Hello all! It had been awhile since our last adventure and my last post. But we just had an action-packed week and a half in the Southwest that I can’t wait to share with you.
Last year, we got very excited when we heard through the hockey rumor mill that BU hockey would be playing at Arizona State University. The dream trip that I didn’t have time to take during our Denver trip would finally become a reality! And I was going to knock off states #33, 34 and 35.
There are many incredible national parks in the southwest and I already regret not trying to hit more. But I inevitably decided that since we would be based in Phoenix, we would just focus on hitting the three Arizona national parks on top of some of the other incredible landmarks, state parks and monuments that the beautiful state of Arizona (and Utah) has to offer.
I had to include Utah because the second we landed in Phoenix we immediately hopped in the rental car and traveled up to the northern border and crossed a few miles into Utah to see Monument Valley.
We were excited to escape this brutal Boston winter in the heart of January, but of course the day we get there we drove through a blizzard in Flagstaff. We would bring snow to the desert. But it ended up being fine because we still (barely) made it to Monument Valley in time for sunset and the snow made the drive back through Flagstaff and Sedona absolutely beautiful.
And speaking of beautiful, I’ll shut up now and show you the stunning views we got as we wound our way up route 163, racing the setting sun into Monument Valley.
We were planning on camping throughout some of our journey. I bought sleeping bag insulators and everything. But as it got closer and closer we realized that temps were not going to be in the 40s as we had hoped, but rather the teens and 20s. Needless to say, we didn’t want to deal with that so we had to get a few last minute motels, but for the most part we AirBNBed it. And our first AirBNB of the trip was this absolute gem of a cabin.
I mean, that’s the view out the back door. It was a dream.
I only wish we could’ve stayed longer and gotten to cook out in the fire pit and explore the area more. But alas, after waking up at 2am mountain time, flying across the country, picking up a car, and driving 5 more hours up to Utah, we were exhausted. And after we finally had our fill of staring at the sunset, we passed out almost immediately.
But I’m already trying to find an excuse to go back. That view!
We even had a “guard kitty” who helped herself in and cuddled with us for the night. It was perfection.
The colors just kept getting better.
We even got a surprise coating of snow overnight that added a whole new dimension to the monuments the next morning.
We woke up bright and early to catch the sunrise at familiar place:
For those of you who don’t recognize it, this marks the place where Forrest Gump ended his cross-country run.
And it is an incredible spot to watch the sun rise over the desert.
Especially with a fresh dusting of snow.
There aren’t words. But sadly we eventually had to move on and stick to our strict schedule.
So we continued our trip up Route 163, one of the most beautiful stretches of road in these United States of America.
We passed Mexican Hat, the funky rock formation that looks like a sombrero that might tip over at any second.
And countless other beautiful landscapes. Pictures don’t do it justice. Below is the Valley of the Gods, another cluster of pinnacles and buttes. You can take a side road right through it, but again we were a little pressed for time. Next time!!
I spent a good portion of this drive with my phone out the window just snapping as many pictures as I could. And almost none of them came out how I saw it. So I can’t express how badly you need to go there and see it all for yourself!
Our next stop? Oh, I don’t know…just something that’s been on my bucket list forever and one of the things I was no shame MOST EXCITED FOR this trip.
The Four Corners!!!
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge geography nerd. I love maps, I have a million of them hanging on my wall, and I was always that kid in social studies who kicked ass at the fill-in-the-map quizzes of the country and world. And being the way that I am, I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of going to the Four Corners. I tried desperately to make it work last year when we were in Denver, but I ended up not having the time so I wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by me again.
I’d been wanting to run this lap for soooo long. It was a dream come true. I’m lame, I know.
I mean, just look! We are touching FOUR STATES….AT THE SAME TIME.
The site was pretty cool. It’s $5 per person to enter for the Navajo. And during the warmer months there’s an entire flea market of sorts set up. You can see all the booths in the picture below where the Navajo sell their jewelry and other handmade goods. Arriving at 8am on a frigid, windy January morning, there wasn’t much shopping to be had. But we did have the place to ourselves, making the above video and other freaking out possible to do in private.
From there, we immediately set off back across Northern Arizona to Page for our next adventure. Pictures and post on that to come soon!