Continuing with The Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Challenge, the focus today is 9 Places You'd Like to Visit in 2017.
The prompt says: "Take a moment in this hectic period to forget about your credit card statement and financial situation. If money were no object – where would you like to visit during the oncoming year."
I'd like to work on the goals on my Bucket List that focus on domestic travel. There are a few that I plan to do since Olivia and I will be accompanying Sophia on a trip she won to attend a leadership camp this summer in Arizona.
So, if all goes as planned, I'll like to be able to travel and see these items on my Bucket List:
- See the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
- Stand at Four Corners (where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet). Found out you need a permit to visit Four Corners since it is on Navajo land.
Although not on my original list, I'd like to be able to see these National Parks since we'll be relatively close to them because of the location of Sophia's camp that's 1 1/2 hours from Tucson:
- Saguaro (Tucson, AZ): According to the National Park Service, "Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation's largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset."
- Tumacácori (Tumacácori, AZ) - The NPS describes it as sitting "...at a cultural crossroads in the Santa Cruz River valley. Here O’odham, Yaqui, and Apache people met and mingled with European Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries, settlers, and soldiers, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in cooperation. Follow the timeworn paths and discover stories that connect us to enduring relationships, vibrant cultures, and traditions of long ago."
- Coronado (Hereford, AZ) - The NPS describes this park: "It was a journey of conquest filled with exploration, wonder - and cruelty. Inspired by tales of vast cities of gold, 339 European soldiers and over 1000 Aztec allies embarked on an epic journey through arid deserts and rugged mountains. They brought rich traditions and new technology into the region, irrevocably changing the lives of native peoples and continuing to influence the area today."
What would be intriguing about this one is that there is a cave that can be explored there. You have to take two forms of light (not including a smartphone) and there are some pretty serious guidelines about what to do since the cave is pitch black without light.
There are a couple of National Monuments on the way from Tucson to the Grand Canyon:
- Casa Grande Ruins (Coolidge, AZ) - This monument is described by the NPS: "Explore the mystery and complexity of an extended network of communities and irrigation canals. An Ancient Sonoran Desert People's farming community and "Great House" are preserved at Casa Grande Ruins. Whether the Casa Grande was a gathering place for the Desert People or simply a waypoint marker in an extensive system of canals and trading partners is but part of the mystique of the Ruins."
- Montezuma Castle (northeast of Phoenix: Camp Verde, AZ): The NPS website says, "Today we gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape. Come marvel at this enduring legacy of the Sinagua culture and reveal a people surprisingly similar to ourselves."
Following a map that shows how to drive from one national park to another, I'd like to see:
- Petrified Forest (Petrified Forest National Park, AZ). The NPS says, "Did you know that Petrified Forest is more spectacular than ever? While the park has all the wonders known for a century, there are many new adventures and discoveries to share. There are backcountry hikes into areas never open before such as Red Basin and little known areas like the Martha's Butte. There are new exhibits that bring the stories to life."
We would go to the 4 Corners (another item on my Bucket List). At this point, I looked at the distance of backtracking and going to Phoenix to fly back home or continue driving to Denver and fly out of that airport. There's only about a 40 mile difference in distance, so I thought it would be good to continue to explore another part of the United States.
There's an article from USA Today that lists some places to see along the way.
So, it's possible to see:
- Mesa Verde (Cortez and Mancos, CO). The NPS says, "Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from AD 600 to 1300. Today the park protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States."
All right...so that was 9 places. There's a tenth place if it's not too far from the main roads in Colorado heading to Denver:
- Great Sand Dunes (Mosca, CO) - The NPS describes this park: "The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Experience this diversity through hiking, sand sledding, splashing in Medano Creek, wildlife watching, and more!"
There are other places I'd love to travel to during 2017. However, the trip to Arizona and Colorado (plus driving through parts of Utah and New Mexico) will take quite a bit of time.
At this point, I don't see any other trips possible - unless they are short day trips in which the dogs come with us.