Arizona

At some points it seemed that I was destined to not visit the Grand Canyon. The first hiccough was when the round coach trip from San Francisco I had hoped to do fell through and then, just a few days before, was told that the trip from Phoenix was not to take place. The date of 28th November held no significance to me – Thanksgiving Day. At the eleventh hour I managed to find a company  working on that day but there were problems with the pick-up location. The next thing was that another company sent me an e-mail that I had booked with them – no, I hadn’t as I’d never heard of them! Just like buses – none then two come along. After a few phone calls, it transpired that the second company was doing the tour for the first but both had omitted to explain that. Next morning, was picked up at 6:30 am for 250+ miles to the Grand Canyon. There were only 3 of us so not sure if it was viable for the company but glad it was, at last, taking place.  We gradually climbed to around 7 or 8 thousand feet…….. amazed at the bulging crisps packet (or should I say chips) because of the change in air pressure …… thought that only happened in a plane! We went through a variety of changes in terrain …… once out of Phoenix we were in the Senoran Desert with loads of cacti but much later, were driving where there had been a fall of a few inches of snow. On the way, mid- morning, we passed through Sedona  where the red rocks were stunning and then drove up the beautiful Oak Creek. As we approached the canyon, the thought of a helicopter flight was becoming more tempting as I thought I would always regret passing up the opportunity so a phone call ahead by Mel, our driver, got it organised. By 12:35 I was up in the air, lucky enough to be at the front beside the pilot. It was a fabulous trip but over all too quickly. It seems that on the next day, Black Friday, the canyon was covered in a river of fog in a once in a decade weather phenomenon. See http://dailym.ai/1cHt3w  This would have been tremendous to see but then there would have been no helicopter flight. The views from the rim were also awesome ……. it is so vast it’s hard to take it all in. I’d love to go back and either hike to the bottom or take a mule ride down (if they can find a strong enough one!) Don’t think I’m brave enough to do the white water rafting on the Colorado though. We returned by a different route and saw the Painted Desert which was also beautiful with pale, muted colours. Lovely sunset too with hills in silhouette .

Señoran cactus - a bit fuzzy as taken from moving vehicle

Señoran cactus – a bit fuzzy as taken from moving vehicle

Red Rocks near Sedona

Red Rocks near Sedona

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Taken from the rim

Taken from the rim

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Painted Desert

Painted Desert

More Painted Desert

More Painted Desert

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