I flew back from Bangalore to San Francisco two days ago. With a day to spare unpacking, teaching and packing, I am back on the road to a local destination. Last year when my sisters and I went to New Orleans, we decided to make that trip an annual event as a time to freeze the moment and spend time with each other. We left a day after I came back eastbound to Arizona. To save time, we flew, lodged in Flagstaff and visited Grand Canyon and Sedona during the day.
Some Stats for Arizona:
Arizona, the 48th state and last of the contiguous state to be admitted to the Union is located in the southwestern region of United States. It is part of the western US and the southwestern region. It is the sixth most extensive and sixteenth most populous state. Phoenix, the largest city is the capital followed by Tucson then Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Tempe and Peorie. It recently celebrated its 100th anniversary as it achieved statehood on February 14, 1912. Arizona has been on the headlines from their controversial immigration laws to the shooting of their Congresswoman last year.
When people hear the word Arizona, most people think it is all hot. Quite the contrary, though yes it gets very hot (but dry) in the summer, it can have quite cold winter in the northern areas of the state due to high altitude. For example, it is about 4500 - 6000 feet in Sedona, a mile high. The state boasts a wide range of forests of pine, spruce and of course the saguaro cactus. The millions of saguaros randomly erected on the wide expanse of desert landscape have shallow hollow roots but hold the plant to over centuries of existence. Today I learned that there are actually two kinds of pine nut trees that look so alike but have different bark. One variety’s existence co-exists with the raven in order for it to bear the nuts. The Grand Canyon National Park, one of the most famous worldwide, along with several national forests, national parks and monuments are in Arizona. About 25% of its land is federal owned that serves as home of the Navajo nation, Hopi tribe, Apache, Yaqui, Yavapai, Quechan, Zuni and Hualapai.
We flew to Phoenix where we rented a RAV4 SUV to use driving around. The vehicle has 780 miles. We are probably the second renters. We drove to Flagstaff. It is about 108 miles to GC from there and 28 miles to Sedona. We plan to visit both places.
Grand Canyon has been around since time immemorial. The chasm of landscape you stop and stare from dawn to dusk from south rim to north rim on the limitless horizon gives you an emotional awe that drains into the abyss of wonder, amazement, oblivion and stretch of the imagination. The canyon is 277 miles long and 10 miles wide of undisturbed terrain. It is a scene of utter desolate landscape where a human looks like a pebble from the macro view. The Colorado River down below provides moisture sustenance for a dry land and serves as a critical part of the ecosystem. About 5 million visitors come from across the globe every year.
Grand Canyon’s effort to preserve and protect this sacred land is evident with all the new landscaping that has been put in place. The human legacy began centuries ago and those who passed on, archived and documented the series of events are to be thanked for now there are about 4800 archived resources in human history available for viewing and learning by the next traveler.
On the day of our visit, there was an experienced 24 y/o female who died. She fell of a 300 foot cliff. Her body was retrieved via helicopter. She is a newlywed and her husband said she is on her way to setting record as the youngest hiker to complete the rim or something like that. Many die here. It is a reminder that despite our knowledge and expertise of hiking, mother nature is in charge. Exercise extreme caution wherever there is hiking or other physical challenge.
This story is rather brief. It is my way of showing gratitude of this place and to remind myself that its beauty will not go unnoticed.I am still suffering from severe jet lag.