“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein
Monday, October 8, 2007
Pinetop, AZ is 170 miles NE of Phoenix. It's 17 1/2 hours of driving time from Kansas City. The land is vast. From the Flint Hills in Kansas, the mesas of New Mexico, and the desert of Arizona, we saw lots of open spaces. Pinetop, however, is 6000 feet in elevation and covered with Ponderosa pine trees.
The highlight of our trip was a 2-hour horseback ride through the forest. It was the off-season and we were the only 2 people in the "group". Johnny, our guide, saw that we had some experience with riding and took us off the main route. We were fording streams and picking our way over fallen logs. A storm moved in near the end of our ride, and we got wet.
We also went to see the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. We were amazed at the size and quantity of petrified wood. We learned that much of it has been taken away, both before and since the park was established.
We stopped on the trip home to see the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, NM. At dusk the balloons were sitting on the ground with their envelopes filled with hot air. Pilots would let loose yellow flame from the burner to light up the entire balloon. We wended our way through throngs of people and balloons as night fell punctuated by the hiss and roar of propane burners. A man from one of the ground crews told us that this is the largest balloon rally in the world: over 700 balloons. We regretted not being able to stay longer, but we had to get back on the road home.