After a full day in Santa Fe & Albuquerque we began our drive to Arizona. We really underestimated our drive and almost didn’t make it to the Painted Desert & Petrified Forest before dark. It is a 26 mile drive through the national park where you start at one entrance and can exit at the other entrance. We started at the Painted Desert entrance and I’m so glad we did…it was amazing! After going through my pictures I realized that I didn’t get any pics that did it justice at all. At least this one has a cute couple in it 🙂
Several of the informational signs mentioned monsoons and lightning storms during the summer months and we didn’t really think much of it. Well sure enough about half way through the park it starts lightning, a lot! Then the temperature dropped about 15 degrees suddenly and then the rain came. It was crazy. We got to see enough of the Petrified Forest to know that it was just a bunch of dead fallen trees lol. We weren’t impressed.
Although Santa Fe was pretty it was absolutely no comparison to the beautiful
landscape of Flagstaff. When we arrived the night before it was dark so we
didn’t see it until going to breakfast. We are driving to Denny’s and turned a
corner and we were both in aw of the beautiful mountains. Cole and I both agreed
that it was a view we could get used to.
I found information on a ski resort in Flagstaff that uses it’s ski lift during the summer months to give tourists an aerial view of the mountains. It was a 25 minute ride to the top of the lift (can you imagine skiing down that far??) and the temp changed about 20 deg from the bottom of the lift to the top. When we were waiting to get on the lift operator told us that they were expecting rain that day and with it being at such a high altitude that it could occur at any moment. Well about five minutes into our lift ride it starts raining and it got so cold. Thankfully Cole had the great idea to bring a blanket on the ride, it saved us! The view was amazing even through the rain and it was pretty romantic. When we got to the top of the mountain it was so cold that we just got right back in line to ride back down. On the ride down it stopped raining and the closer we got to the bottom the warmer it got…so weird to have those temperature changes so quickly.
After the aerial ride we drove a couple hours to the Grand Canyon. There was nothing along that drive so we had to eat at this weird Flintstones themed restaurant, it was just so random.
At the Grand Canyon we had more lightning storms and rain but because of that we saw multiple rainbows! It was beautiful to see them spanning across the Grand Canyon. I even saw a double rainbow that was side by side so that it looked like it was extra wide. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a pic of that one but I did get a couple decent ones.
I guess because of the electricity in the air everyone’s hair was standing out all over the place. It was really funny to see all these women walking around with their hair standing straight up. Leaving the Grand Canyon park we saw our first wildlife of the trip. We saw three elk standing on the side of the road. You could tell they were used to the crowds because they were completely undisturbed by the passing cars. I even saw one woman standing fairly close to them getting her pic taken with them.
Next stop: San Diego!