We have returned. I think the official total of mileage on our poor rental car has been declared "around a thousand".
It was a fascinating trip. Neither of us had been to the area before. I lived in El Paso for a year and had taken a family trip to Carlsbad Caverns and the White Sands area, but had never been to the high desert.
It was fun to watch the landscape change as we sped along the highways. From the dry hills of Phoenix covered in saguaro forests to the stark red cliffs of Sedona. Then up through the ponderosa pine forests to Flagstaff. Then to watch it all reverse as we drove east to Winslow and Holbrook to respectively stand on a corner and see the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert.
No less amazing than to about face and watch it all in reverse as we headed up, up and up to the Grand Canyon. Which was indeed grand. My son had been there before and he told me, "No matter how much you play it up, it will still be more than you imagined." And he was right. I had pretty much gotten the vastness of the area right in my mind's eye. What I had forgotten to imagine was the depth. And that amazed me.
The whole thing amazed me.
We so did not want to leave those mountains that we made a second stop in Flagstaff before pushing on south to Camp Verde where we saw Montezuma's Castle, which are ancient Indians ruins built five stories high in the face of a mountain. We had a good giggle over the information sign that explained how the people who built the dwelling were probably pushed out of the Flagstaff area by overpopulation. My thoughts were that some real estate developer Indians got hold of ancient Flagstaff and soon all the rich Indians moved in, driving the cost of living up so high that the poor 'native' Flagstaff ancient Indians were forced out.
As soon as I'm not exhausted, doing laundry or tending to still feuding and now totally freaked out kittens, I'll have more.
Moi over the edge at the Grand Canyon after making two brothers laugh when I told Jason, "You're not the boss of me!" because he said I couldn't climb out on the ledge. (It was 35 degrees out, hence the sweater)