We woke up the next day here: the sun was out and we finally felt rejuvenated, ready to tackle a new state. With hindsight, I almost wished we stayed in Canyonlands another day. We barely tapped into the National Park; it’s actually quite huge. We were staying in the Needles District (named so because many of the rocks resemble needles), but the park also includes Island in the Sky, Horseshoe Canyon, and the Maze District. What is even more provocative is there are no roads that link the districts, and much of the park is only accessible via foot. Still, we were eager to move on, to keep increasing our car mileage and opening our eyes to new surroundings.
I wouldn’t change a thing about our trip, but I think when I go on my next USA adventure, I might pick two or three main destinations and stay there for an extended period of time– really get to know an area. For our trip, we sort of just skimmed surfaces, visiting a variety of places and comparing first impressions. Interacting with mountain men, native americans, and southern sweethearts all in one week. America 101. This is not a bad thing, it’s just a different way to go about traveling.
Enough of that. After a hearty breakfast of ..oatmeal, we said goodbye to our elderly friends that were camping out next door, and continued south. At this point of our trip, we really didn’t have a plan, so we started playing the game “let’s look at a map and pick where to go next.” When we played this particular morning, we saw that Flagstaff AZ had several major highways intersecting the town, and there were many little tents pictured, indicating camping availability. “Flagstaff” was even written in bold. It seemed like a promising place to visit.
It took us about five or six hours to reach the town, and when we saw that initial “welcome to flagstaff!” sign, I began to silently panic. I looked to my left: A Target. Grocery Store. Strip Mall. To my right: KOA Campsite filled with bikers. Another strip mall. A car dealership. I was scared that Flagstaff was nothing but a Jericho Turnpike, that our bolded (!) town was only a place to buy produce, throw pillows, and BMW’s. Luckily, I was wrong. As we kept driving, we found ourselves in a quaint, culturally rich town. We walked around for a little while and asked for camping suggestions. A friendly barista told us about a national forest about 10 miles outside of Flagstaff. A forest?! Trees! Woodland! In Arizona! We had to go.
More on that in the next post. Until then, here is the map. Unlike the last map written on the back of a receipt, this one was actually correct. So, if you just caaaan’t wait to hear all about this next camping adventure, feel free to use the map and go yourself.