When I think about the Southwest, where I lived for eight years, I think of a few things: warm flour tortillas, soaring mountains, and javelinas (they’re peccaries, not pigs!). The other day, I was thinking about everything I experienced while I lived out there and started scrolling through posts I’d written about day trips, weekend trips, trips around the state, and trips to places right around my neighborhood that I never would have found anywhere else but in Arizona.
In the spirit of September, then, as the temperatures start dipping below the 100s (finally!), I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite travel memories from Arizona.
1. Petroglyphs and the Petrified Forest
In this post, which I wrote in 2014, I reminisce on my family’s summer road trip to the highly underrated Petrified Forest. After finding a brochure on it in our B&B in Sedona, we ended up putting it on our road trip itinerary at the last minute–and we all remain so happy that we did. It defied all of our expectations and is the place we still talk about visiting when we talk about that road trip. I loved this day and I loved this place that’s one of the great Arizona national parks.
2. Buddha Beach, Sedona
On this particular trip to the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, my mom and I discovered a tiny little strip of beach that is covered–literally–in thousands and thousands of stacks of pebbles. These stacks are spiritual in nature, left in the hopes that whoever stacked the pebbles will have a wish come true. In the post I wrote about it, I focused on those surprising off-the-beaten-path moments that end up being the actual moments everyone talks about, years later. I think I’m going to send this one to my mom so she can remember it today, too.
3. Cave Creek Ranch
In this post, which I wrote all the way back in 2012 (one of my first posts as a travel blogger!), I took readers down to Cave Creek Ranch, a popular bird-watching spot in the Coronado National Forest. My husband Ryan and I had gone on a kind of alternative spring break while in graduate school–and we always promised ourselves we’d go back. We haven’t (yet!), but I have a feeling we’ll have to make that happen sometime soon.
I posted this so long ago that the photos I took don’t even fit the internet’s width anymore…but here’s a picture of the cabin we stayed in while we were there:
I mean, what can you say about an old mining town that’s legitimately haunted and that is now an artist’s retreat? In this post, I offer a round-up of the best places to stay if you ever find yourself down there. I’ve been many times and have stayed in all the places I recommend…now if only to decide which one is my favorite?
5. Yosemite Valley
Back in 2014, we met my husband Ryan’s side of the family in Yosemite for a week-long trip of hiking and exploring. I’d never been to this part of the country before and had been wondering if being there would feel at all like gazing into an Ansel Adams’ photograph (after all, the largest collection of his work is housed in the University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography, a place I’d been many times). Being there was a remarkable experience, and I wrote about the smallness of the human body and my expectations in this post later that year.
I hope you enjoyed this reminiscing as much as I did! Enjoy the start to your fall 🙂