Saturday, June 2, 2018

Arizona trip – Sedona Desert & Grand Canyon

If life gives you the chance to go on a trip, you take it. I’m always very excited whenever I get the opportunity to travel, be it a vacation, roadtrip or just a 3-day escapade. So of course I couldn’t say
no to this trip to Arizona. It was a lot of driving, but it was totally worth it. After a few hours of driving through the desert, we finally arrived in Sedona aka “Red Rock Country.” For the nature lovers, for those who love hiking and taking photographs, Sedona is a great place with its beautiful natural scenery and hiking trails. Many of these trails are considered to be vortex hikes – sites of natural energy which can be calming or energizing or both.

We went to explore these “magical sites” and chose to go on the Bell Rock hike. There are two ways of doing it: the long and easy trail Bell Rock Pathway or Bell Rock Trail which starts at the climb sign after a mile or so of easy walking along the pathway. We chose the second one as we wanted to climb rather than walk. Although it was very steep and dangerous, it was fun and we got a greater panoramic overview as we went higher up. However, the view from the top was by far the best of them, and it was worth all the hiking through the rocks and twisted juniper trees on that hot, sunny day. 

Whether or not vortex sites are real or they were created to draw tourists to the Sedona area, there really is something special about these amazing red rock formations and that is the strong connection with nature, which comes from being surrounded by this wild beauty, a splash of paradise in the middle of the desert.

The other exciting part of the trip was the Grand Canyon. Apart from what Wikipedia says about it - a 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and over a mile deep steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River – I can say one thing: it is breathtaking. 

One of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon offers incomparable vistas to the almost five million visitors who are attracted to its inspiring landscapes each year. The canyon’s story tells of geologic processes played out over unimaginable time spams as a unique combination of size, color and dazzling emotional forms.

Tourists who visit the canyon are interested in different activities such as rafting, hiking, running, and helicopter tours. For the 6 hours we spent there, we chose to walk and take the shuttle doing the casual sightseeing from the South Rim.

Excited to see the landscape, we first walked the South Rim Trail towards the Mather and Yaki Points. As expected, the views along the way were stunning and there were many signs that educated the tourists on the making of the Grand Canyon. It seemed that there was always a photograph waiting to be taken, as everywhere I would look the sight was scenic and unique.

Mather Point

Then we went to see Yavapay Geology Museum, a very useful center of information about the forming of rocks and the various forms of life of the Grand Canyon. We there found out that its geological story includes rocks nearly two billion years old in the bottom of the canyon, mountains forming and eroding away, sea levels rising and falling. When we got hungry, we enjoyed a pizza at Maswik Lodge – huge and delicious.

At the end of the day, we drove the Desert View Drive and went down into the canyon, getting a better view of the Colorado River. We then enjoyed the sunset over the Desert View Watchtower, situated at the far eastern end of the South Rim. The tower stands 70 feet (21 m) tall, the highest point on the South Rim. It offers one of the few full views of the bottom of the canyon and the Colorado River. As the sun set over the majestic canyon, changing the colors and shadows, I understood why the Grand Canyon is often named one of the natural wonders of the world.

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