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mistybleu Flagstaff - A travel report by Amanda
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Flagstaff,  United States - flag United States -  Arizona
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mistybleu's travel reports

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

  26 votes
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Without a doubt the GRAND CANYON is my most favourite spot; I could stretch it to, of all the natural wonders I’ve seen, nothing compares to seeing to it and Flagstaff was my starting point.


Part of Flagstaff
Part of Flagstaff
Flagstaff has a population of 55,000 and is situated only 146 miles from Phoenix. It is said that Flagstaff got its name from the pine limbs that supported the American flag each July 4th, however now it is famed for being the base to which the LOWELL OBSERVATORY discovered Pluto in 1930. I only discovered Flagstaff when I was planning my trip, but it’s a great base for exploring Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. The highlights of the area include the GRAND CANYON, METEOR CRATER, SEDONA, PRESCOTT, WHITE MOUNTAINS, TUSCON, BRYCE CANYON and MONUMENT VALLEY; all these sites are near enough to visit in a day. Had I done more in depth research I would have realised this, however my sole desire was to see the Grand Canyon and everything else came in second. Driving from Flagstaff I chatted constantly with my companions who had been laid over in Phoenix because of the ‘big freeze’ on the East Coast. New York, Boston, Hartford and many other airports were complete closed-down because of the bad weather; whereby they had snow, then rain, then extremely low temperatures, then snow again. My companions were very happy to be spending additional time in the desert. We drove along ROUTE 66 [‘where everyone gets their kicks!’; so the song lyrics say] which used to pass directly through the town of Flagstaff, but since the Interstate was built traffic is now diverted, however in sections it runs parallel (to Route 66). As we stopped for petrol or as the Americans say ‘gas’, we all loaded up on some tacky souvenirs [there are some things you just ‘gotta’ do], before we entered the Grand Canyon National Park.

Favourite spots:
The Grand Canyon, North Rim
The Grand Canyon, North Rim
Whether you chose to white water raft down the Colorado River, hike along the canyon floor or just enjoy the views from the rim, the Grand Canyon is an experience not to be missed. As we entered the National Park, the North Rim became visible; when I say visible, I mean it was there, but I couldn’t make it out. Once we got to the parking lot, I began to think that I was on the wrong tour; I still couldn’t see anything. Our tour guide directed us through the souvenir shop; pass the café, in front of the massive wooden fireplace, around the hotel check-in desk, to a big black swinging door. As I pushed the door and stepped outside, the view took my breath away. I walked to the barrier like a zombie, transfixed on this magnificent sight before me. It’s not possible to express accurately how beautiful this vision was and to be honest, the pictures doesn’t do it justice. Only my eyes could see this true miracle, because there in front of me was the Grand Canyon, in all its glory.

What's really great:
The Town of Sedona
The Town of Sedona
What’s really great about this area is driving into the Grand Canyon National Park; errrrh I should move on. Then there’s SEDONA, which was named after one of the first settlers’ wife who was disinherited by her family for running off to ‘Indian country’. Native American Indians believes that it was the birthplace of humanity. Sedona is a pretty little town, made almost entirely of red rock. The town has one main street, which passes through middle and there are lots of restaurants and hotels. Plus many galleries with Native American Indian art work on sale; in fact Sedona is a hot spot for this. I took the Seven Wonders Scenic Tours run by Lloyd Taylor, a really nice old gentlemen, an Arizonan native; the benefit being that he had a complete wealth of information on the area, not just learnt but experienced. But the beauty of Sedona is to experience it on horseback, wondering through the picturesque valleys and the crystal clear streams of this red rock desert.

Sights:
Navajo Reservation, Arizona
Navajo Reservation, Arizona
1. It was exciting stopping on the NAVAJO RESERVATION situated in the PAINTED DESERT; where all the Native American Indians that I encountered were very friendly and mostly selling their handicrafts.

2. Driving 20 miles from Flagstaff through OAK CREEK CANYON deep into the forest, descending thousands of feet. This was a lovely place for a retreat, log cabins and all; and the Creek was perfect for fishing. There are also campsites available which can get booked very quickly.

3. Walking through the black lava fields of Sunset Crater Volcano that erupted in 1065; the jagged rock formation was intriguing. (www.desertusa.com).

4. Not just sights, there is a wealth of wildlife in the area, but you just have to stop to see it. While travelling through the park, we came across a young coyote hiding in the bushes, nothing fancy, but just so unexpected.

Accommodations:
Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon
If you haven’t book accommodation before you arrive, in the airport there are some cheap hotels available, there is also a free magazine with discounts on hotels which can be useful; what’s also good, is that all local telephones call are free, which helps in locating a cheap hotel without spending all your spare cash in the phone box, this includes inside hotels.

I stayed in the Fairfield Inn, located on a busy main road (South Milton Road) about 10 minutes from the airport and there was another hotel in the same compound, plus a few restaurants. Whilst it was a pleasant hotel, the only drawback was they didn’t have Internet access and the nearest shop was a fifteen minute walk. Just down the road in shopping mall was a bookshop that had Internet access for about a dollar an hour.

Nightlife:
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon
The natural wonders club is open to all, whilst I have taken you through some of the most impressive of the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Also appearing is:

Lake Powell was created when the Glen Canyon dam was built in 1963. The Colorado River carved its way through the sandstone and left behind the orange-red cliffs surrounded by the deep blue waters of Lake Powell.

Meteor Crater is just 35 miles from Flagstaff and is open all year around, particularly in the summer months from 6am to 6pm. There is a Museum of Astrogeology which has great examples of meteoritics.

Restaurants:
Tlaquepaque Craft Village
Tlaquepaque Craft Village
Located in an old ‘western’ type-setting, the CAMERON TRADING POST is very quaint and quite reminiscent of old cowboys and Indians films. Established in 1911 for Native American Indians to trade blankets, rugs, baskets, etc., the trading post has now become a tourist pit-stop and souvenir venue.

To the rear of the gift shop is a restaurant; try stopping there for lunch or grabbing some take-away food. The restaurant fuses Mexican and Native Indian with a splash of American, and produces a fine blend of scrumptious meals. The Navajo tacos are delicious; it’s a fluffy golden flat-bread covered with ground beef and salad, with a sprinkling of cheese; very tasty, filling (probably the size of a 9inch pizza) and cheap, around $4 each. There is also a hotel, gift shop, art gallery and lovely garden on the compound. If needed information can be found at: www.camerontradingpost.com.

The picture is of a Mexican inspired village with great shopping and restaurants called Tlaquepaque.

Other recommendations:
Montezuma Castle
Montezuma Castle
MONTEZUMA CASTLE is named after an Aztec emperor; it is a five-storey 20-room cliff dwelling and is the best preserved in American. Situated in the Verde Valley on the flood plains of Beaver Creek, it is the first high-rise apartment building of the prehistoric Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago.

TUZIGOOT is the remains of a village built by the Sinagua farmers set out 120 feet above the Verde Valley. Tuzigoot in Apache means crooked water. Similar to the Montezuma Castle, there was only one entrance to the structure and this was by a ladder, assumed for protection. There were 77 ground-floor rooms.

MONUMENT VALLEY in Utah is relatively close and it is possible to go to the valley with an overnight stay. The sights are great and could be considered as the reverse of the Grand Canyon, where you are actually on the canyon floor looking up.

Useful websites include: Go-utah.com, Go-arizona.com.

Published on Saturday January 22th, 2005


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Thu, Feb 14 2008 - 11:11 PM rating by aufgehts

Hi Amanda,

Our vacation this year is very similar to your trip. We're driving from my home of Charleston,SC out to Sedona which will be our starting point. That will take about 3 1/2 days to get out there. Then we'll spend about 2-3 days in each of the following..Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, then drive along Scenic Byway 12 which is supposed to be one of the top 10 drives in America. And I can hardly wait! Your description of the Grand Canyon was quite vivid depite my not having yet seen it. I'll post my pics when I get back at the end of May!

Best regards,
Jill

Thu, Nov 22 2007 - 04:21 PM rating by murrayskinner

Really enjoyed the report. This past spring we were in Scottsdale and ventured up to Sedona and really enjoyed it. Saved the Grand Canyon for the next trip to Arizona. I want to go to Zion National Park in Utah as well. I just posted a trip report and some pictures. Have a look.

Tue, Feb 08 2005 - 11:32 AM rating by bineba

Hi Amanda,

couldn't agree more about the Grand Canyon being the most beautiful place on earth. I have been to many fantastic places, but this really takes your breath away.

Sabine

Tue, Jan 25 2005 - 05:31 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii amanda
wonderful report and nice pic too

Mon, Jan 24 2005 - 12:22 PM rating by bear495

Wow! Another wonderful, amazing report. I really enjoy seeing anything from you, Amanda. Please, keep writing.

Russ

Mon, Jan 24 2005 - 08:15 AM rating by magsalex

Another great report!

Mon, Jan 24 2005 - 12:35 AM rating by gloriajames

brilliant! should make a visit there soon!

Sun, Jan 23 2005 - 01:52 PM rating by christianj.

Hi Amanda,

what a great report - it makes me remember my first trip out of Europe, not only therefore one of my most impressive one's. Out there, feeling free got a new dimension for me...

Take care, Christian

Sun, Jan 23 2005 - 01:38 PM rating by rangutan

We hope to be in this area later this year, have marked your tips on my map, quite exited - Thanks

Sun, Jan 23 2005 - 12:21 PM rating by britman

Hi Amanda..............another winner - well worthy of *****. Great pictures and lovely writing style

Sun, Jan 23 2005 - 11:11 AM rating by davidx

Hi Amanda, Bang up to your usual excellent standard. Some great pics.
Chhers, David

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