Thursday, December 30, 2021

Tanque Verde Ranch - Family Trip 2021

Welp, months have gone by since I posted. I was doing so well to get caught up! Then life got hard at the end of the summer and I put a lot of things to this side. But here I am over Christmas break, going to at least do a photo dump of the year for posterity's sake. 

At the end of February, the whole Williams clan headed to Tucson to enjoy mom and dad's Christmas gift - a long weekend at a dude ranch. We had to reschedule it once or twice, but end of February worked out. Mostly outdoor activities, a few in our group were already vaccinated at that point, so it felt safe enough. Anthony and I decided to drive down and avoid flying. We did halfway one day down to Page, then spent some time exploring northern Arizona. 

As we drove down highway 89 in AZ, we passed an abandoned hotel and I realized that I'd been there years before. Here's a before (with the mural) and after. This is in Gray Mountain.  

Then we popped by Wupatki National Monument and other places. Despite being an actual native Arizonan, visiting lots and lots, and living there for a few years, there are so many places I've never been. And it's a great area to explore. 

Montezuma's Well is cool. 

Then the best spot - Grandma K's house! Bunches of family came over. First time I'd been around a lot of people in the pandemic, but thank goodness for AZ winter weather. 

Caught up with Taylor and his crew, they flew down from UT. We drove down to Grandparent W's house in Coolidge the next day. They have the most incredible garden. 

The wall of grandchildren. 

Mexican food, of course. Grandma is a great cook. 

I love having these photos. They're still with us for now, but I know they won't always be. 

This is Grandma's aunt Lenora, who died in the 1918 flu pandemic. She's had this picture up for years, and I never knew the story til now. 

Little A got into the orange picking. 

Now to Tucson. Mom and Dad got there the night before, the rest of us rolled in on Thursday. Dad had already fallen off a horse into some cactus up a mountain, tore his shirt and lost his phone. Luckily a guide rode back up and found it. 

Our casita - just for me and Anthony. We were a bit spread out across the property. 

These two little girls had a great time - they're old enough to go to kids camp all day and do all sorts of activities, freeing up parents to go do their own thing. We traded off watching little A so everyone could play. 

First dinner. All our meals were included, so that was nice. And lots of options. We usually had this big room to ourselves, but several meals were also held outside. 

We celebrated little A's 2nd birthday while we were there too. He's a little ham. 

Started the next day off with a horse ride through the mountains. This is right next to Saguaro National Park, and it's pretty spectacular. 

Poor Kimber broke her foot right before the trip and had to sit out a lot of stuff. 

Tons of activities to do around here - fishing in this pond, archery on the other side of it, tennis lessons (Courtney and I did one day), nature walks, mountain biking, yoga, jeep tours, etc, etc. 

Favorite activity - team penning. We split up boys vs girls and had a competition to see who could pen the most cattle in a certain time period. Quite hilarious. 

First time I've tried archery, I think? I enjoyed it. 

This place is gorgeous. I want to be in AZ every winter. 

We did some horseback riding lessons to try and get better. Anthony really took to this, so he was off in the advanced class or advanced ride. 

We did some exploring just off the property - there's an old cemetery and Anthony found some old stuff as he always does. Right around here is where they filmed the old Nickelodeon show Hey, Dude! which I loved. Sadly it's kinda blocked off with no trespassing signs, otherwise I would've gone. 

I went solo for a bit inside the actual park. National Parks pass came in clutch this trip. 

Little cowgirl fishies. 

Attempting family photos. 

Dad's brother Rex and his wife came out to visit - they live in town. 

Final dinner at the ranch. 

Last morning - they have breakfast up at another part of the property. You can choose to hike, bike, ride a horse, etc. Parents could ride up horses with their kids, which was fun for the nieces. 

A little cold up at the top of the mountain, but pretty solid breakfast. 

Dad rode the massive horse, and needed a bit step stool to get up there. 

Thanks mom and dad for a super great weekend. 

Packing up and saying good bye. 

And we're off, back to home. Of course I had to stop at Postino on the way. They've got a new platter size to go, which was perfect. I will never tire of this bruschetta. 

Bye bye AZ. I love you. 

And now for the pro photos - we got this on the last day breakfast. It's a nice memento. 

Kimber's pro family photos

Almost twins. 

I really hope to go back here someday - it's a a beautiful place with lots to do. Highly recommended for some quality family time!

2023 Recap

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