National Parks of The West

In May of 1998 we took our first "Tour". We chose to visit some of the National Parks that are treasures within our own borders.

When we decided that we wanted to go out West we chose to go on a bus tour. After investigating the various companies that we had to choose from, we selected Trafalgar Tours. Our decision was based on destinations, time frame, dates of availability and price. Based on these criteria we felt Trafalgar was our choice. We used the services of the AAA travel department and had them book our tour and arrange for the best flights to and from the beginning and end of our tour. A few problems, notwithstanding, we were able to get the flights and tour that best served our needs.

We flew to Scotsdale Arizona a day before the tour was to begin. We rented a car for 24 hours and visited some places that we had been told to be sure to see. We visited the Botanical Gardens and the Heard Museum. We visited the Tonto National Forest and got our first glimpses of nature's beauties that we were about to see on our trip.


cactusa.JPG At the Botanical Gardens

After we returned the car we sat at the pool waiting for a 5 PM start of Day 1. The first day of the trip was actually a meeting, cocktail party and dinner with our fellow touring people and our guide at the hotel, the Scotsdale Hilton. The hotel was very nice.

Day 2 We left early Saturday morning and our first stop was at Montezuma Castle located in Prescott National Park.

An Anasazi dwelling.

The Anasazi lived in these cliff dwellings until they disapeared mysteriously around 1200 AD. We left Montezuma Castle and headed for The Grand Canyon. We stopped for a lunch break in Sedona, a shopping center in a tourist stop's disguise. The views began to get better and better


We then headed for the Grand Canyon, one of the seven wonders of the world. We arrived in the park area and we decided to go to the National Geographic Imax Theater to see a great film called "Grand Canyon The Hidden Secrets". Be sure to see this film if you are in the area. We are ordering a copy to remind us of the experience. We were in the South Rim area and after seeing the film we took the bus to the closest parking area and walked to the rim.

Words cannot describe the immensity of the canyon or the feelings that came over us as we walked to the rim to take in the view. The colorado River looked like a tiny stream at the bottom. The canyon streched as far as the eye could see.The Sun was moving lower in the sky and the shadows gave a different appearance to the different elevations as it went down. There was a haze over the canyon as you can see from this picture.


Day 3 We went back for another look at the canyon and it looked beautiful as it was bathed in morning sunlight. Notice the shadows are now on the other side of the peaks and valleys. We walked around the Southern rim and then headed to Canyon De Chelly National Monument for dinner and an overnite stay.

Before I go much further I would like to say a couple of words in praise of our tour guide, Andrew Lucero. Andrew spent most of his life in the part of the country that we were touring. Besides his knowledge and leadership ability he was constanly checking ahead to confirm our plans to be sure everything would run smoothly. The food and accomodations were excellent. There were no slip ups, thanks to Andrew's efforts.

On day 4 we spent the morning at Canyon de Chelly National Monument where we saw the ruins of five different periods of Native American heritage.

We leave Canyon De Chelly and head for Kayenta at the entrance of Monument Valley.

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