17.05.2017 - 22.05.2017
A couple weeks ago, I spent a few days bouncing around 225 miles of Arizona, visiting three distinct areas: Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Phoenix. I must admit, though these locales have been on my (long) travel wish list for quite some time, I'm not sure when I actually would have visited each of them if not for the fact that I have family who now lives in the state. I'm glad I have an excuse to keep coming back, and each time, I see more than I expect to find...and more places in the state to put on my (getting even longer) travel wish list. For now, here is an overview of my most recent time in Arizona:
Shake It Out: Jeep Off-Roading in Sedona
Yep, I went off the deep end! Well, sort of. It's actually an optical illusion - a clever, perfectly safe photo-op on a sloping surface. The rest of the off-roading tour was no joke. Bump, shake, up, down, left, right...a full-on thrill ride. It was the funnest activity I've done in a long time. I was holding on for dear life, and smiling ear-to-ear having the time of my life. I came to Sedona looking for peace, and ironically, I found myself literally shaking off my worries and stress while bouncing around boulders in a moving vehicle.
A Grand Canyon Express Tour
In the past four years, I passed through Flagstaff three times on separate long distance road trips and one other quickie weekend trip further south in the state. This time, I finally made it to the Grand Canyon! I took a guided Express tour from Sedona, which meant it took two hours each way and you get maybe a total of three hours at the Canyon in two different spots. But here's the thing: For me, it was a great way to do my first visit to this national (and internationally-renowned) landmark. I saw just enough to have the experience, including hiking a little bit along the Bright Angel trail, and getting ideas for what I would want to do if/when I come back someday for a longer visit.
Desert Oasis in Phoenix
The morning I left Sedona, I shivered in my sweatshirt while waiting outside for my shuttle. Two hours later when I reached the Sky Harbor International Airport, I literally went into the bathroom and changed into shorts and a t-shirt...because it was around 100 degrees in Phoenix. Yes, it is very hot outside, and but during this trip, I got to see and experience some of the city's real gems. Some of my Phoenix favorite experiences included lunch at Taco Guild, photographing saguaros & cacti at the famous Desert Botanical Garden, and walking around the historic Coronado neighborhood. Also, one day while driving around the Phoenix outskirts for the fun of it, my sister and I happened upon Goldfield, a ghost town tourist attraction at the foothills of the Superstition Mountains.
Where to next in the Wild West?
I'm sure I will come back to some of these areas again in the future. But while I was in Arizona this most recent time, a couple travel guides (separately) recommended additional destinations in the state, and thus, I have started to research and daydream about: Jerome (a ghost town nicknamed "the Wickedest Town in the West") and Antelope Canyon (an area near the Arizona/Utah state line which is supposed to be breathtakingly gorgeous).