I’ve always cherished the relationship I have with my grandparents (Ken and Dorothy). Growing up, every time we’d get together, there was almost a guarantee that we’d go on a hike or a walk somewhere. Grandpa was very tech savvy as well and he and I would make sure that we spent an afternoon perusing the aisles of Fry’s Electronics to check out the new tech toys. There was never a dull moment when they were around. Unfortunately though, they were only in the area for about a month every couple years. Grandpa ran his business in Yuma, Arizona and every other summer they would pull their fifth wheel trailer to Oregon to see family.

Since Casey and I have started our travels, much of it has been seeing family and friends and I surely wanted to make a stop to spend time with my grandparents while on our way to Texas for Thanksgiving. We left my mom’s house in San Diego during the first week of November and it was less than a 3 hour drive to Yuma. During the summer, it gets very hot in Yuma and my grandparents generally leave to go exploring somewhere while pulling the trailer. When they’re not exploring during the summers, they have a nice small house in the foothills of Yuma that Grandpa runs his business out of and the trailer sits off to the side for people to stay in when they come visit.

Our stay with them was only going to be a week but I would have loved to have stayed longer. It had been 12 years since I was in Yuma last and this would be Casey’s first time. There really isn’t anything too exciting about Yuma, other than the nice mild weather during the winter. It’s a popular spot for retired folk at this time of the year (snowbirds) as they are leaving their homes in the cold northern states to enjoy some sunshine in the warm southern states. Temperatures in Yuma during the winter are usually in the 70’s, but it’s the desert and it get’s cold quick when the sun goes down.

There wasn’t much on the agenda for our stay as we mostly wanted to visit. I also wanted to go on a hike or two as that is one of my favorite pastimes with my grandparents. My uncle Jason (mom’s brother) lives in Yuma year round and my aunt Doris (grandma’s sister) was there for the winter. I hadn’t seen either of them since the last time I was in Yuma. I was very much looking forward to playing a game of cribbage with Doris and hiking a slot canyon with Jason.

When most people think about the landscape of Arizona, they think of the Grand Canyon and desert. There are actually lots of mountains though. Sure, they aren’t covered in beautiful green trees or snow but once you’ve reached their peaks you can see vasts amount of land. Telegraph Pass Trail was our first opportunity to experience that. Grandpa had his business to attend to at the house, so Grandma took us out on the trail. She said she would join us for the first half of the trail before it goes up the steep mountain. She kept talking about how steep it was and we figured, “hey, we’re young, we got this.” She was right….it was very steep. We had to stop several times along the way just to give our bodies a break. The top of the mountain has not only breathtaking views but there are radio towers for the local stations. The views from the top provided a great opportunity to get some great photos from our Samsung Gear 360 camera (these photos will be posted once our website is able to render 360 photos/videos).

Another great hike was out to the petroglyphs. This basically wasn’t a hike but more of a walk. Petroglyphs are writings and drawings on the rocks from the indigenous people of the area. It was fairly short and not very well marked. We got kinda lost once. Lol.

Our last hike of our stay in Yuma (technically, this was also another walk) wasn’t actually in Yuma. Or even in Arizona for that matter. California is a short drive away and there is a place called Valley of the Names. People take rocks that are littered in the desert and spell out their names on the rolling hills of sand. It’s also an offroading area so there are lots of trails to either drive or walk on (just have to be wary of the other drivers as they tend to go fast). Not only was it cool to see the miles and miles of names spelled out in rocks, but traversing through the randomly spotted slot canyons that are in the area was very fun. Grandpa was able to join us this time and so was uncle Jason and his girlfriend, Sarah.

Other than the various hikes/walks that we took during the week, most of our time was spent visiting. Doris came over and we made everyone a nice salmon dinner. I made sure to get in a few games of cribbage with Doris while she was there. We stopped by uncle Lee’s (Grandma’s brother) place and got to see his honey harvest (Casey tasted some fresh from the honeycomb). Grandpa needed help with some heavy lifting and I was happy to be there for that. He even let me drive his forklift! (Don’t worry folks, I’ve driven them for many years and was a certified trainer). Have you ever heard of the card game Euchre? Yeah, us neither. But Grandpa and Grandma taught us the game and now we love it. We capped off our week in Yuma by going to Grandpa and Grandma’s church. Worshiping and fellowshipping was a great way to end our time there. We are so grateful for the awesome hospitality of my grandparents and we look forward to seeing them when we’re in the area again.