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Arizona (part 1)

It’s hard to write what I remember, when I don’t remember as much as I used to. The first trip happened back in 2009, and many other trips have happened since then; unfortunately, that means the details of 2009 aren’t exactly fresh in my mind anymore. I remember fragments, and the photos help a little, but don’t expect too much sense from this post (you’ll be disappointed).

So, what do I remember?


I remember we had a flight to Flagstaff, but we were stuck in Phoenix for several hours. Excuses ranged from maintenance issues to the crew not being there. We’d never been to the southwest before, and our only other flight experience together was to Disney World (and we just used their magical express bus service). We had a car rental waiting for us in Flagstaff, and by the time we got there it was well after dark (we were supposed to get there in the afternoon). Anyway, we stayed down in Oak Creek and had a nice view of Courthouse Butte from our motel. (In hindsight, we probably should’ve just rented a car from Phoenix airport, but it was also our first time renting a car. Needless to say, there were a lot of firsts during this trip.)

I remember doing the hike around Bell Rock. We saw a couple lizards, some cool rock formations (of course), and a variety of different plants. I remember it being a very dry heat (we were there mid-June), which I thought was more comfortable than the humidity I’ve experienced elsewhere.

I remember going horseback riding, and the old guy (our guide) was a curmudgeon. I don’t remember the name of the business. A “picnic” was part of the ride, but that just involved bad food and sitting on uncomfortable, web-covered rocks.

I remember going to Montezuma’s Well, Montezuma’s Castle, Tuzigoot, and Wupatki, but I don’t remember much about those places, other than they’re ruins. The same can also be said of Sunset Crater. I remember hiking there and seeing the cone, but not much else. (I had a lot of headaches during that trip, even though I drank lots of water.)

I remember going to a diner on route 66. The food was okay. There were Ravens on a dumpster outside.

I remember visiting the Grand Canyon. It’s definitely big, but not fun to visit in the summer (the sun and cloudless sky combo gave me a migraine). We stayed for the sunset watch at Desert View, which wasn’t that great. No clouds = no colors. We did see some California Condors, though, which surprised me, considering they’re a critically endangered species.

My favorite place was Lower Antelope Canyon. They did tours differently back then. Some guy was playing the guitar, and all we had to do was follow the music. They also allowed cameras. I remember seeing some people with tripods down there. (This was after the flood incident happened.) It wasn’t until we were almost at the end of the hike that I discovered the secret to capturing the colors: turn off the flash.

We visited the Hopi. I saw a couple wild Mustangs on the way in, and I was infuriated on the way out. Not at them, but at the poor living conditions they struggled with. Our guide (who was one of the Hopi) did a good job of teaching us about their history and culture. At one point, we saw a whirlwind, which he (our guide) said was a death omen. (When we got back home, I found out that my Cat died while I was in Arizona.)

We visited the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Both were definitely colorful, but it’s a shame that so much of the wood was stolen over the years. A Raven kept following us through the Painted Desert, though, which was cool. We’d watch her fly alongside the car and then stop wherever we stopped.

I’m sure there are a few other things we did that I’m forgetting.

Overall, the trip was alright. Some of it gave me a headache, but it was a nice change of scenery.