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SUSAN AND BILL’S

EXCELLENT

ARIZONA ADVENTURE


The Tour Route Day 3:  Saturday 15 Sept  Grand Canyon to  Kayenta   (Monument Valley) 

Day 4:  Sunday 16 Sept  Kayenta to Window  Rock 

Day 2:  Friday 14 Sept  Grand Canyon  Days 7, 8:  Wednesday 19 Sept  & Thursday 20 Sept  Base camp @  Flagstaff;  Day trips on  18 Sept to  Sedona area  & on 19 Sept  to Sunset  Crater & Wupatki  

Day 5:  Day 1: 

Monday 17 Sept 

Thursday 13 Sept 

Window Rock to  Holbrook 

Day 6:  Phoenix to Tusayan  (Grand Canyon) 

Day 9:  Friday 21 Sept  Flagstaff to Phoenix 

Tuesday 18 Sept  Holbrook to  Flagstaff 

Gas prices:  Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) 

$3.89/US Gal or about $1/L 

Arrived: 0930 Thursday 13 Sep 

Li le varia on throughout  this part of the state 

Departed: 1030 Saturday 22 Sept 

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Day 1: Thursday 13 September

GEOGRAPHY SHOCK: OAK CREEK, SEDONA, OAK CREEK CANYON Courthouse Bu e 

Our first view of the famous “Red Rocks” from the visitor center.

Switchbacks at the north end of Oak  Creek Canyon—too much fun (not)!  2


Day 1: Thursday 13 September

GRAND CANYON @ SUNSET: THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT

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Day 2: FRIday 14 September

INTO THE CANYON 4


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Day 2: Friday 14 September

A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE: HELI-TOUR!

When you take off, you cross a sea of Ponderosa pines, but about 5 minutes in, they drop away as you cross the canyon rim.

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Day 2: FRIday 14 September

ANOTHER SUNSET, ANOTHER SHOW

Apparently the Elk cannot read the “Keep Away from Humans” signs.

Red and orange sandstones are accented in the waning light.

Crowds even in September (above). More scenery (right).

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Day 3: Saturday 15 September

SAYING GOODBYE TO A GRAND SPECTACLE...

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GRAND CANYON SCRAPBOOK:

The upper Limestone rocks are 270 million years  old, and increase in age as one goes downward.  The thick red Supai group  seen in many of these  views ranges from 285 to 315 million years. At the  bo om of the canyon in this area the Colorado  River has cut into the Vishnu basement rocks,  which approach 2 billion years in age. 

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Day 3: Saturday 15 September

...and hello to even more spectacles! The canyon of the Little Colorado didn’t look like a lot from a distance, but...

Nowhere near as big as the GC, but stunning in its own merits.

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Day 3: Saturday 15 September

OTHERWORLDLY SHAPES SPRING FROM THE DESERT LANDSCAPE.

This is the “neck” remaining from an  ancient volcano that has weathered away. 

Along the highway north of Kayenta.

And these weren’t even the main attraction!

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Day 3: Saturday 15 September

IT CAN’T GET BETTER THAN THIS...

MONUMENTVALLEY NAVAJOTRIBALPARK

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...Except when the sun sets

The vistas changed by the minute as the sun sank below the horizon.

Sunset this evening was at 18:57local time. We’d timed our arrival well.

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Day 4: SUNDAY 16 September

A LAND AS VARIED AS ONE CAN IMAGINE:

“Baby Rocks” along US 160 east of Kayenta. 

Yet another mesa and the ever‐present barbed‐wire fence. 

Two of many panoramas on US 191, heading towards Chinle and Canyon de Chelly. 

Water, wind, gravity, and  me have all worked in  concert to create these  pinnacles, mesas, and  bu es. Every turn of the  road, every rise brought new vistas in  this never‐ending parade of beauty.  14


Day 4: SUNDAY 16 September

CANYON DE CHELLY & THE WHITE HOUSE

More heart-stopping views! We drove to the end of the south rim drive, then stopped at each overlook on the way back, before heading towards Window Rock via the north rim drive.

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Day 4: SUNDAY 16 September

Susan’s goat herd came from here.

WINDOW ROCK: AN UNEXPECTED FIND A marvelous neck

beside Window Rock, just behind the Navajo

Nation Capital

buildings. There was a

They were a small band of  warriors who created an  unbreakable code from the  ancient language of their people  and changed the course of  modern history. 

lone figure on the rock, likely engaged in evening prayers.

Fortunately this site more than made up for the limited restaurant options in the town.

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Known as Navajo Code Talkers,  they were young Navajo men who  transmi ed secret  communica ons on the  ba lefields of WWII. At a  me  when America's best  cryptographers were falling short,  these modest sheepherders and  farmers were able to fashion the  most ingenious and successful  code in military history. They  drew upon their proud warrior  tradi on to brave the dense  jungles of Guadalcanal and the  exposed beachheads of Iwo Jima.  Serving with dis nc on in every  major engagement of the Pacific  theater from 1942‐1945, their  unbreakable code played a pivotal  role in saving countless lives and  hastening the war's end. 


Day 5: MONDAY 17 September

Lava flows and painted

The roadway follows the edge of a lava field that covered the sediments that have formed the painted desert.

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Day 5: MONDAY 17 September

SURPRISES ABOUNDING Puerco Pueblo ruins, and petroglyphs. The pueblo was inhabited by  about 200 people within 100‐125 rooms  around the year 1300 CE. 

Newspaper rock. Image at right  is taken from about 30 m away  (as close as you are allowed);  images below are the le  and  right faces of the rock. 

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Day 5: MONDAY 17 September

WOOD You believe: 225 000 000 y old! Striped formations of Bentonite were just a teaser, as we would soon find out!

The geography and

Our first petrified logs at stop 1

petrified woods of the

on the Blue Mesa (above).

Blue Mesa blew us away!

The specimen at right was about

(Above, and both bottom

30 cm long, end to end.

pix)

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Day 5: MONDAY 17 September

The forest reveals its glory slowly At Jasper Forest, log segments litter the valley floors. Weathering also slowly reveals new logs in the cliff faces. Ravens were our company at many stops.

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Day 5: MONDAY 17 September

The crystal forest shows it all The chunks of wood at the Blue Mesa were puny compared to these giant slabs.

Nearly all of the logs on this page have diameters similar to the one above.

About 225 million years ago a volcanic  explosion knocked these trees over in a  swampy area, then covered them  with ash. Water percolated through  the silica‐rich ash and worked its way  into the buried trees, replacing the  cell material with silica and other  minerals. As weathering and erosion  occurred in more recent  mes, these  petrified logs have become exposed.  21


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Day 6: Tuesday 18 September

Bang, crash, boom, (and btw $31 svp) Meteor Crater is the result of the impact  of a meteoroid es mated to  have been traveling at 40 000  km/h approximately 50,000  years ago. It is thought to  have been about 45 m across  with a mass of several  hundred thousand tonnes: it  struck the rocky plain with an explosive  force greater than twenty million tonnes  of TNT.   Approaching the crater from the interstate, you see two distinctive landmarks: the crater rim and the glint of sunlight from RV rooftops.

Proof we were there together, thanks to the two boys from London UK.

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Day 6: Tuesday 18 September

Walnut canyon: cliff dwellings Up close

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Day 6: Tuesday 18 September

WELCOME TO FLAGSTAFF

Margueritas at work!

21: Monsoon on the Rim (cocktails Tues) * 

Historic Weatherford  Hotel  

6: San Felipe’s Can na (supper Tuesday) ** 

(#5 on map) 

37: Flagstaff Brewing Co. (Bill’s watering hole Tues a ernoon) ** 

29: Mountain Oasis (supper Wednesday) * 

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Day 7: Wednesday 19 September

Sultry Sedona & red rocks

High temps the  same a ernoon:  Sedona 95°F  Flagstaff 76°F 

Chapel   of   the Holy  Cross 

Courthouse Bu e  (le ) and  Bell Rock (right) 

Cathedral Rocks and  modest  home 

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Her hike & His hike 

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Day 7: Wednesday 19 September

CASTLE ON A CLIFF

One of the first National Monuments, established over 100 years ago.

“Castle A”, a larger se lement at the base  of the same cliff. 

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

Hiking a volcano

Hiking through Ponderosa Pines, on a trail of  volcanic ash and pumice fragments;  Looking for Piñon seeds with San Francisco peaks in  the background;  

Old Caves Crater is about a 10-

Down in one of the caves on the crater summit. 

minute drive from Flagstaff. It is thought to have erupted about 1000 years ago, one of many cinder cones in the San Francisco volcanic region. We hiked this peak fairly early in the day before the temperatures got out of hand. 29


Day 7: Wednesday 19 September

More volcanic wonders Bonito lava flow at Sunset Crater jumped out of the forest like a deer on the road. Jagged rocks and fields of ash were everywhere!

Giant cracks and  thousands of  ny  holes a est to the  volcanic origins of  this place.          Sunset Crater last  erupted in 1064 or  1065 CE. 

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Sunset Crater at noon from the northeast. (Below) Later the same day Sunset Crater shows its eponymous colors.

While taking this image we heard the distinctive yips of a pack of coyotes emanating from the woods.

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

Desert-edge pueblos

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

1: WUKOKI pueblo

It’s as if it had grown from the rocks themselves.

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

2: WUpatKI pueblo

About 60 years ago, some  sec ons were restored and  park caretakers lived in a  two‐room sec on.  Note the same‐shaped rock  in these two images.  Susan was intrigued by their  lives there, and bought a  book of le ers from one of  the ladies who lived and  worked there in the early  1950s. 

Po ery found nearby. It’s  very rare to come across  intact ar facts like this. 

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

3: the citadel

Like many other such se lements o en  have, here the site has a second  dwelling area near to, but outside of,  the main pueblo.  Park service policy is to stabilize exis ng  ruins but not to restore them. Thus one will see new  (but well‐blended) mortar in a number of places.  That said, the citadel itself has been le  untouched. 

Nalakihu Pueblo, at which Susan is poin ng in the image at le . 

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Day 8: Thursday 20 September

4: LOMAKI pueblo & box canyon dwellings

Signage typically found at  trailheads. Some background info,  and reminders of the rules for  responsible, respec ul behavior. 

Two box canyon dwellings perch atop opposite sides of  the mouth of the box canyon (above);  Lomaki Pueblo also perches on the edge of another box  canyon about 100 meters away. Note the (likely)  storage areas at the bo om of the cliff below the  dwelling. 

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Day 9: Friday 21 September

4: goodbye - but first, let’s turn up the heat! Phoenix lies in  the Sonoran  Desert:   in its  hinterland,  this is a  forest!    (Saguaro cac   predominate  in this image.) 

It was a mere 106°F in Phoenix, so the visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens didn't last long:   30 min for Susan, 10 for Bill. 

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Mesas and buttes appearing near or far more often than I could count. The ravens that were omnipresent at the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.

Lasting impressions - his

The indescribable enormity and beauty of the Grand Canyon:

Striped rocks, the powers of weathering, the powers

stunning by day, stunning by evening.

of nature over the long term. Petrified wood that looked just like recently-felled chunks of wood in a forest at home. Walking on a volcano and on a lava field, both of which were formed when William the Conqueror was heading into England.

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Lasting impressions - hers

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MORE Lasting impressions - hers

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Bill and Susan's Excellent Arizona Adventure  

being a kind of photo album of our explorations of Arizona's northeast, September 2012.

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