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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#6 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

 

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument celebrates the raw, unspoiled Sonoran Desert.   The park is the only place in the United States where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild. Along with Organ Pipe, many other types of cacti, as well as other desert flora native to the Yuma Desert section of the Sonoran Desert region grow here.

You'll definitely want to put this National Park on your list of things to see and do in Arizona as it is a beautiful preservation of the American Southwest.   Within the 500 square miles of desert wilderness, filled with plants; animals; dramatic mountains; and plains scenery, are three unique desert habitats.  Among the extraordinary collection of plants of the Sonoran Desert, is the Organ Pipe Cactus, a large cactus rarely found in the United States.

The 21 mile, mostly gravely Ajo Mountain Drive is suitable for both cars and bikes.  The Bull Pasture-Estes Canyon loop hike, a moderate 4.1 miles, is thick with the park's namesake cactus as well as saguaros and other desert plants. 

If you've wondered why the Organ and Saguaro cacti don't grow in all the American deserts or how the Sonoran Desert is different from others, then be sure to join one of the park's  free interpretive programs.  To extend your Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument visit, spend the night at the Twin Peaks Campground for an unforgettable experience under the stars on a black desert night. 

                 JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert
 
 

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#8 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

 

Riordan Mansion State Historic ParkStep back in time and experience a great example of Arts and Crafts style architecture at the Riodoran Mansion.  This expansive home, turned State Historic Park, boasts 40 rooms in its 13,000 square feet and is an impressive reminder of gracious living in a small territorial logging town. 

Built in 1904 in picturesque Flagstaff, Arizona, the Mansion features a rustic exterior of log-slab siding, volcanic stone arches, and hand-split wooden shingles.  The Riordan residence was designed by the creator of Grand Canyon's El Tovar Hotel, Charles Whittlesey.  Inside the historic home is an impressive collection of Craftsman furnishings with appointments by Edison, Stickley, Ellis, and Steinway.

Reservations are encouraged as the size of the personally guided 45-minute interpretive tours of the house are limited and fill up fast.  Essentially this park is an historic house museum.  In fact, the Visitor Center was formerly the family's garage and has introductory interpretive exhibits on the history of the Riordan Family, including a video.

In addition to the guided tour there is a Self-Guided Walking Tour that shows the Mansion's exterior points of interest. 

While the trip from Green Valley Arizona to Flagstaff is about 4 hours, with so much to see and do in the area not to mention places to stay that range from campgrounds to resorts, you'll want to plan on staying several days to enjoy everything this area has to offer.


Kartchner Caverns State Park

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#5 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

 

Kartchner Caverns State Park

 

 

Deep within the bowels of the earth in the Whetstone Mountains is a magical place 200,000 years in the making--a pristine limestone cave.  Here you will be able tour underground rooms filled with brawny stalactites, delicate soda straw formations and jewel like rocks in multi-colors.

Discovered in November 1974 by two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, when they found a narrow crack at the bottom of a sinkhole leading into the hillside. The warm moist air that flowed from the crack signaled the existence of a cave.

Curious, they crawled deeper and after several hours found the "live" limestone cave.  This underground wonder is home to a wide variety of unique minerals and formations, including:

  • One of the world's longest soda straw stalactites: 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room)
  • The tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
  • The world's most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
  • The first reported occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room)
  • The first cave occurrence of “birdsnest” needle quartz formations
  • Many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites, and rimstone dams.

For an unforgettable adventure be sure to put the Kartchner Caverns State Park on your "must see" list.  During a memorable 1 1/2 hour tour, your guide will unveil the mysteries of this fascinating underground landscape.  The park's Discovery Center features museum exhibits, a large gift shop, regional displays, theater, and educational information about the caverns and the surrounding landscape. There are also campgrounds, hiking trails, lockers, shaded picnic areas, a deli, an amphitheater, and a hummingbird garden.

 

JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Navajo National Monument In Arizona

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#4 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

 

Navajo National Monument

 

 

 

Navajo National Monument features three of the most intact cliff dwellings of the ancestral people (Hisatsinom).  The Navajo people who live here today call these ancient ones, Anasazi.  The dwellings are nestled in the cliffs high on the Shonto plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system in the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona.  

These ruins are villages left behind in 1300 by prehistoric pueblo Indians--the Kayenta Anazi.  Built and occupied for only 50 years, the ruins represent the final settlement farmers who adapted to the area's scarce rainfall to grow crops, build houses and raise families, then mysteriously moved on. 

As you'll see by the video below, the half day round trip hike with a Ranger to this well preserved village from the 13th century is both scenic and educational. 

The Navajo National Monument, located west of Kayenta, Arizona features a visitor center with a museum, two short self-guided mesa top trails. two small campgrounds and a picnic area.  Rangers guide visitors on free tours of the Keet Seel (Kitsʼiil) and Betatakin (Bitátʼahkin) cliff dwellings. The Inscription House site (Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin), further west, is currently closed to public access.

Before planning your visit to the monument, check here for operating hours and seasons.

              JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Humphrey's Peak In Arizona

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#3 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

 

Humphrey's Peak is the highest natural point in Arizona, with an elevation of 12,637 feet.  For the outdoor enthusiast it offers a lung-searing, heart-pounding hike with panoramic vistas that shouldn't be missed. 

However, if you consider the 4.5 mile course to the top to be merely a means to the end, you'll definitely miss the many reasons to take on this steep and challenging mountain trail.  Along the way to the top you'll be treated to a thriving alpine forest streaked with rock slides and avalanche tracks as well as the scenic Hart Prairie stretched out at the base of the incline and a whole new perspective on the Grand Canyon that is easily visible on the horizon. 

As you near the upper reaches the trail becomes quite rocky.  Above the treeline you'll find yourself completely exposed to the whims of nature.  Here it may snow during any month of the year and a late summer monsoon storm can bring with it life threatening lightning strikes so be prepared to head for lower ground if a thunderstorm is brewing. 

But if you've ever wanted to experience standing on top of the world, here's a mountain peak in your own backyard that will give you an idea of how it might feel.  You can hike the Humphrey's Trail any time of the year, but you will need a back country permit if you are the die-hard type that wants to tackle it during the winter months. 

               JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Jerome Arizona

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#2 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

Jerome is a funky and friendly town that was precariously built on the side and top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) during the copper boom in territorial days.  Today this quaint town, known as America's Most Vertical City,  is a great place to shop, relax and enjoy life at a different beat. 

Tourists flock to this photographer's paradise to soak up the historical vide of this once thriving mining camp.  Now Jerome is an artists colony that boasts a population of 450 "counterculture" individuals, each with "unique" visions that are on display in the community's 40 galleries and studios.

Make a night of it with a stay at the Jerome Grand Hotel, which was built as a Miner's Hospital in the roaring 20s.  As the highest public building in the entire Verde Valley, you'll enjoy breathtaking views and perhaps a few unexpected "ghostly" visitors.  The hotel was featured on the Zak Bagans Paranormal Challenge where paranormal investigators compete against each other to find the most compelling evidence.  

You'll definitely want to add this modern day ghost town to your list of things to see and do in Arizona. 

           JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Antelope Canyon

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Arizona's Centennial Celebration

#1 of 100 Things To See & Do In Arizona

In the land of the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona is a place called Antelope Canyon.  In this spiritual sanctuary ethereal light rains upon mystical shapes and patterns in natural shades that only Mother earth could create to such splendid perfection.  

Antelope Canyon is located about 3 miles Southeast of Page, and has two separate slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack and Lower Antelope Canyon or the Corkscrew.   The Upper Canyon is called:  Tsé bighánílíní, "the place where water runs through rocks" by the Navajo.   Lower Antelope Canyon, called called Hazdistazí, or "spiral rock arches" by the Navajo, is located a short distance away.

 There is no better way than to revel in this natural wonder than through a personal Native American experience.  You'll hear  wonderful Native American stories from Chief Tsosie and his guides, with authentic Native American music resonating throughout the canyon. 

              JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

520-241-7780

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Arizona's Centennial Celebration

by Judi Monday, Your Green Valley AZ Expert

Can you feel the centennial excitement building?  In 2012 Arizona will celebrate its 100 year statehood birthday and I decided the best way to celebrate this memorable event is with a special blog series focused on all things Arizona.  

The centerpiece of the blog series will be 100 places to see and things to do around the state.  The hard part will be narrowing it down to just 100 since this amazing State of ours could be the world's 8th wonder with its diverse eco systems, array of natural wonders and the raw beauty of the Sonoran Desert all set in the splendor of the great Southwest. 

My goal is to make it a collection of places that inspire, motivate, educate, thrill and delight.  As many of you know who follow my blog, I have shared a number of my favorite spots with you in my series titled "The Spirit Of Arizona", and some of those will be resurrected for this series.  

I'd like each of YOU to be a part of what I hope to be an interactive series.  If  there something you want to see featured in this series, someone you know who personifies Arizona, or something you want to know about this great state of ours, share it with me and I'll turn your request into  a blog for this series. 

To keep abreast of the many centennial celebrations that will  that will be taking place throughout Arizona bookmark www.Arizona100.org.   One of the countless events planned for this year is the Centennial Ride, with Arizona Native and Country Star, Diercks Bentley, named as the Honorary Chair.  Dierks' new single, "Home," has been chosen by the Arizona Centennial Commission to serve as the official song for the state's 100 year celebration.

                JUDI MONDAY, CRS         

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Judi Monday
RE/MAX Valley Properties In Green Valley, AZ
210 West Continental Road
Green Valley AZ 85622
Direct: (520) 241-7780
Fax: (520) 648-2221