Thursday, 27 November 2014
Walnut Canyon and Flagstaff
Our journey over to Sedona would take us closer to Phoenix and our flight to San Fran. We decided not to stop off at Meteor Crater, about ten miles from Winslow. There were negative reports of an expensive, showy tourist experience, which boiled down to paying a lot to stare at a very large hole in the ground! So the book says that the crater is the largest on the planet, created some 22000 years ago, a mile across and over 500' deep. That's about it. We headed towards a large mountain which strangely rises up from the flat desert, the highest point of the San Francisco Peaks being 12600'. It's nowhere near San Francisco, maybe just a nod to the Saint, himself. We stopped off at Flagstaff on Route 66. As with Winslow, the railroad runs right through the centre of this interesting little town. You really feel like you're in a Western, with low-rise wooden buildings. We had lunch at the Beaver Brewery Pub, with good ale brewed on the premises and reasonable bar food. Nice to get out of the chilly, windy weather. At 7000' up, Flagstaff is bitter in the winter, and has a feeling of being a ski station. One of many impressive, bright yellow trains came by, pulling dozens of freight trucks that seemed to go on forever, pushed on by another massive engine at the rear. We drove on with the gusty winds blowing spiky tumbleweed balls across the freeway! Next stop, Walnut Canyon. Yep, another canyon, but this time one visited primarily for its dozens of examples of Puebloan houses built into the rocks. Some restored and some in ruins, they run along several shelves of rock along the Island Loop trail in the park, with soot still covering the back walls, caused by ancient fires. The Sinagua tribe lived here, in this steep-sided, pine clad canyon. Only needed a short visit, but still glad we went. Our final destination was Cottonwood, with its historic downtown. We stayed in the less romantic, but much cheaper Best Western, which is a great base for visiting the very expensive Sedona, in the Red Rock Country.