Over one weekend during my Arizona trip, we skipped from our tight project schedules and went North, heading to Grand Canyon. We also stopped by at several tourism spots along the route from Phoenix to Grand Canyon.
Big thanks to Jamie & Art, who were willing to spend their weekend being our guide to all those beautiful places…
Located at near Camp Verde, Arizona, in the Southwestern United States, Montezuma Castle National Monument features well-preserved cliff dwellings. They were built and used by the Pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 1400 BC. Several Hopi clans trace their roots to immigrants from the Montezuma Castle/Beaver Creek area. Clan members periodically return to their former homes for religious ceremonies.
The five-story stone and mortar dwellings contain 20 rooms and is said once housed about 50 people. A natural overhang shades the rooms and shelters them from rain. Another part of the cliff wall bears the marks of an even larger dwelling, which has not survived. This high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a 1,000 year-old story of ingenuity and survival in an unforgiving desert landscape.
In 1951, the US National Park Service closed the Montezuma Castle cliff dwelling to the general public to prevent further damage to the structure. Since then, only national park personnel have been allowed to enter the ruin to monitor and maintain its stability and study its construction.
Sedona’s main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. Landmark rock formations include Coffeepot Rock, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Chimney Rock, Courthouse Butte, the Mittens, the Cow Pies, and the Rabbit Ears.
One of Sedona’s landmarks (other than the rock formations) is Chapel of The Holy Cross, designed and built by painter and sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude in 1956. The Chapel was built directly into a rock butte and is distinguished by its most prominent feature – a 90-foot high cross that is architecturally integrated and seems to support the structure as it juts out from the rock. The Chapel is owned and maintained by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix and St. John Vianney Catholic Church of Sedona.
Slide Rock State Park
Slide Rock State Park is a state park located in Oak Creek Canyon in north central Arizona, seven miles north of Sedona. It takes its name from a natural water slide, formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. The park is located on Coconino National Forest land and is co-managed by the Arizona State Parks agency and the U.S. Forest Service. Tall red rock formations that are typical of the region also surround the park, which contains a 43-acre working apple farm.
A steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in the U.S. state of Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Grand Canyon is unmatched throughout the world for the vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. It is not the deepest canyon in the world – both the Cotahuasi Canyon (11598 feet or 3535 m), Colca Canyon (10499 feet or 3200 m), both in Arequipa, Peru and Hell’s Canyon on the Oregon-Idaho border are deeper – but Grand Canyon is known for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. It boasts an elevation change of nearly 7,000 feet (2130 m) from Point Imperial (at nearly 9,000 feet or 2740 m) to the banks of Lake Mead (at just over 2,000 feet or 610 m). Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. There is no way that mere words can describe the place. You just have to see it…
There are lots of historical buildings and tourism spots within the area, both along the North Rim and South Rim, as well as various activity alternatives to enjoy the wilderness of the Grand Canyon such as hiking, whitewater rafting, camping, or simply fly-over the canyon using helicopter.
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to trek down the river. Next time, I have to make sure that I have enough time to trek down the steep cliff and the river…
* More photos from my Arizona trip are at http://www.ismawanismail.com/gallery/index.php?/category/arizona