You know what's hard? Traveling with 4 stinking boys. You know what's harder? Hiking the GrandView Trail in the Grand Canyon. “For Experienced Desert Hikers Only” And we said “SURE.” Despite the strenuous hike (and the stinky boys) the trip to Arizona was wonderful.
Landing in Arizona I expected a hot, dry desert without much around. But in Phoenix I found a bustling city and more cactus than you can shake a stick at. My friend picked us up from the airport and drove us back to his temporary home in Flagstaff. The trip was spent in the car, going throughout Flagstaff, traveling to Page, the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and even Utah.
Here are my top 10 favorite things we did in Arizona
1. Fundidos at Valle Luna
I had no idea where to eat in Phoenix. As soon as the plane landed, I tweeted for a suggestion and Valle Luna seemed to have the best reviews. They serve “Sonoran” style dishes, which is a take on Mexican food. We all ended up ordering a different version of the Fundido- a huge flour tortilla stuffed with your choice of meat, Jalapeno cream cheese, fried an topped with melted cheddar cheese. It goes well with a prickly pear margarita.
2. Take a Tour Through Antelope Canyon
This is one of the most photographed places in the world, and for good reason. The “slot” canyon is north of Arizona in Navajo Nation, just outside of Page. We booked Ken's tour (hint, book in advance!) and were guided through Lower Antelope Canyon. Our guide was incredible and even changed our camera settings to take better photos.
3. Horseshoe Bend
After we toured the Canyon we made the short drive to Horseshoe Bend. It's on the Colorado river and it's totally free to go. It's a very short distance to walk in and see the sites and it's well worth it.
4. Take a dip in Lake Powell, Utah
This might be a dumb blonde moment, but I had no idea we were so close to Utah. We headed just a few miles down the road and swam in Lake Powell in Utah. The water was chilly but what a gorgeous back drop.
5. Pit Stops on the Highway
Every where is a photo opportunity and we took many of them. We'd just stop the car and jump out and grab a scenic photo. Like this one.
6. Hike the Grand Canyon
Yes, you can of course just get out and take a picture of the astounding views, but who else can say they hiked the Grand Canyon? Michael was discussing which hiking path we should take. There were easy, moderate, and hard paths. We all discussed it, and I personally said the hard trail couldn't be that difficult. I was very, very wrong. It was the hardest hike of my life.
I should have known as I felt my ankle under the strain on my ankle (once broken, now full of metal) at the steep decline on the GrandView trail. I was flat out scared that I would fall to my death at any moment. But what I really should have been mindful of was the hike back up the 7,400 feet of elevation.
After doing the trail we read that it's “not recommended in the summer” and we all agreed that this was the hardest hike we've ever done. We spotted some beautiful cactus and very tame elk along the way.
7. Eat at MartAnne's in Flagstaff
With all the hiking, I worked up a mean appetite. We headed to MartAnne's in Flagstaff and waited almost an hour and a half to be seated. But it was well worth it. I ordered the chilaquiles with red and green sauce. A heaping portion of eggs, cheese, beans, carnitas, and tortilla chips. I also paired it with a bloody mary.
8. See the sights in Sedona
We stopped at a lookout in Sedona where I purchased a handmade Indian bracelet and took photos of the views. The road switches back and forth giving you a great glimpse of the depths of the valleys.
9. Gaze at the Red Rocks
The sun hits the sandstone formations surrounding Sedona. Some believe that the spiritual vortexes help to calm the mind, heal the body, and uplift the soul. I think they happen to be really pretty.
10. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross
TheChapel of the Holy Cross is built into the rock of Arizona. The small chapel has breathtaking views.
Our trip was absolutely wonderful. Have you ever been? Is there anything I'm missing?