Sunday, March 30, 2014

I definitely suggest visiting when planning any trip in American soil.

They do give a fairly complete list of things to do in the area that you are going to, and though their information about each place might not be thoroughly complete - even if better than mine - they give the website for each place.
Worth checking out - at least as a starter.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Montezuma Castle

It is not Montezuma Castle, really. According to the website Montezuma died about 100 years before this place was built. But it is a coll place to visit - it is a 5-story, 20-room high-rise apartment built right into a limestone cliff by the Sinagua Indian people. They lived there about 1.000 years ago - according to the national park website.

So, yes, this is the famous Cliff-dwellings by husband had nagged me to find.

BTW, Sinagua - Spanish for "without water"(sin agua).

This is a national park. So check if it is worth purchasing the National park pass. How do you check if it is worth it? Well, check how many national parks are you planning with a high degree of certainty to visit for a year of the date of purchase. If the fees total are higher than the cost of the pass, buy the pass.

  It is open from 8 to 5 and it costs only $5.00 a person. As usual, they don't tell you how long to plan for your visit.

I looked up some ratings at and someone said they were in and out in less than 30 minutes.  It is a 1/3mile loop walk there.

Other person mentioned a museum. The website says - in the things to do section - to set aside an hour to explore the museum and roam the trails through a sycamore grove to the base of the cliff-dwelling.

There is a Well about 11 miles north. The park website mentions a picnic area, but does not say where it is. Some reviewers at say it is along the trail there, but says it is at the well. My husband, who has never been to the well, but has been to the castle, says they do have one at the Castle. Well, so maybe they have it in both places???? Or maybe is wrong. Because by now it is three against one.


So what is the well? The well is a naturally formed sink - thanks to the collapse of a limestone cavern, it served as a type of oasis and irrigation source for the ancient Indian people.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Meteor Crater

It's been a while that my husband has told me about this meteor crater.
It is said to have been created by an iron-nickel meteorite about 50,000 years ago.
It s 2.4 miles in circumference and 550 feet deep.
If you go to google maps you can see the little green circle  on the map view, and you can see the crater on satellite view.

It is right off Route 66, about 20 minutes from the town of Winslow.
Astronauts train there every September and have been doing that since before they went to the moon. Scientists use the place to study impact craters on our galaxy, because it is the clearest and best defined impact crater on the planet. And a movie called StarMan, from 1984, was filmed there.
I have already added the movie to our netflix queue.

Their website is a little hard to navigate, but not hard to find.
They have admission prices and hours.
Adults $16.00 and children $8.00 - Times are 7 to 7 in the summer and 8 to 5 in the rest of the year.
They also say the prices include 3 lookout points on the rim of the crater, an Interactive Discovery Center, a theater showing our movie "IMPACT" as well as a guided  tour on the rim of the crater.

They don't say how long should we put aside for a visit.
They say the movie is 10 minutes. I am guessing the interactive center is about 20-30 minutes. On IgoUgo they say it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the view points.  So ... 1h10m?
However, let's not forget the guided tour. Well, says it lasts one hour. The problem is - when do they leave? The website only says "tours are offered, weather permitting".  I have read in IgoUgo - someone that posted back in 2003 - that they leave at 9:15 and at 2:15.Is it still true?
Let's figure then 2hrs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monument Valley park

It was hard to find Monument Valley official website ( on the search engine. Just typing monument valley doesn't bring you to it (at least no ton

Monument Valley has a 17 mile scenic drive where you can see all the main points. But it also has a 3.2 mile walk. If we wanted to spend the day there I'd include the hike. But the drive is good enough for us.

By the website, it seems as if that is all. They have a restaurant as well as lodging and camping permits. And it seems as they have an annual balloon event, but the event from 2013 still hasn't been replaced.

Oh, and if you are getting directions on google, be careful. The only way I was able to figure out it had given me completely wrong directions was because I compared the (poorly, but accurately drawn) map from the website's scenic drive section to the google maps, and manually found the road, just off the Utah border. Here's the address Indian Route 42 East, Monument Valley, Utah 84536.

This address is to their Restaurant/Lodge/a bunch other stuff.  It's called The View, and it is where we plan to get lunch that day. I couldn't get a hold of a menu, but lists the price range as $$. and this link shows two sample dishes that look yummy.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Drive through Bryce Canyon

I had picked the horseback ride on Zion, because I really had no idea what to do in Zion. But Bryce Canyon seemed more obvious. It was easier to find straight forward things to see, because the park website gives those "if you only have a few hours" option.

There are the 4 major view points: Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce viewpoints.
 Looking south from Sunrise Point   View from Sunset Point  view from Inspiration Point   View from Bryce Point
The Shuttle stops at all of those view points, but we can take a hike from Sunrise to Sunset (part of the Rim Trail hike).

The shuttle - unlike the Grand Canyon, and Zion - is not mandatory. So you can choose to use your own car. But they do prefer you use the shuttle. Here's the greatest advantage of the shuttle, you don't have to come back to where you left it. The thing that stinks about the shuttle is that - unlike the Grand Canyon - they don't tell you how long is the round trip.

Here is a list of the easy hikes (taken from the park's website):
Easy to Moderate Hikes ( These hikes are classified as easy to moderate difficulties as they have gentle grades and minimal elevations changes. They include:

Waterfall at Mossy Cave
Mossy Cave (.8 mi/1.3k round trip)
Streamside walk up to a mossy overhang and small waterfall. (Waterfall flows May to October)  - it looks very interesting, and it's only 1.5 Km, but the climb is 300 feet, vs the climb between sunrise and sunset - 34 feet. Also, if you only have a few hours, driving to the Mossy cave start point might be a little time consuming. Mossy Cave is all the way up on Route 12 and the shuttle route does not include that stop.

Rim Trail (0-11 mi/0-17.7 km round trip)
Outstanding views of hoodoos from above. Trail is paved and fairly level between Sunset and Sunrise Points.

Bristlecone Loop (1.0 mi/1.6 km round trip)
Hike through spruce-fir forests to cliffs with bristlecone pines and expansive vistas.

Queens Garden (1.8 mi/2.9 km round trip)
This is the least difficult trail into the canyon. Using your imagination you may even see Queen Victoria at the end of a short spur trail. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Horseback Ride

I was trying to figure out how to make the most out of our day in Utah parks. Zion and Bryce are both very rich places, and we will pay $25 in each to spend but a few hours.

How to make the most out of it? 

Well, looking at the Zion National Park website, I realized that there is a company that offers horseback rides. They do it for all 3 parks (Grand Canyon, Zion, or Bryce Canyon).

We already have a trip to the Grand Canyon Planned, and the Bryce Canyon shortest ride is 2hrs.
The Zion shortest ride is 1hr

The Zion ride costs $40+tax per person and no previous experience is necessary.



Online booking closes 7 days before the date you're planning on going. After 7 days you must call a number (check the third picture below for the number)

The website will let you know on their FAQ (to get to the FAQ you have to actually click on the BOOK  button.

 Then select the ride you want
   When you are on the ride, where you choose the date and stuff, click questions.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Utah vs. Arizona - daylight savings time


So, We will spend a day in Utah.
The one thing to keep in mind though, if you are going to travel from Nevada or Arizona after Daylight Saving Time begins - on Sunday, March 9, 2014 - you should add one hour to your Utah time. That's because neither Nevada nor Arizona are following the Saving Time, but Utah is.

So if you are planning on arriving in Utah at 7pm (AZ or NV time), you will get there at 8pm on UT time.


Now, spending one day only in Utah if you're traveling that way is not ideal. Ideally, you'd spend two days. One day on Bryce Canyon National Park, and another day on Zion National Park.

I have been looking at their websites and there is so much to do/see.


But we will only spend one, because I decided to take only a 1-week vacation. So the most reasonable choice was  to stay as close as possible to the park. We will pay twice as much to stay 5 minutes from the park (Springdale), instead of 1/2 hour (Hurricane).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Glen Canyon Dam tour

So, unlike I was told, the Glen Canyon Dam tour is not free (as opposed to the Hoover Dam tour). However, it is much cheaper - $5.00/person They started charging for in 2009 - years after my source had been there.

Here is the Website to the actual tour:

The picture below, taken from the website shows that tours last about 45 minutes.But another website says to plan on spending 1 to 2 hours ( I will plan for 1.5 hr.

The Website also has the year-round tour schedule. The First one being always at 8:30. I might choose this one and then go back to the raft tour place for the 11:am raft tour.

Will we be able to make it to the Dam Tour? I don't know. Tour takes groups of 20 and reservations must be done and paid for in person. We won't be able to make it before the day of the event, so we will just hope there is room for us on the 8:30 when we get there at around 8:15 in the morning.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

One Day at the Grand Canyon

It turns out we will spend 3 days at the Grand Canyon, but we will only spend a day at the Grand Canyon National Park.

On Saturday we will do the Sky Walk at a part of the Grand Canyon that belongs to the Hulapai Nation.

On Monday we will do the Raft trip on the Colorado River, leaving from the Glen Canyhon Dam in Page.

So, Sunday we will do the Grand Canyon National Park.

I wanted a to do a hike and a bike ride. So we will do the hike in the morning - Probably the Bright Angel Trail. But we will not go all the way down. We will either go to the 3-Mile Resthouse or to the Indian Garden Campground. I did some search online for hiking speed rates.
Walking - 3mph
Hiking - 2mph

That means we will spend at most 5 hours and at least 3, on this hike.
There are Other hiking options. on the website I used to caption the picture.  And either way we will go to the visitor center before we start our hike and make sure we are getting the best option for our needs/wants.

Since we will be getting there at around 10:30 and it might be till around 4:30 that we will be back to the visitor center, we will take snacks, and gatorade on this hike.

In the afternoon, at around 6:00 we will rent a bike with Bright Angel bikes and do the Orange Trail. We will try to see the sunset at 7:00 at the point where I have mentioned before it is a good sunset view. I think it is at the tower.

We will leave at 7:30 to go up to Page AZ and be ready for the next day - the raft trip.