Ambling in Arizona for Spring Break

After our Utah excursion, we caravaned to Arizona.

For many of us, myself included, Arizona is not as well-known as Utah or New Mexico. For those of us in The Front Range of Colorado, Arizona is a bit too far of a drive without some extensive use of vacation time. Vacation time in short supply for the typical American. But that is another story. And why I quit work for a while. 🙂

In any case, so much of Arizona is Terra Incognito for many of us. A state full of nooks and crannies begging to be discovered and savored. A different history, culture, and natural wonders awaiting.

With my road trip, and my friends taking some time off, we were able to see Arizona a bit more. And discover some of it together.

The first stop was nearby Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border and administered by the Dine’ (Navajo).

The scenic vistas are the primary draw, of course.

But the historian in me can’t help but appreciate how these few square miles have defined a large part of the American cultural mythology. The movies filmed in this very area formed many of our views of the American West.

And a large portion of the language of cinema developed through the stories created here as well.

But with the children and families, my solo inclinations to wax the poetic was curtailed a bit. Well, maybe a little. 🙂 Instead, we all enjoyed a three-mile lollipop style hike on the valley floor.

After the hike and checking out the nearby museum/gift shop, we made our way to Navajo National Monument for camping.

Wow. What a place! Scenic, lovely, and not overly busy.

We took some children friendly strolls the following day along the rim.

Fossil imprint.

My only regret is that I need more time spent here to appreciate and savor the place. Backpacking on a limited basis is even allowed. I’ll be back.

We then stopped in Page, resupplied, and did laundry.

The caravan moved onward with a quick stretch of the legs to the iconic Horseshoe Bend overlook.

A wicked busy place to say the least! But worth the stop as I would not have seen it on my own.

We drove on to Lee’s Ferry camping area at the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Also, a place that is considered the start of the Grand Canyon.

The Zapin family met up with that night. Our extended tribe was now thirteen people. Three families and one odd solo guy. 🙂

Taking photos, of course! PCO Josh Zapin.

The following day we all went into Cathedral Wash. A three-mile hike that was scrambling fun for the children. And fun for the adults, too!

After a bit, we made it to the Colorado River. We enjoyed the serenity of the area.

Dave, Malia, and the children said their “goodbyes” as they had plans to backpack in Utah for the next half of their break.

The entire gang. PCO Dave H.
At the trailhead with Elijah. He would use my camera and take some photos. Cool! PCO Josh Zapin.

We ambled back and then made our way to the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center with its famous view down Marble Canyon and into the Grand Canyon itself.

We made our way back to camp and enjoyed some leisure time at a beach on the Colorado River. The warm sun, the flowing water, and the sound of the nearby riffles an excellent end to a good day.

The following morning our smaller caravan moved on to Canyon de Chelly. I was there in January but certainly did not mind returning.

But we stopped at a picnic spot on a dirt track first. A chance to stretch the legs and enjoy a view. The hoodoos and arroyos called out from our location on the rim.

Elijah took this photo with my camera.

Our caravan found a camping spot that evening. And the following morning we hiked into the canyon via the White House trail. The only way for non-tribal members to access the canyon floor without a guide.

My friends were quite pleased with the aesthetics of the hike itself even beyond the old dwelling on the canyon floor.

Though my friends were starting to feel the pull to get back to Colorado, I did convince them to see the Spider Rock overlook in the park. The overlook is perhaps the most iconic view in the park. And should not be missed.

I think the smiles displayed showed the appreciation for the extra stop.

The caravan moved on. We made it to Cortez, CO near the Four Corners monument. We camped at a local state park and celebrated the first night of Passover together with a Seder dinner. Colorado Camping Style!

Avery even read in Hebrew.

Even those among us who did not know any Hebrew seemed to enjoy the good food, the holiday spirit and the feeling of the community celebrated on this special night.The following morning we all went our separate ways. My friends to other engagements or to get ready for work. And my solo vagabonding continues Where will the road take me next?

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