Hiking Mt. Humphrey’s with Near Frozen Feet

By: Izabella Rhomberg

We started our hike a slightly humid, but crisp day. This was the day of my amazing but scary adventure, and it started just like any other. It began with the sun creeping over the tallest mountain in Arizona, Mt Humphreys (12,613 ft.).  I didn’t know it, and I didn’t even sense it but, the day ahead of me would be a story I would be telling for a very long time. The trails ahead of me would become wet, frigid and scary, and yet oddly satisfying. I would soon  be climbing up and back down with a painful thumb and frozen feet. Of course, on some parts of the rocky trail, I would be towed like a toy sled by Jager, my very loyal and powerful Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He was just as excited to hike the trail as I was, so I held on for a while.

Our small group of four (which included Jäger) went through a large meadow at the edge of Snowbowl ski area.   There was a sign at the edge of the meadow that had our  trail info.  Five miles to the peak, and three thousand feet of elevation gain.  That means theres alot of switchbacks.  Now I could smell the sweet smell of pine trees. We  stopped quickly for a picture, “Smile”, Click, Snap went the camera. Further up the trail we were about to pass a small group of people, who were sitting on a log, munching on some trail mix. I clenched Jäger’s leash tightly, for I knew how he greets people (with a couple of kisses and a sniff sometimes where it probably shouldn’t be) and I didn’t want that to happen.  As we sped up, to rush  Jager past the people, I put my hand down a rock to  balance myself on the next large rock step.

lower trailI guess I must have kept it there a second to long, because Jäger continued to pull upward, and my hand caught on the rock and caused thumb’s nail to flip halfway back and off, tearing it from the skin under my nail. It also scraped my knuckle a bit. Under my nail had nearly turned black, it was purple. I clenched my hand and started to cry a bit because of the pain. We stopped at the log  and wrapped my Grand Canyon bandana around my wrist and hand to block the pain, but not enough to completely cut off circulation. After that our small group got back on the trail, we had some time to make up.  The faster I hiked the more my thumb throbbed.  I wanted to see the summit and a sore thumb was not really a reason to turn back.

As we continued hiking, switchback after switchback, the wind picked up.  The rocky trail got more and more exhausting. Then, finally our group saw the saddle between Mt. Humphreys and Agasiz. Soon we made it to the saddle for a rest and a quick snack. Everyone else was stopping and resting in the sunny saddle and eating too. We had a quick break and started our way to the summit!!!  As we left the saddle, we felt, and saw the clouds blowing up toward the peak.  We knew we had to hurry, even though it was only a little after 10:00 a.m.  Now we were above tree line and more exposed to the weather. It was an extremely rocky outcropping, that you could see both sides of the mountain from.  It felt pretty cool to be so high.

We passed so many people, which was not so easy on the narrow and rocky trail.  Just when you think you are near the end, the real summit appears!  It looked so far away at first, then it disappeared in clouds. We kept hiking, thinking it was just around the next corner.  Then, we arrived, it was hard to tell we were there at first, since the clouds were now all around us.The clouds were so thick that you could only see about 100 ft  around you. The weather was getting bad it, was cold and foggy. My iza humphreys mom and I had dealt with weather like this before on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, back in June. After 30 very long minutes we were finally at 12,633 ft in elevation, the summit!!!!!! Everybody (except for Jäger) signed the little log, took a few pictures, and  (since the clouds were rolling in even more) left for our very long descent down the mountain.

The weather was getting  even worse, it seemed like Mt. Washington but not as cold, and it mysteriously wasn’t raining. We were still on the outcropping when I saw a huge flash of bright light. I knew exactly what it was, it was lightning!!! I crouched down in shock, I waited 1…2…”BANG!” it was a huge crackle of thunder. Luckily when I froze everyone else did, too from complete shock (I think) . Everyone even me, had a shock wave of fear go through their bodies because every single person and pet took off at a faster pace than before. We heard a few more really loud crackles of thunder, which were especially louder to anybody above tree line, for we were in the clouds, so everything was closer.

Once we had gotten to the saddle it felt like rain, no stops in the saddle this time! Our group, along with every other group ran right into the tree line.  Then, what I saw was crazy, people were still going up, they didn’t even have the proper gear! I looked on the side of the trail next to me and saw hail!  “Hail!” I exclaimed and went faster but not too fast or I would slip. The hail hurt a lot when it landed on my head or my hands. Before we knew it we all were standing and walking in one and a half inch deep hail, that was even extremely wet and soggy. My mom , Jäger and I all stopped and huddled together like a bunch of penguins underneath a thick tree. We were going to wait out the hailstorm, because hailstorms are often very short and don’t last long. And sure enough, the cloud was so extraordinarily large that it lasted at least one and a half hours. After about five minutes or so it was actually getting worse! Both of us knew we had to keep going. I felt so bad for Jäger for he had no protection or anything, all he had was a short fur coat. Again, before we knew it, we were wading and slipping in about two inch deep hail. But still, people were still hiking up!!! I said to myself multiple times, “That’s crazy they must be really crazy.” My shoes weren’t waterproof and they didn’t keep enough heat in. I tried to stay on the upper side of the trail, the hail had partly turned to slush so I kept sliding no matter how hard I tried. The lower side of the trail was a tiny river and the icy hail floating in it. Unfortunately I kept slipping into it. making my feet even colder, considering the fact that there was already hail coming in around my ankles into my shoes! I soon lost all feeling in my feet, they were cold an numb with some pain at times.

I had put my rain coat on back up on the saddle, but it was only  one of my three life savers I had that day, which included a plastic poncho and a pair of rain pants. When I looked at the ground again I saw how the hail’s depth was about three inches!,   My toes felt frozen solid for every step I took was strange, and I was glad I didn’t trip on the tree roots I saw on the way up.  My mom held my arm tight and walked next to me for balance and also to keep me moving at a fast pace.  We were trying to get to the warmer lower elevation as quick  as we could.  We let Jäger off the leash and I got a ride on my Mom’s back, I was crying for my feet hurt so extremely bad. We came around a bend and what I saw was the cutest and sweetest thing. Jäger was standing in a four inch deep, muddy, puddle with hail floating in it he was shivering, but no matter how cold he was it didn’t matter but he was waiting just for me. Jäger ran up ahead again and we all continued our moaning and groaning especially me. Our only worries were either Jäger or I would get hypothermia. At some moments it felt like every minute was a hour and every second seems like a minute.

Finally, (after the bad weather) we caught sight of the meadow, I even caught a glimpse of the Landy!!!  When we arrived at the meadow, we all felt relieved.  It was strange, I was scared for the past two hours, but then I suddenly wanted to laugh, we all did.  We just started joking around, and wondered what the rest of our group was up to at the campsite.   We all looked back at what nearly was a total disaster for Jäger, and I saw a mountain that looked like it was covered in  snow, but what it really was, was deep hail and there even was another big, dark cloud on its way.  We quickly removed our wet packs and coat and hopped into the Land Rover and turned on the heat full blast, and just sat there for awhile before leaving.   We dried off Jäger before we left the parking lot. Each of us ended our adventure with a bagel in one hand and hot chocolate in the other hand (except Jäger who has no hands and slept nder a blanket the rest of the day).   I was extremely lucky to escape without hypothermia. So that was my amazing, but scary experience on Mt. Humphreys.

I will always, for the rest of my life remember the day

The End

Backpacking in the Grand Canyon



 Backpacking in the 

  Grand Canyon

By: Izabella


Land Rover:  1 2003 Disco

Diva:  Izabella

Location:  Grand Canyon National Park

     * put food or food like items in Ammo cans A.S.A.P. (ammo cans are provided)



      This is the day I have been waiting for since December.  We were finally leaving for the Grand Canyon, for my first backpacking trip.  The trip was six hours, a ton of gas and alot of patience.  As we got closer I saw a forest, but no Canyon.  I looked at the map for one last time to be sure that I was not dreaming.  Yup… I was at the Grand Canyon,  WAHOOO!!!!  We entered the park and looked out the window and saw two elk, and 1 chubby Smoky the Bear statue, and alot of tourists.

                                             Our first stop was the back country office to weigh our backpacks Bcweightbefore they closed for the day. My pack weighed around 18 lbs. without water. Next we walked out to look at the Canyon.  I was amazed at how beautiful it was.  I had only seen it in pictures and videos, but NEVER in real life before.  The size was massive, something so big I can’t describe it.  Along the path to the rim there were examples of the different rock layers of the Grand canyon.  There is some beautiful limestone, that I could only imagine climbing. We walked around some more and saw some elk prints and scat.

It was time for dinner so we, drove around and found a spot to eat.  I had bowl of Chili and for dessert I ate cheese cake. I was loading up for tomorrows hike.  After Dinner my mom noticed that there was a gift shop next door, so we decided to look around.  I saw what I was looking for, a bandana that has a map of the Grand Canyon on it. We bought it and went back to our campsite. We waited for our friends Ella, her parents and her cousin,Tyler. My mom and I went to sleep early since it was so cold.  We had to sleep diagonally across the back of the Disco.  It was not so comfortable for her, but I did ok.



 The first day of Backpacking

        The Backcountry Office is where we started at. We left at about 8:15 since the bus was late.  We all rode the packed bus to the South Kaibab trail head.  The S. Kaibab is a seven mile trail to the bottom and Phantom Ranch, we will be camping there for two nights. I started out pretty strong, excited, curious, and amazed.  The further you go down the trail, the more exciting it gets.  You can look back and see all of the zig-zags which are called switchbacks.   Every time that I wanted to stop I looked around. I was surrounded by beauty, and found enough energy to continue my trek. Somewhere half way down I got so far sk2 colorado riverahead, I couldn’t see the group. SK iza

      Once I got a glimpse of the Colorado River I sped up from excitement.   I especially sped up when I saw the Black Suspension Bridge (or Mule Train). When we finally got to the tunnel

  (that leads right onto the bridge) we stopped, and waited  for Ella and her dad, that way we could get a picture and walk across together.


Once we had crossed we saw the livestock barn (A.K.A. the mule barn).   We took a smaller bridge across Bright Angel Creek (which is how Brighty the mule got his name). black suspension bridge Ella and her dad went to eat lunch while we grabbed a campsite. We found one and put our packs down and went to the bathrooms.   We were gone for less then 5 Min. and one of the grizzly like squirrels already got into the small unzipped side pouch of my pack, and had got a hold of my electrolyte gel pack.  I had to shoo him away and throw out my electrolytes and put all of the food in the ammo boxes,which are provided for you, by U.S.F.S..  We also found out that the Ringed Tail Cats will climb the posts(where you hang your packs from squirrels at night) and take any food or plastic bags. 

     After the rest of the group came down my mom, and Ella’s mom, went to get some lemonade.  So Ella and I played in our tent. Later in the day we had “Backpackers Pantry” black bean chili pie, it’s my favorite one, but I like the “Mountain House”  Macaroni and cheese, most of all.  After we ate dinner we went to bed, and as you try to fall asleep, you can hear Bright Angel Creek. You could hear the water rushing and the rocks tumbling. The water was higher and faster then normal, so the large rocks were rolling into one another under the water, and it all sounded so exciting, and yet it was all so soothing it put you to sleep.

Day 3

No hiking today

          Today we were going to just have fun, relax and go swimming, well not actually swimming but taking a dunk or two(in the Colorado River), but either way it’s fun !!!!!! I remember how cold the water was and it was …. 51 degrees F.  hanging at the cr But I still got in, despite the cold, it was a little numbing, but refreshing. I only decided to go under when we moved to a safer spot, because where we were before, was a parking lot for river rafters. Besides, the new area was much safer and protected from the currents.  I  submerged myself at least 6 times, including the time that I half dunked myself when my foot slipped underwater. From the new spot we saw about 4 small wooden row boats, called dories, and even more rafts coming around the canyon bend.

                I  met two girls about my age from North Carolina. We played and we put river mud all over our stomachs’ and our legs.  Then, we took some river mud and some sand from the small beach we were on, and mixed the two together and rolled them into mud balls.    We made one really big one named Mr.Mudball then we made a Mr. Mudball Jr., then got into a war.  It was so much fun.  While we were playing,mules above the colorado

I  looked across the river we saw a big dust cloud, and out from the dust cloud came a mule train with passengers.

They were going to go through the tunnel to use the black suspension bridge and cross the river.  I am not

sure but I think the bridge is forty feet above the river,  or more.              

Our parents decided we had enough sun for the day, and it was time to head back for lunch.

         My mom and I went back to the campground to find Ella and her family.  They had already headed back before we did. We found them playing games and drinking cold lemonade in the canteen, with other campers. At the canteen there is games to play, postcards to send (sent by mule), souvenirs to buy, and a few food items that were a little expensive.  Ella and I played Bananagrams, a Grand Canyon board game, and a couple of other games, all while drinking our lemonade. After that Ella and I  went to the ranger station(with our parents)  and became Junior Rangers of the Grand Canyon, they give you these really cool patches with a Grand Canyon Pink Rattlesnake on them and you can only get these patches  at Phantom Ranch, The Bottom of the Grand Canyon.


 I am going to put it on my bright red, OSPREY backpack. We also given a pin and a few stickers.   That night we skipped the Ranger talk, and went to bed early.  In the morning, we  would start our hike up to Indian Gardens campground.  We wanted to get an early start to avoid the heat on the way up the canyon.

Day 4

        Second day of Hiking  

      heading out silver bridge

           Today we would hike out, go across the silver bridge, hike along the Colorado River, depart from the river and start heading for Indian Gardens campground.   It is slight uphill and a a couple of steep sections, one is called “Jacobs ladder”.jacobs ladder I think that was probably the most tiring day of all.  But once we got there, it was worth it, because of the beauty.  At Indian Gardens there weren’t very many people camping. It was also very quiet, the bathrooms were well kept and clean and so were the campsites. We set up our tent, and took a nap.

It was Easter weekend, so we decided now would be a good time for an Easter egg hunt. I had some in my backpack that I already stuffed.  I distracted Ella and her mom while everyone else hid the eggs.easter egg hunt We came back from washing our hands and Ella said, “Why is there an Easter egg here?”.  She eventually found out that the Easter Bunny came through and set up an Easter Egg hunt. I gave her these cute little sparkly blue bunny ears to wear for her hunt. After we had found all the Easter eggs, Ella Had one more than I did so she gave one to me so it would be even.  We ate some candy and then we climbed into Ella’s tent and played crazy eights. It was a little hot, and some dark clouds were coming over the top of the canyon wall, so we stayed close to the campsite most of the day. 


Day 5

Third day of Hiking

a beautiful easter morning

             Today is the last day, and also Easter Sunday. I cant wait to speak to my dad and Sydney. But, first I need to just hike all of the way up to the top of the canyon. Its about 5 miles and 3200’ of  uphill hiking. It would be a long hike considering the fact that  I had already hiked two days, and I was sore. Not only that, there was no more shade!  This section of the canyon felt steeper then the lower part.  We hiked for awhile, took rests and ate gummy bears for energy.  I had these “sport beans”, jelly belly beans with electrolytes and sugar for energy.  I had a hard time eating them, they tasted a little weird to me.  I just kept sipping my water to wash it down.    

             As I hiked up the canyon, I kept distracting myself from the tired feeling by looking at the amazing view, and listening to Ella sing from her carrier.  She makes me laugh  by singing silly songs from preschool.  Toward the top, we saw more and more people(Tourists too).  Some, are running, some are day hikers, and some are backpackers.  We also pass another mule train with passengers.  The rule is “get off the trail and wait for the mules to pass”, I recognized most from Phantom Ranch.  After the mules pass, I look up and realize that the rim is a long way up!,  The switchbacks feel like they will never end.

             We continued to hike slow, but steady.  If you stop for too long, it’s hard to get moving again, so we just go.  Then I see the arch over the trail, it’s like a window but the trail goes straight through, we are near the top!  At the trail end, we take a picture and look back at our long hike.  It felt really good to accomplish this trip. I learned alot and realized how fun being uncomfortable can actually be. I WILL go back again, next time I would like to backpack to the north rim.  But now, all I want is a big juicy hamburger and french fries at the Bright Angel Lodge!!!!!!!  After lunch we went to buy my board game  and also a little something special for my sister, Sydney. We wound up getting a small little mule stuffed animal, who is supposed to be Brighty of the Grand Canyon, which is a wonderful book that Sydney is reading. It was hard to part with such a beautiful canyon, so large and so historic!!!! But yet I managed to do so, finally!!!!




View Additional Pictures 1


Map picture

Overland Expo 2011

By: Izabella


Date: March 31, 2011- April 3, 2011

Divas:  Izabella, Sydney,Sophia, Samantha, and Grace

Location:  Amado,  Arizona


In April The Rover Divas were presenters at the Overland Expo 2011, in Amado, Arizona.   After it was over I was so excited to write about it.  I did take notes and had a few very rough drafts.  But, it still has taken awhile to get my post completed.  The end of the school year was very busy for me.  Now it is summer and I am determined to catch up on posting!



The Divas and Roseann Hanson in front of Terry  Ann’s Green Rover (dormobile)

First Day (Thurs., March 31, 2011)

On the First Day there was a special meeting that all of the presenters had to attend.  It was very exciting, we finally got to meet Roseann Hanson, Director  of The Overland Expo.  We also saw the Land Rover Experience people, Ann Lockley,  Lois Pryce and the Camel Trophy guys.  While we were at the meeting everybody went on a tour of expo area.  On the tour we saw the tent we would be presenting in, and a special room just for the staff and media (that included us!).  Since we were kids and presenters, all five of us got  special kid drinks (sorry, it’s for kids only!).


Second Day (Friday, April 1, 2011)

Our first Rover Diva Presentation !!!!! (Cooking Demo)

The first day was a little scary but awesome, we made three peach and cherry dump cake or cobbler, a bunch of banana boats, and pigs in a blanket.  The cobblers and banana boats were cooked in a special Rover Diva charcoal fire pit that my dad made at work.  A laser cutter made the swirly Rover Diva Logo.  What made day two fun was having kids from the audience help us during our presentation.  My favorite recipe we made was the peach and cherry dump cake, it’s a funny name and its made the way it sounds!  You dump the pie fillings in, then the cake mix, and finish by pouring a sprite soda on top.  The banana boats,  and pigs in a blanket take a little more time to prepare.  We let the audience have samples of each recipe.  It was a yummy day!  After our presentation we went back to the campsite to hang out.













THIRD DAY  (Saturday, April 2, 2011)


On the third day we did our second presentation.  We had different stations set up, so people could see what our overlanding activities are.  Grace presented rock hounding, Sydney and Sofia showed kids how to make water compasses,  Samantha showed kids the telescope, and I explained differen’t types of backpacks.  I had three types of my packs, my rock climbing pack, Overnight backpack, and a daypack.

I had fun talking about these activities and the gear I use for them.   It was easier to talk on the second day then the first.  I liked showing people different outdoor gear, and letting them even try it on.  It was easier to speak directly to one person then a group like we had on day one.  Maybe someday I will be more comfortable speaking to big groups.  People asked most about my climbing gear, and then my big backpack. Sydneys daypack got attention from little girls.  I think they liked the Littlest Pet Shop toys inside better then the pink pack.

Saturday was the busiest day for us, but I think it was the most enjoyable day.  We had more people on this day.  Friday was a smaller group, most likely because people had to work, or had school to attend.   Overall, I think the busiest station was Sofia and Sydney’s.  Every time I looked over, they had people around them.  I know they had fun!


DAY FOUR (April 3, 2011)

Sunday was the last day of presentations, we were part of an “Expert Panel” on Overlanding with Kids.  All five Divas and The Adventure Parents were part of the panel.  We sat a a table in front of an audience, and we had microphones so people could hear us.  Jay Shapiro, owner of  the EcoRoamer, was the moderator.  He asked us questions, like “do we have any toys that you always travel with?  All the Diva’s said they bring their Pillow Pets, except me. I take Mocha monkey, he has traveled with me for almost eight years.   The funniest answer was when Sofia told the audience that she uses her dad’s Pillow Pet.  It’s a turtle named Sheldon.

Sunday became a busy day for us.  We saw Jonathan and Roseann Hanson again.  Jonathan had the Divas autograph the  the article in the “Overland Journal” that he wrote wrote about us.

Also on Sunday, I met my new hero, her name is Lois Pryce.  She is author of the books “Lois on the Loose” and “Red Tape and White Knuckles”.  I have  the second book, and Lois signed it for me.  It is about her dirt bike trip from London England to the tip of South Africa.   Samantha and I listened to her speak and saw her slide show.  She is very Brave.  She didn’t chicken out of anything, like many people would probably do.   She inspired me to buy a dirt bike of my own and go on adventures too someday.

That evening there was  a BBQ and a raffle.  The Rover Diva’s helped to sell the raffle tickets.   I buddied up with Sophia to sell tickets.  She is still little and needs help with the money math.   We did five jumping jacks for each ticket sold, it helped with business!  Sophia would ask people if they wanted to buy, and I would tell them the price.  The reason Sophia asked is because no one can resist her cute little face.  We also were allowed to draw the tickets while Lois Pryce helped, then announce the numbers.



Presenting at the Overland Expo was an amazing experience.  It took a while to plan for this, and make decisions on what to talk about.  We met to practice cooking and day three activities.   Roseann and Jonathan Hanson gave us an unique oppurtunity and adventure.  I am thankful to them for asking us to be part of the expo.



Izabella’s "Top 3 Disco Youtube Clips", ………for now anyway!!!

I have been looking at youtube clips since we got our Disco 3 years ago, and I think I finally chose my favorites.  I like to watch them with the volume turned up to get the full effect.  It is amazing to see all that they can do.  I am not going to write to much, the videos say enough!

So here they are……………………….ENJOY!!……………


1.   Thee Most Awesome


2.  Awesome


3.  More Awesomeness!!!!!!!


It is cool to see in just a few minutes how the Discovery began, and how it looks now in 2011!


  Dear Samantha and Sophia, 
Good luck with getting your tonsils removed tomorrow. We hope you feel better soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S.  Maybe we can all eat ice cream this weekend!!!

Henry Ford Museum and the Rouge Factory Tour


DATE:  Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010


DIVAS:Izabella & Sydney

This is a picture of  Sydney and me in front of the museum

      Over Christmas vacation Sydney and I went to Michigan and then to NJ.  While in Michigan we visited with my Uncle David, who is an an engineer at Ford.  He is proud of the company he works for, and was excited to show us around.  

     We started with a visit to the Henry Ford Museum. The museum is very large, and it could take many days to see everything. As we expected, we saw many different years of Ford cars.  There was also other car manufacturers.

Fun Fact
Ford owned Land Rover from 2000 til 2008. 
Under Ford, the LR3 was introduced, along    
the Range Rover Sport and LR2.
In 2008 Land Rover was sold to Ta Ta Motors of India. 

The first display when you enter the museum the first Oscar Meier Wiener-mobile.  It is very funny, and hard to believe it was really driven around town. This was one of the interactive exhibits in the museum.  Sydney and I both got to play dress up a little, as you can see by the pictures below. 

Sydney in front of the wiener mobile
Sydney is an over-sized hot dog, about to be served as
somebody’s lunch!!!!!!!!

 Below is a locomotive (funny word)  and other trains owned and used by the Ford Factory in the early 1940s. 

This is the mega, red train track snow plow

Sydney and I are sitting in the locomotive of the train

One area of the museum had historical campers! There was a  VW camper bus, a Ford House Car, and even an old, pop up camper.

Hippie van !!!!!! Peace !!!!!!
Mobile home or a house on wheels?


Fun Fact
Did you know???

Henry Ford never actually had a drivers license!

One of my favorite exhibits was about airplanes, it was  called “Heroes of the Sky”.  This exhibit had famous women pilots, explorers, and wing walkers.
The wing walkers were very daring and I am not sure I would like to have done that job. But, I admire how brave they were.

   The airplane exhibit I most liked was the Arctic Expedition trip.  The main Explorer was Richard Evelyn Byrd, a navy pilot.  He claimed he had flown the first north pole flight in 1926.  The trip was sponsored by Ford, and the plane was made by Fokker.  I would like to read more about their trip.  I would also like to learn more about the gear they used and how they survived.

Fun Fact
Fokker was the manufacturer of the plane and made sure his name appeared in large letters, so that no one would mistake it as a Ford:)

At the Model T exhibit, you could sit and pretend to drive!! It was so cool !. Every day they take this exact car apart and kids can help rebuild it (with a little help from adults). The only thing kids can’t do is lift the engine, it’s too heavy. The museum lady in charge of the exhibit, said that, “it has been rebuilt over 500 times”.  When they reach a thousand, they will have a party.

                                                           FUN FACT!!!
                                                       Did You Know…….
               In the old days,  if your feet could reach the pedals you could   drive!

This is a little city that is entirely made out of LEGOs. The cars, roads, people, buildings, farms, train tracks and crops were all Lego pieces. The workers at this exhibit put super heroes, such as Spiderman, Batman, Superman in the buildings.  To find the heroes  you have to look closely at the detail of the buildings. I was amazed how real the buildings looked.  A local Lego club built this, and it must have taken at least a year, or more.


The Rouge museum is down the road from the Henry Ford.  You have to travel by bus to get there.  The factory is not always open, so we were lucky to see it.   This tour has 6 stages to see, and you can move as fast or as slow as you want.  We ran out of time and skipped stage 5 and 6.  It is o.k., now I have a reason to go back.

STAGE 1 and 2,  MOVIES!! 

The first movie was about Ford Motor Company’s history along with a story about Henry Ford. The second movie  was a 360 degree  theater, and our chair could also move 360 degrees. The movie showed how a Ford F150 was made and assembled. I thought that the movie was so cool, because, you used every one of your senses except for taste.  If the car in the movie was being  spray painted then we were sprayed with water, there was a red glow, and it even smelled like paint.  When the car was tested in the wind it felt like a storm in the theater. If the car was being welded, lights flickered in the theater,  and there was a smoky smell.

STAGE 3, The Observation Deck
     To get to this stage you had take a elevator to the top floor of the building.  This is where you can get a look at the The Living Roof.  The 10.4 acre roof covers the assembly line building, and uses a new technology to conserve water and energy.  The roof is made of a plant called Sedum. This plant is not grown in soil.  It grows from a special 4 layer pad.  Sedum helps protect the building, and cleans the air around it.

Benefits of Sedum and the mats that it grows on

  • Sedum only grows 6″ in height, so it never needs to be mowed
  •  uses carbon dioxide and produces Oxygen
  •  collects and filters rain water run off
  •  protects the factory roof, and the roof lasts twice as long as paint or tar roofs.
  • Insulation –  keeps the factory cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter


Water Conservation at the Rouge

  • Ford has 2 parking lots that uses a porous pavement, porous means there is lots of holes and water can leak through
  •  Water from rain and snow melt is collected and recycled.  It is collected into a 12,500 gallon tank and used for irrigation.

4. The factory floor
       I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures for you from this stage,but that’s because your not allowed to take any pictures in the factory! I did find a picture from another website, so you could get an idea of what I saw.  We did not get to see my favorite part of a car assembly (the part where it is painted) but it was still awesome!  After the car is painted they separate the body, the bed, and the doors to be worked on.  

      Each  of these parts are put on a wooden platform and move through stations for special work.  We did see seats, dashboards , lights and windshields  installed. One side of the factory floor assembled the truck bed, and the other side assembled the cab inside and out.  After the bed  and the cab are finished, they were matched up  and sent to another part of the factory.  I liked the robot chair the best., the worker sits on it, and the seat moves into the car for the job. We also saw multiple other interesting machines in use.  After the trucks are complete, they are sent to another area to be tested for problems.  Then a worker will test drive each truck 12 miles, before it is considered o.k., and can be sold.

    I do not want to give away anymore information!   It is a place you have to go and see for yourself,  how much fun it really is !!!!!!!

Rock Climbing, at Joshua Tree National Park, CA

By: Izabella

Joshua Tree National Monument is located in California.  It was established in 1936 by Franklin Roosevelt.  In 1994 it became a national park.  The park is around 800,000 acres.  The East side of the park is the Colorado desert.  The west side is the Mojave desert.  Each has its own special plants and animals. The Joshua Tree that the park is named after is actually in the Agave family.  For a long time people thought is was part of the Lily family.  The Joshua tree is found in the Mojave desert, in the Sonoran desert and also in  the San Bernadino Mountains.
The park is huge, we stayed in the center of the park where the big granite rock formations are.  Joshua Tree is a popular rock climbing location.  Climbers from all around the world come here every year.  The winter is the most popular, because it is almost perfect weather.  The large boulders look like they exploded out of the desert floor, and scattered for miles.  Some boulders are only ten feet or less, others are 100 feet or more. Some boulders are bigger then a jumbo jet. The granite is shaped by weathering. This creates the seams, cracks, crevices, caves and windows that I like climbing and bouldering on.

Dates: Nov. 3 – 7, 2010
Travel time from Tucson:  7 hours

Divas: Izabella and Sydney and 1 Toyota tot : Ella
Land Rovers: 1 disco
Diva dogs: Jäger
Animals seen, heard, or foot prints: Coyotes,Gopher snake, road runner
Meals: pasta, Bison burrito, beef stew, ravioli

Desserts: MEGA Marshmallows, Chocolate birthday cake for Joel
*****Important Info:  Dogs not allowed on hiking trails, and more then 100 feet from road***********




The campers before us had left behind their signs.  It looks like they had planned to use them as firewood.
The signs were “WOW”,”HUG ME”, and “PAMPERED CAMPERZ”!   Sydney, Ella and I put these signs around the campsite.
This is the view of our camp site with the big boulders behind it.  We loved scrambling around on  them every single day.

It  was a big playground made by nature.  The granite was super grippy and you could walk up steep areas with your bare feet.  We found a little cave on the backside of  a boulder.  I imagined using this a shelter in an emergency.

DAY 1  

Today we did a little climbing in the morning at ECHO ROCK.  There are some sport climbing routes there.  This is the type of climbing I know the best.  Sport climbing uses fixed anchors which are usually bolts placed into the rock.
The climbs were slab granite, and I had to use my feet alot, and balance.  When it got warmer outside, and the sun heated the rock, my shoes got slicker, and it made it hard to climb.


Climb:  Cherry Bomb,  Rating:  5.10c
Climb:  Stitcher Quits   Rating:  5.7



Here Sydney and I are goofing around, dancing, and playing on the boulders behind our campsite. .  It was alot of fun!!!! I love being in my bare feet, besides my toes were sore from climbing earlier in the day.


Friday morning we went bouldering.  Bouldering is alot like climbing, without the rope.  It is a good way to practice difficult climbing moves, without falling too far.  It is like climbing, but you have to get used to letting your body fall to the crash pad. Our little friend Ella, likes to call it a “Smash pad”.  It is only a few feet off the ground, but can be scary at times.  You should always use a spotter to help break your fall.

This is part of our J.Tree group (Me, Mommy, Sydney, Ella, Daddy,and Jäger).


This is me bouldering a hard corner  in the morning. This is where I had to let go and move fast and quick and catch the next hold.   The longer you hang, the quicker your arm muscles burn out.  The rock was so sharp, I lost some skin on my fingers, and they were red and puffy.

LATE IN THE AFTERNOON………………………………….more climbing!!!

CLIMB: THE FLUE, 5.8 trad climb,  where:  Hidden Valley, chimney rock.

This is Joel (Ella’s dad ) leading the trad route.  Trad climbing uses cams and nuts placed into cracks for protection.  It does not have fixed anchors like sport climbing.  It is different.  Most of Joshua Tree is Trad climbing.  I have started leading sport routes, but it will be a long time before I can lead trad routes.


On this climb, I was second, I was tied in with a butterfly knot because I was in the middle. This climb had many different moves, thin cracks with finger jams, laybacks and sidepulls.  I had to stop at each cam or nut (protection used in trad climbing), and unclip and reclip to pass. I am learning different climbing skills and getting more comfortable with using them.

This is me climbing in the middle of the route. Again, clipping and unclipping. It  was alot of fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Someday  I will learn to lead trad.  Especially if I want to climb at Joshua Tree when I am older.

After the climb, my dad lowered me down the route.  I was way too tired to repel.

3RD Day 

Climbing area:   CYCLOPS ROCK, “The Eye”, 5.4,
Easy and lots of fun, I had to climb it twice.


This is an awesome route! It is around 110 feet tall, and ends in a room/cave with a window at the back you can walk through.  This route is a walk off, which means we had to scramble down some large boulders to the bottom.  The route has many hand and foot holds, which makes it a 5.4 rating, and not much chalk is needed.  It is also a popular climb, and you may have to wait your turn.

Can you see me?? Hopefully my Orange Helmet helps!        Here I have to “chimney” up to the belay where Joel is waiting for me.



Today my dad led the route.

Finishing up the Chimney!!

This is how my dad was belaying us!


Here I am coiling the first rope.  We used two ropes since we had 5 climbers today!
This rope is 70 meters, and is still a little big for me. My dad and Joel put them on their backs when we scrambled down the back of Cyclops boulder.

This is the group that climbed today Daddy,Mommy, Laurie, Joel, and ME!!! (daddy is taking the picture)

Today, jager and I are both tuckered out!!!

THE END!!!!!



Monument Valley Backcountry By: Izabella, Grace & Sydney

This is the first blog post we have all written together.  So, each Diva is writing in a different color.  Grace is in Blue, Izabella is in Orange, and Sydney is in Pink. What we write together is in Green.
Trip Data
Date: Aug. 27-19, 2010 3days Friday,Saturday,and Sunday
Location: Monument Valley, AZ/UT
Divas: Grace, Sydney, and Izabella
Diva Dogs: Jäger
Vehicles: 2 Dormobiles, 1 LR3, 4 Discos, and 1 Range Rover
Weather: Windy, Just Right, Cloudy, Warm, 72 º F
Activities: Uno, 4wd, playing in the hogans, running with the horses, playing with the dogs, running on the sand dunes.
Meals: Marsh-mellows, Izabella and Sydney:  Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Enchilada casserole.  All were in the dutch oven.  Grace:  Chili Mac, and Tacos
Animals Spotted/Animal Tracks:  Horses, Beetles, Lizards, Dogs


A Little History on The Navajo


The Navajo Nation is the biggest reservation in the United States.  It is 16,000,000 acres and mostly in Arizona.
The Navajo People call themselves “Dine” (Di-nay), which means “The People”.  The Navajo came to the southwest around 1400 AD.  They may have originally came across the land bridge that used to exist between Russia and Alaska, around 1200 BC.  When they reached the southwest the Anasazi  or Pueblo people taught them to farm corn and beans.  Spanish settlers later brought sheep (around the 1600’s).  They got wool from the sheep to make clothing, blankets and rugs.  They also used the meat from the lamb and mutton.  They used all the products from the sheep to trade for other goods.  Today they still harvest corn and beans, and raise sheep.  At the Cameron Trading Post you can see a woman making a very large rug on a loom.  We talked to the lady, she said it takes one year to make one large rug.

Our Wonderful Guides



These are our guides.  They were awesome!  We could not have asked for more. Valerie Dee grew up in Monument Valley and she arranged for us to stay at her family’s place in Monument Valley at the Hub.  Her Mom and Dad were our guides around the valley.

Day 1
The trip was at least 9 hours from Tucson, AZ to Monument Valley. As we were driving, the desert started to change.  It started by getting sandier, rockier(sandstone), then the color of our surroundings became a deep red rust color.  There was lots and lots of red sand on the ground.  There were a few trees and bushes scattered about, and finally we saw our first Monument it was sooooo pretty!!!!

From a distance the buttes and monuments looked purple but as we got closer they turned out to be red, orange, brown, and rust!  When we first got there we were still on the main loop when we stopped to get some awesome pictures of the divas at the 2 mittens!  Like always if Jäger is in a picture it is mighty adorable!

The Three Sisters – This is on the way to the campsite.
The Campsite was at the Hub.
We had two female hogans, one male hogan, and a sweatlodge and spectacular views on all side! 

When we first got to the campground we saw 3 Hogans 2 large ones and 1 medium and a tiny one!!!  We were all going to sleep in the largest one, the one in the middle, but we were all to tired, so we decided to sleep with our parents instead.

This is our group from the AZLRO

Hogans are made of wood, bark and mud.  The hogan has log wood walls and a dome ceiling.  They cover the wood with mud.  It makes the Hogan look round.  The hogans have dirt floors, and only one room.  The door to the Hogan face east, so they can get sun in the morning, and help them wake up.  There is a woman’s hogan and a man’s hogan.  The woman’s Hogan is bigger and more decorated then the man’s hogan.

Female Hogan

Male Hogan


Sweatlodge or Dog Hogan?

Here we are playing at the campsite!
Three Divas on the Dormobile at camp

Izabella and Sydney’s Pop-up camper at camp
Sydney and Grace went to bed earlier than I did so they did not get a chance to see the moon come out. I had to stay up late so that I could work on my moon journal, how cool is that?!!!  The moon looked as if it was going to be huge from the size of it’s glare, but it was just normal size.  We had marshmallows but no skewers so I took a fork and knife and put them together with a hair tie.  I broke off the two middle spikes,too.  The marshmallows were delicious!!!! Then I had finished up about 4-5 marshmallows.   It was time for bed!!!



A  Little Geology


Monument Valley used to be a 100 foot piece of sandstone.  Most of the sandstone has eroded away but some still stands, and is beautiful.
An arch is formed in four steps:
1. It starts as a sandstone block.
2. Then some of  the stone erodes away from rain.
3. The wind blows the rock.
4. The wind breaks the rock and you have a arch.
Monument Valley is great for this because there is a lot of wind.


Day 2 

In the morning we saw the free roaming horses. They were so close that they could hear us whistle. When we whistled they perked up their heads.

After we saw the horses, the rover divas went to the middle Hogan and played UNO for a little while. Then all of a sudden in the middle of our game my mom called me out to  see the horses, again. They were so close to our campsite.  I almost got to pet the foal, but didn’t since he  was too mouthy like Jäger. The mother was a dark brown with a black mane and tail; the father(stallion)was white with a white mane and tail.  His mane and tail were actually  orange because of the red dirt in monument valley. The foal was a red roan (a red/orange color)with a orange mane and tail. They were the perfect family!!!!! We finished up our UNO game quickly and then we set off with the group to go on a 4wd trip to see more of Monument Valley.

On day 2 we bought from inside the hogan.  Valerie’s Family sells to tourists they have made.

Hogan Repair Shop in the morning of Day 2

Then we drove around one of the buttes and saw a flowing river, approximately a foot deep, and muddy.  It was so muddy that our leader got stuck so we had to go a different way.

We drove some more to a rock with a large window called “Ear of the Wind”.

Ear of the Wind Arch

I tried to make a sand angel, but I just got dirty!!

Sand dunes are steep, but lots of fun to run down!


This is the Big Hogan!


Aren’t we cute!!
Day 3
Mystery Valley
Two Divas at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park sign


We stopped at a ruin in Mystery Valley, and my dad and I climbed up the steep, steep rock hill.  On top was 3 pools of water.  The water was from rain and was very clean.  I touched the water and it was too cold to swim.  Maybe it could be used to take a bath in the summer.  We did not stay on top too long, it was way too windy.  I felt like I would blow away!


Anasazi Ruins in Mystery Valley
Checking out shards of pottery and we found some old corn cobs.
Bighorn Petroglyph
Divas in arch
This is in the arch and there are two circular rooms.  Probably for storage in the old’n days.  There was a bunch of packrat evidence.
Girls with Pictographs
Free roaming horses galloping through the canyon.  Awesome!!
On the way home we had fun playing Uno in the car.
Sydney cleaning up the red dirt!


Camping by the Gila River by: Izabella



April 2010

Vehicle: 3 (2 Discos and 1 Dormobile) and 1 pop-up camper
Divas: Izabella, Sydney, Samantha and Grace
Diva Dogs: Jäger, Fossy, Rascal and Kiwi
Location: Gila River, Arizona  (north of Winkelman)

In April, three Rover families got together to explore an area near the Gila River.  The Gila River starts in New Mexico and winds through Arizona and ends in at the California border at the Colorado River.  It is 649 miles long.  This was the Rover Diva’s first camping trip together.  It was so much fun to 4WD and camp with other girls my age, which is nine.  We all communicated on our pink Diva radios.  It kind of drove our parents a little nuts with all the noise, especially when we were going over a rough spot.  On the way in the scenery was amazing, we saw orange poppies, and blue and yellow wildflowers.  It was so green and lush.  We saw one mountain that had bands like on a map.

We drove through a couple of washes, down some steep hills, over some ruts and even almost slid sideways one time.  When we finally came to a stop, we were at the banks of the Gila River.  It looked like a perfect campsite, but not a very safe spot for kids and dogs.  Our parents decided to set up further away from the river on a more flat and open area, so we could play.
While our parents set up camp we played card games and made a fort under a mesquite tree.  The day got very hot so we went to the river to play.  When we got to the river, Samantha’s Westie, Rascal, jumped into the fast flowing water.  Then Samantha’s other dog Fossy jumped in.  They both started floating down the stream.  Chuck, (Samantha’s dad)  went in after the two dogs.  Then her third dog, Kiwi jumped in after Chuck.  Chuck was able to rescue them all.  It looked like a dog train in the water.    Chuck then used webbing and tow straps to tie them up, and keep them safe.  The water was muddy, cold and fast moving, so we could only go in up to our knees.  In some areas it also dropped off quickly.  It was ok, we just made mud pies and played games, and ran around the little beach.  We found lots of small clam like shells, which I brought home to paint.

After playing in the water, we dried off and went to play in the fort, until… the dogs came and wrecked part of it.  We were mad at the time, but it was actually funny.  Then we went to my pop up to play until dinner was ready.  The campsite had a lot of soft dirt on the ground and it was pretty dusty, so Grace and I sat on my Disco roof to eat our dinners.  All the families made there own dinners, but we all had the same desert; SMORES!!.  After dark, we saw  many bright stars. The sky was amazing.  Grace pointed out a few constellations to Samantha and  I.  She knows a lot about astronomy.  The adults sat around the campfire and talked while we played more card games until bed time.
The next day we went for a long walk to find a safer swimming spot.  We never found one, so we went back to the original spot.  It was really hot again that day.  My mom said it had to be in the nineties, one of the first hot days this spring.  We waited til later in the day to drive out because it would be cooler then.  The dormobile doesn’t have air conditioning, and its gets very hot in there.  Along the way, we stopped to explore a rocky area, and take some pictures.  There was lots of limestone with fossils.  My dad found a large centipede under one rock and a scorpion under another.  The adults decided it was a good idea to keep moving, and to get back on the paved road by sunset.  We ended the trip at a very good Mexican restaurant, La Casita, in Mammoth.  I am pretty sure we will stopping there again on the next trip to the area.

AZLRO Rally 2010: Trail pre-run Temporal Gulch near Patagonia, Arizona


By:  Izabella

Two Discoveries went on this trip to check out trail conditions before the rally.

Divas on this trip:  Samantha, Izabella, Sophia and Sydney

A quick  Diva lunch break

Samantha and I enjoying some cold fried chicken .
Sydney and Sophia had fun climbing In and out of

Samantha’s roof top tent.

After lunch Samantha and I decided to explore the area and play in the cold water.


We are on the road again!! (sort of anyway)

Samantha and Sophia’s Disco (Sally) avoiding a deep spot!!


Possible lunch site for the rally next week!

This is the small canyon

behind the lunch site.   It is a great place to play.

Here we also saw a pair of real working cowboys.

This is the entrance of the second mine we came to.  They mined copper here.   Copper is Arizona’s main mineral.

On the inside we
found Chrysocolla on the walls.  Chrysocolla looks alot like
turquoise.  We picked up a few pretty pieces.  It is found wherever
there is copper.

This is one
of the small,  but
very pretty waterfalls
we saw.  We had a lot of rain this year in Arizona.  Most canyons had waterfalls, this was one of them.  We also counted 25 water crossings this trip.

The End!!!

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