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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 27 Oct 2011

Location: Flagsaff Arizona

MapAfter a warm and comfortable night's sleep last Saturday night I drove to Flagstaff on Sunday. I've been here for 5 days and am staying in a hostel near the railway tracks. It's one of the best I've stayed in - only 4 in a dorm (not always that many) and they provide fresh fruit for breakfast, as well as having a computer with a USB port, that is reasonably priced and gives plenty of time!
I've done some hiking while I've been here, including the ascent of Humphrey's Peak, which, at 12633 ft (3828m) is the highest point in Arizona. I could even see the Grand Canyon in the distance. I got to the top and got my camera out for photos of the views when disaster struck - the camera wouldn't work! I had my Blackberry with me so used that for a few photos, but had to go and buy another one when I got down. Fortunately I found one that's very similar to my old one, including the same type of battery, so I can use the old charger when I get back to the UK.
On Tuesday I drove to Sedona, which is in a very scenic area but is not a very scenic town. There are a number of vortexes (vortices?) which channel Earth energy (or something like that) so it is a very new age, hippy sort of place. I thought it might be a bit like Glastonbury, but it's not as nice and the shops sell all the same stuff. I did feel something when I went to one of the vortexes, but I think it was the ionised air from the imminent thunderstorm! It rained very heavily for at least an hour before getting hot and sunny again. So not much hiking that day. Although I did stop off at Montezuma Castle on the way back to Flagstaff. This was the well preserved remains of a Pueblean Indian dwelling high up in the cliffs, and was very impressive.
On Wednesday I thought I'd do a short hike in the Flagstaff area before visiting some touristy areas, but took one look at the black sky and lightening in the direction I was headed, and dived into the Museum of Northern Colorado instead! This proved to be a good choice, especially as there was a massive thunderstorm (again) which rattled the windows at one point. Wednesday was really cold - at one point it was only 3C and there were hailstones. So after shorts and a vest top on Tuesday I was back to my down jacket! I visited the Wapatki National Monument, where there were various ruins, including the main one which was really interesting. Then went to Sunset Crater Volcano, which erupted about 1000 years ago. At first I couldn't see it because the cloud was so low, but it lifted a bit and I had a very interesting (if cold) hike around the Lava Flow Trail.
On the way back I went to the Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff. The signs as you approach the observatory proclaim it to be "The home of the expanding universe" and "The home of Pluto"! I looked through one of the huge telescopes but the best thing was looking at Jupiter and all 4 Gallilean moons!
Today I went back to Sedona to do some hiking. The weather is back to normal now - warm and sunny during the day.
Tomorrow I'm headed for Joshua Tree National Park - the last hiking I'll do this trip. This time next week will be my last night in the west before getting the train to New York.