After leaving college daughter in Tuscon, it didn’t take us long to get to cooler weather.  In just a few hours we were at a campground in Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff. We stayed at the Pine Grove Campground near Lake Mary.

Pine Grove  Lake Mary Az
Pine Grove Campground  – nice spacious sites but no hookups.

With four nights in one spot, we really had some time to explore. I was hoping to get back to Sedona for some more exploration, but the highway work on 89A made it more trouble than it was worth to ge there. So we went to downtown Flagstaff, right by Northern Arizona University, and found it to be a charming town full of bars and restaurants, outfitter stores, and mystical shops. The locals call if “Flag”.

We wandered in to the most awesome metaphysical store, the Crystal Magic. It was the cleanest,  brightest, most well stocked  (awesome array of items) store we’ve been in. It contained hundreds of thousands of dollars of inventory and had the type of selection we only wish we could have had at the Cosmic Corral. This store was full of customers each time we went by.

downtown flagstaff
Inside Crystal Magic store – great lighting!
downtown flagstaff
Shoppers in Crystal Magic

We strolled around town, checked out the visitor center at the train depot, had a meal at an Irish pub, and picked up a booklet for hikes int the Flagstaff and Sedona area.Frame-31-08-2017-08-20-05

After picking a few out, we went hiking the next day. The road in to our first choice was closed. Second choice was a hike under the earth in a Lava River Tube. Unfortunately,  we forgot to bring our headlamps, and holding on to a flashlight while trying to climb over boulders wasn’t working for me. I waited  while Tom went further in. He said it got smoother after you got past the piled rock entrance, but I wasn’t feeling it. So on to our third choice.

hiking around flagstaff - kachina peaks
The entrance you have to crawl through to get inside the  Lava River cave/tunnel.

Of course as soon as we left I had regrets. I mean, what kind of adventurer am I? Not wanting to go a mile underground with no lights? I told myself if only we had brought the headlamps I would have gone for it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

hiking around flagstaff - kachina peaksWe chose the Kachina Trails hike from our guide book, but we wanted to start at the bottom (so we could hike down on the way back of course!), so we went backwards from the guidebook and ended up on a different trail – the Weatherford Trail.

Ihiking around flagstaff - kachina peakst was beautiful, going through aspen groves and green meadows, and the weather was perfect. I just love the aspen groves – and the “eyes” of the trees!

We hiked about six or seven miles. I felt that was quite an accomplishment since it had been three weeks since we’d done any type of activity!

There ended up being a lot of things to do in Flagstaff, which was a little surprising to us. I hated to leave, but we had already booked our next campsite. We didn’t realize the weather would be so nice!hiking around flagstaff - kachina peaks

In fact, I found it very surprising that the same places we visited in May were dry and brown then, but now everything was green and the wildflowers were everywhere. It’s because the monsoon rains come in August. Back in the Central Valley in Cali, it’s just the opposite – spring time rains green things up around May and everything is dry and brown in August. Arizona is backwards!

We didn’t make time to take the kayak out on Lake Mary, or ride the Amtrak into Williams for a train trip to the Grand Canyon (South Rim) – that one stays on my list for next time.

sunset at upper lake mary
sunset at upper lake mary

Arizona was top on our list when we were considering places to move to. Because of that – and because college daughter chose to go to college there – we have spent more time in Arizona exploring around than any other state so far. It doesn’t disappoint.

But with an itinerary of “north”, we were on our way again. Heading up to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon – something we missed on our May trip because the roads were still closed due to snow. So that is our next destination.

Happy Travels,

Peace & Love, Joy