United States Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

Trip Report AZ Trip-Sedona Grand Canyon Monument Valley Canyon de Chelly Madera Canyon

Jump to last reply

I'm having a heck of a time getting my trip report done, but thought I ought to at least get this post started.

Here's a little background--this trip was all about me. My husband came to me this summer and said all of our trips typically revolve around him, and his passion for birdwatching, and he wanted to take me on a trip where we did everything that I wanted to do. I looked at a lot of things--beach vacations, Europe, etc and although i would also like to do all those things, I really am okay with going on those trips by myself and with girlfriends. But, I have always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon with my husband, and so the trip evolved from there.

It was an unusual time to visit these places, but was really magical with the snowfall. I took tons of pictures and really enjoyed the time with my husband.

So, I have decided on the following format for my trip report. The first part will be just the facts--travel arrangements, lodging, car rental, routing, meals. That's for those folks who really don't care about what I did on Friday December 25. I'll give you a little bit about things we bought or did, or brought, that I was either really glad or really sad about. Then I'll give you my narrative. I can't come up to Tom's level--who can!--and so I am going to share with you the series of emails that I wrote to my siblings from the road.

The Fodorites, as usual, were a wonderful help when I was planning this trip (sometimes whether you knew it or not) and so I say Thank You!

Here we go.

  • Report Abuse

    Just the facts

    Trip Dates - December 22-January 4

    Air Travel - Southwest Airlines, RT Kansas City/Phoenix

    Southwest's new boarding process has removed one of the main (well, the main) barrier for me flying with them. I had flown them a bit before, but I have now flown them three times in the last year because the boarding process isn't bad and they don't charge extra for baggage. Another big plus when making these arrangements was that they were direct flights from KC to Phoenix. Because I wanted to fly on those specific days it wasn't the cheapest, but they met my requirements. I think around $400 RT each. I bought them last summer and so can't remember exactly.

    A side note on the Phoenix Airport security--we noticed that they managed to do their job while still being pleasant and welcoming (a bit of a contrast to our local TSA agents).

    Lodging

    The night of December 22 and January 3

    Residence Inn Phoenix Airport - Used Points and didn't pay attention to the nightly rate.
    * 801 North 44th Street
    * Phoenix, Arizona 85008 USA
    * Phone: 1-602-273-9220
    * Toll-free: 1-800-582-3078

    Sedona - Best Western Inn of Sedona, $211.71 USD including taxes, http://www.innofsedona.com/

    Grand Canyon - Bright Angel Lodge, $118.48 USD per night, including taxes, http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/

    Monument Valley - The View, 128.80 USD per night, including taxes, http://www.monumentvalleyview.com/

    Chinle (Canyon de Chelly) - Holiday Inn, I used points, sorry I didn't pay attention to the nightly rate, http://www.holidayinnchinle.com/

    Madera Canyon - Santa Rita Lodge, $115/night, can't find my receipt to tell you the total with taxes. Maybe later. www.santaritalodge.com

    Car Rental - Avis, total about $843 USD for Kia Sportage--the small SUV. The clearance was handy a few times, didn't need a bigger SUV and it got decent gas mileage. I checked all the rental agencies, including Fox, looked at all the diff discounts like AAA, and ended up with Avis using a Phi Kappa Phi discount.

    And sadly, that is it for tonight, I need to get to bed. At least I got this started, right? :-)

  • Report Abuse

    emalloy, yes, the trip to Madera Canyon was to give my husband a bit of his own "special time." :-) The Painted Redstart was "the" bird that got my husband interested in birds when he was a kid, and he had never seen one in person! He did get some looks, but not great looks, so we will just have to go back. Being warm didn't hurt either.

    There'll be more on the area in winter below, but as an overall comment I'll have to say it was pretty much spectacular. Bloody cold, but stunningly beautiful. If I can ever get Picasa to cooperate I'll eventually post a link to some pics.

  • Report Abuse

    What's left on Just the Facts? I think just meals and routing.

    Meals

    This wasn't really a foodie trip. My husband is a food-is-fuel kind of a guy and that isn't as much fun when visiting nice restaurants. In addition, with this being a road trip, we also had a cooler with apples, oranges, cheese, and sausage. That, along with crackers and bottled water, often made up our lunches. Breakfasts were at the hotels some, otherwise, maybe another apple or orange out of the cooler. So, for what it's worth, here are a few notes.

    Sedona - we ate at Judi's which was right next to the Best Western. It was actually really good and a very pleasant atmosphere. My husband had ribs and he said they were fall off the bone delicious. I had a pork dish, can't remember what they called it but it was pork medallions in a mushroom/mustard kind of sauce. Total $66.75

    Grand Canyon - We ate at the Bright Canyon Lodge dining room both nights we were there. The roasted red pepper soup was very good. Otherwise, all other fare was pretty standard, service was good.

    Desert View, Grand Canyon - we ate french toast and had hot chocolate as we left the park. It was amazingly good, primarily because our nose and ears and just about frozen and the food was hot.

    The View Restaurant, Monument Valley. Ate there both nights we were there, and the food was very good. I had a green chile stew the first night that I loved. DH had the Navajo taco, which was huge. We both had steaks the next night, very good. Had the fry bread appetizer each night too. So good. Each night the tab was around $50.

    Chinle - The Holiday Inn restaurant. Just say no. Maybe it is better in season, but it pretty much tasted like school cafeteria food or Swanson's TV dinners.

    Canyon de Chelly, Antelope Tours--we got Navajo tacos as part of our all day tour, and these were seriously good. The one at The View was fine, these were really really good.

    Routing

    Ah, never mind, it doesn't make any sense unless it is part of the narrative anyway, so if you want to know what roads we took you'll just have to read the whole thing.

  • Report Abuse

    Things we brought, or bought, or did, that I was happy or sad about.

    Long underwear - I suppose that might just sound obvious, but thank goodness for long underwear. I had to go out and buy them for the trip and thank goodness.

    New lined hiking boots - These weren't superduper Nepal-worthy boots or anything, but they were warm, and had great tread, and I was really thankful for them.

    America The Beautiful pass $85 - Made it handy to go in and out of the Nat'l parks, forests, etc, and I can still use it for the whole year.

    Those little ear things that wrap around your head - good grief I can't even think what the are called. I hate wearing hats, but if my ears are cold I'm a goner so I bought those things that are kind of like wide headbands and they really saved me.

    Do you notice a trend here of things that keep you warm?

    Film Camera/Digital Camera - I still haven't upgraded to a digital SLR so I had my Canon for film photography, but I also had my little digital point and shoot so everything I took on film I also took with the digital--just to make I had pics of everything. I'm glad I carted around both. It's fun to have the digital to play with right away, and hopefully the other photos will come out too and there will be some prints worth having.

    So glad I took the All-Day tour with Antelope Tours instead of just a few hours. More on that day later, but it was definitely one of those things where I was thinking about the money, and I am glad it didn't keep me from doing the all day.

    All right, I suppose that is enough. When I said I was going to do this section I swear I had more in mind, but at the moment that is all I have.

    If you are interested in hearing more, stay tuned for my correspondence with my siblings during the course of our trip.

  • Report Abuse

    As I am lazy, my trip report will primarily take the form of emails, as mentioned. I am part of a fairly large family, and we are spread out across the US, so email is our way of keeping in touch. Emails will be slightly edited to protect the innocent and ensure all facts are correct.
    Wednesday, December 23

    Hello all,

    I am sure you all love receiving updates from the road when we take our road trips.

    Yesterday was an uneventful trip into Phoenix. The flight that was originally going to be late actually got off on time, and then we ended up arriving early. Got bags, went to the rental counter, dude used to live at the place we are spending our last three days of this trip (Santa Rita Lodge). Chatted with him a bit, he gave me a brand new car with 8 miles on it :-)(they may have regretted this later as I returned it after putting 1505 miles on it).

    Nothing else very eventful. We stayed at a Residence Inn here in Phoenix last night, went to Wal-Mart to get road trip essentials (water, fruit, cheese, etc), had dinner, and this morning we will head north. Well, actually it is getting a lot closer to this afternoon at this point, but who cares, I am on vacation.

    Wal-Mart was interesting. Lots of Christmas shoppers, hard to get your cart around....and, we could have totally practiced our Spanish. Several Mexican food aisles in the grocery section. I love checking out grocery stores.

    The Grand Canyon had 10 inches of snow yesterday. The road we will be on tomorrow had a multi-car pileup. So, I'm glad we weren't there yesterday, and am looking forward to seeing snow up there!

    Interlude - there were several replies from my siblings, none of which I can repeat here. Driven by jealousy I am sure. There was also mention of an arrest warrant. Don't ask.

    Wednesday December 23, Evening

    We don't have any warrants out for our arrests either (that we know of) (or, any reasons for one either).

    It was a very interesting drive north on I-17. I can only remember being in AZ one time, so everything is pretty new to us. We visited Montezuma's (sp?) Castle, and it was smaller than I remembered! I think the first time I saw it I had not been to Mesa Verde yet, so now it pales in comparison.

    We continued on with plans to go to Red Rock State Park. We drove up via 179 to Sedona, and since I was driving, stopped at the very first scenic site--the Bell Rock trail head. The light was really gorgeous, even though it was the middle of the day, so I took tons of pictures. On some of the rocks there was a skiff of snow, so it was really a nice contrast. Steve saw some birds. Whatever.

    So we drove on in, and decided that 179 (except for the scenic viewpoints) sucks. Finally we got to 89A, started heading to Red Rock, when suddenly I saw a sign that said "Closed Tuesday and Wednesday." What the &*(*%!? The guidebook said there were bird walks on Wednesdays! Other signs still said open daily! They were wrong. It was closed :-(

    Not daunted, we just went ahead and drove the Red Rock Loop (pretty stuff again) and then headed on down 89A (on a stretch called the Dry Creek Scenic Byway) to Dead Horse Ranch State Park. The amusing anecdote is that apparently when the original family was deciding on what ranch to buy, one of the children said "the one with the dead horse on it." When the land was bequeathed to the state, it was with the, um, what's the word? caveat? I can't remember and I am tired. Anyway, the state had to keep the name when they took the land.

    I think in the Spring, Summer and Fall, this must be really beautiful. You can even ride horses there. And none of them are dead. Yet. It was also beautiful today, but in a different sort of way, and the wind was whipping through us.

    We wandered, and cruised, went to the end of one road and could see in the far off distance Tuzigoot National Monument on a hilltop. Those ruins really looked fascinating. I took some pics, although I didn't have a long enough lense really, and looked at the ruins through my binoculars. Unfortunately there just wasn't enough time to drive back out of the park we were in, out to the highway, then to Tuzigoot (go ahead you know you want to say it, it is fun to say!) and up the hill to the ruins before the sun set.

    So, we headed back to Airport Road in Sedona, where we had been told there was a great spot to watch the sun set over the red rocks. The first stop would indeed have been quite a sight, but it was a very steep, muddy and slippery hike. We could see youngsters (much younger than I) struggling to get back down, and with my history (edit: I break easily) we decided this was a bad idea. On we went to the gates of the airport. Where they charge you a dollar to stand and look at the red rocks. This pissed me off a little, but I paid it and took pictures. There was quite a bit of snow up there, and several people had made little 1 1/2 foot snowmen. I should have taken pictures of them, it would have been free.

    Now we are at the Best Western Inn at Sedona. This is the same one I stayed at years ago with my friend Callie, and the very best feature is that outside every room is a wide terrace with views of the red rocks. The only one I can name that I can see is the Coffee Pot Rock, but I am sure I can find a pictogram that tells me what all the rocks are. So anyway, I got pictures of some red rocks at sunset.

    The second best thing is that they have completely remodelled this hotel. I am currently sitting in front of a fireplace (lit). AND, not only are there chairs in front of the fireplace, they have little rolling footstools too!

  • Report Abuse

    Sibling replies (that I can repeat)

    I mapped out your trip last night in high lighter and looked up the places you are going to stay and see. Sounds like a neat trip! Keep the updates coming. We stayed in the Best Western you are staying in Sedona. Have fun and be careful in the snow down there, not like you are not used to it I suppose...J

    It is great fun to hear you describe the winter version of the trip that T, R and I made this summer!! We too skipped the hike out by the airport! Did you go to the catholic church that is built right into the side of the mountain?
    S

    That church was so cool, Karen finally made me quit taking pictures and telling people how it must have been constructed. That would have been quite a challenge to say the least. J

    And I continue:

    Saturday, December 26

    Hello my fine-feathered and/or furry little friends,

    They do not have wireless at the Grand Canyon (at least at the Bright Angel Lodge cabins. However, I did have BB service so was able to make calls and post to FB :-)

    And, here at The View Hotel in Monument Valley, the wireless does not reach as far as our room (S thinks the Pony Express wouldn't get as far as our room is from the Lobby) and so here I sit in the lobby in front of a huge fire, in a comfy leather chair. It's not all bad.

    Hey J, if it hadn't been muddy and slick along with the steep part I might have given it a go. But it was slicker than the proverbial snot of legendary note, so we deemed it unwise on my part.

    S, we did not get to the Church of the Holy Cross. We saw it as we drove by (missed the turnoff) and on vacation I am all about no stress and since 179 was very stressful, we didn't go back. However, you had told me to visit St. John Vianney, and as it turns out, this was just below our hotel. So begins the next stage of our story.

    I got up and ready to be out the door at sunrise on Christmas Eve. I took a bunch of pictures, then walked around the surrounding area, thus discovering the aforementioned St. John whatever. So, doing as my sister told me to, I walked around the grounds. There was some really beautiful and unusual statuary, the stations of the cross, and lots of birdbaths and feeders. This became important to me because I got to see some Gambel's pheasants which were really beautiful.

    That morning we went back to Red Rock State Park to spend a few hours. I did the volunteer guided nature walk while S looked for birds. That's two hours of my life I will never get back. (I had to edit this because I was kind of mean and while it is okay if my siblings know I am mean sometimes, I would prefer my fellow Fodorites think that I am always always nice).

    We left the park, and Sedona, about noon/1:00 and drove out via Oak Creek Canyon. I'm going to have to get out a thesaurus because all I can keep telling you is how amazing the scenery was/is on all of our drives. This was a truly spectacular drive. As we rose in elevation, it was more and more snow-covered, and hillsides of pine trees covered in snow gave way to cliffs with their rock edges outlined in snow, gave way to scattered pine and rock outcroppings capped with snow, and so on. At Flagstaff we headed west on 40, and here we had huge unbroken expanses of snow-covered fields until we turned north towards the Grand Canyon. The terrain changed again, although not quite as spectacular at that point.

    We hit the Grand Canyon a bit before 4 (and before we could get our rooms) and immediately started taking pictures. We are tourists, after all. The Grand Canyon is beautiful covered with snow, but a bit treacherous. Someone had told me that the NPS didn't keep the walks very clear, and they were right. Poor S spent the day and one-half we spent there in fear that I would fall and break a hip or something. He pretty much dogged my footstep everywhere, but I guess that was a good thing as he would have caught me if I fell, right? Right?!

    Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at the Grand Canyon--it was wonderful. I'm not sure how many pictures I took, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We also entertained ourselves by counting different languages, and estimating that 35% of all southeast asians have now seen the Grand Canyon. (edit--it is always cool to go to the US National Parks where all nationalities tend to be represented. It's really interesting to listen to all the languages.) We had a resident family of three mule deer outside our cabin, and we waved good-bye to them this morning when we set out at 8 am.

    We headed east out of Desert View Drive and I planned two stops--one at Grandview Point and one at Desert View Lookout. Grandview Point gave a different vista than we had seen before, and here we finally had someone take our picture. I think we mainly just look cold. I will send pics later.

    Desert View Lookout was an even more different aspect, and fricking cold. The wind was blowing like crazy, so much so that after walking from the parking lot the first place we stopped was the snack bar for hot chocolate, and what the heck, french toast. Hey, the views have been there many many years and they were still going to be there after we got breakfast.

    Wow, was the view worth it. Great reaches of the Colorado River, the Vermillion Cliffs in the distance, and a patch of the Painted Desert. Absolutely worth the stop and the time it took to thaw my nose and ears again. S still, by the way, continues to uncomplainingly do anything I ask on this trip, even go out in freezing weather.

    On we drove, insert more superlatives here about all the different terrain, colors, trees, no trees, snow, lighter snow, etc. At times you can see for miles and not a building is in view. After leaving the park there are vacant stands spaced along the highway, all with "Open" signs...but they are not open. Well, one or two pickups are pulled up here and there where you can buy dreamweavers.

    After turning north on 89 at Cameron, the terrain changes yet again. There are some weird freaky mounds on that highway. Insert more descriptive terms here.

    After turning towards Tuba City we start looking for mileposts 316 and 317 because I have read that I can see dinosaur tracks there. Who wouldn't want to see dinosaur tracks? We managed to find them, and three-toed imprints they were. I took pictures.

    More fascinating driving, we pass two formations nicknamed "Elephant Feet" we do not stop. We are headed for Navajo National Monument where I have read I can see more cliff dwellings. I think cliff dwellings are cool, so we are going there. Well, they were really really cool, Betatikin (I think that is how you spell it).

    However, let's go back to the snowstorm of last Tuesday for a moment, shall we? We climb quite a bit of elevation to get there, and, lo and behold there is a very large (and deep) amount of snow. So they have kind of sort of cleared the 1/2 mile path to the view point, but it is not bare pavement by any means. At least it is not ice. But, it was rather like walking in sand. While this wasn't so awfully bad going down, I need to point out that then I had to walk back up. In powdery snow. At about 6000 ft elevation. There was a lot of huffing and puffing on my part, let me tell you. S stayed close at hand, ready to catch me if I fell. Right?

    Now we were on the final run to Monument Valley. All I really can say is that at least once in a lifetime, everyone should make these drives. I go back to saying that so much of it just doesn't even look real.

    Our hotel is the new Navajo-owned hotel in the park. We are facing the most iconic monoliths of the left and right mittens, and more. We also have the "star-gazer" room, so tonight we can look straight up at the stars. That is if we can bear the cold enough to step out on the balcony. I have I mentioned how frigidly cold it is here haven't I?

    Dinner we had tonight at the restaurant here, seated right at the window, at sunset. I must have done something right in a former lifetime to be so blessed. And the food was good too.

    This brings you up to date on the adventures of M and S. A few tidbits of note that I forgot to mention.

    1. Driving north from Phoenix on 12/23 we saw the most gigantic decorated tree in the median. Now, you do see that fairly often at Christmas time, but this was the biggest one I had ever seen, and they didn't just stop with garland, there ornaments and bows, and a wide variety too. I was impressed.

    2. We also saw a sign for the Zane Grey Trailer Park. I thought you would want to know.

    3. I left the lights on overnight in the rental car at the Grand Canyon. On Christmas Day AAA had a guy out there in 30 minutes. I was again impressed. Of course, I felt a little bad about having to sit in the car and run the engine for 20 minutes, polluting the air, because I had been stupid enough to leave the lights on.

    Okay, now I think you are really caught up. And a little entertained I hope.

    Love to you all, M.

  • Report Abuse

    December 27

    Hello all,

    After signing off last night and returning to the room, I stepped out onto the balcony to see yet another amazing view. Although it was nearly 10, with the light of the moon and the stars, and their reflection off the snow, the mittens and Merrick's (butte? bluff? I can't remember. I should look it up)practically glowed in the midnight blue. I couldn't get a photo, but trust me, it was beautiful.

    This morning, although I did not set an alarm, I awoke in time to watch the sunrise. I made a cup of coffee and sat just inside the balcony door, all toasty warm, and watched the sky change color from the sunrise tequila orange, to pink, to purple, to deep pink again. It was a really great way to start the morning!

    Today we drove north about 30 miles (through more spectacular scenery)to see the Goosenecks. (in Utah no less! and no Big Love cast members to be seen anywhere) So, the Goosenecks is where the San Juan river doubles back on itself multiple times amid very deep canyons. There just wasn't any good way to get any pictures of the total impact of this region, you pretty much needed to be in an airplane or helicopter. But it was pretty cool to stand and view.

    Back we went, through Mexican Hat. Took a picture of the Mexican Hat rock, but it (the photo) isn't very good and doesn't really look like a Mexican Hat. We also checked out Goulding Trading Post which used to be the closest hotel to Monument Valley. This is where all the movie crews stayed, and they still have John Wayne's cabin. The views are surely good, but not as good as the views from our room! But, there is the advantage that they show a John Wayne movie every night :-)

    Now was time for the main loop drive in Monument Valley. So really, words fail me again. It took us several hours between my multiple stops for pictures and the very very rough and snow-packed road. There were plenty of us folks out there, and a few intrepid Navajo stands selling jewelry and dreamweavers. I did buy some earrings :-) You could also get a picture of yourself on a horse at John Ford's Point for $2.00. S says "You know that horse is thinking 'Great, another tourist wants to get his photo taken. Why couldn't I have been born a race horse?"

    There are also a fair amount of mama dogs wandering the roads, and we wonder about this. Where are the puppies? Where are the papa dogs? Is there nothing left to do in the desert other than procreate?

    Hey, you have to have something to talk about besides just how great each view around the bend is.

    It was a great day, another very good dinner here at The View (beats Grand Canyon food all to hell) and I am again sitting in the lobby in front of the fire, thinking how blessed I am.

    Love to all, M.

  • Report Abuse

    December 28

    All right, time for the next installment of "Travels with S&M." Why so late at night? Because I had to go to the laundromat and do laundry. You might wish to make a note that the Silver Dollar Laundromat in Chinle, AZ, should NOT be on your list of "must-sees."

    So, the morning started with another sunrise (thank goodness!) and this one I watched from bed for awhile. Yes, I was just that lazy and yes, the hotel has just that good a view. I did venture out of bed after a bit and take some pictures of the sunrise. Best thing about sunrise this time of year? It's not until 7:30 am.

    We took our time getting going, mostly because I had to finish the last chapter of The Lost City of Z. Very interesting book, I highly recommend it. So, I finished the book and we hiked to our car (all the hiking was in the hotel, mind you, our room was practically in New Mexico), scraped off the ice (I should mention here that the rental car did NOT have an ice scraper so I used my Sam's Club card and S used his AAA card to clear the windows) and headed 20 miles into Kayenta to the Burger King.

    Yep. Burger King. You may be wondering, "why Burger King? Please tell us why, M, why Burger King?" Because there is a Navajo Code Talker exhibit there. You probably already know this, but just in case you don't, the Navajo Code Talkers in WWII created communications that never were broken by the Japanese. Not only is Navajo extremely difficult to learn and understand, apparently they also created a code even on top of that so that even other Navajos couldn't understand it.

    So, the franchise owner of this Burger King is the son of one of the original Code Talkers, "King Mike" and he has established this small exhibit--news articles, personal effects, government proclamations, playing cards, pictures, and notebooks of people leaving their thoughts. It's small, but very, very interesting. And, the owner is a pretty smart guy as pretty much everyone that has heard about this exhibit and stops also buys a meal. I know we did :-)

    We are headed for Chinle and Canyon de Chelly and take Indian Route 59 instead of the longer route. It doesn't have much traffic, and for a fair stretch of it I do have to make sure to keep in the tire tracks of those who have gone before or my tires get caught in the ice/snow pack on the sides. Although not as grand as Monument Vally, there are plenty of different geologic formations to wonder at. We also wonder at the cattle and horses on the open range, just grazing along the side of the rod. And the dogs, many dogs. At one point there is a pack of about 5 running on a ridgetop above us.

    The communities are not as scenic. This could be because it is reservation land and there is a great deal of poverty, or it could be that in winter things just look more desolate. Midwestern towns look pretty ratty in winter too. Unless they are covered in snow and then they are scenic.

    Tomorrow we have an all day tour scheduled with a guide named Adam Teller to go into the canyon. So, we decide to do a little meandering, but not push it since we will be out there about 8 hours tomorrow.

    We headed out on the South Rim Drive, driving to the end and working our way back. The first stop for us, then, was Spider Rock outlook. CdC is spectacular in a completely different way than the Grand Canyon, but really impressive just the same. The cliffs are a deep deep red, without the horizontal variations in color of the GC. At the first stop we made it was 1000 feet of sheer cliff to the bottom. Ouch. Spider Rock is 500 or 800 (don't look to me for firm facts at this moment) high from the canyon floor. There will be pictures.

    It is frigidly cold, and the wind is whipping when you get out to these points. So we do stop at several more, see really cool ruins, look down at the canyon bottom where Navajos still ranch and farm, then scurry back to our car to warm up again. I'm still hoping my pictures come out. Today, as yesterday, it was hazy most of the day so figuring the exposure is a challenge because everything is kind of white. So I took about 3 pictures at each place, with different compensation levels. Assuming the pictures turn out, I will let those tell this part of the story.

    I was a good Samaritan at one point when the battery died on the car of family of tourists also at Spider Rock. Their cell phone wouldn't dial out, but mine would, and I had the park brochure with the phone number, so I called them, got the number of an auto service in Chinle, called them, etc. What was funny was that the park personnel also wanted to know how I got cell service since they never do either at that outlook. BTW, it's AT&T. I should be a paid spokesperson.

    Nothing else exciting, we went back and checked into our hotel, had dinner, then I went to the laundromat, and here I am!

    Some additional observations over the past few days:

    1. OPEN does not mean open in Navajoland. We passed stand after stand with Open signs--completely vacant. We saw Open signs on boarded up buildings, Open signs on businesses clearly closed. Does it cost too much for the extra letters necessary to spell out Closed? We don't know.

    2. Tires. I've seen tires buried in fence-like rows (erosion prevention mainly?) tires scattered on mobile home roofs (to keep them from blowing off?) big tractor tires in yards doing God only knows what. There was some other use of tires that surprised me, but I can't remember what it was now. It will come to me and I will tell you later.

    Replies and Responses:

    All right, time for the next installment of "Travels with Steve and Merri." Why so late at night? Because I had to go to the laundromat and do laundry. You might wish to make a note that the Silver Dollar Laundromat in Chinle, AZ, should NOT be on your list of "must-sees."

    So, the morning started with another sunrise (thank goodness!) and this one I watched from bed for awhile. Yes, I was just that lazy and yes, the hotel has just that good a view. I did venture out of bed after a bit and take some pictures of the sunrise. Best thing about sunrise this time of year? It's not until 7:30 am.

    We took our time getting going, mostly because I had to finish the last chapter of The Lost City of Z. Very interesting book, I highly recommend it. So, I finished the book and we hiked to our car (all the hiking was in the hotel, mind you, our room was practically in New Mexico), scraped off the ice (I should mention here that the rental car did NOT have an ice scraper so I used my Sam's Club card and Steve used his AAA card to clear the windows) and headed 20 miles into Kayenta to the Burger King.

    Yep. Burger King. You may be wondering, "why Burger King? Please tell us why, Merri, why Burger King?" Because there is a Navaho Code Talker exhibit there. You probably already know this, but just in case you don't, the Navaho Code Talkers in WWII created communications that never were broken by the Japanese. Not only is Navaho extremely difficult to learn and understand, apparently they also created a code even on top of that so that even other Navahos couldn't understand it.

    So, the franchise owner of this Burger King is the son of one of the original Code Talkers, "King Mike" and he has established this small exhibit--news articles, personal effects, government proclamations, playing cards, pictures, and notebooks of people leaving their thoughts. It's small, but very, very interesting. And, the owner is a pretty smart guy as pretty much everyone that has heard about this exhibit and stops also buys a meal. I know we did :-)

    We are headed for Chinle and Canyon de Chelly and take Indian Route 59 instead of the longer route. It doesn't have much traffic, and for a fair stretch of it I do have to make sure to keep in the tire tracks of those who have gone before or my tires get caught in the ice/snow pack on the sides. Although not as grand as Monument Vally, there are plenty of different geologic formations to wonder at. We also wonder at the cattle and horses on the open range, just grazing along the side of the rod. And the dogs, many dogs. At one point there is a pack of about 5 running on a ridgetop above us.

    The communities are not as scenic. This could be because it is reservation land and there is a great deal of poverty, or it could be that in winter things just look more desolate. Midwestern towns look pretty ratty in winter too. Unless they are covered in snow and then they are scenic.

    Tomorrow we have an all day tour scheduled with a guide named Adam Teller to go into the canyon. So, we decide to do a little meandering, but not push it since we will be out there about 8 hours tomorrow. We headed out on the South Rim Drive, driving to the end and working our way back. The first stop for us, then, was Spider Rock outlook. CdC is spectacular in a completely different way than the Grand Canyon, but really impressive just the same. The cliffs are a deep deep red, without the horizontal variations in color of the GC. At the first stop we made it was 1000 feet of sheer cliff to the bottom. Ouch. Spider Rock is 500 or 800 (don't look to me for firm facts at this moment) high from the canyon floor. There will be pictures.

    It is frigidly cold, and the wind is whipping when you get out to these points. So we do stop at several more, see really cool ruins, look down at the canyon bottom where Navahos still ranch and farm, then scurry back to our car to warm up again. I'm still hoping my pictures come out. Today, as yesterday, it was hazy most of the day so figuring the exposure is a challenge because everything is kind of white. So I took about 3 pictures at each place, with different compensation levels. Assuming the pictures turn out, I will let those tell this part of the story.

    I was a good Samaritan at one point when the battery died on the car of family of tourists also at Spider Rock. Their cell phone wouldn't dial out, but mine would, and I had the park brochure with the phone number, so I called them, got the number of an auto service in Chinle, called them, etc. What was funny was that the park personnel also wanted to know how I got cell service since they never do either. BTW, it's AT&T. I should be a paid spokesperson.

    Nothing else exciting, we went back and checked into our hotel, had dinner, then I went to the laundromat, and here I am!

    Some additional observations over the past few days:

    1. OPEN does not mean open in Navaholand. We passed stand after stand with Open signs--completely vacant. We saw Open signs on boarded up buildings, Open signs on businesses clearly closed. Does it cost too much for the extra letters necessary to spell out Closed? We don't know.

    2. Tires. I've seen tires buried in fence-like rows (erosion prevention mainly?) tires scattered on mobile home roofs (to keep them from blowing off?) big tractor tires in yards doing God only knows what. There was some other use of tires that surprised me, but I can't remember what it was now. It will come to me and I will tell you later.

    Replies and Responses:

    Just got around to e-mail today, so have read your travelogues with great pleasure!! I think I will have to take an Arizona trip in the winter next time!! S.

    Re: Sunrise at 7:30 a.m. = civilized.
    At Matt's house, the sun came up at 11:45 this morning. So? The promised land? D.

    Yep, 11:45 am pretty much sounds like paradise :-) M.

  • Report Abuse

    December 29

    The next installment of the real-life adventures of S&M must take place at a later date. It was a great day, but I am beat. We are going to try to leave at 6 am tomorrow morning for the long haul drive to our next destination, Madera Canyon (south of Tucson). I'm not sure if we will have wi fi there! (the horror)

    Today was the day we took an 8-hour guided tour into Canyon de Chelly. Like I said, great day!

    And that is where I will end tonight as well. Plan to finish up this weekend.

  • Report Abuse

    January 2

    Hello all,

    and Happy New Year to you as well! We have been in Madera Canyon, just south of Tucson, since Wednesday evening. There was no cell service nor wifi in the canyon. I had to make a run into Green Valley on Friday, so had a cell signal then, and then today I had to go to the post office in GV so had cell service there.

    This is where D caught me by phone to discover that no, the border patrol had not taken S and me into custody. He did get to hear a little bit of the voice of the disgruntled postal worker though. I was 40 minutes in line at the post office. Let me tell you, senior citizens get very cranky if you make them wait in long lines at the post office. I did enjoy being the youngest person in the room for a change, but was getting a little worried that I might see some Grey Panther action if those senior citizens didn't get postal relief soon.

    We are now at the Residence Inn near the airport in Phoenix, repacking our bags and washing one pair of jeans and a tee-shirt each so that we have clean clothes to travel in. Luckily we already have clean underwear and socks.

    So, I promise to come back to you soon and finish where I left off. I get to share with you a very interesting day in Canyon de Chelly, a less than fun drive from Canyon de Chelly to Madera Canyon (there was just no good way to get from there to there, but throw in snow, snow and ice-packed roads, followed by fog, followed by a huge back-up between Phoenix and Tucson and I think you get the picture) and three completely relaxing days in a "sky island."

    More later, glad all of you had great holidays as well!

  • Report Abuse

    Hello all!

    We are home. In many ways it feels as if we are still in northern Arizona as there is plenty of snow on the ground and it was snowing when we got here, and, it is frigidly cold. I may regret missing our normal sun break at this time of year. But I digress. You probably want to know what else we got up to, right? Well, here you go.

    On Tuesday, December something or another (dates fade away the longer you are on vacation)we did a personal tour with Antelope House Tours. At Canyon de Chelly, you may go into the canyon on only one trail unless you are accompanied by an authorized guide. There are all kinds of big group tours, but I am not particularly fond of those, so this was my big splurge of the trip and I arranged for an all-day guide. Antelope House is a business developed starting twenty years ago by Adam Teller, the son of Ben Teller who turned out to be our guide for the day. Ben tells us that theirs is the only tour company into the canyon that is independent of the hotels and such. So, basically, our money really did go directly to the Teller family. It's actually a little cheaper too, since there isn't the hotel overhead.

    The guides all have to take courses from the NPS each year to get certified and re-certified. The NPS runs the visitor center, and maintains the roads at the top of the canyon. They also provide support regarding fire, flooding, and crime, but other than that this is reservation land and they have no additional authority. it's really a pretty interesting setup. Ben's son, Adam, went to college in Tucson and came back with the idea to run this business, so the family is involved in all levels--reservations, guiding, jewelry making and sales, a snack stand on the land in the canyon, etc. It's cool that they have built this business so that the family has stayed there. We asked Ben about the younger kids going away to college and if they came back or stayed away, and he said that yes, a lot of the younger kids then moved away after college. They aren't able to use the skills they learned when they come back to the reservation. So it is pretty cool that this family has been able to keep their family fairly intact there.

    Anyway, the day with Ben was really great, lots of information and history, lots and lots of stops for pictures and for Ben to point out things, a great stop at his holding where his kids had the snack stand. Ben was born in the canyon, in 1938. His first language was Navajo, and a few times neighbors stopped on their drive in and they chatted. We eavesdropped, and it is a very interesting sounding language! Not that we could understand anything. Hey, if they could fool the Japanese in WWII they could fool us.

    Canyon de Chelly splits into two arms, one is Canyon del Muerto, the other is still called Canyon de Chelly. We spent most of the day in Canyon del Muerto, and Ben tells us that there are some 700 ruins in this canyon (not so many on the de Chelly side). It's pretty amazing. There are tons of pictographs and petroglyphs as well. We walk right up to many. This is crazy! Having this history so close is fascinating, and this isn't some museum. This is where some 900-1000 Navajos still live and work today. With any luck at all my pictures will come out and you will be able to see some of this.

    The canyon, at different times, was home to Anasazi (or Ancestral Pueblo); Hopi, and, Navajo. So the ruins themselves even vary in their structures, and the different picto/petros come from different sources as well. Today many people do still live and work there, with small farms of beans, squash, corn, or raising livestock such as horses, cattle, and sheep. There are a great deal of fruit trees--peaches, apples, and plums. Apparently in the 1800s there were lots and lots of peach orchards, destroyed by Carson in an effort to drive out the Navajos.

    There is no running water, no electricity. Some do have generators. Ben pointed out different holdings of his grandmothers and aunts. We then come to his holding, where there are many petroglyphs, including antelope. Up to the right are more ruins, and that is how his area and business came to be known as Antelope House. They have built a "last stop" snack bar here, and all the tours stop, including us. Another pretty smart move as they have built pit toilets that the tourists can use, and of course you can get water, pop, hot drinks, fry bread, navajo tacos, and it is all welcome at this point.

    Naturally they have a few tables of jewelry etc for sale, and, at this point most importantly, a fire. Yep, another frigidly cold day and we are out in it. And now it is snowing. We warm our hands and our butts, and, we get a Navajo taco and hot drink as part of our tour. Ben's younger daughter runs the snack stand, and her taco was sooooo much better than the one that S paid a fortune for at The View in Monument Valley. However, he did have to note that he had never actually had snow falling on his food as he ate it before.

    Ben has a small house here, and lives here, and his younger daughter has a small house as well, but hers has a generator. They (the daughter and family) don't live down there full-time, but most of the time at the top of the canyon. She mentioned that she really likes it when the kids spend time down there as they find all sorts of ways to entertain themselves without computers and tvs. His older daughter makes and sells jewelry, and the SIL as well. We have some fun and interesting talks with all of them before we take off again.

    Have I mentioned that everyone in the canyon drives 4WDs and we are pretty happy about that as it is snowing? I feel pretty confident with Ben driving, but we definitely do some slipping and sliding! Super interesting day, I could bore you silly with more, and maybe I already have! Suffice it to say that the splurge was completely worth it.

    We have an early night as we want to get up and go early in the morning. So that is about it for today's tale! Right now, I need to go cook some dinner on my very own stove!

  • Report Abuse

    Hello all,

    As mentioned previously, we wanted to get an early start on Wednesday, December 30 (I looked at the calendar) to make the long drive from Chinle to Madera Canyon. Our first decision had to do with whether or not to take the interstates (40 West to 17 south, to 10 south east) which would add time to the trip but would likely all be clear in bad weather, and had more lanes in case of slowdowns. The other choice was to take secondary roads down through Globe, Show Low, Salt River Canyon, etc. More scenic, but windy roads and if there was bad weather and/or slow cars, any time gain would be lost.

    This decision was made for us when we walked out the door a little after six to find additional snow fall overnight. It was confirmed after we hit the road and started to experience the joy that was 191 south of Chinle to connect with I-40. Yuck. Two lanes, not terribly clear, lots of scaredy cat drivers. At one point it cleared a little bit and the sun rose so I got about 10 minutes of sunrise pleasure, but then fog set in. So now we had fog, ice and snow-packed two lane roads. Double blech.

    At last we hit I-40 and the delight that is roadside attraction signage in America. Dinosaurs! Real pieces of the Petrified Forest! Cowboys! Indians! Arrowheads! Well, you get the picture. We ignored those signs and stopped at something like a Travel America. Why? 1. Clean toilets. 2. Gasoline. 3. Burger King! I think the first two are pretty obvious, but the third, Burger King, may confuse you. It is not really that we have suddenly become Burger King super fans (although I do think their burger is better than Mickey D's, although never better than Sonic) it's just that I needed coffee and food at this point and we didn't want to take time to sit in a restaurant. We had us some driving to do.

    And drive we did. We could see the famous Route 66 Wig Wams as we drove by (a young family we chatted with at CdC had stayed there the night before, their kids loved it! and apparently it was cleaner than the Motel 6 they stayed in the night before that). and on we drove. One thing we did notice was that it was a good thing we used the facilities at the truck stop. Rest area after rest area in AZ was closed. Not good for the small bladders among us. Hit Flagstaff, all still going well, snowing there, glad to get past it. Finally hit a rest area just before Phoenix that is open, stop there. Cruise through Phoenix, hit 10 south. Making good time, love 75 mph on many AZ hwys.

    Our joy suddenly disappears as the two lanes of I-10 come to a halt. We were tied up for about 45 minutes to an hour with nowhere to go. We are not happy, but there is nothing we can do. We are now over 2 hours behind on our planned travel time, which seriously screws up S's birding plans, so once we get through all that and south of Tucson we throw our hands up in the air and stop for gas and groceries since taking the time now just doesn't matter at this point.

    Grocery shopping is amusing. We are maybe 45 minutes from the Mexico border and the grocery store reflects that. Had we been in the mood we could have learned a lot more about Mexican cuisine. In particular, S has an urge for either a Hershey bar or Twizzler Cherry licorice. We find a huge aisle of Mexican dulce, but no regular candy aisle. At the checkout counter I ask the cashier about this and she mentioned the Mexican aisle, and said they couldn't really sell the other stuff! They had a few Hershey bars at the checkout counter, so all is not lost (for S anyway).

    We had to grocery shop because we were headed for a cabin in Madera Canyon, at the Santa Rita Lodge. The web site and brochure they sent tells us that there is a small Weber grill to use, small fridge, two burner hotplate, and a microwave to use, and a small amount of cooking pots and pans, and utensils. What did I buy? Matchlight, two pork steaks, three rib eyes, 1 ham steak, a five pound bag of potatoes, salt, pepper, oil and garlic salt. And some stuff for breakfast. Those dinners, cooked on a grill with the simplest of ingredients, were pretty darned good!

    The cabin at Santa Rita Lodge was fantastic! I love being right out in the woods. Covered front porch with chairs, a table, a porch swing, and the grill I mentioned. Back deck right in the woods with more tables and chairs. Big old king size bed, sofa and wing back chair, kitchen area and your very own indoor bathroom :-)

    More later,

    Love, S&M (again, hehehehehehe)

  • Report Abuse

    Some replies and exchanges:

    Welcome home!

    I really enjoyed your journals! I don't know if you are aware, but I have studied, read and been fascinated by the Anasazi for years and your last installment was really fun to read. If I get back down that way I will look these folks up for sure. One of my close fishing buddies is Navajo as well and when he is really pissed he cusses at you in that tongue and believe me, you KNOW that he is not happy! J.

    Hey there,

    No, I didn't know of your interest in the Anasazi! Very cool. Did you go to Mesa Verde when you did your SW trip? That was one of the most amazing places we have been. That's funny about your fishing buddy :-) Small world moment, we were at the Spider Rock overlook at CdC and an Indian guy and his wife started chatting with S. The guy was Navajo and originally from the area, but they now live in Mountlake Terrace and proceeded to tell him how great the Tulalip Casino is. It was funny to meet him way down there.

  • Report Abuse

    Ahhhhh, Madera Canyon. Another wonderful place, in an entirely different way. We will almost surely return.

    The primary goal is for S to see a Painted Redstart. When S was in about 5th grade, and got interested in birds (because, as he said, they had wings and could fly away and go anywhere)the Painted Redstart was the bird that interested him most in the Peterson guide. At 54, he had yet to see one, and so we were in search of this bird. This is one of the only places in the US that you can see it, and one had been wintering in the area the last few years. Luckily (whew!) he did get a few looks, although not nearly enough for his satisfaction.

    Madera Canyon is one of southern Arizona's so-called "sky islands." These mountains are surrounded by desert and create unique ecosystems. I can't remember how many different zones there are in Madera Canyon, but it quickly rises from the desert to oak woodlands, to juniper, to pines and Douglas Firs. At the top peak there is actually some snow.

    This was such a great place. There are miles and miles of hiking trails, and incredible birding (of course). It is a national forest, with only three private holdings (the Santa Rita Lodge where we stayed, and two B&B's) so after nightfall it is pretty private. The lodge had a huge feeding station area so when I walked out the door the first morning there three white-tailed deer right in front of me, and not scared of me at all. At our place we see deer a ton, but there is no way they would let us get close like we did. There were also around 32 turkeys. We have around 20 at our place, and again, you cannot get close enough for pictures, so, this was kind of fun.

    There were a lot of other pretty cool birds that we don't see at our place, and this was winter! Spring migration and summer is supposed to be absolutely amazing. Things like the bridled titmouse (I included that just for R because he things titmouse is such a funny name); Mexican jays; Lesser Goldfinch; several different Juncos; 3 different kinds of woodpeckers that we don't have; and, more.

    On the first day, New Year's Eve, I am ready for a really low key day. After coffee, communing with the wildlife, and making a shopping foray into the gift shop, I settle in with a book and a space heater while S goes off birding. With the exception of one fairly short walk, I read a book. I enjoyed the heck out of myself (My Life in France). Then I cooked dinner for S and we watched the 30 Rock marathon, then went to bed about 10 pm!

    New Year's Day I was much more active and went out birding with S. I also did a side trip down into the valley to buy a shipping box and locate the post office. We had bought a cooler for the road trip and couldn't find a completely collapsible one so decided to mail it back home. After all of this I had Steve drive me back up to one of the higher altitude trail heads and I hiked back down to the cabin while he went off birding some more.

    Why did I have him drop me at a higher altitude rather than a lower or closer one? Or even simply do a loop? Well, altitude is the key word. Us lowlanders REALLY felt the altitude. Even the slightest uphill had me panting like a maniac. Imagine if I hadn't been a treadmill maniac this past year! I might have just dropped dead. So, hiking downhill was much much better. After my little hike I was back in the cabin and took my status as The Lazy Birder to new heights. I sat in a chair in front of the picture window looking out over the woods, and watched them from there. It was much warmer :-)

    Days were pretty short in the canyon. Take the fact that winter days are shorter anyway, and then add in how the sun is blocked by those mountains coming and going, and the day was done by about 4 pm. NYD evening I think maybe there was football on, I don't remember! I think I read a magazine and we were early to bed again.

    January 2 was a bit more of the same, except it was an even warmer day. I communed with the critters for a bit, then we looked for some birds, then I dropped S at one of the trailheads and headed into the valley to the Post Office. You have already heard about that little adventure. Back up on the canyon S birded, I hiked around some more, and sometimes I sat on a bench and read. And somehow I got a slight sunburn! Go figure. Even on my back, and I was wearing a shirt. Obviously not a sun-proof shirt.

    I also read pretty much every information sign they had, and there was some pretty interesting history in the canyon as well, including CCC work, mines, Apache strongholds, etc. It is obviously a quick getaway for many many people from the surrounding area (only about 45 minutes to Tucson). There were people of all ages, families, couples, people with dogs--picnicking, hiking, bicycling. And New Year's Day itself was really busy!

    We finally had to head north, but did this slowly as we spent some time in the flatlands before we got to the highway looking for a bird with a name I cannot spell. But, it is a really cool-looking bird! Kind of looks like a glossy black cardinal. Finally saw some, and then road runners (which still crack me up after all these years).

    At last we hit the highway and drove on to Phoenix. No major slowdowns this time, but it was pretty darned busy. I'm guessing they need to expand that highway at some point in the future from two lanes each way.

    We stayed at the Residence Inn near the airport again (gotta love points) since we had to get over there about 7 am. Really nothing t0o exciting to say here, slept, caught our flight with no trouble, our friends R and B picked us up and drove us home. My next door neighbor kindly came over this morning and turned up the heat in the house, and our other neighbor had plowed our driveway. Life is pretty good.

    Thank you for being such an appreciative audience--until next time....

    S&M

  • Report Abuse

    I'm glad you enjoyed it emalloy. It was a different way of sharing a trip report than just copying out of my travel journal, but I figured it would be easier to use those emails than to write a new one. It sure ended up longer that way though! Trip reports are great ways to relive the experience, aren't they? I had such a wonderful time.

    If anyone wants any kind of detail that I have somehow missed (I cannot imagine this, did you SEE how long this trip report was?) please ask and I will answer. Hope to post the Picasa link sometime soon.

  • Report Abuse

    Great to hear about the Grand Canyon in winter. We tried to get there one February but a huge snowstorm in Sedona and the Grand Canyon closed the roads. The residents in Sedona were so excited, it had been 2 years since they had seen snow---we---well, we weren't excited. We're from Ohio and see plenty of snow.

    We were stuck in Sedona though, on a great special off season rate(that they extended for 3 more nts) at the Enchantment Resort. Certainly no sacrifice. We ended up doing some great hiking in the snow--headed to the Lost Canyon Trail--ended up doing a beautiful hike(with snow on the cacti)but really lost Lost Canyon Trail(lots of snow) and ended up on something else. We did lots of amazing trails in Sedona--it was our first visit to Red Rock country. Loved Doe Mountain, Brins Mesa, the Jeep trip.

    It ended up being a great extended visit to Sedona and forced us to plan another trip to see and hike the Grand Canyon. We did that in late March instead of Feb. I also wrote a trip report.

  • Report Abuse

    let begin and say thank you for including the great Navajo nation in your snowy vacation .. it is always nice to hear that everyone behaved them selves and made a lasting impression on you .. you have no idea how much we depend on people as you to spend time and your hard earned money at our many natural wonders on the rez .. we have little income from a steady job as you well saw .. I personally tell the dogs to stop doing what they are doing .. : ) ... I know well those dino's on I 40 ..right below them is on of the best museums around for free .. to late now but maybe you stop by later !! .. yes we do make the best home made Navajo Taco's and fry bread, thanks to Blue Bird flour sold mostly on or around the rez .. thanks again for you visit ..

    2Dogs .. Blacksheep Clan

  • Report Abuse

    Linda-sometimes it's the unexpected events that give us the most unique vacation experiences, isn't it? Your Sedona vacation sounds like it was wonderful.

    2dogs--"I personally tell the dogs to stop doing what they are doing" - LOL!! Too bad about the museum, maybe next time. Interesting to know about the Blue Bird flour. I think I could have spent two more weeks in the area, there is so much to see.

    Peterboy-really? I thought ear muffs were those fluffy things that go over your ears with maybe a band attaching them. Same concept though! Yep, Birders are a different bird. What's worse, he is a Warbler Chaser. Really hard to describe to non-birders. I really was just teasing him, I do enjoy watching the birds, and have my own binoculars, but as my husband says, I'll look at them if they are there, but I don't work very hard at it.

  • Report Abuse

    As I'm planning a trip to the Sedona area next October I really enjoyed your trip report, Toucan2. Thanks for taking the time to post all that.

    Sounds like you made a lot of great memories.

  • Report Abuse

    How nice to see this pop to the top again. I'm glad you enjoyed the report. Yes, I feel cold again just thinking about it :-) It really was beautiful with all the snow though.

  • Report Abuse

    I was really glad to read about the View hotel as it was still being finished when we did our trip. I can just imagine how nice it was to wake up to the sunrise there. We were lucky enough to stay in one of the cabins in Goulding's campground and the sunrise was nice, but distant compared to what you experienced.
    I will look at your photos later, I was hoping you would post some.

32 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcements:
  • Writers Needed for Georgia Coast
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Rwanda and Uganda
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:12 PM
  • Writers Needed for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Jul 18, 14 at 03:11 PM
View all United States activity »
  1. 1 Seattle Hyatts
  2. 2 Need help with Yellowstone and area starting in SLC
  3. 3 Trip Report Trip Report: An Intoxicating Birthday Day-Trip in Napa
  4. 4 Suggestions for road trip with children from Birmingham, AL to Grand Canyon
  5. 5 Trip to the Adirondacks
  6. 6 Best beach in San Diego for family vacation ages 8-16
  7. 7 San Diego - wher to stay
  8. 8 California road trip
  9. 9 Mountain hiking in the US for kids - Fall/Spring . . .
  10. 10 Camping in the Adirondacks
  11. 11 LA, San Diego and San Francisco in 8 days -- can/should we try?
  12. 12 Flights from Bay Area to Orlando, Florida
  13. 13 Boston Logan airport to Salem MA
  14. 14 Berkshires in late October
  15. 15 2 day in Adirondack park
  16. 16 No accomodation in Hana...should we forget about it?
  17. 17 Half Moon Bay, CA - stay there or go to Napa Valley?
  18. 18 NYC Clubs for live music
  19. 19 Mesa Verde
  20. 20 ONP-San Juan Islds or Victoria-Seattle - what's best itinerary for 8 days?
  21. 21 Relocating Tips - Mild Weather, Good Schools, Low Cost of Living
  22. 22 Alaska trip -Labor Day weekend
  23. 23 Trip Report Three Days In Portland, Maine
  24. 24 LUNCH IN ORLANDO, FL
  25. 25 Vail or Aspen in summertime?
View next 25 » Back to the top