear a pair of cotton and a pair of wool socks to increase insulation and take the perspiration way from your feet. (If you choose to wear rubberized boots, remember they do not allow for ventilation, therefore you will need to change your socks several times a day.)

Waterproof your footgear with the appropriate commercial treatment.

If you’ll be out camping or hiking for multiple days, think about bringing two pairs of shoes and then alternating. That way, it gives one pair the chance to dry out a little bit.

I hate it when my feet get cold. In addition, it’s not really a safe prospect to have cold feet — hypothermia, not feeling your feet, balance, etc. I always take more than one pair of shoes and when I change my socks, I change my shoes as well.

Other Considerations
Wet = cold. It may seem like breathing on your hands, sticking your head in your sleeping bag, etc. is a good idea, but the moisture from your breath will make you colder in the long run.

If you’re going out, even if it’s just for the day, be sure to tell somebody where you’re going and when you’ll be back. (And, when you GET back, call that person!)

Now, considering I’m from Arizona, this might not be the best advice for places where it is truly bitter cold.

For those of you who DO live where it snows in early winter and then stays snowy all season, what do you recommend? What have I missed? What do you do to enjoy your winter adventures?

Mystery Mondays: Winter Car Kit

Winter snows have arrived in Northern Arizona! Over the weekend, I was dying to get outside and just “do stuff” but the best I could manage was letting Lily, the Mascot, drag me around the block. I’m not really a big fan of the white-stuff, but I know a lot of people are. And those people will be heading to Flagstaff in DROVES over the coming weeks.

That’s why, in this week’s “Mystery Mondays” post, I wanted to share with you an article about a Winter Car Kit to keep you safe.

The last time I was in Flagstaff to look at the snow (again, I don’t actually TOUCH the stuff!) I watched a party of four vehicles being rescued from the snow. So, I started planning an article about what you can do to minimize your risk when you’re out enjoying the snow. These people who were rescued were NOT caught in a storm. The day was sunny and mild. But, they got stuck in the snow anyway. Luckily, there were along AZ Hwy 180 so they didn’t have to wait for help. But what if they had been someplace not as accessible? Would they have been prepared? Are YOU prepared?

Read on!

Winter storms are considered deceptive killers… because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm:

  • People die in traffic accidents on icy roads.
  • People die of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.

First off, your car’s in good working order, right? Each fall you should have the radiator system serviced, or check the antifreeze level yourself with an antifreeze tester. Add antifreeze, as needed. Replace your windshield-wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture and replace any worn tires, and check the air pressure in the tires. Plus, during winter, keep the gas tank near full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.<p>

(I’m 100% guilty of being lax on that! My tank currently says E and we’re getting to well below freezing each night with another storm moving in! Parking in a garage is NOT an excuse!)

Assemble a Winter Survival Kit for Your Car

The Basics of a Winter Car Survival Kit

The Basics of a Winter Car Survival Kit

Equip your car with these items:

  • blankets (I prefer a space blanket to regular blankets. I can only get the heavy-duty space blankets seasonally so I always stock up when they’re available.)
  • first aid kit
  • a large, clean can and a way to start a fire (to melt snow for water.)
  • windshield ice scraper (Buy a good on of these! It’s a myth that you can use a credit card to scrape ice!)
  • jumper cables
  • road maps
  • mobile phone and car charger
  • compass
  • tool kit (you should have one of these in your car at all times ANYWAY)
  • paper towels
  • bag of sand or cat litter (to pour on ice or snow for added traction)
  • tow rope
  • tire chains (in areas with heavy snow)
  • collapsible shovel
  • container of water and high-calorie canned or dried foods and a can opener
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)
  • “hunter orange” material or red cloth
  • extra clothing, including mittens

I’m sure some of you are thinking: “I live in a warm area. We don’t get FROST let alone SNOW! What do I need this stuff for?” Well, you may LIVE in a warm area but do you ever DRIVE to a colder area?

I don’t keep all my gear in my car, I’ve got a Grab-It-And-Go-Box’. You can assemble all these items in a big plastic container and then you just grab it when you’re leaving. When you get home, it goes back on a shelf. PROVIDED that you replace any items that you’ve used!

It can be frozen in the morning and then look like THIS on your way out in the afternoon!

It can be frozen in the morning and then look like THIS on your way out in the afternoon!

My father told me this story:

When I drove in on the back road, the ground was frozen. By mid-afternoon, when I was driving out, the ground had thawed into a muddy mess and I got stuck. Even without snow, I needed my “Winter Survival Kit.”

Here’s another thought for you:

Be sure you know how to USE all the gear in your kit! If you have tire chains but don’t know how to put them on, what good do they do you?! Make sure that all your gear is in good working order with fresh batteries, all the parts to the kit, and that the adhesive in the bandages is still good.

Before you head out…

Tell someone where you’re going, being as exact as possible, and when you’ll be back. Then, when you get back, call them and let them know! This is common sense that needs to be followed no matter the season, EVERY time you head to the great outdoors.

If you DO get stuck, here’s what you do:

Call for help on your cell phone. If you can’t get a signal, you can rest easy that your buddy back home is expecting you and will call out the cavalry (or the sheriff) when you don’t show up home on time.)

Stay in your car or truck. In the case of a snow storm, disorientation occurs quickly in wind-driven snow and cold. You can run the motor about ten minutes each hour for heat, but be sure to open the window a little for fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow or anything else.

To make yourself visible to rescuers you should turn on the dome light at night when running engine, but be sure to turn it off when you shut off the car. You should tie a colored cloth to your antenna or door. The best color is “hunter orange” which is that ugly neon orange that isn’t found in nature- meaning it stands out really well. Second best color is red.

Exercise from time to time by vigorously moving arms, legs, fingers, and toes to keep blood circulating and to keep warm. This is good advice if you’re stuck in any type of storm!

So, go out, enjoy the snow and BE SAFE.

If you are in Arizona and are heading to Flagstaff, I really do recommend the 2009-2010 Flagstaff Snowplay eGuide. It has this article and others as well as complete details about where to go to play in the snow. A big thing this year: Flagstaff has a bunch of places where you’re NOT allowed to go play in the snow. That’s new. The eGuide covers it all, for just $4.95. You can find it at:

Sledding in Flagstaff

Every year, gets a TON of search traffic from people looking for the best places to go sledding in Flagstaff. It started about 4 years ago, purely by accident. That first year, Leah & I dutifully researched sledding areas and then put it up in Flagstaff.

Much to my surprise, just having that information really wasn’t enough. People were looking for ALL our sledding, skiing, and snowplay information in ONE location — preferably something they could print.A big plus of the eGuide also is that I can include really great maps of each AREA, not just driving maps. This is big. And, there are two bonus articles to help people out with planning for the snow. Especially useful for people who aren’t from Arizona’s High Country and may not know how to drive in the snow.

Well, I’m not one to ignore the demands of my users, so the Top 10 Winter Activities eGuide was launched. The best news: I just finished the 2009-2010 update for this year’s winter season. Flagstaff already has snow and is expecting more tonight and through the weekend. Plus, this year, since everybody is strapped for cash, I lowered the price from $6.95 to $4.95!

Cover for this year's guide

Cover for this year’s guide

This is an instant download ebook. Which is really nice since that means that people can get it INSTANTLY.

New this year:

GPS coordinates, a list of where NOT to go (places where you’re not allowed to go sledding), and updated maps.

You can order the eGuide at from the Store

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