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The Great Arizona

April 1, 2011

I had the great experience of living in Arizona for about five months a few years back. I was in Fort Huachuca, a base surrounded by the city of  Sierra Vista. This was an ordinary town, nothing remarkable about it, just a poor looking mall, roads, shops and homes. This is my experience of Sierra Vista = NOTHING THERE. Fort Huachuca, on the other hand was a base surrounded by and including a desert where one could find scorpions and tarantulas crawling under sinks and beds. (By the way, if you are going to Ft. Huachuca, please check your boots before you put them on).

Ft. Huachuca to me was filled with pointless dirt roads, sad decrepit shops, terrible bowling alleys and a theater that replayed the same movies, nothing interesting in particular either. This base is deep inside southern Arizona, very close to the border of Mexico, surrounded by landmark cities like Bisbee and Tombstone (yes Tombstone, Arizona, a prime location of haunted ghost towns!) Basically, this was up in the mountains, it was still overly hot, I say around 1,000 melting degrees (ok, more like 100-105 F) then it was overly cold in the winter, with snow falling in the mornings.

As terrible as all this may sound, I do remember going out for hikes or exercising before sunrise and seeing the vast beautiful desert below as the sun would come out. It was beautiful! Imagine being outside, running or hiking up a mountain, then seeing the run rise and below you mountains and vast sand dunes. In a way, I know what angels feel when they look down from their clouds, because I have been high above in the Arizona mountains, overlooking the Sonoran desert down below. To give an idea of where I was, this was about 2 hrs away by car from Tuscon and 35-40 minutes away by plane to Phoenix.

Then it was all over, I got  my Honorable Discharge papers, a new civilian outfit, shamelessly kept my top secret military intelligence/US Army books and notes and a disk with the top secret clearance investigation they did on me (haha) said GOODBYE SUCKERS took a taxi and left. Screw them! I thought. I was then on my own, enjoying the last hours I would be in Arizona. My last memories were me riding in a taxi with other lucky ones who were released from prison…sorry I mean released from the great US Army.

That was it, this was my Arizona. Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista. I would have visited the other towns like Tombstone had we not been threatened by our superiors, we were not allowed to leave Sierra Vista. So other than sneaking out a few times like some of us did in the dog pound (platoon of losers who were getting discharged…aka the platoon that no longer cares) I did not get to see much of Arizona. And there are some amazing sights in Arizona! Namely 3 locations that I will talk about and are 100% worth seeing! (Anyways, I will type a blog about my Army memoirs later)

The Grand Canyon!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon

This is a top US tourist attraction. If you are in the US southwest this is a MUST see. I am dumbfounded by the fact that I was IN Arizona and didn’t have the opportunity to go. Even in Las Vegas Nevada you can buy a trip to the Grand Canyon. Basically this is a 277 mile long canyon, with totally amazing old Native American homes carved right into some areas of the canyon itself and to make it better, the Colorado River flows through it. People go hiking, exploring, rafting, camping. (It is actually recommended to make a Grand Canyon trip an overnight camping trip and I must say what a great camping experience it must be).There are different hiking trails, some are for experienced climbers, other for beginners. Not to mention the ever cliche mule ride down the canyon.

Nowadays, explorers can take on the Grand Canyon Sky Walk. Basically, this is a glass terrace that extends over the limits of the canyon, where people can walk over the canyon…on glass…overlooking thousands of feet. below..on glass.

Here is a dramatic version of this:

A personal view on the Skywalk

Wonderful!

Sadly, the closest I have come to the Grand Canyon has been the Disneyland version, which shows the modern Grand Canyon, and what it might have looked millions of years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd-FxeYk29c

Up Next is Havasupai Falls:

Imagine swimming in a desert Oasis? This is possible at Havasupai Falls. Looking at the picture of this place just makes me want to jump in. This is also a tourist attraction waiting to be explored! After hiking the canyon, why not take a dip in the blue crystalline waters, a great way to unwind and experience paradise.

This video makes me want to go back to the desert state:

Tombstone, Arizona

The first two locations I wrote about are great natural monuments. But if you are looking for a little fun and for the good ol American wild west experience, then how about visiting Tombstone! This was soo close to Ft. Huachuca and I am kicking myself for not going!

Ever heard of Doc Holiday? Wyatt Earp, the OK Corral shootout? This is what cowboy legends are made out of. Real old wild west ghost towns, fighting, saloons. Basically, think Young Guns. If you visit Tombstone you can have a taste of that wild west feeling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombstone,_Arizona

This town is said to be very haunted, as the restless spirits of some of the old residents wonder about. Some having suffered hangings, shooting deaths and suicides. The famous hanted Boot Hill cemetery is also worthy of a visit, specially if you’re into spectrology.

If the name Tombstone sounds familiar it’s because there is a movie out called Tombstone, where the OK Corral gunfight is recreated:

Anyways, whatever your reason for going to Tombstone, ghost hunting is a good night activity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btag1ydolf8&feature=related

So now you know about some great locations in Arizona, time to go visit!

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