We leave the Hotel early (before 8:00 am). There is no cloud to be seen when we drive south on HWY 89 towards the east entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park. We are passing Antelope Pass and drive over a high plateau for a while. Up here the vegetation is much greener again. A few miles before we leave HWY 89 the landscape changes as we get to lower altitudes, it looks rather moon like, almost no plants and gray black hills to the left and to the right.
Before we arrive at the Grand Canyon we see the canyon of the Little Colorado which is quit impressive as well and gives us hint of what to expect. Soon after the park entrance we drive to the first view point, and here it is – the Grand Canyon. It is amazing, beautiful and fascinating at the same time. It is so huge, so deep and so wide, it is hard to describe and even harder to capture in pictures (Marco to take the wide angle lens). We drive from one view point to the next and fully enjoy the different views of the canyon. It is hard to imagine that the North Rim is about 10 to 15 miles away – the dimensions of this canyon are unbelievable.
The canyon was first discovered by the Army in 1540 and, believe it or not, in the early 19th century settlers were mining at the bottom of the canyon and carried everything with mules up. At this time it took them 12 days with the stage coach from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, today it’s a 2 hour drive! At one of the view points we see two Juniper trees which are over 500 years old.
We meet a young guy with his bicycle and we ask him where he is coming from: Washington D.C.! He came all the way with his bicycle, 2,000 miles in 2 months and in another 2 weeks he wants to drive to San Diego! – crazy, this guy!
To get to Flagstaff we leave Grand Canyon through the south exit on HWY 64 then we take HWY 180 east and drive towards Humphreys Peak, a snow covered mountain, visible from very far way. We are driving through pine tree forests and meadows, a beautiful scenery.
We arrive in Flagstaff early afternoon and therefore decide to continue our journey towards Sedona. To get there we take HWY 89A through Oak Creek Canyon. The first few miles the road is leading over flat terrain before it leads down into the canyon in hairpin curves. The rocks and cliffs soon change from white to red the closer we get to Sedona. Sedona is a nice touristy village with lots of hotels and stores along the road (and lots of traffic even at this time of the year).
Our destination for today is Camp Verde. A small town with about 10,000 people. Definitely not a place we would want to settle down. We have a hard time finding a place to eat, we even try the casino a few miles north, but eventually end up at KFC (it’s a bit better than the one in West Yellowstone, but it’s still fast food).
For the night we stay at the Super 8 Motel (one of three reasonable motels in town).