Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chaco Canyon- again!

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 During my trip to New Mexico, I went with my moms and grandma to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Regular readers may remember that I've been here before in October, 2011.  I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with my Mom, who hadn't been with us on our last visit.

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Chaco Canyon is a very special place. You can visit the different towns that the ancestral Puebloan people built almost a thousand years ago. My family did a hike at Chetro Ketl, then wound around the Petroglyph Trail and Pueblo Bonito. The Petroglyphs at Chaco were a little different than the ones we saw before at Petroglyph National Monument.

 IMG_3018 I took another picture behind Pueblo Bonito, in almost the same spot as last fall. It was really nice to visit the park with both my parents.  I love going places with my whole family, don't you?


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There are lots of cool rock formations in the canyon. I liked to pretend I was an ancient cave person living in the little nooks and crannies in the rocks.Wouldn't it be fun to have a treasure hunt in the rocks at Chaco Canyon? An Easter Egg hunt would be really fun too.  I imagined what it was like to be an ancestral Puebloan girl visiting Chaco. Maybe a girl just my age climbed on this very same rock a thousand years ago!


Pueblo Bonito Overlook

At the end of the day, we climbed up the canyon walls to the very top. My grandma kept telling me to stay away from the edge, but I kept inching closer and closer. I'm brave!  Here I am looking at the gap in the canyon walls.  It was so windy at the top of the canyon! My bangs blew all the way back.  I didn't think I could make it up the steep canyon walls, but I did it! So did my moms and my grandma.  I was so proud.  It was a beautiful way to end the day at Chaco Canyon.

I love National Parks so much, but I think Chaco Canyon just might be my favorite one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Petroglyph National Monument with Zuni

Petroglyph National Monument

One of the best parts of being homeschooled is that my family is free to travel.  Last week, we went to New Mexico to visit my Mama's family.  We spent a week exploring New Mexico's national parks and having fun with friends and family.

On our first full day, we went to Petroglyph National Monument.  We met up with family friends- they have a daughter, Zuni, who is my age.  She and I hiked ahead of our parents and took photos of each other.  Zuni hadn't heard of the Junior Ranger program before, but I was happy to introduce her to it.  We stopped by the visitor center first to pick up our booklets.

Petroglyph National Monument

There are lots of big rocks along the trail.  Petroglyph NM is along a volcanic fault line.  The park has Albuquerque's five volcanoes.  Some of the questions in the Junior Ranger booklet are about volcanoes and local geology.  Zuni and I learned that the petroglyphs are carved into the basalt rocks. The reason they show up so brightly is because the basalt gets a darker outer layer- when someone chisels off the "desert varnish," the lighter rock underneath shows through.

Petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument

What do you think the ancestral Puebloans were trying to show with these Petroglyphs?

Petroglyph National Monument

We hiked the Rinconada Canyon trail, which is about 2.5 miles long- perfect for kids. The trail is sandy and goes around the outside edge of the canyon. Zuni and I tried to race each other, but it's hard to run in sand! I was glad I wore my hiking boots.

Petroglyph National Monument

Some of the questions in the Junior Ranger book had to do with the Spanish language. The Spanish and their descendants have been in New Mexico for about 500 years! Many of the names of places in New Mexico are in Spanish. Zuni knows a lot of Spanish, so she was teaching me.

Petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument

What do you think of these petroglyphs? Doesn't the one on the left look like a monster? Spooky!

Petroglyph National Monument

Petroglyph National Monument was really fun. I thought I wouldn't see any wildlife, since the park is right on the outskirts of the city of Albuquerque- but I did! Zuni helped me spot several lizards and we also saw a jackrabbit!

Petroglyph National Monument

We had so much fun hiking that we lost track of time. Luckily, we made it back to the visitor center just in time to earn our Junior Ranger badges. It was a great day and I'm glad I got to share it with Zuni!

P.S. You can check out Petroglyph National Monument at nps.gov/petr!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Cherry Blossom Festival

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One of my favorite cities to visit is Washington, DC- our nation's capitol.  Recently, my moms took me there so that we could visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  My parents' friend also came with her daughter, Megumi (who just so happens to be my neighbor, Zoya Yumiko's, cousin! small world!).  We woke up early on a Saturday morning, piled into my mom's car, and drove all the way from New York City to DC.  When we got there, we headed straight to the National Mall for the Kite Festival! Can you see the kites in the photo behind me?

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There were so many different kinds of kites! My favorite was a giant squid kite. You can see it in this picture I took of it flying next to the Washington Monument. Cool, right?

Swearing In

The Cherry Blossom Festival has its own special Junior Ranger program! I'd already earned the regular National Mall Junior Ranger badge back in January when I visited with Piper, but Megumi and I still wanted to earn the special cherry blossom badge. We each worked on the activities in our workbook and when we finished, we were sworn in as Junior Rangers! I think it was Megumi's first time doing a Junior Ranger program. She just moved to New York from Japan. I should have asked her if they have junior rangers in Japan, but I didn't.

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After we were sworn in, we walked around the mall. Unfortunately, most of the cherry blossoms were gone at that point, so we needed to hike around until we finally found some trees that still had pink blossoms on them. When we finally found a little group of trees, Megumi and I plopped down in the grass and looked up at the sky and the kites above. Our parents got us souvenir tees to wear- aren't they cool? I really wanted the souvenir pink kite, but my moms said I probably wouldn't have anywhere to fly it in NYC.

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Megumi and I decided to take pictures of each other in front of our sad, lonely little cherry tree. Here's Megumi! She and her mom told us all about the cherry blossom festivals she's gone to in Japan. She taught us the word "hanami," which means cherry blossom viewing. Washington DC's Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration of the gift of cherry trees from Japan to the United States a hundred years ago, in 1912. Some of the original cherry trees are still alive today!

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It was a great trip. I'm really glad Megumi could come along. Of course, I was really happy to earn another Junior Ranger badge! I've been thinking about becoming a park ranger when I grow up. There are so many awesome parks though; I don't know if I could choose just one!

Happy Spring everyone!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Egg Carrier Contest Entries

Happy Easter and Happy Springtime everyone! Welcome to my egg carrier contest! Remember, the winner will receive a Springtime Basket as a prize.

Springtime Basket Prize

So, the entries are in! I'm so glad you all had fun making egg carriers! Here are the entries:


Entry #1: Megumi


Entry #2:  Anna Marie


Entry #3: Alaina Wagner
Entry #4: Jenna
Entry #5: American Girl Grace
Entry #6: Jennie
Entry #7: Jinty
Entry #8: Julie Dawn
Entry #9: Juniper
Entry #10: Kirren and Bess
Entry #11: Kris & Stella
Entry #12: Lindsay
Entry #13: Marsali
Entry #14: Megan & Harley

Entry #15: Sophie & Juliette
Entry #16: Taryn

Entry #17: Zabcia

And the winner is: #10 Kirren & Bess!!!


Congratulations Kirren & Bess! Thank you to all the participants for your entries!  Kirren and Bess, you have 1 week to contact me at my e-mail: inkymarina@gmail.com with your name and address so I can mail you the prize.  If Kirren and Bess do not contact me, I will choose another winner from the remaining entries.

Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all my readers!

Your friend,

Inky

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Don't Forget to Enter my Contest!

Springtime Basket Prize

Don't forget to enter my egg carrier contest! All entries are due tomorrow, Sunday, April 8th at 9pm EST.

To enter, print out the template below and decorate it any way you'd like. Take a photo of the finished product and e-mail it to inkymarina@gmail.com or post it on the Inky M-S Facebook page.

Shklatulok Template

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
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