This morning was very cold. The temperature was -7 ( 19 F). We met another couple from Winnipeg, MB. They said they had visited Arizona in the winter for 12 years and this winter had the most cold and snow.
We had a long list of places we wanted to see today on our way from Holbrook, AZ to Sedona, AZ.
We were planning to visit two parks, Meteor Crater and Walnut Canyon National Monument. Along the way we had a list of Route 66 sites we wanted to see.
The first sign we saw of Route 66 was in Winslow, AZ.
Route 66 Winslow, AZ
We stopped at Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. This meteor strike occured 50,000 years ago. The resulting crater is 550 feet deep and over 4000 feet across. We learned about the first settler who found this crater and how many scientists it took to have it declared a meteor strike and what steps they took to prove it was a meteor strike.
This first picture is of a sign that greets you as you arrive at the site.
Meteor speed sign
This is the second sign that greets you.
Cute sign on way to Meteor Crater
We watched a video and then wandered through the displays. We went out on the viewing platforms to see the crater.
We had been watching the San Francisco Peaks and, in particular, the Humphreys Peak while we drove along Highway I40. We thought this view of that peak from the crater park gives an idea of the desert and the beauty of this peak.
San Francisco Peaks from Meteor Crater
We spent over an hour at this crater site.
Our next stop was at the Route 66 site called Two Guns. This was just a collection of ruins. Our guide book tells us that at one time this was a tourist attraction that had a zoo full of Gila monsters, coyotes, and road runners. One building was labelled "Mountain Lions" but the book does not explain this. We felt that the nearby Canyon Diablo may have been of interest as well.
Route 66 stop at Two Guns, Canyon Diablo
Ruins at Two Guns
After leaving Two Guns we got another great view of Humphreys Peak in the San Francisco Peaks.
Humphreys Peak in San Francisco Peaks
We then drove on to Twin Arrows. Twin Arrows has a pair of giant and surprisingly well-perserved red and yellow arrows and a long-closed cafe and trading post. This site was seen in the 1990's movie "Forrest Gump".
Twin Arrows stop
Twin Arrows on Route 66
Ruins of buildings at Twin Arrows
Front view of ruins
We drove from the Twin Arrows site to Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Walnut Canyon Stop
Route 66 Walnut Canyon
We ate our picnic lunch in the car as it was too cold to eat out at the picnic tables. Walnut Canyon had a lot of snow from the previous week's snow fall.
Walnut Canyon was occupied about 1000 AD to 1250 AD by a Puebloan people referred to as Sinagua or "without water" people. The elevation of the canyon rim is 6,690 feet. The bottom of the canyon is 350 feet lower. The island loop trail takes visitors down 240 steps (185 feet) to see 25 cliff dwellings and through different plantlife zones. This is a .9 miles loop trail. We really enjoyed it. The air was fresh and cool. We felt that during the summer when the heat is 90 F ( 33 C) that this hike would require plenty of water and far more stamina.
Cliff Dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument
This rock looked like it could just slide down the canyon
Homes built under rock overhangs
Demonstration of possible room uses
Another view of room under rock overhang
Building under overhang
After we returned to the visitors centre on the rim we took the Rim Loop Trail. This was a .7 mile trail along a paved and mostly level trail. The trail only overlooked the canyon in a few places. It passed through the treed and snowy grounds of the park. We saw some interesting bird life. We saw Pygmy Nuthatches, Western Bluebirds and Stellar Jays.
Rock looks like a pot on a ridge
First picture Stellar Jay
Second picture Stellar Jay
After enjoying the Walnut Canyon National Monument for about 2 hours we drove to Sedona. We chose to take Highway 89A through the Coconino National Forest. This trip took about an hour. This route took us through snow-filled canyons to Sedona. We found people out enjoying playing in the snow in the areas where there was snow. We arrived in Sedona, in the desert, with temperatures of +14 C (57 F) which was quite a change for us.
We found our lodging for the night. We went to the Blue Moon cafe for supper. This cafe was very casual with a very limited menu but the food was good.