Everyone got the daylight savings change wrong by one hour in Flagstaff. (Arizona is perennially Mountain Time). Guests started arriving for breakfast at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. Even Dee’s iPhone switched correctly then switch back then switched back again. I was being guided by my iMac which still had me on Central Time. My GPS is still confused. This single time zone thing is going to be fun.
Flagstaff was a pleasant surprise. I would have bet money that it looked like a desert town and not so Piney and Mountainy as we found it. Even the architecture is its own. Gone are the Adobes and Pueblos replaced with neat ranch styles with contrast colored gables set against snowy mountain scapes. We headed out to Paige, AZ, driving North on Rt. 89. through the Painted Desert. As soon as we drop down from Flagstaff, the desert returned. This finally is Arizona. This is what I have always imagined Arizona to be and what every gun slinging cowboy movie illustrated. Low desolate valleys, high rugged mountains and rocks red and red and red. Well … “Vermillion“. And this is genuine “Injun Territory“. The Navajo Nation. Antelope Canyon and the Vermillion Cliff National Monument.
Antelope Canyon is entirely serviced by the Navajo tribe with guided tours running back and forth throughout the day in 4×4 pick-up trucks with padded bench seats. The Antelope Canyon is a slot Canyon. Meaning it is vertically cut, scoured and hewed by wind and rain and time. Everything in the Canyon is many shades of pink, mauve, vermillion, purple, terracotta, orange and more. We too were many shades by the time we returned from roads paved and roads unpaved. The sculptured architecture of strata and striates is fascinating and compelling enough but becomes visually stunning once it is photographed. What the camera sees that the eye does not. Though this was pre-season, it was still a jockey and jostle of greedy cameras and tripods wanting natures rock star to themselves.
The afternoon was spend exploring the Vermillion Cliff National Monument with the intention of viewing the Grand Canyon, North Rim which was closed for Winter. That information would have been useful 100 miles back, but it did not detract from the tour there and back below the Vermillion Cliffs. Not sure words can describe the awe striking beauty. So rugged, so harsh, so forbidding, so colorful and so ready for Spring. The multi-shades in the red and brown family spiked with the intrusion of the green clan in the many tufted shrubs and grasses.
Tomorrow we head out to the Grand Canyon, South Rim, Flagstaff, Sedona and whatever we see that strikes our fancy on the final road to Phoenix and my final stop.