Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Christmas travels to Vegas

We spent a wonderful Christmas together in Vegas with Susanna's parents and sister, Lena.  The weather was unseasonably warm with deep blue sky dominating above.  We spent time in Red Rock Canyon and several local parks.  We played miniature golf, ate great food and opened presents together on Christmas night.  All too soon, I had to depart for a work detail in southern California at the Imperial Sand Dunes. 
A blazing sunrise on the mountains behind Susanna's parents home

Exploring Red Rock Canyon

Calico Basin, Red Rock Canyon NCA

Jasper exploring the desert environment

Jasper helping Abu (Grandpa) with the yard work :)

Jasper preparing for his next shot at miniature golf!
Jasper exploring behind Susanna's parents' house

Christmas Dinner

A walk in Pueblo Park

Christmas travels to snowy Michigan

With a free airline ticket in my pocket, I was able to travel to Michigan for a short visit before Christmas.  I found a snowy world with wonderful conditions for skiing.  I stayed with my mom and dad in Grant and happily went skiing out the back door and in to the fields and forests to the north of the house.  We also went skiing at Howard Christensen Nature Center.  In just 5 full days in Michigan, I went skiing 6 times and snowshoeing once!  John, Tatiana and family arrived mid way through my visit.  In addition to seeing my family, I spent time with Randy, Tracy and family and Al in Whitehall.  I then went to visit Gabe and Noelle in Spring Lake.  A nasty ice storm crept into the area from the SW turning the powder snow in to a sheet of hard ice.  Ice covered every needle and twig in the forest and made the fields look like giant ice skating rinks.  With a steady wind, the crackling ice in the forests sounded eerie and wild.  I snuck out of Michigan in a blizzard...what a visit!
Flying over the mighty Rockies en route to Michigan

Skiing with my parents at Howard Christensen Nature Center

Our cozy home in rural Michigan
A quiet sunset over the fields of Michigan from our ski trail

With Randy, Gabriel and Owen along Duck Lake

With Gabe at North Ottawa Dunes Park
Calista and Linnea open presents

John on the ski trail behind my parents house