“The only thing I REALLY want to do when we go to Sedona, Carrie said, “is to take the train to the Grand Canyon.”
While taking the train from Sedona to the Grand Canyon has a romantic appeal, my husband convinced his son’s girlfriend she would enjoy driving better.
Little Colorado River Gorge
First of all, you would miss seeing the Little Colorado River Gorge. Sure enough, a Navajo Parks and Recreation clerk collected $5 per car from her toll booth set in the middle of nowhere. None of us had ever heard of this seldom discussed tourist site of Little Colorado River Gorge.
The picture deceives the eye. It seems that you could touch the other side. It looks like rugged, barren countryside that had been fenced to keep the cattle from straying out of the area.
Nothing was further from the truth.
Perfect Weather in September in Arizona
We enjoyed breaking up the two-hour car trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon and stretching our legs.
The weather was perfect, sunny in the mid-70s, as we left the car to view the spectacle you could not see from AZ Highway 64. Coming from the hazy Central Valley in California, we enjoyed these fake-looking skies. Even without a filter on my phone, they looked dazzling, don’t you think?
Unlike the Grand Canyon, this gorge looked like a fissure in the rock. No big deal, right? But wait, look down.
Next Exit 3,200 Feet Down
You might want to climb down 3,200 feet to the bottom of the canyon, but we chose not to do so. Probably wisely so. We went as far as the guard rails. The river looked muddy in September which might have meant that they had a flash flood before we came.
Commonly the river is tinged blue or turquoise fed by springs and groundwater. Not everyone who ever saw it loved it. The first Americans to visit and tell about it, would not have made the best tour guide salespeople.
“It is a lo[a]thesome little stream, so filthy and muddy that it fairly stinks. It is only 30 to 50 [yards] wide now and in many places a man can cross it on the rocks without going on to his knees … [The Little Colorado was] as disgusting a stream as there is on the continent … half of its volume and 2/3 of its weight is mud and silt. … It seemed like the first gates of hell.”
—George Bradley and Jack Sumner, August 1869
The Mormons who struggled to cross the shallow river in 1876 in wagons discovered quicksand as well as water. Do you think some of their journals might have had some ungodly words describing that journey?
Nature did not paint the rocks a deep luscious burnt red as the Sedona rocks or even the salmon and copper patina of the Grand Canyon. Yet you could admire the time it took the little river that could to carve down to where it flows today.
As proud as Vince was to have found this stop that the train tour for $206 per person would have missed, we did not stay long.
Vince might be holding on a little tight to my shoulder, don’t you think? At least he wasn’t pulling me toward the edge! However, this was our last stand in front of this view. Like Carrie, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, not the Little Colorado River Gorge.
For more fun walks around the world check out these two blogs.
Road Trip Anyone?
Where have you been recently? Leave me a comment, and I’ll come check out your road trip.