Lyric (our daughter) and Matt (her boyfriend) flew in to Phoenix to spend a week with us recently and to see some of the sights in Arizona. We were missing each other terribly, so it was an immense pleasure to drag them from one end of the state to the other. We had an awesome time with them and only wish they could be permanent traveling companions –someday maybe!
Rather than bring the RV down to Phoenix (a long trip through mountains) we staged it near Flagstaff at a National Forest site and drove down to tent camp at Lost Dutchman State Park. (We’ll do a “Part 2” post about camping and hiking at Lost Dutchman). What a great State Park!
Located to the east of Phoenix, it is very much in the thick of the Sonoran desert, with it’s “ever-so-different-from the northeast” flora and fauna and Superstition Mountain as a backdrop. They seemed to enjoy that part of the trip as much as the spectacular Grand Canyon vistas. They also enjoyed the warmer temperatures of southern Arizona!
In fact, our travels around the state during their week-long visit was a great lesson in the effects of altitude on temperature. While in Flagstaff the nights began dipping into the low 20s, and the days were considerably colder than in Massachusetts – only reaching highs in the low to mid 50s. We drove through snow showers driving south from Flagstaff. (Ironically, the week they came here was one in which temperatures in Mass. pushed into the mid to high 70’s!). Go figure.
Of course we took a lot of pictures…but rather than try to post all of them (or even the very best of them) here on this blog, we’ll just post a few and put the rest in a Flikr Photostream link at the end of the blog.
DAY 1: So, anyway, we set up the tents at Lost Dutchman (it hit 90 degrees in the afternoon), then picked the kids up at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and returned to Lost Dutchman to tent camp for the night. That way they wouldn’t have to get off the plane (at 8:30 pm) and spend another several hours traveling. By the time we got to camp, thunderstorms were in the area, so we just turned in early.
DAY 2: The next day we did the 3-hour trip to return to the RV at Pinegrove Campground in Flagstaff and just barely squeezed in a quick visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument in the afternoon. Walnut Canyon features cliff dwellings built into shallow caves lining the canyon walls. Archeologists believe that it was the women who built the homes, blocking in the shallow caves with rough cut sandstone cemented together with clay from local deposits.
DAY 3: The following morning we relocated 100 miles north to the Ten X campground near the Grand Canyon. We needed fuel but discovered to our dismay that gas prices in Tusayan were $1.00 more than anywhere else along the way. Sigh. Note to self… fuel up BEFORE you get to the “resort area”. We enjoyed our evening around camp, seeing elk walk through the campground and sitting around the campfire. (Matt is an expert fire builder so we had a great campfires every night.)
DAY 4: The next day we put in a full “Grand Canyon” day – putting in over six miles of hiking along the rim trail. We all agreed that was plenty of Canyon… and since we had to return them to Pheonix anyway to catch their flight home, we made a plan to head back south to Phoenix and Lost Dutchman State Park for the duration of the visit. The other motivating factor was the weather. Every night it was getting colder, and the next day’s temperatures were predicting a 22 degree overnight low!
This temperature business made us nervous, to say the least. Our last RV had sustained water damage from burst pipes and we are determined not to let this happen to our new RV. Granted the Nash is four season – but we want to be around to monitor conditions.We could not rationalize leaving the RV alone for 4 days unattended under those conditions. With a bit of internet research we found a boondocking site farther south, in the Verde Valley (about half way between Phoenix and Flagstaff), where the weather conditions were much more favorable.
DAY 5: We pulled the RV to the new site, then loaded our camping gear for tent camping at Lost Dutchman. We would now have two full days to relax and enjoy the Sonoran Desert flora and fauna, and hiking the trails at Lost Dutchman.
and here’s the link to a few more of the pictures for the northern AZ part of the trip (really … we showed restraint):
FLIKR PHOTOSTREAM LINK FOR LYRIC and MATT AZ VISIT