The path to the Grand Canyon

Trip Start Oct 26, 2011
Trip End Oct 30, 2011

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What I did
Montezuma Castle, Sunset Crater Volcano, Wapataki Pueblo, Grand Canyon

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, October 28, 2011

We left the resort by 6:40 in the morning and headed North.  Our first stop was Montezuma Castle and it was a cliff dwelling which was pretty cool. We got there right when it opened and stayed until about 8:45.  Next we headed to Sedona and stopped at some scenic pullouts.  Then we stopped at a ranger station and learned a lot about the area.  We bought our daily pass, and parked at the Cathedral Rock trailhead.  We ended up doing a longer trail that went around to the back side of the formation.  We had to cross a freezing cold stream.  When we got to the other side people said if we went a little bit further we could see the Cathedral Rock Vortex.  It was just a big slab of red rock.  Lots of people had stacked rocks around the area.  Next we drove to the cathedral in the rocks.  We didn't go inside, we just looked at it from beneath.  Next we made our way through Oak Creek Canyon.  We stopped at a neat bridge that went over the deepest part of this canyon.  We made our way to Flagstaff, refueled and stopped for the Pizza Hut buffet.  It was really good, but made us a little full for the next few hours. 
    The next stop was Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.  When we first had a good view of the volcano we stopped for a picture.  Then I just happened to turn around and you could see the huge San Fransisco peaks in the distance.  It was pretty cool.  The volcano was over 8,000 ft elevation and has erupted within the last 1000 years.  There were lots of interesting lava flows, and cinder everywhere.  Miles climbed the Lenox Crater and the cinder frim the volcano was very thick  It said to only do the trail if you were in very good physical condition.  I sat at the bottom while Miles climbed it.  There was a loop road that went to Wapatki National Monument.  The speed limits were only 45 and 55 but the roads were totally empty so Miles moved from one park to the other around 80 mph. We got to the main ruins and walked around. There was a living structure, an ampatheater, a ball field, and a blow hole.  After that, we continued North and drove towards Cameron, then turned west on 64.  We saw the gorge of the Little Colorado which was pretty neat.  Our first stop was Desert View where there is a tower that you can climb to get an even better perspective of the canyon.  This was Miles' first glimpse of the canyon!  We stopped at every pulloff all the way to Grand Canyon Village. This gave us the chance to see several spots as we drove for 25 miles along the rim.  We watched the sunset over the canyon at Grandview Point. We saw deer, 3 elk, and 3 raccoons when it was dusk.  We went to Wendy's then went to the hotel and watched Game 7 of the World Series in which the Cardinals won!   
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