What a gorgeous place! The surrounding colorful rocks are just amazing. I bet the natives hate having so many tourists, but I guess if you choose to live in a tourist destination, you have to put up with that. I do have one complaint - it seems there are charges for everything. First there is a Red Rocks Pass that you must have to park at any trail head. Luckily the Golden Age Pass covers that one. But the best views of the famous Cathedral Rock are at pay areas and we even had to pay for the hike we did yesterday which really shocked me. I know, I'm just cheap, but how do you think I retired at 49?
Yesterday we began where all good tourists should begin - at the visitors center. Although we had both been here before, we always need more information.
Then we headed up 89A through the lovely Oak Creek Canyon ending at the overlook at the top of the canyon. This was the best I could do for a picture looking into the sun. I guess early morning would be better and it was about noon by the time we arrived. If you look closely, you can see smoke caused by controlled burning in the canyon.
This is the last section of the road where you jump up the Mogollon Rim.
Since we were already up the hill and less than 20 miles from Flagstaff, we drove through the Ponderosa pines to town for lunch.
On our way back down the canyon we stopped at the West Fork trail head to check it out for a hike. This is where they charged us to park, forcing us to hike even though we weren't really prepared. We had water bottles and hiking sticks, but no packs.
The beginning of the hike passes through an old homestead, but I don't know anything about the people who lived there. I think there was a trail guide you could purchase, but . . .
Anyway, it was obviously quite a place. This is just part of the main house.
I hope the view out the window was better back then.
It's good we had those hiking sticks since there were several stream crossings. Unlike our friend Lloyd, balance is not my thing.
Honestly it wasn't the most interesting hike, although it was cool on a hot day. We turned around at this pretty spot.
And on our way back, we spotted this mummy rock.
Continuing our drive back down the canyon, we stopped a couple times to admire late afternoon light on the colorful cliffs.