Don't forget Winona...........

Trip Start Aug 17, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Friday, December 4, 2009

It was good to get out of the vast urban sprawl of Los Angeles, but a little sad to be leaving the beautiful state of California without having the means to explore its stunning coast lines and get the time to venture into national parks like Death Valley & Yosemite.

Flagstaff was to be used as a base for some short road trips to the Grand Canyon and to Monument Valley.  Flagstaff is a small college town in north Arizona, it has a cool vibe that seems to have a bit of a alternative edge to it.  The town does cling onto the heritage of its place on Historic Route 66, the famous old road from Chicago to LA.  There is a lot of Route 66 themed cafes and bars in town, but the road itself is dwarfed by its replacement the i-40, which is sad.

For our first night in town we stayed in the Grand Canyon Youth Hostel, we needed somewhere to settle whilst we arranged some wheels for our little adventures.  The hostel is fantastic, and run by some really kind and helpful people.  Upon leaving the next day we donated our trusty Canadian tent to the hostel, and we hope that many others enjoy the same freezing cold sleepness nights that we did in it!

We collected our Chevy Cobalt hire car and set off towards the Grand Canyon National Park.  I should make it clear that at 7000ft above sea level, and at the beginning of December, that it was cold at the canyon, damn cold!!  But as we walked up to the edge of the South Rim that cold was quickly forgotten, as we saw for the first time the mesmerizing beauty of the Grand Canyon.  It is like a rainbow of colour across the rocks, and the size of the place makes it seem like your eyes are trying to trick you.  Being there at this time of year was fantastic, as the visitor  numbers were so low all you could here was the wind and the calls of the crows.

Watching the sunset at the canyon was truly breathtaking and it reminds you of how awesome nature is and how tiny we are.  We drove on out of the park and made our way to Monument Valley, which lies on the Arizona/Utah boarder.

It was late when we arrived at what we thought was Monument Valley,  we were unsure as it is pitch black in the middle of the desert.  Some light drifted across from the Indian reservation, but we were not sure if we had stopped in the right place.  We got out our sleeping bags and blankets and settled in for the night.  The good thing about having to wake up every 90 minutes or so to run the heater to ward off frostbite, was that we were never going to miss the sunrise.  This was an incredible sight at approx 7am, the sun came up so fast and revealed the weird jagged shapes of these eerie monoliths.  It is a calm still place at this time in the morning and it was amazing to see the colours change as the sun dragged itself up above the rocks and bounced light off all the twisted monuments.

It is when you see these sights that it seems so pointless being in the cities, and I felt so far away from the scum of LA, that it was almost like washing it from my system entirely.
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