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Travel Tips: Northern Arizona Rocks! by:Ruth Seebeck

Travel Tips: Northern Arizona Rocks! by:Ruth Seebeck

Northern Arizona offers some of America's most breath-taking scenery

, especially if you like rocks. Red rocks petrified rocks volcanic rocks pueblos carved from rock and crater rocks. Towering walls of rock lining the Grand Canyon. Cactus blooming from cracks in desert rocks. Silver rocks mined from the mountains. Relish the history of the West Indian encampments and ghost towns, saloons and mining camps, rangeland and fence lines, rail stations and Route 66. Tour the Rocks! Here is a list of ten rockin' destinations.

1. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. Massive twisted lava flows spread across the landscape. Stately trees grow where the hot rock stopped. Magnificent contrasts. The largest volcanic peak is called Sunset Crater because of the colors in the rock. Several smaller extinct volcano cones are also scattered throughout the park.

2. Ancient pueblos are cut into the mountainside hundreds of feet above the valley floor or built on the high desert plains. Dizzying heights, intricate paths and tiny caves prove the Native Americans' ability to survive and protect themselves in a harsh environment. Stand on a rocky out-cropping and see the spider web of trails that lead down the cliff face. Look up at ladders against pueblo dwellings hundreds of feet up the sheer wall. Visit Wupatki, Tuzigoot, Montezuma Castle, and Walnut Canyon National Monuments, and the Homalori Ruins.

3. Originally an outpost for the pony express, then the railroad, Williams is now the railhead for the Grand Canyon Railway. The town is so small there are no streetlights, only a single stop sign smack in the center of the main intersection. Following a western-style hold-up and shootout in the 'town square', board the train to the Grand Canyon - very touristy, very fun. (Be sure to get first-class seating - it's worth it.) Singing cowboys, a hold-up on the return trip, complimentary drinks and snacks, and a tour of the Canyon make a full day, returning to Williams for the night. Visit Pancho McGillicuddy's, a bar on the main street. The name attests to the influence of the Mexicans and the Irish in building the railroads and the town. (Try the Queso and chilled shrimp by the bucket!) Travel Tips: Northern Arizona Rocks! by:Ruth Seebeck


4. The Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, possibly the only place in America where it's a federal offense to pocket a rock! Rock selling is BIG business, and companies obtain licenses to mine the petrified pieces and create souvenirs of all sizes - for a price. Massive rock logs lie scattered across acres of barren land like children's forgotten toys. Sparkling colors paint the mesas at sunset. Wonder as the variety of cacti and other native plants change while you climb into the high country and back again.

5. The tiny silver mining town of Jerome, once almost a ghost town, is now an artists' colony perched on the side of the mountain - literally. Many of the buildings are held (semi) level with pilings braced against the hill. Visit the artisans and galleries, and then tour the mansion and gardens at the peak - originally home for the mine owner. A model of the mountain mine and equipment is displayed. The history is fascinating and the view spectacular!

6. Prescott - a real 'western' town with an Eastern flair. See the famous oak bar at the saloon on Main Street. When fire swept through town in the early 1900's, locals banded together to carry the massive piece out of the saloon. Prescott burned, but the bar was soon established in a tent, while the town rebuilt (with brick this time). Let the drinking continue! Tour the historic district, the Governor's Mansion, the museum and the zoo.

7. Sedona is the heart of red rock country and a very artsy town. Roam the streets in search of unique pieces and bargains take a drive along the canyon (or if you like, try white water rafting, or other outdoor 'adventure'). Sedona is green unlike much of northern Arizona's high desert. Relax and refresh in this beautiful 'oasis'.

8. Oatman is an authentic ghost town along famous Route 66, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned (not very plush by today's standards!). Donkeys roam the streets. (Our 21 year-old daughter was held at gunpoint by a bunch of outlaws! - 'You keep the camera, we'll keep the girl!') Folks in town are very friendly, pointing out bullet holes in the saloon wall, telling tales of Oatman's glory-days, and selling carrots to feed the donkeys.

9. Meteor Crater is almost three-quarters of a mile wide, 550 feet deep and 49,000 years old. The crater was first discovered in the late 1800's. Tour the Visitors Center (the former Museum of Astrogeology), and then take a guided tour of the crater rim. The largest remaining meteor fragment, weighing about 1500 lbs., is displayed.

10. Hoover Dam - This magnificent testament to modern engineering spans Black Canyon on the border between Arizona and Nevada. Listed as a National Historic Landmark since 1985, it is one of America's Seven Modern Wonders. Constructed in a little less than five years during the Depression, it was built to create jobs in the southwest. Parking is available to tour the Visitor Center, which hosts almost one million visitors each year. Take a Lake Mead cruise if you have time.

As a sidelight, development in Arizona is based largely on the availability of water. Williams and Flagstaff were initially settled about the same time, but Flagstaff grew because of its water source.

It is also interesting to note that buildings on the National Register of Historic places date from the early 1900's - not the 1700's. There is a two-hundred year historical transition from east to west! Travel Tips: Northern Arizona Rocks! by:Ruth Seebeck


Visit http://www.touringwithus.com/arizona.php for a suggested itinerary and driving guide. We hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did. It was a wonderful vacation in Arizona!

About the author

For more information on building life skills, developing better relationships, and becoming the best YOU possible, visit http://www.TheRuthFactor.com today. Sign up to receive your FREE weekly "Good Life" Tips & Topics newsletter.

Ruth Seebeck has built a reputation over the last 30 years as a life-skills coach, mentor and Christian counselor. She has a loving husband, Ed,awesome daughter, Jennifer, one cat and two rambunctious Japanese Chin pups. You can reach her at ruth@theruthfactor.com
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Travel Tips: Northern Arizona Rocks! by:Ruth Seebeck