Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017...We Can Only Hope.

For the New Year, my husband and I have one resolution to keep; to maintain hope.

2016 has been one of the most horrendous years that either of us has ever experienced. 

With not being able to get decent health insurance through an employer, we were forced into "Obamacare".  Necessary prescriptions for our diabetes care were kept out of reach due to high, high prices healthcare refused to cover.  Even the pharmaceutical companies gave us difficulty in getting a cheaper price on prescriptions; or said "NO!" because Obamacare should cover it all, but it didn't.

Tax time, we were slammed with outrageous fines for not staying within the poverty level.  Even though we made monthly payments; we were told "Not Enough, we want more!!!"  We were punished for getting healthcare through the government, when we should have had private insurance from the beginning.  Can't pay...too bad, now we'll take the money anyway!

We both had to dip into our existing IRAs to make ends meet; thereby being fined even more.  By the time either of us finally reaches an age we can get into the IRAs without being fined; we might be dead by then.  The age requirement keeps getting raised higher and higher; as we walk forward, the long hallway gets longer and longer.

It simply was, no matter how we attempted to get out of a hole, we were punished for even trying.

Finding full time employment has been one rejection after another; primarily due to the main facts of #1 - not being born and raised in the area; #2 - not following the "correct" religion;  #3 - not being descendants of a particular group.  It is a well known fact that this occurs again and again to others as well; it is a sick cycle that needs to be completely repaired.  We still have hope for changes in where we live; we still have hope that finally someone will stand up and say "Enough is enough; we welcome everyone completely, and not with restrictions to life here!"

There are a few people who care for us just because.  They don't care about those three reasons above; they care because we are good, kind, caring, loving people.  It's so wonderful to know that some do have their eyes, ears, hearts open to us.

While we have been struggling hard not to file for bankruptcy; unless there are serious financial changes for us in 2017; there will finally be no choice.

I am 58 years old now; I have worked since I was 16 years old; 42 years and within one year, I have lost almost all my savings.  Roy is 44 years old, he has worked since 16 years old also; 28 years of employment and wondering where has it all gone.  Retirement?  Not for me, not anytime soon at all; perhaps never at the rate we're going.

Many will read this and say, "We're in the same boat; we understand and feel your pain."  Others will say, "We wish we could help you, but not right now".  Many others will say, "We have ours, you can't get yours; we certainly wouldn't help you for any reason."  It is what it is.

So, Happy New Year from the Cokenours.  May the coming of a new President bring prosperity back to all the American people, not the chosen few.  May Karma punish those who revel in the pain and suffering happening to others.  May Karma punish those who have caused the pain and suffering.  May Karma bless those who have helped us, whether we know them, or they were anonymous; they cared and that was all that mattered...the caring.

Roy and I will rise up again; it may take some time and doing, but we will prevail!!!  Currently I'm filled with despair and anger tied together like the double helix of DNA.  I would love to see that change to happiness and relaxation.

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Half Day Tour with Four Corners Adventures.

Four Corners Adventures

254 East Center Street (Hwy 191)
Blanding, Utah, 84511

Phone: (435) 678-2628


Jared Berrett, Owner
Spring Berrett, Owner
Dallin Tait, General Manger, Lead Guide

Dallin Tait, foreground; Jared Berrett,  background

On November 10, I wrote about my adventure, with Roy, at Upper Arch Canyon Overlook.  Imagine my surprise when I went into work and was told, November 17th; trip with Four Corners Adventures with welcome center people from Monticello, Blanding, Bluff; Utah's Canyon Country staff; and members of  On the agenda was Upper Arch Canyon Overlook, Cave Towers (aka Seven Towers) in Mule Canyon, and maybe House on Fire.

The morning of the 17th began with snow, only about 1/4 of an inch, and about 35 to 40 mile/hour winds; but would this cancel our trip?  Oh hell no!  8:30am our ride showed up at the Welcome Center and away to Blanding we headed; last ones to arrive at the Four Corners Adventures office, but anxious to get going nonetheless.  One of the owners, Jared Berrett, gave us a brief update on what the plans were for the half day; we also were introduced to lead guide, Dallin Tait; and a guide up from Kayenta, Louis.

Into two, heavy duty, travel vans we packed in and off to Upper Arch Canyon Overlook we headed along State Highway 95.  Once we turned onto Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road; Dallin stopped the van to show us the trailhead to House on Fire.  Might as well tell you now that we didn't get to hike to it this day; between the snow on the ground and the cold, high winds, many of the group didn't feel up to it.  Don't be disheartened; the next day it was much warmer, no wind, so Roy and I made the trek and I'll be doing a post about that on a later date.   Back to this story...

Upper Arch Canyon Overlook looked very different from when I'd been there on the 10th; snow kissing the red rocks, dense cloud cover blocking out the mountains, and a good amount of the canyon beyond Cathedral and Angel Arches.  Jared and Dallin warned everyone to stay away from the peninsula's edges because of the high winds.  It wouldn't do for anyone to go flying off into the canyon, and with a parachute!  Of course Jared had to put shock into us all when he took a group photo; there he stood, up on a boulder, mere inches from the edge.

Upper Arch Canyon Overlook

Members of the group walk the peninsula.

Cathedral Arch
Cave Alcove Across from the peninsula.

Foggy Upper Arch Canyon.

Next stop on our trek was a mere 3/10ths of a mile east of Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road.  There is a gate across the dirt trail; simply open the gate and make sure to close it behind you.  Another 3/10ths of a mile and we were at the parking area for Cave Towers aka Seven Towers; the choice is to walk the 350 feet to the ruin site, or drive.  With the severe cold the winds brought, driving was a great choice, but beware, this is one heck of a rocking and rolling trail ahead over slickrock and deeply rutted road.


At the site there is a single grave, fenced in, but no information listed anywhere; not at the grave site, not even on the information boards.

The trail to the ruins is not that difficult; sometimes climbing up onto rocks, and the dirt trails are loose dirt with small stones.  For extra leverage, a walking stick is a handy tool to carry.  Along the way, a hidden spring can just barely be seen down from a rocky ledge; we couldn't hear it though because of the wind.

The seven towers (3 partially standing, 4 collapsed) are along the short side of the oval surrounding Mule Canyon.  To the left, this trail is on less of an incline; the trail to the right climbs up higher and the trail is very narrow.  Walking the ledge, pueblo ruins, including a kiva can be seen along the northern wall ledges.  There are granaries tucked here and there along the wall ledges also.

Side note:  The next day, after visiting House on Fire, Roy and I went back to Cave Towers.  We found all 7 towers, could hear the hidden spring, and walking the ledges was a dream.  As we went further along the oval, we could make out more ruins along the wall ledges, and didn't have to worry about getting blown off the edge by the wind!  I will be writing up two separate blog posts, one on House on Fire, the other of the second visit to Cave Towers.  Make sure you're a Follower of my blog, and you won't miss a thing!

Cave Towers aka Seven Towers

What a View!  Tables of the Sun in the far distance.

Cave Alcoves below.
Pueblo and Kiva Ledge Ruins.
Upper Ledge.

Lower Ledge
Granary tucked into a corner.

 Views of Mule Canyon.

Thankfully, Jared and Dallin had hot chocolate and granola bars waiting for us back at the vans.  Let me tell you, after one hour of hiking, climbing and photographing; I could no longer feel my hands or face.  Back home though, I admired the fresh, pink skin; imagine, women pay thousands of dollars to go to spas for the same result.  All they needed to do was walk around cliff ledges, in 35-40 mile an hour winds for an hour.  Who knew!?!

Ah Louis, I'm not forgetting Louis; he was a pleasure to speak with; very knowledgeable as a guide, but better yet....he and I got to discuss Native American foods!

Anyway, back at Four Corners Adventures main office, we said our goodbyes and headed back to our respective visitor centers or offices.  It was also a pleasure to meet the folks of; whom I often share links of my travel blog adventures with.  This was a most awesome half day adventure with Four Corners Adventures.

If you're interested in one of their guided land tours which includes:


-  OR  -


Give Jared, Spring or Dallin a call to help you make the best choices for your adventuring.

Mary Cokenour