A few weeks ago we headed north for a 4 day trip to revisit a few places we enjoy: Flagstaff and The Grand Canyon. With temperatures predicted to be around 110 at home, even the mid 80s up north seemed pleasantly cool.
Flagstaff was our first stop. Surprisingly, we were a bit disappointed this time around. The downtown had several more vacant storefronts than we remember. Our favorite place to eat is gone. Another that offered nice dinners on an outdoor patio had become the home of fast-casual type meals. The homeless population has increased while the streets and parks are less clean. Overall, things just felt more frayed at the edges.
Even so, the weather cooperated, with clear sunny days. We decided it was a good time to ride the ski lift to the top of Snowbowl ski resort, about 20 minutes north of town. During the winter, several hundred inches of snow blanket the slopes and the 55 different trails.
Our visit was much more to our liking: low 70's and nothing but wildflowers, green grass, and towering trees. The 25 minute trip up the lift travels to 11,500 feet. Though still 1,000 feet below the highest peak, the view is amazing. We saw the Grand Canyon some 70 miles away, mountainous volcano cones in every direction, beautiful meadows, and even the beginnings of a forest fire on a distant ridge. The Forest Service was aware of the blaze and letting it burn, but the sight was still a little unsettling.
Here are some pictures that don't really capture the total quiet and peacefulness, but give you a chance to armchair travel (without the effects of rather thin air over two miles above sea level).
Less than two hours north is the Grand Canyon. A mile deep in some places, covering well over 200 miles from end to end this is a really big hole in the ground. Even though the distance from the popular South Rim to the less-visited North Rim is just 10 miles, to drive from one to the other takes five hours; there's this wide chasm in between, you see.
This is one of the few places in the country where the majority of people are not starting at cell phone screens. To walk along the trail near the edge of the canyon does not lend itself to distracted strolling. Instead, thousands are using the built-in cameras or simply enjoying the breathtaking beauty and power of the place.
Another thing we noticed were the number of languages being spoken by the clusters of people walking by us. German, Japanese, Italian, Greek, Polish and others we didn't recognized filled our ears. English was very much in the minority.
|Obviously, this little fellow has done this before|