Dream now, travel later! Ideas for the time after Corona. 
Arizona with a Navajo. Join us on a tour from Phoenix via Flagstaff, Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend to Monument Valley. A journey through XXL landscapes and through the history of the First Nations. Back to the roots!

I look around in vain to find resigned: No, there are actually no coffee cups here. “Sorry, sir!” Says the very friendly service lady and points to a stack of plastic cups. I’m not in a cheap takeout or a gas station.

I’m in the executive lounge of a five-star hotel in Phoenix, the capital of the US state of Arizona. But the cups for the breakfast coffee are made of plastic. In terms of wasted resources, the region is a nightmare anyway: high temperatures in summer and freezing temperatures in winter ensure that air conditioning systems run around the clock and average power consumption is twice as high as in the rest of the USA. That’s the page.

The other: spectacular landscapes, many national parks, species-rich flora and fauna, a dry, almost always sunny climate. The southwest of the USA with the states Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado is four times the size of Germany and an almost perfect travel destination for nature lovers.

Arizona: Long Road for the Native Americans

There is also a special story: First the high cultures of the Anasazi and Hohokam Indians established themselves here, then those of the Pueblo on the Rio Grande and the Hopi in Arizona. Traces of old Indian settlements can still be found, for example in the White House Ruins in Arizona’s Chimney Valley, which are said to be around 1,000 years old.

USA America Arizona Landscape Valley Mountains Donovan Hanley

It took a long time for the traditions and language of the “Native Americans” to be recognized. The settlement areas of the Native Americans are now largely administered autonomously, many of them run their own tourism projects, especially hotels or agencies. Like Donovan Hanley, tour guide and managing director of Detours American West.

On the Apache Trail through Arizona

Donovan picks us up at the hotel in Mesa. It starts with the Apache Trail, an old stagecoach route through the Apache region. The trail runs through the Superstition Mountains, a mountain range northeast of Phoenix. After a short drive we reach the Superstition Mountain Museum. There Jeff Danfort leads us through the exhibition, which deals with the eventful history of the Apache Trail.

Jeff points to the photos of the Buffalo Soldiers, the African American soldiers who fought for freedom from slavery on the Northern side during the American Civil War. The Indians called the soldiers that because the soldiers’ often curly hair reminded them of the mane of buffalo.

USA America Arizona Apache Trail Superstition Mountain Museum

Other pictures show Geronimo, the famous Apache chief who, for 20 years, used guerrilla tactics to wage a hopeless but all the more bitter struggle against the settlers and the US cavalry. In 1886 he surrendered and died in a reservation in 1909. Jeff emphasizes the intention of the exhibition: “We want to keep everyone’s historical legacy in mind, that is, from Indians, cowboys and gold prospectors.”

USA America Arizona Apache Trail Goldfield Ghost Town reconstructed city

Highnoon in Goldfield Ghost Town

Just a good mile away is Goldfield Ghost Town, the largest settlement in Arizona with around 1,200 inhabitants in 1893 and an important outpost during the heyday of gold mining. Visitors can sniff a bit of the flair of gold prospecting along the main street, let themselves be guided through the (replicated) gold mine and then stop off at the “Mammoth Saloon”, where hearty cuisine is served, of course, and where posters by John Wayne adorn the walls. The place is a very tourist homage to the Wild West. Oatman and the decaying Ruby are more authentic.

Navajos, the largest “nation” in Arizona

Donovan belongs to the Navajo people. With more than 320,000 members, they are one of the largest tribes of the Native Americans. Donovan speaks of “nation” when he means tribe.

The word reservation, as the regions in which the different tribes live, is not popular, Donovan continues. It still sounds like what it was once intended for: exclusion. Better be nation country. Navajo also call themselves Diné, translated: the people. Many of them still live in their traditional houses, the hogans, mostly hexagonal buildings made of wood, clay and stone.

USA America Arizona Grand Canyon World Heritage Canyon

“Americans are great at looking down on other countries and cultures and telling them what they’re doing wrong. And they believe that they are doing everything right themselves, ”says Donovan. “That’s why they never really admitted to themselves what they did wrong with treating Native Americans.” Much has changed in recent years, the culture of Native Americans is being cultivated, promoted – and, above all, respected.

In the saddle to the saguaro cacti

The “Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch”, our accommodation for the next few nights, is not far from Saguaro Lake, directly on the Salt River. Built in 1928, there are 24 small bungalows, widely distributed over the site, spartanly furnished, without TV, without WiFi. One should concentrate on nature.

USA America Arizona Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch horseback riding excursion

Our early morning ride gives us that cowboy feeling, even if we as riders shouldn’t look as elegant as John Wayne. And here they are everywhere, in the hundreds, thousands: the cacti, the symbol of the Wild West. There are around 300 species, the name Saguaro – which is roughly pronounced: Sawaroh – comes from the language of the Native Americans, it is the largest cactus species in the USA.

USA America Arizoa Wind Cave Trail Mountain Regional Park Cacti

They can be up to 200 years old, weigh up to ten tons and 15 meters high. The typical arms only grow after around 80 years. Thunderstorms in summer and a lot of rain in winter provide the large cactus forests with sufficient moisture.

Arizona icons: Route 66 and Grand Canyon

Winslow is on Route 66. Since the Eagles in their song “Take it easy” the place with “Well, I’m a standin ‘on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford. Slowin ‘down to take a look at me… “Every tourist wants to be photographed on this corner to set a monument. The residents of Winslow market their homeland with humor: “Winslow: 30 miles from water, 2 feet from hell” reads in brochures.

They can be up to 200 years old, weigh up to ten tons and 15 meters high. The typical arms only grow after around 80 years. Thunderstorms in summer and a lot of rain in winter provide the large cactus forests with sufficient moisture.

Arizona icons: Route 66 and Grand Canyon

Winslow is on Route 66. Since the Eagles in their song “Take it easy” the place with “Well, I’m a standin ‘on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford. Slowin ‘down to take a look at me… “Every tourist wants to be photographed on this corner to set a monument. The residents of Winslow market their homeland with humor: “Winslow: 30 miles from water, 2 feet from hell” reads in brochures.

USA America Arizona Winslow City, Navajo County

Finally we reach the landscape that stands for Arizona like no other and which is also immortalized on all car signs: the Grand Canyon. The mightiest gorge in the world is almost 450 kilometers long and around 30 kilometers wide. The red and yellow ocher cliffs plunge up to 1,700 meters into the bed of the Colorado River.

The highlight of a visit to the Grand Canyon begins on a frosty note: very early in the morning, everyone sits there wrapped in thick blankets. This November morning is freezing cold. The wind whistles and makes the temperatures appear even icier. Everyone waits patiently for the sun to come up. It sends its bright and warming rays over the grandiose gorge, first covering the peaks, then the entire rock walls with golden light.

 

USA America Arizona Horseshoe Bend Colorado River

Emily Wong

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • It's a tough decision - do you want to be downtown within walking distance of all the attractions, on the river or in the mountains? We've got plenty of Airbnbs in Chattanooga to choose from, even some that look like little fairytale cottages. #airbnbsinchattanooga.

  • I compiled all these tips for camping for beginners for myself as I seem to be overturning my life-long no-camping policy #travelreviews #thetravel100 #traveltips #camping #camping101 #campingforbeginners #campingtips #traveltips

  • It's a tough decision - do you want to be downtown within walking distance of all the attractions, on the river or in the mountains? We've got plenty of Airbnbs in Chattanooga to choose from, even some that look like little fairytale cottages. #airbnbsinchattanooga.

Instagram

Instagram did not return a 200.