Lets Visit Arizona
This trip was motivated by several diverse considerations, ie;
I lived in Tucson after my family moved back to the USA from Guam.
We wanted to visit the Sedona & the Grand Canyons.
We wanted to take Jeremy to a dude ranch, and hike Sabino Canyon.
We wanted to end the trip in Phoenix, hike Piestewa Peak, and visit Celeste's niece.
One of our first adventures, was a trip to the Pima County Air Museum. This used to belong to the Air Force, where all of the Air Force retired aircraft were stored in a huge area. My parents were stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, and our house backed up to the aircraft storage area (base housing). So a lot of us kids would sneak through the fence to go out into the storage yard and play inside the WW2 aircraft stored there.
Jeremy and I stopped to admire a SR-71 (image #2), which was the fastest manned airplane in the world for a long time and might still be the fastest.
The museum has at least one of every thing the Military ever flew, and even though they refurbish and sell some aircraft & aircraft parts, and destroy others, they maintain a set of aircraft for the museum so that the general public can see where their tax dollars have gone!
Celeste, Jeremy and I hiked up to the top of Sabino Canyon, nice day, got an early start before the heat went up and we had a lot of fun. Sort of "earning" our dinner as they say! Seven Falls is 4.2 miles up the canyon from the parking area, so we felt that we had done a respectful amount of hiking once we got back to the car.
The next day's adventure was to introduce Celeste & Jeremy to horse back riding. This is at a dude ranch near the Tanque Verde Ranch. I used to work at one of these riding stables when I was a teenager, but I could not begin to identify which ranch it was after all these years!
Everyone is saddled up and ready to ride. Because my back was not in good shape, I helped them get ready and I let them take the ride, while I waited for them. I would have preferred to go, but my back was never going to deal with that kind of movement & bouncing!
We drove out to the Biosphere which is north of Tucson near Oracle, AZ. This was an interesting tour, as there was a well known study made of the effects on humans who are working & living in an enclosed space without the ability to exit.
The Biosphere interior is comprised of areas where they grew their own crops to sustain themselves. We took the guided tour, so that we could hear the narration about each area and what took place there.
Panoramic view of Sedona, Coffee Pot Rock and Capital Butte Rock
"Thunder Mountain" on the north side of the city. View is from the airport overlook. This area is east (and
a little south) of the Palatki Heritage Area. These rocks, as well as the two Heritage sites, are part of the
huge Cocochino National Forest.
NOTE: Image is the property of Scott W via Flickr.
We rented a jeep because the native Indian Cliff Dwellings (Palatki Heritage Site) are way,
way back in the area to the
north west of Sedona. Without a jeep, there is no way to get there, unless you go with a tour
group. We thought it would be much more fun to drive ourselves there and back! Keep in mind that you will
be traversing a very rough road that is heavily rutted and it frequently crosses small rocky hills
that require you to be in four wheeel drive mode.
NOTE: Even with an off-road vehicle, you cannot drive all the way to the Cliff Dwellings. You have to park about 75 yards away and walk in.
The Palatki Heritage Site and its sister site, the Honanki Heritage Site, were the largest cliff dwellings of the Red Rock Country between AD 1150 - 1350. The Palatki Heritage Site cliff dwelling and rock art site is located near the town of Sedona in north-central Arizona. Currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service under the Red Rock Pass Program, the site is open to the general public for visits seven days a week (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).
It is amazing to realize that these cliffs were where this Indian Tribe lived a very long time ago.
Looking west from the lookout point we were standing on, the Canyon continues for a number of miles before it ends near Hoover Dam.
Since the weather conditions in the Grand Canyon blocked our goal of a flight down into the Canyon, we decided to drive back to Sedona via an alternate route. We took a look at the Arizona map and decided that it would be interesting to drive to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
As you can see in these images, the area is a mixture of volcanic ash, dried out
trees and unusual geography everywhere you look. There is a 1.6 kilometer loop trail
that takes you through the park, but they do not allow hikers to climb to the top of
the crater itself - this has been closed since 1973 due to damage caused by hikers.
NOTE: Click here to view some Google Images of the park.
Verde Railroad locomotive after dropping us off at the mid-point of the train ride.
The train had to be driven down to where they could put the locomotive back on the front cars to enable us to return back to the starting point.
The locomotive has arrived, and it is headed to the front of the train to start our ride to Perkinsville.
Everyone is queued up waiting to board the train, it is a beautiful day with clear skies, so our visibility should be very good.
The train parallels the Verde River as it heads out to Perkinsville, AZ where the turn-around point is located.
You may have noticed that there aren't many pics of the Grand Canyon? We were to go on a "discovery drive" around the Canyon rim and were planning on taking a flight the next day to tour the Canyon, however, the next day a raging snow storm precluded us from taking that flight. So we did all the other things you see in this post. And eventually, as it always does, we had to return back home to Florida.
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