Camping on the Edge

Camping on the Edge

I’ve camped in the Grand Canyon four times,  three in Havasupai, (twice in tents  and once in a small hotel in the Havasaupi Village and once at  the historic Phantom Ranch). All are magical experiences.

But if you want to avoid the crowds, (yes, the trails are crowded even though camping permits are limited  because of the fragile geography and fauna in the area), apply for a back country permit. . . No amenities. . .you pack it in and hope you don’t run out of what you need!

 

Boynton Canyon

Boynton Canyon

Look carefully. . underneath the tennis shoe imprints on the trail are hundreds of moccasin prints going back many thousands of years . . .when the first Native Americans moved into this lush land between the scorching deserts to the south and the freezing mountain areas of the north.

Now, a recognized vacation area, Sedona, Az. has pricey resorts and well-heeled clients enjoying the amenities. But talk to the hikers you meet on the trail; they may be camping on a bare-bones budget and enjoying it as much or more,  than those who spent the night in a luxury resort.

Nature takes over in the canyon; the views, the smells, the outdoors’ lifestyle melds the haves and the have nots. Everyone becomes a nature lover thrilled by the experience of the canyon!

 

 

the-travertine-bridge

The Travertine Bridge

The hidden tunnel-like bridge in a valley in the Tonto Forest is a major attraction for tourists and locals alike. The steep hike down is worth it when you come to the always running stream and look up and see the bridge carved by time through the mountain. It is the largest travertine bridge in the world.

 

Head for the Hills, It's Summer! - oil on canvas

Head for the Hills, It’s Summer!

Arizonan’s know the summer routine: head to the northern mountains and a secluded cabin for the weekend or the summer. It at least 10 degrees cooler than the Valley, more in the evenings. So is there any question why the highways going north are crowed on weekends?

Sedona Crossing

Sedona Crossing

Sedona’s red rocks are the iconic symbol of  this fabulous vacation spot. None are more recognizable than “Sedona Crossing.” Hiking, shopping, eating, and staying at a fabulous resort in Sedona, all part of the magic of Secona. (I won’t go into the famous vortex’s. They are the stuff of television expos.)

Don’t let  out-of-state visitors go home without visiting Sedona!

 

 

Man versus Nature

Man versus Nature

The Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Bridge over the Colorado River is my bridge; it is a the Arizona I love: big, bold and totally amazing.

It cost $240 million, took the efforts of 1200 workers and 300 engineers to build and when it opened in 2013, was the 7th highest bridge and the longest arch in the Western Hemisphere. Crossing it you really have  no sense of it’s beauty or its power.  Its’ high cement sides keep vacationers from stopping enroute  to take in the amazing views.  To see the bridge you have to go the Nevada side and take the old highway down to the top of the dam.  Park and you can see the true strength of the bridge and walk across on a specially build walkway on the dam side of the bridge.

The bridge is part 2 of the Hoover Dam complex.  It completes an equally amazing engineering feat. Both the bridge and the dam were built during depression/recession’s and became beacons of hope for discouraged people. The Hoover, the nations’ largest dam, one of the seven  modern engineering wonders of the world,  was completed in less than 5 years. When it opened in 1933, the Colorado River  was described in Fortune Magazine as a “turid stream in a towering furnace of stone.”  The man who first dreamed about the dam was Arthur Powell Davis, in 1902.  He worked for the Federal Department of Reclamation and was a nephew  of John Wesley Powell who made the historic boat trip down the Colorado in the late 1800’s. The dam was buried in controversy for 30 years.  When it was finally approved, John  got to come back and see construction started.  He died  two months later.

(Dog lovers: read the wonderful yet sad story of the Mascot of the Dam on the Reclamation website.  You’ll be glad  you did.)

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Picacho Peak

Picacho Peak

If you didn’t know Civil War history you might not believe that a part of the war was fought in Arizona. There were several skirmishes but the one Arizonan’s remember was at Picacho Peak, 50+ miles northwest of Tucson. It wasn’t a big nor a bloody battle. In fact, it was one of those the townspeople came to watch.
A Union Cavalry patrol from California wanted to stop Confederates taking Arizona. Confederates traveled from Tucson to meet them. Three Union men were killed, three wounded; three Confederates were captured and two might have been wounded (but the record isn’t clear).
The Union ended up ‘taking’ Tucson. . .
Every year Picacho Peak State Park hosts a reenactment of the Arizona and New Mexico battles. . .now more want to participate than were in the original fights.

Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon

Toroweap Overlook, Grand Canyon

In a review on the Internet, an unnamed guide calls Toroweap Overlook a ‘place of terrifying beauty.’ It is one of the most beautiful sites on the north or south side of the Grand Canyon. Because of its remote location, most people only see it through photographs or paintings.

How do you get there? Well, you can’t get there easily from the beautiful North Rim Lodge. That takes hours; its 155 miles to the edge of the Toroweap Overlook. If you are not going to both, start from Kanab, Ut.  It’s only 88 miles to the Rim this way. Travel vehicle?  An SUV of course. . .

Granaries at Nankoweap Trail

Granaries at Nankoweap Trail

Granaries at Nankoweap Trail. To get here, you have to hike one of the toughest trails in the Canyon. Not only is it over 6,000 feet from top to river, there is a stretch 6 inches wide.  You have to carry a backpack and. . .your own water.

There is plenty to see:  petroglyphs and  30+ ruins.  Anthropologists estimate that 900 people might have lived in  this area.  The manmade rooms in the painting were thought to store grain.

Historical note: In 1882, John Wesley Powell had an ancestral Puebloan trail  improved for geologists; today it attracts recreational hikers.

Sidenote: One of my collectors told me she stayed at the bottom of the Canyon and watched her daughter climb the trail through binoculars.  That’s where I would be; watching.

Canyon Sunset

Afternoon Float

 Afternoon Float.  You can’t beat lying in a canoe and floating down a lazy river.  Or paddling down. That’s what I did on  the Green River in Utah with 19 family members from 3 to 75 years in age.   The Green River is a lazy river in the summer; very green, cold and calm. We went through the goosenecks… one twist after the other.

Note of truth: The Green River canyons aren’t as dramatic as those of the Grand Canyon. . .so using painters’ license, I moved the setting for my painting to the more interesting canyon walls.