Passion for my career was one of my goals when I decided my future as a Tourismologist. It’s a word that always confuses people. At 12 years old, I had a dream of studying tourism. Now, 13 years later, it feels surreal that I made it ten thousand times better than I could have ever thought. While you may think I realized this years ago, it actually took me 3 days in Arizona to start thinking about how far I came.
Have you ever watched “Forrest Gump” or “Back to the Future III”? Well, these are only two of the many movies -and TV shows- that feature Monument Valley. You don’t need much to fall in love with this place. While searching on bamba, the “Sedona, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon” caught my attention. I knew right away where to go next: Arizona.
Joining the Saturday departure, I met the group at the meeting point in Las Vegas. Departure was on time and with 2 exceptional guides, both Italians, leading the group. Our first stop was Route 66 in the small town of Seligman. There was not much to see in the city. But, it was so interesting to get to know about the history, while walking through souvenir stores and talking to the locals. For those who are not very familiarized, the route was built in the 1920’s, crossing the United States from Chicago, Illinois in the Northeast, to Santa Monica, California in the Southwest. Originally, it covered more than two thousand miles of road, passing through eight states. Nowadays, it is usually called Historic Route 66, since it was decommissioned in 1985. Many sections are now completely abandoned.
Back in the bus, Sedona was the next destination. It is far bigger than Seligman, though it has a population of just 10.000 people. The city makes you feel like being transported to an old western movie; with its lots of distinct red rocks and Country Style. We took some time to have lunch, take pictures, and discover more about the city.
After this brief moment in Sedona we went to Flagstaff. In the morning we were surprised with snow, since it was only the second week of Spring. The white mountains said a beautiful goodbye while we moved forward to Monument Valley, land of the Navajo Tribe.
As soon as we got there it started raining, but it was nothing could stop our enthusiasm. The tour started with a safari around the sandstone towers, descending into the valley until we reached a huge wall, made of rocks.
There, a Navajo family was waiting for us with an amazing barbeque for the whole group (a vegetarian option was also available). After lunch, the Navajo family prepared coffee and cookies for the group, who enjoyed the food around the bonfire appreciating the beauty of the Valley. During the night, we continued to the city of Page.
The last day of the adventure started really early to get to the “Upper Antelope Canyon”, which is a slot canyon formed by erosion.
It is commonly referred to by the Navajos as “The water runs through the rocks”.
For many years water and sand, running through the canyon, formed all of these shapes that now impress everyone who sees them.
Also located on the Navajo’s land, the onsite tours were organised by licensed agencies. When we arrived at the main entrance, we were allocated a local van and took a 30-minutes ride to the entrance of the Canyon. The local guide was always with the group, as you can never do the tour by yourself.
On our way back to Las Vegas, the last stop on the journey was the Valley of Fire in Arizona. Formed by many red rocks, it has an amazing contrast of color with the green mountains in front of it.
It’s a really nice place to appreciate the nature, walking around to see the drawings on the rocks and, finally, to say goodbye to this amazing experience on the South-West USA.
A Journey with bamba to Arizona, by Creane Souza.