This incredible ‘gash in the earth’ [Colin’s description] is one of the seven wonders of the world.
We left early on Tuesday morning, so as to get a head start on the day. We headed to Kingman which is a town on Route 66, and found breakfast. It is fascinating the amount of people of road trips, cruising Route 66.
We completed just a small portion of it from Kingman to Williams. It is a tourist Meca!Williams is the last small town to be bypassed by the new freeway and Seligan is where is all started.
The old buildings, the funny wee shops, and the curios from the past [not to mention the people watching!] was great. I’ll let our photos do the talking!
From there we carried on through Williams and up into the Grand Canyon via Tusayan where we purchased our park pass, and headed up to Mather Point [which is the main viewing area]. OMG, so many people! I am not sure how to describe the Grand Canyon – HUGE, stunning, beautiful, powerful, overwhelming, beautiful and breath-taking!
The photos do not do it any justice … but I tried!
I was completely freaked out by the height, the crumbly edges and peoples need to stand on them for photos! Colin didn’t climb the barriers to get close to the ‘famous parts’ [because everyone climbs the barrier to do their yoga pose, or feet hanging off – even a Monk (you can see in him one of these photos) while we were there!] but he did get close to the edge, way to close for my liking – I can’t even describe the terror I felt when when close even with a barrier between me and the abyss!!!
We took the opportunity of the free transfer bus along the rim [and away from the masses] along to ‘Hermit’s Rest’. A perfect move! The buses are hop on / hop off and are so well organised – they are an absolute credit to the National Park. We hopped off at Powell point for a bit more freaking out, and then hopped on and heading to Hermit’s Rest. What a sanctuary at the end of this end of the south rim. Not that many people, views were just as amazing and we saw an amazing elk, just wandering through.
We eventually found our car and drove to the other end to ‘Desert View’ which again had the most gorgeous breathtaking view, both of the Grand Canyon and across to the Arizona desert. It was getting busy here, as people were all heading to watch the sunset. We decided that it wasn’t going to be worth it as it was so overcast and we still had a lot of driving to get down to Sedona. (A couple of hours earlier we experienced a monsoon across the South Rim, and man did it rain! Fortunately there is a wonderful visitor centre and theater, so we just headed in there and watched the movie.)
Just as we were leaving the Park we came across all these cars / people scattered across the road and we could see an Elk. Firstly we though there had been an accident, but then as we got closer it was a ‘photo stop’! I should have taken a picture of the chaos with everyone just stopped, or slowing moving or even out of their cars to take pictures!! The elk was not a bit interested! Of course when in Rome …. !!
Fun Fact: the walls of the Grand Canyon get deeper by the second as the Colorado river rages through the Canyon!
Driving from east of the ‘south rim’ we headed to Sedona via Cameron (blink and you miss it), through Flagstaff (stopped here for dinner) and through another Monsoon. I tell you it made for a long, scary trip in the dark with the thunder and lightening all around us. We were quite a few hours late getting to our AirBnB in Sedona! Sedona is a dark city – there are not many street lights – so it made it hard to find our accommodation!!
On Wednesday morning we got up early and hiked [from where we were staying] up Sugar Loaf Mountain. I am so glad we did this – it was stunning. From here we could see: Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Bell Rock, Catherdral Rock … you get the picture. We still haven’t seen any snakes but did see squirrels, lizards and beetles.
After a cold shower we headed into Town and had a wander around. We went into the Art Gallery and saw gorgeous, gorgeous sculptures and talked to a woman who worked there who used to live in Auckland and work in a restaurant on Symonds Street … that small world again. There was fabulous art everywhere in Sedona. It is also very spiritual and people pilgrim here for Vortex’s, yoga retreats and a variety of health retreats.
For lunch we headed out to Up the Creek Cafe (a lady at the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain told us to go there!). It was such a gorgeous place and once we were seated we noticed that the trees were full of humming birds, and that they had feeders hanging on the eave of the building so they were just that much closer. It was memorising watching them. The food was great, and we were pleased to see NZ wine (The Ned) on the menu. We actually had the local craft beer which was great. I was talking the to waitress and she was fascinated by our travels and said that she had never had a passport! Can you image that! She had however heard of NZ and how beautiful it is, so that was something.
After lunch we headed to Chapel of the Holy Cross. It is a very small chapel perched high in the rocks – you can’t help but experience the peace and serenity. With fabulous views out to Cathedral Rock and ‘the Courthouse’ rock, we added to our ‘horizon tour’ of Sedona. When you walk in the huge front doors and see the fabulous stained glass windows … you just want to sit a bit, and reflect.
So two nights in Sedona [which wasn’t enough] and we are on our way back. One more hike to do – Devil’s bridge. The hike in was reasonably easy, the last little bit that is vertical – was challenging for me (not liking heights has become a thing!). Once up there Colin was keen as to get out there on the bridge. Not for me – I hid! There were a few other people there (not tooooo busy as we came early) but at least someone could take his picture – I couldn’t even do that! I also couldn’t watch as people sat on the edge, hung their legs over and just generally tempted fate!!
We met a lovely couple up there from West Virginia. We chatted with them all the way back to the car park and really enjoyed their company – hopefully if we are in their part of town, will catch up with them again.
Heading ‘home’ to Las Vegas we stopped at the famous ‘Road Runner’ cafe on Route 66 (Seligman) and took another round of Route 66 photos.
It was a long drive back through more monsoons, and along some very straight highways (where you can drive at 130km – but not when it’s raining hard!).
The Arizona landscape is pretty wild, unfriendly (in the way of farming) and generally a bit boring (well at least from the I93!)! It might look a whole lot better with snow on the mountians?!?
So we are safely back ‘home’ and will re-charge by the pool for the next few days 🙂