When I was seven I took a two week trip to Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Today’s post I’m going to talk about Arizona.
We went to the Petrified Forest, best known for globally significant Late Triassic fossils and multi-hued Chinle Formation. We also took a hike through the painted desert which encompasses over 93,500 acres and stretches over 160 miles. The Painted Desert derives its name for the multitude of colors ranging from lavenders to shades of gray with vibrant colors of red, orange and pink. It was beautiful! I highly recommend going there if you are in Arizona. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
We also went to the Grand Canyon, the Indian Ruins, Grand Canyon Caverns, the Hoover Dam, Sedona, the meteor crater and a volcano outside of Flagstaff.
In the Caverns, the largest dry cavern in the U.S., I remember they told us they were going to show us how people had originally founded them by shutting off all of the lights and asked us to stand still where we were and not move (we were on a trail and you shouldn’t veer off) and said back then they didn’t have light when they dropped in from above with hundreds of feet below them this is how they felt. The original founder fell into a hole and went back the next day to explore- discovering the caverns. I remember it being so dark in there I couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face. You are 21 stories (210 feet) below the ground! Amazing. We passed by a preserved mountain lion that had made its home there. In the caverns you will see Selenite and limestone crystals, “winter crystals,” and Helecite crystals (a very rare form of Selenite), “teacup handles,” red-wall limestone, crystals and more.
The Meteor Crater is the result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and planet Earth approximately 50,000 years ago. The Meteor Crater is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. I’ll honestly never forget walking the outside of the crater and looking across and down into it.
Almost everyone knows about the Grand Canyon. Just in case you don’t know much, here is some more information from the National Park Website: It is made up of unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.
Honestly, I know I keep repeating myself but this trip was absolutely breathtaking and I loved it. I remember going to the edge and looking over into the Canyon… frightening but beautiful. I felt like I could just fall right in and hit the bottom.
This just goes to show that even though I was seven years old, as I’ve said before many people believe that is too young to go on a vacation (I completely disagree), if you are going somewhere memorable then you will remember it!
Now to Sunset Crater! Here is a description from the National Park website: Roughly 900 years ago, the eruption of this volcano reshaped the surrounding landscape, forever changing the lives of people, plants and animals. Hike the trail through the lava flow and cinders and you’ll likely discover colorful, ruggedly dramatic geological features coexisting with twisted Ponderosa Pines and an amazing array of wildlife. If you want to take a virtual tour you can do so here: http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/sunset/sunsetft.html
I remember taking the walking trail and getting little black ash all in and over my shoes from the left over sulfur and lava.
If any of you have seen the movie Transformers then you have also seen the Hoover Dam.
I highly recommend reading more about it because if I put information on it in my blog it will be way too long. http://www.arizona-leisure.com/hoover-dam.html
Now to the Indian Ruins! We took a walking tour to the Montezuma Castle built 700 years ago in the early 1300s. At any age, this stuff is fascinating. To think that they made these! http://www.arizona-leisure.com/montezuma-castle.html
If you go to Arizona, I recommend visiting all of these places!
However, this is my most vivid memory, I remember running into a Navajo man who was making dolls by the side of the road. He had a little table full of them and he said they would give us good luck so I bought one (which I still have today). He was extremely kind and generous. Well… a day later we were driving up the mountain and was almost at the top to go down the other side when a flash flood happened. It was terrifying. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I saw an extremely defined lightning strike hit the top of the mountain then the rain started… and fast. We were one of the only cars we had seen for miles on this road and at the top of a mountain. I remember a huge boulder about half the size of our car tumble down the road and off the side about ten feet in front of our car. I looked out the window and the water was only a foot down the side of the car. All of a sudden a car came up behind us and motioned for us to roll down the window. We did. He was a local and said to follow his car through the mudslide/river that had now taken over the road in front of us and behind us. We were literally trapped. The guy said follow me but wait until I get through, if you see my car gets pushed down the mountain then don’t follow me. I remember looking at his car go through the river in front of us and I could barely see his tires. He luckily made it through, we followed and also made it through, obviously. But it was absolutely terrifying and the whole time I was holding my little doll I had bought the day before. Here is a little information on flash floods and what to do if you are ever stuck in one. http://www.disastercenter.com/guide/flood.html
Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Arizona! Now go visit and enjoy it for yourself!