Posts Tagged ‘arizona tourism’

Hike to the Top of Humphreys Peak

July 25th, 2014 by Del & Sheryl Terry

                                                   Humphreys Peak outside Williams Arizona near the Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast

East of the  town of Williams is the highest point in Arizona.

Humphreys Peak is the tallest peak in the San Francisco Peaks (upper left), but is often hidden from view on I-17 behind the second tallest mountain in the State, Agassiz Peak (12,360 ft).  From the top, you can see all the way to Grand Canyon (a little more than 70 mile

The nine-mile-round-trip hike officially begins around 9,500 feet in elevation at Arizona Snowbowl.  The main trailhead is located on a parking lot to the left of Snowbowl Road as it passes into the developed ski area.  However, hikers can save about a mile of walking by driving up to the upper lodge of Snowbowl for the second of two trailheads.  A spur trail from this lodge connects with the Humphreys Trail, though some locals consider this the unofficial route of ascent.

From there, the trail winds thru a dense alpine forest and steadily ascends to a ridgeline.  From here, the trail heads to a saddle located between Humphreys and Agassiz Peaks.  Due to threat of a rare plant species, ascending to the top of Agassiz is not permitted.

The Humphreys Trail continues as a cinder path, a little more than a mile from the saddle to the peak. Expect high winds and sprawling and spectacular views in all directions.Humphreys trail at Humphreys Peak in Williams Arizona close to Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast.

The San Francisco Peaks are the remains of an eroded stratovolcano which erupted around 200,000 years ago (before eruption, 16,000 ft).

A stratovolcano is a tall, conical volcano composed of one layer of hardened lava, tephra, and volcanic ash.  Plan on spending the day between nights at Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast and spend a day on Humphreys Peak.

Grand Canyon Caverns

July 21st, 2014 by Del & Sheryl Terry

Grand Canyon Caverns located on the Coconino Plateau,

the Caverns lie within an alluvial plain at an altitude of about 5,300 feet (1,600 m) above sea level. Limestone comprises the vast majority of the subsurface area of this vicinity of the Coconino Plateau, an area riddled with numerous cavernous veins that run for miles in all directions.Grand Canyon Taverns off Rte 66; http://www.gokingman.com/media/uploads/images/Grand-Canyon-Caverns-300px-.jpg

Just 66 miles West of Williams ,AZ on Route 66, the Caverns lie 230 feet (70 m) below ground level. They are among the largest of dry caverns in the United States. Dry caverns are a rarity in that as little as 3% of caverns in the world are dry. Because of this fact, stalagmites and stalactites are very few in numbers. The caverns are enormous, with measurements showing that the length of 3 football fields could fit snugly within its boundaries.

345 million years ago, during the Mississippian Period, the southwest United States was enveloped by the ocean. Sea creatures died over the millions of years, their skeletons created a mud-like paste with a dense amount of lime. This eventually hardened into the limestone bedrock, which can be seen in the caverns today. As millions of years came and went, the bedrock was pushed up, to over 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. These methodical events split the crust of the Earth, releasing water into what is now the caverns.Grand Canyon Caverns off Rte 66; http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTAL3tZ_H5Rdf1vmTBPXH6FukaB8j-RqUEhB3YAXtqHxuo4VN8i

Approximately 35 million years ago, huge amounts of rainfall carrying a mildly acidic element flowed into the caverns. This solution eventually crept its way through the cracks and caves ultimately contributing to the Colorado River. Millions of years later the evaporating water leaving calcium deposits began decorating the walls and floors, creating wondrous and beautiful formations that can still be viewed by the public today.

Contemporary History

In 1927, Walter Peck, a cowboy and woodcutter, was walking through the area on his way to play poker with his friends. when he stumbled and nearly fell into a sizable hole in the ground. The following morning, Peck, and some of his friends returned to the location of the large, funnel shaped hole with lanterns and ropes. Peck was lowered into the hole by his friends with a rope tied around his waist to a depth of 150 feet (46 m) with a lantern and began exploring.

A very large, dark cavern welcomed Peck during his initial exploration where he saw some speckles on the walls that he thought were gold. He gathered up samples of some of these shiny rocks and had his friends pull him back to the surface. Peck then purchased the property and began making preparations for a gold mining operation. Once the assay reports were completed he learned that his potential mother lode was nothing more than iron oxide.Grand Canyon Caverns off Rte 66; http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRhGLetIT1O3rTpq_DQTRL3YwJvkCnZtdYG7nGAlXXm2PBhfp8-nQ

Not one to give up on entrepreneurial opportunities, Peck came up with an idea to lure travelers to the Caverns and began charging 25 cents to lower these early spelunkers down into the Caverns to explore and to view what had been reported in newspapers to be the remains of a caveman that had earlier been located on a ledge. Although the ‘caveman’ had also lured scientist from the east to study the remains, it was later confirmed in the 1960s to be the remains of two inhabitants of the area. These inhabitants had been in the area barely a decade earlier during the winter of 1917-1918, when a group of Indians were harvesting and cutting firewood on the caverns hilltop and a snow storm trapped them for three days. Two brothers died from a flu epidemic and since the ground was frozen solid with deep snow cover, their fellow lumberjacks buried them in what they thought was only a 50-foot (15 m) hole because returning them to their tribal headquarters in Peach Springs, risked spreading the flu.

An entrance was built into the Caverns by blasting a 210-foot (64 m) shaft in the limestone and installing a large elevator at which time the natural entrance was also sealed off at the request of the Hualapai as it was considered a sacred burial place. Near the natural entrance, the skeletal remains of a giant and extinct ground sloth were found; it lived during the Age of Mammals when the Woolly Mammoth and Saber Tooth Cat lived more than 11,000 years ago. The study of the remains indicate it stood over 15 feet (4.6 m) tall and weighed near 2,000 pounds.Grand Canyon Caverns off Rte 66; http://www.utchs.com/Grand_Canyon_Caverns/IMG_0342.jpg

In 1962, the Caverns were renamed, Grand Canyon Caverns, with good reason, as it is connected to the Grand Canyon to the north.  They are an  Historic Route 66 roadside tourist attraction that has survived into the current century with nearly 100,000 tourists annually.

Features

Grand Canyon Caverns is the largest dry caverns in the United States and maybe the largest dry cavern system on earth as they are still being explored and documented by both amateur and professional spelunkers, archaeologists, geologists and other varieties of scientists. At a constant 57 degrees with only a 2 percent humidity year round the Caverns are an ideal preservatory.  Air comes into the caverns from the Grand Canyon through 60 miles (97 km) of limestone caves. (See picture of opening at end of article). Scientists were curious as to how far the caverns extended and looked for a safe means of finding out. Rather than explore the canyons, which could take years, red smoke flares were ignited by University of Arizona students, and two weeks later red smoke was seen protruding from vents, near Supai, AZ, in the Grand Canyon, thus the name.  Supai Falls near Grand Canyon Caverns; http://photos2.demandstudios.com/dm-resize/photos.demandstudios.com%2Fgetty%2Farticle%2F88%2F114%2F87672387_XS.jpg?w=400&h=10000&keep_ratio=1

Spelunkers and tourists alike can take a 45-minute, guided, walking tour of the Caverns beginning with a 21-story, or 210-foot (64 m) descent from the earth’s surface in a large elevator, or a shorter 25-minute wheelchair accessible tour. The more hardcore and professional spelunkers can explore on their own, with the proper permission of course, areas that are never seen by the ordinary tours.

The first cavern that one enters after their descent by elevator is the Chapel of the Ages cavern room which is so large it could hold up to two football fields. There have been numerous weddings performed in this room throughout the years. The most popular guided walking tour is about 3/4 of a mile long through winding, natural tunnels where guests will see helecite crystals, a rather rare form of selenite, red-wall limestone, ‘teacup handles’, ‘winter crystals’ and more.  The Caverns are a popular natural feature of this vast recreational area in Northern Arizona.

Mule Rides at Canyon Vistas

May 30th, 2014 by Del & Sheryl Terry

View of Grand Canyon National Park at sunset from the South Rim

Canyon Vistas Mule Rides

Once you’ve taken in some of the history and admired the views of Grand Canyon like countless millions before you, it’s time to experience a unique viewing experience.Mule Rides on a trail in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon’s ‘long-eared taxis’, mules, depart twice daily (9am & 1 pm), through October, and once daily (10am) through mid-March. from Yaki Barn.

Your three hour adventure starts at the main livery barn in Grand Canyon Village. From there, riders will be transported aboard an interpretive tour bus to Yaki Barn near South Kaibab Trailhead. Here riders join their mules for two hours in the saddle on a four-mile ride that travels along a new trail built by the National Park Service. Wranglers will stop several times along the trail to provide interpretive information about geologic formations, human history, fire ecology, the Colorado River, the area’s native peoples, the surrounding forest and more. The cost of the ride is $114.00 plus tax.

Riders have been hosted by mules through Grand Canyon since 1887.  More than 600,000 tourists have taken advantage of riding rather than walking as they experience  the Park.  Now, for the first time in more than 125 years, you have the opportunity to take a mule a ride along the South Rim as well as down into Grand Canyon.mule rides trail through the Grand Canyon National Park

‘Canyon Vistas’ mule ride, which opened in August of 2013, will have you mere feet from the Canyon’s edge.  Mules (the offspring of a female horse and a male donkey) perfectly suited for the unnerving terrain because of their strength, temperament, and endurance.  It’s actually comforting to know that mules are stubborn.  These Jacks (male) and Jennies (female) don’t do anything that will put themselves in danger.  Mules are more sure-footed than horses, which is an additional bonus.    Because of the placement of their eyes, they can see all four of their hooves, which make it to safe for them to maneuver even the narrowest of trails.http://www.azcentral.com/i/f/9/f/M11_CIFR00d308a166c635a810895a89c5b0cf9f.jpg

Stay with us at Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast, enjoy our acclaimed hospitality, and include the Canyon Vistas ride as part of your Grand Canyon experience.

Elden Pueblo at Coconino National Forest

May 26th, 2014 by Del & Sheryl Terry

Elden Pueblo at Coconino National Forest near Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast

Elden Pueblo is the site of an ancient Sinagua (Sin ah’ wa) village,

inhabited from about A.D. 1070 to 1275. The site is unique for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it makes archaeology and the study of ancient peoples accessible to the public. Since 1978, professional archaeologists have supervised members of the public in excavations, archaeological research techniques and artifact analysis through a variety of public and school programs.

Conveniently located on U.S. Highway 89 north, Elden Pueblo is thought to have been part of a major trading system. This is evidenced by discoveries of trade items, such as macaw skeletons from as far south as Mexico, to shell jewelry from the California Coast. Important discoveries recently uncovered at Elden Pueblo suggest that the Sunset Crater volcano may have erupted over a much longer period of time than previously thought.

The Arizona Natural History Association sponsors the Elden Pueblo Archaeology Project with the Coconino National Forest to provide opportunities for people to learn about and become involved in the science of archaeology. Annual programs include several Public Archaeology Days, in which the public can participate in site tours, actual excavation, artifact washing and analysis, and try their hand at using ancient hunting weapons. The August Public Day features a Primitive Technology Expo and the last Public Day of the year takes place in the fall as part of the annual Flagstaff Festival of Science.

Elden Pueblo is available for school programs and groups of up to thirty people. Educational programs are correlated to the Arizona State Standards, grades 4-7 in Social Science and Science. Custom programs are available, from 1-2 hours tours, to day-long excavations, or multiple-day programs. Elden Pueblo hosts the Arizona Archaeology Society’s summer field school, where avocational archaeologists receive training in various archaeological skills, such as excavation, stabilization, mapping, and laboratory techniques. There are also summer archaeology camps for students, from third grade and up.Archaeology camps at Elden Pueblo in Coconino National Forest near Grand Canyon Bed and Breakfast

Season: The site is open year-‘round for visitation. Brochures for self-guided tours are available on-site. Public programs, school programs, field schools and camps are conducted from Mid-April through October by appointment. Contact the Elden Pueblo Program Manager at (928) 527-3452 to schedule a program.

Facilities: Parking lot. Chemical toilets during the summer field season. An undeveloped camping area with potable water is available for special program participants during the summer.

Dating to the period between AD 1100 -1275 (about 800 years ago), Elden Pueblo is a 60-70 room Sinagua pueblo containing mounds, smaller pueblos, pit houses, and other features. It is located one half mile west of Mt. Elden in Flagstaff, AZ. The modern day Hopi consider the site a special ancestral place called PASIOVI or PAVASIOKI.

Elden Pueblo was first studied in 1926 by archaeologist Jesse Walter Fewkes. Later, the US Forest Service began to study the site and in the process developed a public archaeology education program focused on the following three topics: 1) teaching the public about the lives of the Sinagua people at Elden, 2) field methods in archaeology, and 3) to facilitate on-going research and protection at Elden Pueblo.

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