Doug & Lou’s Exceptional Adventure: Volcanoes, Pueblos and Canyons

After our adventure to Winslow Arizona we spent the night at Meteor Crater RV Park. Got our usual early start and headed back towards Flagstaff.

Those beauties just don’t go away!

The mountain views coming into Flagstaff from the East are gorgeous ( SAN FRANCISCO MTNS again — named after ST Francis — one of the good ones.) and the weather was perfect for our jaunt to Sunset Crater, just north of the town.

This volcano erupted around 1085 CE (CE, very sophisticated Louise. Harper wouldn’t like that.)and the surrounding area is covered in large lava fields that you can wander through. Big chunks of lava everywhere.

Imagine the size of bbq you would need to hold these briquettes!

It kind of feels like you are walking on a different planet…..but then so many landscapes across Arizona have provided this illusion. The vegetation that has managed to grow here seems dwarfed. Check out the bark and oozing orange sap on this birch tree. There is so much iron in the soil that it affects the growth.

Yucky! You wouldn’t want to harvest CHAGA from these trees, eh Draz??
Dwarfed Pine tree grows atop Lava Field

A bit further away from the large chunky lava field, is a fine black gravel everywhere. It looked kind of neat as an outline to the white concrete pathways around the park we stopped in.

There were several volcanoes that erupted here back in the day. Quite a barren landscape
We can come back here with strollers, walkers or wheelchairs! Very nice park. (I’ll take the wheelchair.)

Amazingly, the little park that provides lookouts to the volcano was totally wheelchair accessible. There were other trails that required mobility, but we both found it rather proactive of this state to think ahead a bit. It would be nice if more parks made the effort to accommodate those who are less mobile.

San Francisco Mtns provide a nice contrast from the old Volcano Mounds

Enough of the BLACK! We headed further on up the park road to visit several old pueblos. The largest exhibit was at the Visitor’s Centre and is called Wupatki National Monument. Although this site is the largest of the Pueblo ruins consisting of over 100 rooms, we stopped at four different sites within a couple of miles of one another.

This ruin was a multi-storied building …. Kind of like condo living, eh Doug?

There must have been quite a large community going on here back in the day. A bit like growing up in Northern Ontario….and yet….NOT! I didn’t find any Labatt’s 50 bottle caps lying around!

Each pueblo was a bit different from the others……and that’s why we had to stop and climb up to each one of them!
yes we scrunched ourselves up and squeezed through the doorways…..oh look….I took a selfie! ( I had to ask. Check the shadow bottom right.)

Another great day of traipsing around Arizona-Land!

…… and then we returned to the Flagstaff KOA. The manager there is George Welden…..different spelling from Doug’s great, great grandfather, George, but an interesting man nonetheless…..and he was happy to learn about the Weldon ancestry…which includes several different spellings including Welden!……I should have taken a picture of George and Doug! Oh well…..we have plenty of pueblos for you to stare at instead! ….or….this couple of lovebirds!

We made it to the Grand Canyon! So Happy, Happy, Happy!

March 8th was GRAND CANYON day. We took a quick tour of the old Route 66 in Flagstaff, and looked at their historic downtown before heading North on Hwy 180 to GC! It was a nice drive, but not very scenic…..or maybe we have seen so much ‘scenic’ that we are too picky about what gets to use that classification.

We had grass and trees in this campsite! Impressive!

We arrived at our campsite in Trailer Village and checked out the routes of the GC shuttle buses. These buses are provided at no charge, and keep traffic to a minimum on the roads from one viewpoint to the next. Very convenient, as the buses run every 10 minutes and many of the drivers make the ride a lot of fun. One such character had the entire busload singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’!

The view for as far as the eye can see!
Everywhere you look there is more colour

Our first glimpse of the Canyon was at Mather Point. Words fail me now. There is not a single word that can aptly describe the grandeur of the Grand Canyon! It is enormous and stretches off into the horizon. An incredible and worthy destination for everyone’s BUCKET LIST. There is no other place on earth like THIS!!

Sunset

Topped our exceptional day off with an exceptional dinner at Bright Angel Restaurant. MMMmmmm…..wine, grilled salmon for me….and wine and steak for Doug. Bonus….NO ONE HAD TO DRIVE back to the RIG!

Sunset striking against East Canyon……below are trails at the bottom of the canyon….ZOOMED

March 9th we spent the entire day hiking viewpoints….with the help of the shuttle buses. More vistas….more photos. Another night where I did not have to prepare dinner……we ate at the Lodge….Pizza and wine.. …..Yummy! Walked back to the campsite afterwards.

Tried to capture some of the depth in the photo on the right. ….. Hmmmm….I think NOT……the canyon is far deeper than this!

March 10th. Took a trip to Desert View Tower…..25 miles west of where we are camping. Another great day! Climbed the 80 steps to the top of the tower

Mary Colter, the architect who designed this tower, chose stone and native art to help blend the tower to its surroundings
Doug in his new GC shirt……and a Mesa with the Painted Desert stretching to the horizon behind it

……then stopped at a couple more viewpoints where the Colorado River comes into view…

The mighty Colorado. Those rapids look pretty tame…but apparently they are NOT.

saw a few wild elk who posed for a quick photo..…

In left photo you can see the head of the elk ….. who suddenly appears in the photo on the right

We stopped at the Village to get this photo of the Hopi House which was also designed by architect Mary Colter….back in the day

Hopi House is a gift shop.
Look….I changed my shirt!

….then headed back to Mather Point where I believe I got my best photos yet. The sun was just right.

March 11th….. We both awoke around 5:30 am…..so ended up getting a really early start for us….9:30 a.m. Yesterday’s destination was Page, AZ. There are a few great tourist sites to be seen here. The drive was about 200 miles and took a good part of the day, as we stopped at a couple of scenic lookouts, shopped in a roadside Navajo Market, and overall just enjoyed each other’s company! Got to Page around 2:30…..found a campsite and decided to lay low for the day. That gave me a chance to catch up on blogging……IF ONLY THE INTERNET HAD CONTINUED TO WORK!!! Damn the WIFI in these parks is so annoying! Intermittent. It was good for a bit…and then it STOPPED! The girl at the desk says people streaming movies is the cause of it shutting down on everyone else!! Hmmmm! The manager in the park in Phoenix could tell who was doing the streaming and she shut them down!! The WIFI there still didn’t work well. Geez Louise!!

Please help me find a name!

Best part of today’s blog…..you get to vote on my little stuffed Javelina’s name. Javelina is pronounced Have-a-Lena! Thank you to my dear friends who shared their naming wisdom and suggested such good names. Please help me choose!! Here are the choices:

Havie ……..stating the obvious.(I think!)

Geronimo

Tripper

Wally

Pooh

Babe

I think I have all the suggestions here…..can’t get onto my facebook account here to check at the moment! The name that gets picked the most often is what the little guy will be called. This is important…..because other than Doug, he is my only friend on this trip and he needs a name! ( I think the javelina was the only friend when I offered Louise the serving spoon for mouth size bites of her cereal.)