We think we would have liked Flagstaff no matter what, but having friends there certainly cinched it. Liza and Phil, of Whidbey Island fame, were our delightful hosts. Liza's art always delights; their Flagstaff home is whimsical and comfortably welcoming; and Phil and Liza are both interesting and well informed conversationalists.
As avid outdoor people, they know the trails and best camping spots for miles around Flagstaff. Phil, formerly with the Grand Canyon Trust, and a rafting and hiking guide, graciously sent us on our way with four pages of typed notes and a map. He estimated the activities he outlined would keep us busy from five to ten days.
Here we go!
First, the Grand Canyon, but that's a separate posting, followed by Monument Valley...
We spend our first night camped at Utah's Gooseneck State Park overlooking the San Juan River.
But that glory was quickly outdone by beautiful Muley Point on Cedar Mesa, high up over Gooseneck, by way of eight miles up the steepest, narrowest, gravel road imaginable. This road, Muki Dugway, twisted into hairpins, S's, U's, and every contortion imaginable in those few miles. Although Muley Point could be a dramatic trip highlight, Phil's notes and tales of hiking, imply we have even more glorious exploration ahead.
In this first photograph, you can just see Gooseneck State Park, out on the plateau past the crack in the stone. Thistle is parked up on the highest plateau to the left.
Thistle boondocked for the night...
"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads."
- Henry David Thoreau, Walden