Arizona embodies the heart of the wild west with its ghost towns, long lonely border with Mexico and some of the finest desert scenery anywhere in the world. There is the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley to the north and vast deserts of huge Saguaro and organ Pipe cactus to the south. Because of its great wealth of attractions, I will keep returning to see more. Here are just a few places I have visited in Arizona.

 

 

Havasupai Falls

My favorite place in the world is located in Arizona-Havasupai Falls. Bright blue chalky water flows over a series of waterfalls, the highest being Mooney Falls, approx. 200′ tall, through towering sandstone walls.  The drive to the trail head is remote enough but then there is a 12mile hike to the bottom of a canyon leading passed the Supai Indian village, the only place in the USA where the US postal service delivers mail by mule. Another few miles’ hike from Supai is a campground near the top of Mooney Falls. Byond Mooney falls to beaver Falls is my favorite part of the hike, where few other hikers go, and you have the most scenic part of the river and canyon to yourself practically. Havasupai was once my favorite hike before it became popular on Instagram, and I did it at least 5 times over multiple years. I rarely obtained a permit in advance and just showed up at Supai village. I haven’t been back in over 15 years, and I am afraid to return to see how it has changed with the large number of tourists that now frequent it. 

 

Mooney Falls

Tombstone

On a weekend trip, Paula and I drove to Tombstone, the famed boom and bust mining town famous for Wyat Earp, Doc Holiday and cowboy shootout at the O.k. Corral. On the way we stopped at another wild west town, Yuma where we visited an old jail famous for holding many of the worst villains in the days of the old west. The jail is also notorious for being haunted especially in this solitary confinement room where some visitors have reportedly experienced mysterious scratched on their body. I went inside and closed the door to experience its dark isolation and although it was creepy nothing tried to scratch me.

 

Yuma Old Jail Solitary Confinement Room

Tombstone although touristy was a lot of fun. The town was not overly gimmicky and the Arizonian locals that worked there were mostly real-life gun carrying locals. Many people openly carried in town and wore wide brimmed cowboy hats. Paula and I camped in town at a local campsite, and we went on a mine tour of one of the old mines where mostly Chinese indentured labor was used for mining. We visited the old bootleg graveyard and frequented the towns saloons especially the Bird Cage Theater, which is the original building and bar where Wyat Earp and Doc Holiday actually gambled and drank in their day.

 

Paula the gunslinger

Bird Cage Theatre

Inside the Bird Cage Theatre

Paula with some locals

Paula and her cowgirl hat

Monument Valley

My brother and I on our way back from Utah visited Monument Valley, a sacred Navajo Indian territory with huge, majestic buttes rising from the desert floor.

 

My tent at Monument Valley

Monument Valley

Organ Pipe Cactus national Monument

A place that I think often gets overlooked by tourists is Organ Pipe Cactus national Monument which has some of the most spectacular desert vegetation that I have ever seen outside the Spiny desert in Madagascar.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Our campsite at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Hiking to the top of a Mountain in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Hiking to the top of a Mountain in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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