Northeast Arizona

Up north, above the sonoran desert sprawl and just to the east of the highly elevated snowcapped mountains of Flagstaff, lies an interesting relationship of open prairies and dazzling rock formations that jut out from the earth. There, long stretches of road and clear blue skies make you forget whatever troubles you left behind. No wonder this area boasts some of Arizona's best kept secrets - several national parks and monuments. It will take some work to get out to these places but I can tell you that it is well worth it. A petrified forest, painted hillsides, and ancient cliff dwellings sit like hidden gems waiting to be explored. There is much more to see. We have only scratched the surface of the beauty that lies therein.

Looking to make a trip out of it? May I suggest staying a night in Holbrook or Winslow along Route 66. Have a bite to eat in the old diners and then set off on a day trip to any of the national monuments along the way. Just a heads up: cell phone service is rather unpredictable in Navajo country where most of the landmarks are so make sure to plan ahead.

Death Valley

With a name like Death Valley I thought I might be stumbling upon a place of depravity and desolation, on my hands and knees crawling to find a drop of water. Boy was I wrong. Hills and hills colored with tans, browns, and golds, a basin full of salt that covers the ground like a blanket, and miles of silky smooth sand dunes proved my thesis wrong. The views were other-worldly; the kinds of places where you have to blink twice to remind yourself you're actually there. Here a few pics to prove my point.

Now, don't get me wrong...your experience of Death Valley will much depend on the time of year that you go. May I recommend winter?! Highs were in the 60's instead of summer highs of the not so hot 120's. Yikes! I definitely recommend going to the visitor center which lies in the middle of the National Park. From there you can head in many directions to enjoy the park. I think that you will find your time there surprisingly wonderful!

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