Caught the lovely greyhound to Flagstaff this morning, had to change buses in Phoenix. One other guy from the hostel decided to go as well so it was nice to have some company. We had to wait around an hour in Phoenix which seemed like another typical US city and i came to the realisation that i was bored of these places and the US in general. Dont get me wrong i am glad that i have seen them and i met some awesome people along the way, most especially all the lovely Booties who have made the trip 100 times better. I just think i have finally understood that the US is not for me, which is weird cos growing up all i wanted to do was live and go to school here. Im now very thankful that i didnt – i wouldnt swap my English education for anything.
Well thats enough blah, got into Flagstaff mid afternoon and was slightly surprised to see snow on the ground – i mean hello this is supposed to be Arizona – home of the desert. And it was freezing too – i am just crying out for a few days of sun and warm weather – serves me right for deciding to travel in winter i guess! The great thing about the hostel was that they did a free pick up from the bus station so gave them a call and they came to pick us up – already the hostel is a winner in my eyes. Another bonus was that it is by far the cheapest i have stayed in too – $17 bucks a night with breakfast – now thats a bargain. Flagstaff is a very popular town with tourists as it makes an ideal base for exploring the many wonderful sights around – i mean there is so much to go off and see here – from Sedona, to a long stretch of the old Route 66 and of course the south rim of the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half away. The hostel organises tours but they have to have a min of 4 people signed up and there were only three on the list not looking good – i cant come here and not see the canyon, thats just plain rude. For the rest of the day i wandered around the town which is certainly geared up for tourists, numerous bars and restaurants and tacky souvenir shops. Found an Irish bar and went for something to eat and then contemplated what i would do tomorrow if the tour didnt run.
The morning dawned and the tour wasnt running bummer – i walked down to the visitors centre and found that a tour company were going today and picking up in an hour – the price was $100 a bit steep but i was willing to pay it. I went back to the hostel and grabbed my stuff and ran into my Tucson travel buddy who was also looking to do the tour. We got picked up and introduced ourselves to the rest of the guys in the bus – it was a predominantly Canadian and American bus and so they were all very interested in us and our travel plans. Our guide whoses name escapes me at the moment was a Native American and lives on the Navajo reservation. It has lived around the Canyon all his life and so was the perfect person for our questions and yes no prizes for guessing which nationality asks the most stupidest of questions!! He was the first Native that i have met properly and i was interested in the Navajo tribe as i remember reading all about their culture as a kid. He has this great hat with an eagle feather in, handed down from his grandfather and i learnt that the eagle is sacred to the tribe and so the feather is only a replica he made.
We drove down onto the old route 66 which was very cool, although i would like to make it back here and do the cliched thing of driving in an open top car – now that would be awesome.
We arrived into the park just after 11 and headed to the first look out point on our agenda. The ground is covered in snow and ice and i have discovered that i have absolutely no balance on ice – maybe it just brings back memories of my ice skating incident when i was 12!! Now after slipping and sliding we got to the egde and man i mean we have all seen pictures in movies and so on but seriously nothing prepares you for the wonder of the real thing, its just awe inspiring and i just dont have the words to describe it. I am so glad that i bought my new camera cos as much as i loved my old one there is no way that it would do itself proud here, i love my zoom – its my new best friend. Im not even going to attempt a description of what i saw as i will let my pictures do the talking, but i will say that nothing will ever beat standing here and seeing with my own eyes.
We headed back to the bus after our guide had pointed out plateau point and the mule riders. Now if i was physically fit that is something that i would like to do one day – ride a mule down through the canyon, maybe one day for sure. Our next point of call was in the town area and we headed to Bright Lodge for some hot chocolate and saw the Grand Canyon train pass by. After lunch we went to our last point of call which was up the watch tower built by Mary Coulter and designed with many native artworks on the different levels. Visability was also very good today so we were able to see the Navajo reservation and across the Arizona desert.
It was a wonderful day and i definately need to come back in better weather to do some hiking and also visit a few other places around especially Sedona. The drive back was beautiful and we got to see the sun setting over a wonderful landscape. Tomorrow i am off to Las Vegas – woo woo, im very excited about going there and also staying in a hotel it will make a lovely change from hostels.