In November of 2020, as part of our Canyon & Cactus Road Trip, I: crossed into Arizona and fell in love with chartreuse leaves in Oak Canyon on the way to Sedona; drove south to Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well; hiked the Eagles Nest Loop at Red Rock State Park in Sedona; sat quietly under Buddhist prayer flags at Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park in Sedona, turned the prayer wheel, and walked 3x clockwise offering lots of prayers; got a wonderful 90-minute hot stone massage at Namti Spa; spent Election Day nearly getting struck by lightning at Tuzigoot National Monument; spent a day in Phoenix at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum; visited Casa Grande Ruins National Monument; met a huge variety of cacti at Desert Botanical Garden and wandered through Old Town Scottsdale; hiked through Saguaro National Park (West and East); avoided rattlesnakes on a climb to see petrogylphs by the Hohokam people at the Signal Hill Trail; wandered through the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, finding javelinas and more cacti: hedgehog, barrel, staghorn, teddy bear cholla, catclaw, dwarf organ pipe cactus, Woolly Jacket prickly pear, Cowboy Whiskers Prickly Pear and ocotillo. Followed a van in Tucson with a bumper sticker: “BIDEN 2020: He won’t inject you with bleach.” Went to Tumacácori National Historical Park and Tubac, where I bought some colorful cactus and coyote yard ornaments; lit a candle for our country and my children at Mission San Xavier del Bac; gobbled down Indian fry bread at Cafe Santa Rosa in Tucson; wandered through the charming but scruffy town of Bisbee, a former copper mining town; missed the shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone; took a fabulous (but freezing) hike at the sky island of Chiricahua National Monument; got a flat tire driving on a dirt road to Fort Bowie, but didn’t even visit there after all that.
Here are my top ten favorites in southern Arizona, with a couple of odds & ends thrown in:
11) Odds & Ends: Old Town Scottsdale, ASU Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix, Casa Ruins National Monument, Tumacácori National Historical Park, & Bisbee
10) Pipe Spring National Monument (northern Arizona)
9) Montezuma Castle & Montezuma Well
7) Tuzigoot National Monument
6) Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson
5) Phoenix: (a) Phoenix Art Museum, (b) Heard Museum, (c) Desert Botanical Garden
4) City of Tucson & Saguaro National Park West & East
3) Tubac & Mission San Xavier del Bac
2) Sedona, Red Rock State Park, & Amitabha Stupa
1) Chiricahua National Monument
Here’s the map of our route in 2020. The red shows our route in 2018. Pipestone National Monument is in the north central part of the state, where we dipped down from Utah for a short visit and then returned to Utah.
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