Arizona/Utah
March 2009
On March 12th I embarked on a roadtrip to Arizona.  My parents are living in Page
now, what I consider to be the center of everything amazing about the 4 Corners
area.  The minute I found out they were moving there I started planning a trip to
come visit them this spring.  So I left work on Thursday March 12th at 2:00 pm with a
packed car and headed out east along I-10, passing Palm Springs and Joshua Tree and
over the Colorado River into Arizona.  You know you're in Arizona when you see one of
these...
I stopped near Quartzite for gas and was amazed at the number of RV's there and
for miles and miles beyond.  But with the beautiful weather and scenery it's not hard
to see why they flock there.  I took Highway 60 and headed north of the Harquahala
Mountains just as a storm was brewing.  After the rain passed a faint rainbow
appeared.
I made it to the boundary of the Prescott National Forest just as it was getting truly
dark and then drove the rest of the way by the light of the moon.  Just outside of
Prescott I pulled into White Spar Campground, found a spot, made myself a wrap for
dinner, then fell asleep.  In the morning I awoke to Ponderosa Pines and a
temperature of 24 degrees!
March 12 Drive to Prescott, AZ
March 13 Montezuma Castle & Tuzigoot National Monuments
March 14 Pick up Kristine from Flagstaff Airport, Cameron Trading Post
March 15
Upper Antelope Canyon & Antelope Marina
March 16 Toadstools & Horseshoe Bend
March 17 Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch
March 18 Lick Wash & Big Water
March 19 The Wave
March 20 Lake Powell Boat Trip - Antelope and Labyrinth Canyons
March 21 Cathedral Wash and Lee's Ferry River Trail
March 22 Take Kristine back to Flagstaff Airport, sand and snow storms
March 23 Page Rimview Trail and Powell Museum
March 24 Cottonwood Canyon Rd, Catstair Canyon, Hanging Gardens
March 25 The Notch Petroglyphs, Pahreah town site
March 26 Valley of Fire State Park, NV
March 27 Drive home!
From Montezuma Castle I headed over to Montezuma Well.  This is an outlying site of
the monument very much worth visiting.  Montezuma Well is a large natural spring that
produces 1.5 million gallons of water per day!  No doubt it was a revered place and still
is.  Several ruins can be found near the well.  The water itself has a natural outlet
which the Sinagua people funneled into a system of canals to irrigate their crops.  The
hand-dug canals miles long were quite a feat to build!
I made myself some breakfast and then got dressed and packed up and headed
towards the Verde River Valley.  This part of Arizona is the most hospitable I have
seen.  The river is large and has nourished humankind for thousands of years.  I
headed first to Montezuma Castle National Monument.  I was probably the first one in
the visitor center that morning and I enjoyed the short walk from there to see the
700 year old Sinagua ruins.  They are incredibly well-preserved and scenic.  I also
enjoyed the huge Arizona Sycamores and abundant bird life.  I saw Red-tailed Hawks
and heard the descending trills of Canyon Wrens.
I ate lunch at the deserted but very pleasant picnic area then headed to Tuzigoot
National Monument.  I had read that this was "perhaps the least-impressive ruin in
Arizona" - but I beg to differ!  This large ruin with its lofty perch on a bend of the
Verde River is gorgeous.  I enjoyed touring the ruins and the nearby Tavasci Marsh.  
This is one of the largest marshes in Arizona (who knew Arizona even had a marsh??)
and harbors abundant plant and animal life.  An approaching thunderstorm hastened my
return to my car and then I headed to Dead Horse State Park and found a campsite
and walked several of its trails many of which had fabulous views of Tuzigoot.
Next part of trip...  Antelope Canyon

A trip to this area in March 2004
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In the morning I awoke before sunrise and packed up and headed up through Sedona
and beautiful Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff where I would pick up my sister from
the airport.  Her flight was a little late so I hung out at a nearby Barnes and Noble.  
Once she got to the "cutest little airport in the US" we then headed north on Hwy 89
towards Page.  We stopped at Gray Mountain for gas but were unimpressed by its
Trading Post.  But we pulled into the Cameron Trading Post and it was awesome :)  The
museum there showcases very intricate and expensive Navajo rugs and baskets and
pottery and it is amazing!  Out back there is a beautiful terraced garden.  We had a
"tailgate" party lunch and then headed back on the road towards Page.  We pulled in
early afternoon and met Mom and Dad's new dog Abbey :)  Then with Mom and Dad's
help we set up our basecamp for a week at Wahweap Campground on the south shore
of Lake Powell.  Mom made us her famous tacos and we started planning out our week
together exploring the area.
Little Colorado River
This blanket's pricetag is $95,000
Cameron Trading Post
Sunrise at Dead Horse State Park, love the beam!
Unidentified plant above
Ephedra below
Unidentified flower
Mom and Dad adopted Abbey late last year