Western U.S. Loop: Cottonwood to Kanab

Travel Date: September 30, 2018

My last post ended up being about my Uncle and the rest of my mom’s family instead of what I had been planning to post. Posts have a life of their own sometimes. As a result, what was going to be two posts about our drive up to Kanab, Utah will be combined into one. So, I’ll try to let the pictures tell the story instead of words, words, words.

Additionally I  had been including images from Google Maps to show our progess. Unfortunately all the intermediate destinations confused the site so much it couldn’t cope.

After bidding Uncle Jake and Aunt Sally goodbye we turned north toward home. It would be a very busy travel day with a hike in the Sedona Red Rocks, shopping at the Navajo and Hopi crafts at the top of Oak Creek Canyon, lunch in Flagstaff, and a visit to the Wupatki National Monument. We’ve done these side trips before but we just love them so much. And as we found with Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon National Park the vistas look different every visit.

Our first stop on the drive through Northern Arizona was Broken Arrow Trail outside of Sedona. We love this hike and wanted to share it with Linda. On a long travel day like we felt that  Broken Arrow Trail gives the biggest payback of beautiful vistas for the least amount of effort. It’s some effort, we hiked somewhere in the vicinity of  3 to 5 miles round trip. To access the trail head you take AZ 179 out of Sedona and turn left on Morgan Road which ends at the trailhead.

After winding a bit through some through some low brush you come up to an rock outcropping with a nice view toward the Munds hills area. Sometime we’ll have to hike that area.

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

 

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

 

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

 

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

 

The moon was above and to the right of the hill we were working our round around. I used a couple of vantage points to get them both in the frame.

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

I know that to get the best possible landscape pictures one should use a tripod. But I didn’t  want to hike all around lugging a tripod with me. Looking at the options I decided to try a monopod. I settled on a Sirui monopod that could double as a hiking/walking stick with a camera mount on top. I used it on all of our hikes but used it rarely if at all. I tried it on the shot below to to try to get a steady shot of the moon. I had three problems with the set up. First, the hand grip was too big to easily get my hand around. Second I could not get the telescoping pieces to lock into place; as a result I had to adjust the length every quarter mile or so. Third, a monopod just isn’t as solid as a tripod. I knew that going in but was hoping that it would be enough. But there was just too much wiggle in it to be as stable as I needed. Next time I’ll try a regular walking pole and maybe steady myself on a hiking companion to get the shot.

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Broken Arrow Trail. Sedona, Arizona

Upon finishing our hike we headed up to Flagstaff via the scenic US 89A through downtown Sedona and up Oak Creek Canyon. It’s a bit windy toward the top but nothing compared to the road out of Sequoia National Park. At the top of the canyon there is a rest area with a view.

Oak Creek  Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon. Photo Credit: Carla

The rest area is populated by Native Americans selling their crafts and art work. They work with the Park Service to rent spaces a few days a month. Because of that turnover you’ll find something different each trip. We got a couple of beautiful Christmas ornaments made of the red clay we were surrounded by and a piece of artwork for the wall on our back deck. Um, yeah; it would have been nice if I took a couple of pictures before putting them away. One of the vendors suggested we  take in the Hopi Cultural Festival in Flagstaff.

Our first stop in Flagstaff was the train depot which has a little museum and gift shop. While Carla and Linda bought stuff for the grandchildren I waited for a train.

BNSF at Flagstaff

BNSF at Flagstaff

That family in the picture above are idiots. The dad told the son he could tell if a train was coming by putting his ear down on the rail. So, they both tried it. Trains are rolling pretty fast up here. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

We then headed out to lunch; we found Martannes Burrito Palace a couple of blocks away from the depot and near the old Grand Canyon Cafe – which is closed now. Martanne’s is absolutely fabulous. I had never had Chilaquiles before. They are like nachos with some green pork chili on top. Delicious. I judge Mexican restaurants by their beans and these were first rate. I highly recommend Martanne’s. Flagstaff is turning into a foodie town I think – we’ve had great meals there.

Martannes Burrito Palace

Awesom Pork Chilaquiles at Martannes Burrito Palace

The art work on the walls was great as well with lots of day-of-the-dead type paintings. Not the most romantic representation of  a couple’s engagement.

Martannes Burrito Palace

Artwork at Martannes Burrito Palace

Carla and Linda dropped by Heritage Square to take in the Hopi Cultural Festival we were told about.

Hopi Cultural  Festival. Flagstaff, AZ

Hopi Cultural Festival. Flagstaff, AZ Photo Credit: Carla

I wish we had more time to take it in but we wanted to get up to Kanab before dark and we still had a stop to make. Just like I have to stop at La Posada in Winslow anytime we find ourselves in Northern Arizona, Carla has to take in Wupatki National Monument. It is north of Flagstaff on US 89. If I have my facts right the Sinagua people lived here between 700 and 1100 CE – earlier than the cliff dweller sites we visited in Walnut Canyon.

We had chased summer down through California into Arizona but Winter was chasing up back north. A big storm was closing in on Arizona from the south and we wanted to get out of its range. The very beginning of the storm made for some dramatic skyscapes. I love the open spaces up here.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

There is a large structure with pieces still intact.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

Here are a couple of metates used to grind corn. We learned in our visit to Mesa Verde last year the process leaves a lot of  stone bits in the corn. As a result the people there had terrible teeth. I can imagine.

Metates used to grind corn at Wupatki National Monument

Metates used to grind corn at Wupatki National Monument

 

The path leads right up to the dwelling.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

These were built by stone age people – but they were still excellent architects and builders; their structures are still there over a century later. They even constructed windows in the walls.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

It was time to head out. We got on the road and drove north toward the Glenn Canyon Dam and then over to Kanab, Utah. The Vermillion Cliffs were off to our left as we neared the border and they looked gorgeous in the sunset.

The last half an hour of our drive was in the dark and we were hungry when we hit town. Even this late in the season the restaurants were packed. And the local grocery store closes at 8:00 Sundays so we couldn’t even get some deli stuff to eat at the hotel. We ended up in the worst McDonalds I’ve ever visited – yes McDonalds, we were hungry and cranky. It was so bad I literally walked outside to make sure it was a real McDonalds and not some knock off. The golden arches looked real. Service was awful. We developed a little support group of people who had ordered and were waiting for their meals. It was so terrible it was a little bit funny. A little bit.

We collapsed in our beds and slept well. Our next stop was Boise with an overnight stay in Ogden. More about that in the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
This entry was posted in Foliage and Landscape, National Parks, Photography, Trains, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Western U.S. Loop: Cottonwood to Kanab

  1. Beautiful photos of a special place. Thank you for sharing!

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