Good afternoon! I’m checking in with you while lying on a beach somewhere. It’s pretty great.

I did so many things in Colorado that I was extremely grateful to take some time to catch up on sleep and work and see a few sights here and there.

Upon leaving Colorado, I stopped in New Mexico, at the Aztec Ruins National Monument.

No Aztec people lived there, but I guess the difference never mattered to the white dudes who named the spot. It’s another ancient Pueblo dwelling area.

I was SO GLAD to have come here when I could have kept going, and been like, no big deal, I’ve already seen a bunch of Pueblan ruins. This was by far the best preserved and explained place; the gleeful park ranger provided me a booklet that allowed me to take a guided tour of all of the park areas, which I’ll throw up here for you.

My travels took me West and I returned to Arizona. I revisited Flagstaff and stayed with my friend I’d met there last time. She’s pretty fab:)

I had made it known I wanted to see the Grand Canyon since that’s a bucket list item, right?? And she suggested we go early and catch the sunrise there. Great… Three hours of sleep later and 3am, we headed out, as the sunrise was set to be around 5am.

I never knew before but the Grand Canyon National Park sits at about 7,000 feet in elevation along the rim. Even exiting the car to hit the rim felt taxing.

We watched the sun rise while shivering our asses off. Thankfully as time progressed, it warmed up.

The Grand Canyon is neat, and huge, and amazing, and… well, it was like looking at a huge picture. Beautiful, but paled in comparison alongside all the national parks I’ve experienced thus far that offered substantial interaction with the landscape.

There was a hike down, Bright Angel, that caught my eye, but it was loooong with a substantial elevation loss/gain of about 1,000ft. I’m not proud but I’m ridiculously out of shape so I didn’t want to spring for that. I’m hoping that if I go back, I can plan better and get on a donkey or something.

That said, I’ve been substantially spoiled with natural beauty on my trip thus far. For that, I’m grateful.

I did want to hit up the museum in the Grand Canyon, but it, along with the desert tower, were closed when I went. Hopefully when I return I can revisit them and change my opinion of the park for the better. I also think rafting in the river would likely be phenomenal.

I spent a bunch of time in Flagstaff, mostly working and eating Indian food. I would be remiss in not including photos of the food, so here you go–

I did get a chance to visit Lava River Cave, a hike recommended to me by this dude that fixed my friend’s refrigerator. So, we went! It’s a drive up a mountain and then a short walk to an old lava tube, which is now a hikeable cave. It’s really cool because you get there and it’s COLD inside, like, a frigid breeze blows out at you. There’s a bunch of ice inside, and you’re hiking along lava rocks in cave darkness. Definitely a hike you want to prepare for adequately.

We got down to Prescott, where I had my windshield fixed (finally)!

And visited Montezuma Well National Monument — if you’ll recall, I visited the accompanying Montezuma Castle last time I was in Arizona.

We also got the chance to stop in Jerome, Arizona, for a short bit before I had to work again. Jerome is a ghost town which used to be a mining hub. Now it’s full of old artsy people and tourists.

After eating some freaking awesome homemade Mexican food, we stopped at Bell Rock in Sedona again while traveling northward. I still haven’t hiked it, please forgive me, I’m tired.

Another free day left me time to travel North, where I stopped in at Horseshoe Bend Overlook, which offers a great view of the Colorado River before it carves into the Grand Canyon.

It was SO WINDY! I am still finding sand in my hair, ears, and eyes even after multiple showers and probing cotton swab adventures. Wow!!! The sandy wind stung like crazy.

We revisited the Navajo Bridge.

Just across it, we stopped at Lee’s Ferry, another national recreation area. We checked out the Colorado River again here —

And also hiked a wash trail until getting pelted with sandy wind became too much.

Another trip to Arizona down! What a great state. And there’s still a bunch of stuff I missed. I’m looking forward to coming back post-covid, when the Navajo Nation is safe to open up some more.