A Grand Arizona Holiday

Andrew and I spent a joyful Christmas holiday with my mother.  She flew in from Florida to visit and sightsee around Arizona with us.  Here are a few highlights from her week with us

Camping at Lake Pleasant Regional Park, where we a visit from some wild burro on our second day.  Unfortunately, my mother never actually saw them…just heard their neighs from the surrounding cliffs.

Touring Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and enjoying a beautiful setting sun as we drove back to camp.

Camping at Dead Horse State Park, where we journeyed up the switchbacked road to drive through the old mining town, Jerome.  Also, we spent a little bit of time walking on Dead Horse State Park’s 1.3 mile Mesa trail.  It is not much a trail, but makes for a nice walking path to overlook the campground. 

Sightseeing around Sedona’s Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, which has a large number of galleries and jewelry store.  Unfortunately, it was too close to Christmas to buy myself a treat. 😉

Visiting Grand Canyon for Christmas Eve and Day.  It ended up being a white Christmas with temperatures dropping to 12 degrees the next morning.  Brrr!

Traveling back to Phoenix area to camp at Lost Dutchman State Park.  Our final day with my mother was spent hiking a few of the trails and visiting a local shop.

Before New Year’s it was time to send my mother back to Florida, where she could defrost and enjoy her sunny days.  It was truly delightful introducing her to our Airstream way of life.  We look forward to seeing her next year on the west coast.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon at Christmas
Grand Canyon at Christmas
Rosie at Lake Pleasant
Rosie at Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant
Burro Visit, Lake Pleasant
Burro Visit, Lake Pleasant
Ame Playing Fetch, Lake Pleasant
Ame Playing Fetch, Lake Pleasant
Ame Playing Fetch, Lake Pleasant
Ame Playing Fetch, Lake Pleasant
Taliesin West
Taliesin West
Rosie at Lost Dutchman State Park
Rosie at Lost Dutchman State Park

Petrified Forest National Park

From Canyon de Chelly, we made our way to Petrified Forest National Park.   While the national park doesn’t have a campground, we were able to find adequate camping at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop located .5 miles from the south park entrance.  Crystal forest has two small campgrounds, one is free with no hook ups and the other is $10 with electricity.  Since the weather was cold and wet, we opted for the electric site, which came with tons of free mud.    

For two days, we explored Petrified Forest.  The first day we stopped by most of the southern overlooks and trails.  I am delighted to share that this national park is pet friendly, so Ame enjoyed the walks along Giant Log, Crystal Forest (not be confused with the gift shop) and Blue Mesa.  The second day we crossover I-40 and stopped at the various Painted Desert overlooks.  From Kachina to Tawa Point, there is a rim trail that offers some nice views of colored canyons.    On our way back to camp, we made stop at  Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Gift Shop in Holbrook.  This large shop offered a large array of petrified wood and unique artifacts.  My favorite was the jewelry, especially the Baltic amber pieces. 

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Crystal Forest, Petrified Forest National Park
Crystal Forest, Petrified Forest National Park
Petroglyphs, Petrified Forest National Park
Petroglyphs, Petrified Forest National Park
Agate Bridge, Petrified Forest National Park
Agate Bridge, Petrified Forest National Park
Route 66, Petrified Forest National Park
Route 66, Petrified Forest National Park
Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park
Blue Mesa, Petrified Forest National Park
Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park
Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park

Canyon de Chelly

We begin our journey to Arizona and warmer weather by actually driving into an inversion, which means colder, bleaker weather.  Our first stop was Canyon de Chelly.  We camped in Cottonwood campground convenient located next to the National Monument Visitor Center.  We pulled into the campground to discover we were the only ones crazy enough to camp in the unpredictable weather.  Several hours later one other group of campers set up their “Arctic Oven” tent.  Andrew joked about using “arctic” wear in Arizona, the place where snowbirds come to winter.  However, I reassured him with temperature in the 20s & 30s, arctic might not be a bad idea. 

Fortunately the second day cleared up long enough for us to hit the overlooks and White House Ruins trail.  In the morning, we drove along the north rim (or Canyon del Muerte) to the three overlooks.  Since pets are allowed, except the White House Ruins trail, we brought Ame along to enjoy the short walks down to the overlooks.  After lunch, we left Ame at home and headed out to hit the White House Ruins trail.  This 2.5 mile (roundtrip) trail winds 600 feet down to the floor of Canyon de Chelly.  Once at the bottom, we walked a short distance along Navajo reservation land to the ruins, which include a small ground of cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.  While it is a short hike, it is quite pleasurable to walk among the beautiful sliprocks (which might be tempting to ride down if we had a toboggan).  Our final stop for the day  was at Navajo arts store in Chinle.  The store had a larger selection of western wear than navajo jewelry and arts. 

While it was a quick few days in Canyon de Chelly area, it was well worth the stop to see the ruins and vistas. 

Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly
Ruins, Canyon de Chelly
Ruins, Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly
Cliff Dwellings, Canyon de Chelly
Cliff Dwellings, Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly