Friday, September 18, 2009

Phoenix Airport (Aug 9, 2009)

I have had absolutely had no time to update my blog for the past 3 days, not because I was too tired but more because I have been having so much fun that I never wanted it to end.

Rachel and her family were awesome and I leave behind fond memories of staying with a proper American family, in a proper American house and having one of the best American dinners ever (with barbequed bananas, a superb dessert…yum).

And to top it all – The Grand Canyon and Sedona, two sights no one should ever miss. Hole in the ground…not too much of a sight…are not at all apt for the Grand Canyon. On Friday morning I drove my rental from Chandler up north to The GC. The highway was good, but pretty similar to the ones in Nevada (desert on both sides). First stop was at the Sunset Crater on US-89. Here an ancient volcano eruption had occurred and there is a lava flow, and black rock. It is a pretty cool sight if you have never seen volcanic craters before. Lenox Crater is a small hike which can be done to see the volcanic rock. This is a part of a bigger National Park which also contains the Wupatki National Monument, which I did not have time to see.

Remember any hike you do here – take water with you. Even after the short 1 mile hike I was panting and guzzling water.

After this I left for the GC, along 89 and then on to 64. This is where I saw the Arizona Roads I wanted to see. It was beautiful - Single lane road, a few Indian Trading Posts along the way, and canyons and desert in the distance.

This road goes to the East Entrance of the GC, and I would advice you to take this entrance rather than the South Entrance as it is not crowded, and you can find parking along the lookouts.

The route is called the Desert View Drive, and the first lookout is Desert View. Here I got my first sight of the Grand Canyon and it literally blew my mind. I will not even try to explain what I saw as it is simply no use. You have to see it to believe it – The Buttes, the Colorado River and the various colours of the canyon.

There are a few points like Grandview Point and Moran Point where you can stop and get different views of the Canyon. Yaki Point is not open to cars, but the shuttle bus takes you there. I wanted to do a short hike there called the Kaibab Trail, but I thought the better of it and stuck to the Rim Walk, which is a much simpler hike along the rim.

I drove up to Mather point, which is the first view point from the South Entrance, and finding parking is tough here. I had to turn back and park at Pipe Creek Vista which is between Yaki and Mather point. But don’t return back after 8 pm and I will tell you why in my next post!

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