Why We Didn’t Take the Train to the Grand Canyon from Sedona

“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

Little Colorado River Calls
Little Colorado River

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.

 

Little Colorado River Calls

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.

Little Colorado River Calls

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?

Little Colorado River Calls

Unlike the Grand Canyon, this gorge looked like a fissure in the rock. No big deal, right? But wait, look down.

Little Colorado River Calls

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. Little Colorado River Calls

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

Little Colorado River CallsThe 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?

Little Colorado River Calls

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.

Little Colorado River Calls

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.

Little Colorado River GorgeVince 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.

#Which Way Challenge #Monday Walks with Jo

Road Trip Anyone?

Where have you been recently? Leave me a comment, and I’ll come check out your road trip.

Related Posts

The Paso Place to Go

A few weeks ago we had lunch with our friends Spencer and Margaret in Paso Robles, CA.  Paso has the best of both worlds.  You have just exited the most soporific road trips through the hills past Kettleman City.  Unless I’m driving, I sleep through these hills.

Wake up!  We're going to Paso
Wake up! We’re going to Paso!  Actually this is leaving Paso, so don’t be confused by where the mountains are.  I just wanted you to see how boring it is.

El Paso del Robles, passage of the Oaks, is an old western town dividing the two worlds, the desert heat of the Kettleman City hills and the Tulare Lake Basin, and the Central Coast beginning with San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, and ending with Nipomo before you move into Santa Barbara County.

Paso Robles Inn, built in 1891.
Paso Robles Inn, built in 1891.

Once you get to the Paso Robles Inn, you can begin to see the charm of Paso Robles.  You still have the heat of the valley, but a half hour away, you have the coolness of the ocean breeze with the flavor of the Old Wild West.  I took this picture on April 1st, an unusually cloudy day in Paso.  I darkened the picture even a little more to add Leanne-style drama.  I found that if you darken the layer too much, the sky pixelates.  So I used the burn tool.  I don’t like that quite as much because I don’t paint evenly, and I’m not sure if streaks are in style.  I like them in my hair. Paso Robles The front of the Inn looks western and old, but the real beauty lies in the back, in my opinion.  I darkened this one, too.  Maybe I’m just in a dark mood.  I’m sitting in the dark right now looking out at the Los Angeles skyline from my 14th floor picture window.  But let’s get back to Paso.

While we waited for Spencer and Margaret, we snapped some pictures.  You can see the covered front porch.  This is handy in the hot sun.  It wasn’t so necessary on the day we were there.  I tried a couple of things with this picture.  I added a golden filter, then I made it black and white.  Which one do you like best?

So the Inn is in the back.  The restaurant is good.  You get lots of food, but to me the real benefit is the setting.  Unfortunately for us that day, there was a party out in the back.  So we had to eat outside.  We ate just as much either way.

You knew I'd sneak into the picture somewhere, didn't you?
You knew I’d sneak into the picture somewhere, didn’t you?

Beneath the beautiful fountain, they grew some of their vegetables.  I doubt that they used very many of them.  Maybe they had some others hidden away somewhere.

I am always fascinated by flowing water and fish and bridges.  Which rocks do you like best, darkened or unprocessed?  It’s the perfect place for a wedding, and here I am already married.  Maybe Vince will propose to me again.  xoxox

Don't they look famous with their sunglasses?
Don’t they look famous with their sunglasses?

Our friends arrived, then lunch came with sweet potato fries (my current favorite thing), and all too quickly it was time to go back home again.  With a full tummy, my mouth gaping open, snoring loudly, Vince’s bride slept her way through the boring trip home.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
zzzzzzzzzzzzzz  glub, glu  zzzzzzzzzzz

Another successful Valleycation.  🙂

Soporific Road Trip

 

I rarely do a road trip.  Roads for the sake of roads…  NO  I go on roads all the time, but I want to GET somewhere.  I don’t want to BE on the road.  Roads make me soporific.  If someone else is driving it is all I can do to be polite enough to keep my eyes open.  It’s like the car seats have tranquilizer darts that shoot a constant dose of directly into my blood stream.  If ever there is a drive that makes me soporific, it’s this one – between Kettleman City and Paso Robles, California.  My goal is to GET TO THE BEACH!

East of Kettleman City I should be more soporific than I am. The road goes right THROUGH Tulare Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi.  Or at least it WAS a lake.  There is nothing very interesting about driving on the bottom of a shallow lake that has been drained and now grows mostly cotton.  NOTHING.  But that is not the part of the trip that makes me soporific.  Maybe the canal keeps me awake.  I do like water.

As you head west after the light to get on I 5 South, which is also a  VERY BORING road, by the way, you head towards the foothills of the coastal mountains.  This is where I do my best sleeping in the car, usually with my mouth open and my head back.  VERY ATTRACTIVE!

This time when I got to that part of the trip, however, something was very different.  I was driving.  It is really NOT a good idea to get soporific when YOU are the one driving.

So I decided to make a road trip out of my goal of getting to the beach to have fun with my friends.

You might notice a pattern happening here.  BROWN.  I grew up in the Midwest where brown scenery was not considered beautiful  The only scenery in the Midwest are the trees, and brown trees are not a good look.   Do you see any TREES here?  NO

It takes a while to develop an appreciation for the beauty in brown scenery when GREEN is the default beautiful color.  But get past it folks.  Look for the beauty here.


Are you still awake?

We’re not there yet.

We still have more than an hour to go.  So you know how I stayed awake?  It was partly the fact I was driving, partly the shadows in the arroyos, and partly the clouds.

The hills were amazing.  I would go around a corner and think, “WOW, that would make a beautiful picture.  I should STOP.    I keep going.  Still beautiful, no place to pull over.  Still beautiful.  Oh here’s a place to pull over.”

By that time the scenery totally changed.  The scenic pullover spot – blowing grasses and, on this fortuitous day, clouds.  I took a picture of my shadow because the wind was blowing so hard that I could hardly hold the camera.  Cal Trans, what are you  thinking when you design the pullouts for the scenic views?

Interestingly, as I snapped the picture the wind magically stopped making the picture totally worthless and uninteresting.  Maybe my new friend, Leanne Cole, the photographer that makes boring pictures more interesting, can do something about this one.

As you go farther and farther west, you can start to see green.  The robles (Spanish for oaks) suddenly appear on the south side of the road.  Still BROWN on the right side, but a hint of trees on the left.   Notice that as the scenery starts to improve, the clouds go away.

The GREENER the scenery, the less soporific I got.  Additionally the temperature by now was up to 93, and I was getting hot and sweaty when I got out of the car, so I got soporific about the prospect of pulling over and taking more pictures.


So here’s my final question.  If I lived here, would I still have insomnia, or would the scenery make me soporific?