Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze

On the Precipice of Grand Canyon Arizona

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Finally my wanderlust shifted from US Midwest to the southwest state of Arizona. Ruminating in retrospect my last sojourn to the US Dakotas was a real lollapalooza of an experience. It was really invigorating, memorable and monumental.

Arizona a state known as the city of the sun with sunshine glaring at maximum intensity 360 days of the year was rather disconcerting. The landscape straddled with Saguaro cactus appeared to be an eye sore.Fortunately it was February of the year a period of intense rain and snow. Weather pundits predicted good weather forecast for our gallivanting to the Grand Canyon South Rim.

Our itinerary was a 3 day trip starting from Scottsdale to Sedona with an overnight halt at Jun pine Resort Lodges followed by billeting at Holiday Inn Grand Canyon. This was followed by sauntering across the brink of Canyons southern rim.

GPS was aligned to Arizona 101 and I 17=AZ 260 followed by Arizona 89A setting course for Sedona. The desert strewn country side peppered by massive growth of Seguin cactus was a surreal thriller. One wondered when the landscape would change to the ponderosa pines and greener pastures.Perambulation would be incomplete without stopovers at Sedona and Flagstaff.

Derig the drive one could see quaint towns, ghost towns of gold rush era. Stagecoach stations almost deserted dotted the route. Enroute the area was sparsely populated. We took detour off exit 289 to see the famous Montezuma Castle Monument. Dwellings of the Sin guan people ensconced in the sides of limestone cliffs a 1000 year old preserved national monument.

Moving to Sedona a graduated change of scenery occurs. Cactuses are replaced by Ponderosa pines. Towering and stunning red rock formations dot the landscape. Rivulets and brooks meander across the route. In the backdrop sun filters a stunning view of red rock formations. Gradient of the road ascends with winding roads and thick forests.

The south western area of USA Sedona provides excellent trails for trekking and sauntering amidst an area nestled with red rock formations. The weather was upbeat with temperatures in range of10 degree Celsius. Jun pine Inn Resort provided excellent amenities for the night stay. Apart from a mouse scare and no breakfast facilities the inn gets a 3 star rating.

Next day we embarked to our next destination Flagstaff --a stunning 1hour drive. The entire sojourn would be incomplete without visiting Sedona and Flagstaff. Oak Creek Canyon provided spectacular and stunning views. One’s impression was dispelled that Arizona was a desolate state devoid of picturesque beauty.

Entering Flagstaff one was overwhelmed by the majestic and towering site of Humphreys Peak. This was Arizona’s highest snow-capped mountain over 12000 feet above sea level. Arizona Ski Bowl Resort near Humphreys Peak is a major tourist attraction. Other tourist vistas include the White Mountains which is going to be next on the gallivanting calendar.

Web dropped anchorage at the Holiday Inn Grand Canyon for the night after a 90 minutes’ drive from Flagstaff. The hotel amenities and services get a 4 star rating. The entire next day was dedicated to exploration of Grand Canyon Southern Rim.

The Grand Canyon is a gargantuan gorge carved by Colorado River and its tributaries that stretches over 270 miles long exhibiting powers of erosion over a millennium. Over1900 miles of the park is dedicated to wilderness. The air is pollution free.

The Colorado River meanders across the length of the canyon and aquatic activities like rafting and canoeing. Other activities include hiking, skydiving, and helicopter tours. Hiking to the bottom is strenuous and not encouraged for the frail and handicapped. Accidents and mishaps are common for those pushing beyond their physical limitations.

The southern rim is the most popular tourist bonanza. It is open entire year and offers panoramic and picturesque views of the canyon along the brink of the canyon. The gorgeous vistas and spell binding views are really exhilarating from the lookout towers standing on the threshold of canyon.

The high water mark of our jaunt would be incomplete without traversing the spectacular Desert View Drive along the southern rim for 25 miles. Main attraction is the Desert View Tower perched on the brink of canyon. Catalyst transformation of terrain into desert mode with its stunning and exquisite vistas is an unforgettable experience.

This area was the site of a 1956 disaster involving 2 Super Constellation aircraft. Route back to Phoenix was by highway 89 and I 17 bypassing Sedona via Flagstaff.

This was the culmination of a visit to a historic wonder of the world.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 1:52 PM,


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