Monday, March 8, 2010

College Spring Break Rocks

What's up cyberworld?

Is it crappy weather where you live? I know, that is why I didn't visit you over spring break and took a mini tour-a-az instead.


I am back in school after a fantastic week off in which I did fun fun things all within a couple of hours of my house. Did I mention that I love Arizona?

Firstly, I played in a hat ultimate frisbee tournament and my team won which was a lovely way to kick off my week of fun. I haven't really talked about my jenk knee for awhile, and while it is still jenk, I am now about 2 years post-op on my 2nd ACL so it is still improving which is great. I still don't have cartilage since it doesn't magically grow back, but I can get away with sporadic running without too much pain as long as I don't do it very often. Frisbee was fun and I miss team sports, but damn...am I out of shape for running/cutting type of activities.

Following my return to the gridiron of fake Phoenix straw/grass, the hub and I made it up to Sedona for some sun filled MTB riding and camping along the Oak Creek. Sedona is known for their energy vortexes and crystal wierdo shops, but really it has killer riding and hiking to go along with the ridiculous jewelry shops. Getting out on bikes is the way to go. Much more miles covered therefore much more cool stuff seen.

Totally ugly Sedona. Um jk, this was along Templeton Trail to Cathedral Rock.

Can you find me? Look how tiny I am. Look at the white line 2/3 of the way up slightly right of center. Click on pic for larger view.

Next up on the agenda was a trip I have wanted to do since I moved to Arizona and made a "things to do" list on the back of my "crap I wanna buy" list. Still haven't received my cleaner robot yet either. We headed to SE Arizona for a tour of weird towns, and let me tell you, there are some wierd ones. Our first stop after lunch at the Benson Cafe was Kartchner Caverns.

Kartchner Cavern is really truly amazing. It is a guided tour of a totally living limestone cave that was only discovered in the late 70s and kept a secret until the 90s before the land was sold from the private owners to the state and developed into a state park. They spend 30 million perserving the cave before openeing it up to the public. It is still home to a yearly bat migration and has ever changing architecture due to constant water flow. You have to descend through 4 environmental chambers before entering the cave to keep the humidity at 99% inside. They have discovered a lot of new organisms in the cave never before seen and they say 75% of the cave has never been touched by a human being. The history behind it was very very cool and local adventurers just like you and I are the ones who discovered it, cataloged it, and in the end preserved it all in secret (it took 14 years before they told people about it). It is full of amazing formations (stalagmite/stalactite/columns/bacon strips/stuff I don't remember the name of). No pics were allowed but I stole some off the internet. It was trippy and impossible to experience off photos anyway.

Kubla Khan, the largest column found in Arizona is 5 stories high.

Aformentioned bacon drapery was everywhere.

You could hear running water everywhere and if you shined a flashlight on these
they would illuminate since they are still actively growing.


After leaving Kartchner we drove through the famous Tombstone (lame and totally touristy) and then went on to camp just outside of Bisbee (which was much cooler with a old western artsy vibe). We drank beers with some locals and they told us about life in Bisbee. It is near the border and I found it interesting that they all travel to Mexico for dental and medical procedures that are too expensive in the US. Go US healthcare! :(

The next stop was Chiracahua National Monument in SE Arizona. This is a range of mountains are around 10k feet high and was nicely snow capped. We decided to hike a little lower on the mountain and did the 8.4 mile Heart of Rocks Trail at around 7800ft. It was really beautiful with a lot of weird rock formations, several 1000 ton balancing rocks and gorgeous views. We saw only 2 people the whole time and even ran into some snow at the top of the hike. Overall, I really enjoyed this area and would like to return to hike to the top in the summer sometime.

Some pics of the hike:

Trees, real trees!, with tree smell!

Balancing Rock: 1000 tons and 22 feet diameter.

This one is called Camel's Head for obvious reasons.
Tom is falling in this picture which makes me laugh.

Hudu Valley... very cool.

Along the Heart of Rocks Trail.

After leaving Chiracahua, we returned to Phoenix to unpack and repack for one final adventure, kayaking the Colorado River for 2 days. I will save that for the next post, but it was super awesome complete with hot springs, hot waterfalls, hot steam caves, hot pools and just a lot of hotness. And water. And wine.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Save this info for us We def. want to go to the hot waterfalls and caves and pools .....sounds very inviting after a long, snowy winter!

DEANNA STOPPLER said...

This is awesome! I haven't checked your blog in a while so I was pleasantly surprised.