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July 25, 2011 / mws

2009 Arizona March

We flew from Harrisburg, PA thru DC to Albuquerque, NM.  We had no problems with the flight, but the luggage carrier broke in Albuquerque.We only had to wait a little while until it was fixed.  We rented a Nissan Pathfinder.

March 13 2009 We traveled from Albuquerque thru the scenic White Mountains to the Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona and spent the day hiking.

Hiking at Chiricahua National Monument

Hiking at Chiricahua National Monument

Chiricahua National Monument was established in 1924 to preserve and protect the pinnacles. The park comprises 11,985 acres with 86% of this area designated a wilderness.

March 14 2009  We traveled thru the the small towns of Bisbee and Tombstone. Bisbee is a very small, quirky former mining town. Tombstone is a more touristy place with cowboys, stagecoaches,shops and restaurants. We took a tour of the Silver mine in Tombstone. The next day we drove thru the Coronado National Forest area and up the scenic Mount Lemmon Drive.

March 16 2009  We visited San Xavier Mission, a very impressive structure with surprisingly interesting gift shop.

San Xavier Mission

San Xavier Mission

In the afternoon we visited Tubac…the town where Art and History Meet…We toured two model homes here…just dreaming…$350,000 but absolutely beautiful homes.

March 17 2009 Blue skies and sunny 75 degrees to start this day.  We arrived in Saguaro National Park and went on the 1 1/2 mile Valley View trail. After a very short distance, Lance spied a rattlesnake just off the trail!

Arizona Rattlesnake

Arizona Rattlesnake

March 18 2009  We traveled on the well known Apache Trail today.  We had heard so much about this area, but never had the opportunity to include it in a previous trip. We were NOT disappointed! We hit all the highlights…Canyon Lake Vista, Tortilla Flats, Apache Lake Vista and took way too many photos.

Along the Apache Trail

Along the Apache Trail

March 19 2009  SEDONA is our  favorite place in Arizona. It’s so stunning! Warm and sunny! We drove to a parking area and hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain with the red rocks all around us. We drove the upper red rock loop & visited Red Rock State Park with Cathedral Rock. Our next stops were Tuzigoot National Monument, Jerome, Prescott and Montezuma Castle. The next day we headed north thru pretty Oak Creek Canyon to Grand Canyon National Park.

March 21 2009  Drove to the East Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It wasn’t crowded on the East Rim and we had seen the rest of the park before. So we cruised along the rim and took a few photos, bought some jewelry and took in the grandeur.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

March 22 2009  We drove north towards Utah to see Monument Valley. We went to the visitors center and got a map of the area. You can book a jeep tour or elect to drive on your own. We turned south and stopped at the Natural Bridges National Monument.

By mid-afternoon the wind had kicked up and we decided to move on. We needed to travel about 100 miles to our stop for the night in Chinle, Arizona. As we traveled, the wind got worse, and we entered a major dust storm.Visibility was 0% at times. We put on the 4-way flashers and inched along as best we could. We were afraid to stop because we were concerned that someone would run into us and there was no way to see where it was safe to pull off.

At one point, we encountered the strangest phenomena. There were power lines along the road and we saw purple,green and blue wavy lines along the power lines. It appeared to be an electromagnetic field. Amazing, but very scary.We finally arrived in Chinle and were able to check in to our hotel. There was no power at  the gas stations, restaurants or hotels. We did not care! We just wanted to get off the road. We hope to never experience that again.

March 23 2009 Our only reason for stopping in Chinle was to visit the Canyon de Chelly with cameras in hand.  This morning we went on a jeep tour with our personal guide, Ben Teller. It was well worth the effort. Ben Teller is the last Navajo living full time in the canyon. He told us of his life experience in the Canyon and gave us a 4 1/2 hour tour. It was very worthwhile.

Canyon de Chelley

Canyon de Chelly

In the afternoon we drove the South Rim Drive and took more pictures.

March 24 2009  We headed back to Albuquerque, NM to fly back home. On the way we made a stop at the Window Rock Monument in Eastern Arizona. This monument was constructed to honor the Navajo “Code talkers” from WWII.

Other than the dust storm, this was a wonderful trip!

To see more photos of our 2009 Arizona trip, click here
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