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Arizona - Sedona, Grand Canyon, MV and Canyon DeChelley

Arizona - Sedona, Grand Canyon, MV and Canyon DeChelley

Old May 12th, 2013, 03:45 PM
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Arizona - Sedona, Grand Canyon, MV and Canyon DeChelley

Just returned from a long planned two week vacation in AZ. With the help of the internet, a few travel guides, and of course, this forum it was a great trip!! Our goal was to see a lot, but also to enjoy the area without spending all of our down time traveling to another destination. Here is just a brief report...
Days 1-3: Arrive in Phoenix, pick up rental SUV and begin drive to Sedona. First stop was Montezuma's Castle..absolutely amazing! It was our first intro to the cave dwellings of the Sinaqua people of the 14th century. It is very well preserved and just an amazing site! Would have liked to visit Montezuma's Well, but no time! Continued drive to Sedona for check in at The Matterhorn, a very clean motel, with great location in uptown. We walked out each evening for dinner and shopping and even though it was on the Main St...it was quiet. Great views of the Red Rocks from front and back of motel. Hiked Cathedral, Little Horse trail to Chicken Point, and Red Rock State Park (nice picnic spot). Visited Chapel of the Holy Cross, Airport mesa, afternoon with lunch in Jerome and Pink Jeep Tour
Day 4-7: Drive to Grand Canyon, visiting trading posts along the way, Fry Bread and Indian jewelry! Arrive at Canyon....awestruck and nervous for the next day. First night in Bright Angel Rim Cabin. Next morning hike down South Kaibab, 5 hours, breathtakingly beautiful and totally empowering to be able to experience this trip!. Overnight 2 nights at Phantom which allowed us to hike in the Canyon and relax along the Colorado River...yes there is a beach! Hike out via Bright Angel 6.5 hours...also very beautiful in the morning! We were so pleased that we did the research, came prepared and enjoyed every step of the hike without injury.....of course walking (especially stairs) was painful for days after !
More to follow if anyone is interested.....Monument Valley, Canyon DeChelley, Winslow and back to Sedona !
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:32 PM
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bsktfan, I'm totally impressed that you did the Canyon hike. I've only made it down an hour or so, but it is really a wonderful experience to just be in the place. Did you stay over at the Canyon the night you came up or continue on your way?

Keep it up I'm traveling vicariously.
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Old May 12th, 2013, 04:50 PM
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Spending the night at Phantom has been on my list of things to do for a while now. Did you like staying 2 nights or would have been fine with 1?

My parents were at Monument Valley and Canyon De Chelly last week.

Looking forward to the rest of your report
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Old May 13th, 2013, 11:54 AM
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emalloy,
We did stay over on the rim the day we hiked out. We made it out of the canyon around 1:00pm and though the front desk did allow us an early check in, we had to wait almost 2 hours until the room was ready. A very long two hours...considering that we were very tired and dirty! The funny thing was that we sat on a bench, listening to the impressions of everyone who was viewing the canyon from the top...we felt like we were secret club members! After a great hot shower, Cold water to drink, and a good night's sleep, we woke to a fresh start and travel to MV...
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Old May 13th, 2013, 12:02 PM
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Spiro,
One night may work for most but two nights allowed us some relax time. We did hike about 6 miles within the cabin, farther up the North side and the elevation overlooking Phantom, but we also took time to relax, read, and we did attend the Ranger presentations. They were well done...we learned about the California Condor, the Kolb brothers (early day adventurers), and some other lesser known stories about the Canyon. We spent time on the beach landing to watch rafters lay over for a few hours. I think the extra day also allowed us to meet new people, all with their own unique story on what brought them to the very unique destination. We were told that only 1% of those who visit the Canyon ever actually reach the bottom. We were able to check this bucket list item off of the list!!
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Old May 13th, 2013, 03:54 PM
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Part B... Day 8 - After an overnight in a Bright Angel Rim cabin, we exited the east entrance, visiting Desert Tower on the way. Stopped at the Cameron Trading Post which had the best hot fry bread (order only one to share as they are HUGE!, also very good shopping spot, nice selection of jewelry, leather and pottery!
Arrived at MV around 3pm, allowing us time to orient and book a sunset tour with Fred Cly's Adventure Tours ( they seem to rotate guides at the info booth). We were the only two people on our tour and the expected 2 hour tour was more like 2.5 hours. On advice of this forum, we booked a tour to see the private areas of the Valley and our best photos are of Sun's Eye and Ear of the Wind, two formations that allow land to see sky through rock formations....very beautiful!. We finished our tour as the sun was descending and were taken to our own private photo spot surrounded by legions of photographers hoping to get that best shot over the Mittens!
Our dinner and overnight at the View was very good, I had read mediocre reviews online but the hotel was clean, nicely decorated with the best sunrise view and the food was very good also..introduced to traditional Navajo tea!

Day 9 - Up the next morning for sunrise, as was 80% of the hotel..when I looked over the balcony,expecting to see no one up so early, I was greeted with a row upon row of camera lenses..the thing to do when at one of the most photographed places in the US! After breakfast, a leisurely drive to Chinle and Canyon DeChelley...thank goodness for a good old fashioned road map as cell/satellite service is limited, as are road signs!. Canyon deChelley was a gem of a find!! Hiked the White House trail to the Whitehouse ruins (off of the south rim drive, a spectacular trail along smooth rock formations, through a small tunnel to exit in a green lush valley, well preserved ruins and Native American vendors. I wish we had planned time for a tour but we did not. Definitely worth the stop. At the last viewing spot, Spider Rock, there are two fixed viewing tubes located on the right side of the parking lot...take a look and view additional ruins that are totally inaccessible to anyone but Spiderman! I truly am amazed at the structures and history of that time!
Back on the road to Winslow, Arizona...we are on a mission to be "standing on a corner in Winslow, AZ, such a fine sight to see..." by late afternoon!! Check into La Posada, another architectural gem, wonderful restored building with great train and early century history and the restaurant "The Turquoise Room" was very, very good. Great pics of Route 66 and "Standing on the Corner Park", shared laughs with a couple from Australia who were on the same mission!

Day 9-11 - Back to Sedona for more... Slide Rock Park, hiking, Tlaquepaque Village and a spa day for rest and relaxation....loved the hike to Devil's Bridge, tried to drive to the trail head as recommended by hotel but they were wrong! Do not attempt unless you have an off road vehicle! We could have hiked to the trailhead but accepted a ride from a Arizona transplant who saw us retreating from the dirt entrance road...while part of us was thinking "ax murderer", we do believe in the kindness of strangers and enjoy the intentions of kind people. Mike was interesting, helpful, excited about Sedona, and another highlight of our trip....It is sad that we have to be so cautious these days and often miss interactions and opportunity!
I also must comment that we ate at some recommended spots - Cowboy Club for bison chile that was delicious...and must recommend Elote for its great Margaritas and roasted corn dip!
Back to Pheonix early am of last day to fly home

Comments - AZ was beautiful, many eco systems in one state, beautiful views, great hiking, nice people! Our plans paid off in a comfortable pace with great adventures! Would have liked to see Page but we decided against it this time and that paid off as there was a extensive detour due to road closure. Maybe next time, when I again turn to this site to plan our Utah adventure! Thank you Fodorites...I have used you for several trips and truly trust the info I get here. Hope this helps someone else plan a "most wonderful adventure"!!
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Old May 13th, 2013, 04:28 PM
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This sounds like a wonderful trip!
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:21 AM
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What a great trip! Hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon is such an incredible experience. So glad you took the opportunity! I was fortunate to experience it twice many years back - camping at the bottom. Incredible! It was quite a challenge hiking out. The second time was in June and it was wicked hot. But so worth it!

Great trip report! Thanks for the memories.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 04:19 AM
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Thanks for the rest of the TR.

If you are interested in Native American history, do come back and visit Canyon de Chelley with a guide. That was one of the best tours we have taken in the area.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Our Navajo guide at Canyon de Chelley made it one our favorite experiences in the canyonlands of AZ and UT.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Great trip report. I like the idea of spending 2 nights at Phantom Ranch. Were your legs already feeling tired at the start of the hike back up? How much hiking do you normally do, or better put, how fit would you say someone should be for this? Also how were the temps both at the top and bottom? Thanks!
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Old May 21st, 2013, 05:38 PM
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We were sore every morning but felt better when we were moving! We actually climbed out at a steady pace....5 hours down Kaibab ( 7 miles)' and 6.5 hours out Bright Angel (10 miles). We are recreational hikers only. I think that we had such a good trip because we read everything we could and were prepared with good socks and shoes, water and food while hiking! I think anyone who enjoys hiking and WANTS to experience it, CAN do it! Some people take 5 hours and some take 10 hours but the journey is the same. Temps for end April- 25 degrees going in to 80 at the bottom, coming out was 70's and hiked to almost the same afternoon temp up top.
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