We are off to Glen Canyon early today, knowing that every hour brings us closer to our final destination.  Along the way we marvel over saguaro cacti standing guard over seemingly barren desert landscapes. Like sentinels, they stretch spiny limbs upward. Some have only a single trunk, others have multiple appendages. Why aren’t they all similar?  We discover most have holes, learning later that woodpeckers carve spaces that become nesting bowls.


A special break along the way finds us at the Rio Verde River, where an active eagle’s nest is monitored by Kyle McCarty of Arizona Fish and Game. Kyle and his wife, Michelle, set up scopes so we can observe the bald eagle parents tending the nest, and hopefully get a glimpse of the nestlings.  It is an extraordinarily rare treat when our patience is rewarded as one tiny eaglet pokes its downy head up for us to see. Surely it senses a flock of friendly “fire birds” visiting from afar.


Montezuma’s Well lures us in for a quick stop along the way. Ancient peoples evolved from hunters and gatherers to a sedentary people who settled at Montezuma’s Well because the thousands years old water pushing up to the surface of the Earth became a natural cistern for irrigating crops, allowing for permeant settlements. We hike to the deep well, a sink hole, and to ruins of ancient dwellings before climbing back into our van to continue our journey.


Arizona’s vastness quickly becomes crystal clear.  Ever changing landscapes stretch before us, constantly changing mile after mile as we travel north to Page. Saguaro clusters turn to flat land grasses, tree dotted plateaus, then, in a blink of an eye, snow covered roadsides and mountains. Vegetation morphs to rock and back again as our elevation changes.  Golden copper light reflects off plateaus bathing all in its warmth before a blood red sunset steals the scene, painting streaks of reds and purples across the sky. Blackness envelopes us.  We see nothing but a ribbon of highway ahead, wondering what surrounds us on each side; a mystery to be revealed in tomorrow’s light.