We’re stepping it up around here at Over Yonderlust. Today we have a spectacular photo essay guest post by the amazing Amy Moore of Everything-Everywhere. Enjoy the eye candy!
While snowbirds flock to south Arizona each winter, winter in northern Arizona is considered to be the off-season. And for good reason! It can get very cold and snowy as you climb in elevation. Even the north rim of the Grand Canyon is closed because heavy snowfall makes the roads impassable. But we decided to pack warm coats and snow pants and hit the road anyway!
Beginning in the pleasantly cool Tucson and traveling up to the freezing cold Grand Canyon, what we found was beauty. The contrast of snow on red rock canyons is such a different vision than the desert I envisioned Arizona to be. The trip was not without challenge. We had to change plans on the fly, dodging a large snowstorm that threatened to drop over a foot of snow on very winding and narrow mountain roads. While I still long to see Arizona in the spring while the wildflowers are blooming, I wouldn’t hesitate to make another winter trip to this amazing state.
Saguaro cactus in the Rincon Mountain district of Tucson.
The barrel cactus bears edible fruit in the winter, inserting a burst of color in the desert.
The inside of a dead Saguaro. The woody ribs support a lot of weight. Because the Saguaro soaks up so much water, an adult plant can weigh 6 tons!
Sunset at Gates Pass in Saguaro National Park – West
Wispy clouds above the Santa Catalina Mountains just west of Tucson.
Hikers at a vista in the Santa Catalina Mountains.
When we reached Sedona it was snowing, but we had to check out the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross anyway.
The foggy view from Airport Mesa in Sedona.
Snowy trees in the scenic Oak Creek Canyon.
Who knew we’d find dormant volcanoes and lava rock in Arizona – covered in snow? Sunset Crater was a surprise.
One of our favorite stops during the trip was the pueblos at Wupatki National Monument. Amazing that these are almost 1,000 years old.
The winter view of the Grand Canyon’s East Rim.
Sunset overlooking the South Rim.
A large Arizona sycamore at Montezuma’s Well – a striking change from what I expected the landscape to look like.
Montezuma’s Well is an amazing oasis with over a million gallons of water flowing through it daily. It has supported desert life for centuries.
Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is a well preserved cliff dwelling that is basically a 900 year old high rise apartment building.
Bio: Amy Moore is the general manager of the popular travel blog Everything-Everywhere and blogs about family travel. Find her on Twitter.