Images from our trip through Arizona and California, April 6-16, 2017.
Click to enlarge, read captions and view slideshow.
National Park #44, just outside of Tucson, Arizona.
The giant cactus that lends the park its name. They can reach 40-60 feet in height and live 200 or more years.
Everywhere you look, saguaros bask in the sunshine.
Close up of the protective needles and pleated folds of the surface.
We went on a trail ride with Houston’s Horseback Riding in the East section of Saguaro National Park.
Downtown Tucson is home to the great Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.
On highway 60 between Tucson and Holbrook, AZ we crossed the incredibly scenic Salt River Canyon.
Our Lodging for the night in Holbrook was the famous Wigwam Motel, a relic from the heyday of Route 66.
Neon and strategically-placed vintage cars complete the ambiance.
Our second national park of the trip was Petrified Forest. The varying colors in the rock logs are created by different minerals.
Hiking amongst the ancient fallen trees in the Long Logs area.
Blue Mesa has a 1-mile trail that leads through eroded mounds with varying stripes of color.
The Painted Desert Inn at Petrified Forest was built in the 1920s, heavily renovated by the CCC in the ’30s and and then was run by the Harvey Corporation. Today it is a National Historic Landmark open to the public.
Overlook of the Painted Desert that makes up the northern portion of Petrified Forest National Park.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is located in the Navajo Nation of northeastern Arizona. This is Spider Rock, a 750 foot spire rising from the bottom of the canyon. In Navajo legend, the top is home to the Spider Grandmother, creator of the world.
Overlooking Canyon de Chelly from South Rim Drive.
The only way to tour the interior of the canyon is accompanied by a ranger or a Navajo guide. We reserved with Beauty Way Jeep Tours. Amazing experience.
Our guide, Delbert, surveying a river crossing to make sure it’s passable. (The water went up to the grille.)
White House Ruin, the most famous of the canyon’s many cliff dwellings.
On our way to Flagstaff, we stopped to see Meteor Crater. The 50,000 year old impact site is the best-preserved in the world. It is a mile across and 500 feet deep.
Our lodging in downtown Flagstaff was the historic (and allegedly haunted) Hotel Monte Vista. Many celebrities stayed there while filming movies in the Southwest.
There are several national monuments in the immediate vicinity of Flagstaff. This is the view from Sunset Crater NM looking toward Humphrey’s Peak, the highest point in Arizona.
Also nearby is Walnut Canyon National Monument, which preserves many cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people. They were inhabited between 1125 and 1250.
Flagstaff is a great spot to try some beer. This flight is from Historic Brewing. There were at least 5 breweries located conveniently within walking distance of our hotel.
Hermit’s Rest, designed for the Fred Harvey company by Mary Colter. This is at the end of the shuttle bus route to the west of the main village area.
Hermit’s Rest is the location of the Hermit Trailhead. We chose this area because we had previously hiked down the more popular Bright Angel Trail.
Stunning views into the canyon from Dripping Springs Trail.
The trickle of water visible at the top center is Dripping Springs, our destination for this hike. 3.5 miles and over 1,000 feet down from the rim.
The Dripping Springs trail closely skirts some impressive drop-offs.
Stargazing is easy with the lack of light pollution at the Grand Canyon.
Nick got up to catch the sunrise near the Bright Angel Trailhead. The rest of us weren’t coherent enough at that hour.
Entering Death Valley National Park is like entering another world.
There was a surprising amount of industrial development in earlier years. This is a “20 mule team” wagon that was used to haul borax out of the valley.
Charcoal kilns at the trailhead of the Wildrose Peak Trail we hiked.
About halfway up the 4.2-mile trail. Wildrose Peak’s summit is the highest point visible.
Checking out the view from the 9,064 ft summit.
Looking south toward 11,049 ft Telescope Peak, the highest point in the park.
Panorama looking east toward Badwater Basin (whitest spot in the center right), the lowest point in North America at -282 feet.
Looking west from Wildrose Peak gives views of the distant and very tall Sierra Nevada range, home to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the Lower 48.
After a chilly and windy summit picnic lunch it was time to head back down.
Evening light at the Mesquite Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells Village.
The trickle of water in Salt Creek is a surprising find on the valley floor. It is home to the impressively resilient Pupfish. They’re fun to watch.
The view toward the Panamint Mountains from Golden Canyon Trail. Wildrose Peak is the rounded mountain with three tiny dots of snow on the right, Telescope Peak is the high point.
Golden Canyon Trail leads to the rocky “Red Cathedral.”
The lowest high kick so far: Badwater Basin.
282 feet below sea level.
Rugged salty formations at Devil’s Golf Course.
Our parting shot of Death Valley, the view from Dante’s Peak, more than 5,000 feet above Badwater Basin.
LAS > ORD: Until next time, Grand Canyon.
This entry was posted in Destinations
, High Kick Photos
and tagged Badwater Basin
, Canyon de Chelly
, Death Valley
, Dripping Springs Trail
, Flagstaff Brewery
, Grand Canyon
, Hermit's Rest
, Jeep Tour Arizona
, Meteor Crater
, Painted Desert
, Petrified forest
, Saguaro National Park
, Sunset Crater
, Walnut Canyon
, Wigwam Motel
, Wildrose Peak
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