July 6

Bon Voyage...We're off to see The GRAND Canyon!
We are staying in a woodland cabin one mile outside Flagstaff at the Arizona Mountain Inn. Oh my, the aroma of the woods, too wonderful.
We took a spin into town and came upon this handsome church, so taken were we with the gargoyles. It's called Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel and Ms Google can tell you all about it.

It was closed but...
...along came the organist to do some practicing. He gave us an extended personal tour of the whole place. It was lovely.
July 7

We started our day touring the Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments.

A self-guided National Park trail. We just loove that.
The Sunset Crater Volcano erupted sometime between 1040 and 1100 creating the ash that made farming possible (because ash holds in moisture). This was the most recent eruption in the six-million year history of volcanic activity in the Flagstaff area.

It was interesting how what we see now of the eruption is lava in various stages from ground into sand, rocks, boulders, and whole giant fields of apparently intact flow. There must be a reason... we just don't know it!
This is a residence for a few families, the Wukoki Pueblo, inside the Wupatki National Monument, located at the crossroads between Sinagua, Cohonina, and Kayenta Anasazi people, most active during the 1100s.
...and here, looking out from the top of that structure. We loved this place.

There is a much larger community by the Visitor's Center with a fairly well preserved housing complex, a natural amphitheater, and a ball court.

This few hours side trip, off highway 89A when traveling to the Grand Canyon was well worth the time.
Here come five pictures from the Grand Canyon. Many, yes, but there could be soo many more...

The story of the Grand Canyon begins almost 2 billion years ago with some big-time tectonic plate action…

…followed by billions of years of more geologic phenomena of filling-expanding-forming. You can look it up.

Then about 70 million years ago the Rocky Mountains began to form, which took a lot of rising and uplifting and pushing and Then…

…five or six million years ago the Colorado River began its creation of The GRAND Canyon.
4. almost done...

The first evidence of human occupation of this area is 12,000-9,000 years ago. These were the Paleo-Indian people, followed by the Archaic 9000-2500, the Basketmakers 2500-1200, the Ancestral Puebloan 800-1300 ad, Late Prehistoric 1300-1500.
5. pheww, you made it.

Some recent dates:
1540 Hopis guide Spanish explorers to the South Rim.
1869 John Wesley Powell leads an expedition through the Grand Canyon.
1901 the railroad arrives at the South Rim, greatly boosting tourism.
1919 Grand Canyon National Park established by Congress.
"Build a structure that provides the widest possible view of Grand Canyon yet harmonizes with its setting: this was architect Mary Colter's goal when the Fred Harvey Company hired her in 1930 to design a gift shop and rest area at Desert View. Colter's answer was the Watchtower."
July 8

This morning we did a little walking tour of Flagstaff. We all really like Flagstaff.
They've got a very nicely refurbished Historic Old Downtown surrounded by various Reseda Blvds and Olympic Blvds and housing sub-divisions, these being surrounded by The Woods.
They've got great old signs and more... more Flagstaff pictures later.
Me and Nancy as taken by Sharon. This is also the place where we enjoyed our Cocktail Hour a few days later.
In the afternoon Nancy decided to take a break from tourism and hang out in our sweet peaceful cabin. Sharon and I drove on to Sedona.

Red Rock Country. Sharon had never been. She gasped, just like everyone who visits does.
It was 98 degrees when we arrived so we went directly to the Visitor's Center and asked directions for a driving tour. No walking today!

But no problem there because this is Vista Town USA.
Whoo. Except that we did walk up in there, hot as it was. It's called Chapel of the Holy Cross, completed in 1956. It's a wowzer inside as are the views.
Sharon, hot, in the hot wind.
Cathedral Rock.
July 9

Here we are at the Flagstaff Arboretum and Raptor Show. You'll not want to miss this place if you come within 100 miles of Flagstaff.
The raptor show was so intimate and amazing. This bird is quite thrilling to meet. Her name is Lulu but they call her Big Girl...
...Big Girl all right! And she was an arms length away from the small crowd gathered around.
All the birds, including Big Girl, flew over our heads close enough to pick out our hairs for their nests.
We really enjoyed the staff too. You could tell how much they loved their jobs and wanted to share their delights with the audience.
I was doing that 'Wings! Wings!' thing you can do with the parrots at the pet store down the street and dang if this bird didn't get the picture and open his wings too! The handler was so surprised!
The landscape was gorgeous too, with many guided walks, flowers, and trees - really, not to be missed.
We went into town tonight for cocktail hour and some dinner. There was an outdoor concert going on which filtered throughout the streets and the weather was perfect for sitting outside.
And then evening from our deck. Lovely.
July 10

It's our last morning and we got out early to buzz over to the Walnut Canyon National Monument.

That's the visitor's center in the upper-upper right. See those striations in the walls of the canyon...
...they are cliff dwellings, a small city of them.

Nancy did the big hike to walk through individual homes while Sharon and I cheered her on.
We had a great deer sighting, we saw plenty of birds, butterflies, lizards and insects...this is the only picture though.
Then we went to our favorite internet cafe at a most grand used book store. It was huge and fabulous, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.

And then Farewell Flagstaff! Thanks, it was Great!!
HomeUSA the West • Arizona • '09 Jul: The GRAND Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona

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