Camp officially ended last Wednesday. I was definitely a puddle of tears when it came to say goodbye to all of the girls. After nearly 3 months working with each other in a close environment, we all got to know one another really well. I hope someday we will see each other again. Hopefully next time it will be on my side of the world.
While camp was a pretty intense expirience, we did get a few days/weekends off to go explore the vast state of Arizona. Unlike the common belief of most foreigners who don’t know anything about American geography, Arizona is actually not entirely a desert (I was surprised!).
Phoenix, the capital of Arizona, is located in the middle of a valley. It’s all practically a desert surrounding the city. Cacti grow absolutely everywhere! It’s illegal to cut them down so you seem them in the weirdest of places. Phoenix itself isn’t that incredible. The suburbs have spread out so much that it’s all one huge city. All of the buildings are designed to fit in with the surrounding environment so they are all creamy brown coloured and kinda boring. Downtown Phoenix is on the nicer side, but the temperatures during the day are so bloody hot (it ranged from 40-45°C when I was there) that no one ventures out of their air conditioned homes, so the city life was pretty minimal. All of the shops had misters outside to cool the people down which is a huge waste of water but necessary in the brutal heat.
Aound 200km north of Pheonix at an altitude of 6000f we lose the cacti and we encounter the town of Prescott (pronounced Preskit) where my camp was located in the nearby mountains. Prescott is considered a ‘granny’ town where elderly people go to retire and where a lot of rehab happens for the state. The main square always had some sort of country music live act and everything closed by 9pm (excluding the glorious Walmart!). The area is very green and the surrounding mountains are populated with ponderosa pine trees – trees which are entirely edible and usually smell sweet. When the pine trees sway in the wind, the branches and leaves ruffle around and make it sound like there is running water nearby. It was really nice to wake up to this every morning.
2 hours north of Prescott is the town of Flagstaff at 7000f altitude. Flagstaff is primarily a university/ touristic town. Northern Arizona University has a very big campus there and Route 66 also runs through the middle of the main square. Flagstaff is definitely my favourite out of all of the towns in Arizona. The university district reminded me of the hipster suburbs back home and the main shopping district is set to look like the Wild West in the olden days. It was also pretty cool to drive along Route 66, I felt like I was in the cars movie.
An hour and a half north of Flagstaff is the majestic Grand Canyon. For extensive photos of my Grand Canyon adventure click here. Pretty much, the Grand Canyon made me awestruck. I would definitely recommend everyone to visit it.
To the east between Flagstaff and Prescott is town of Sedona. The scenery of Sedona is unlike any of the other towns in Arizona. The mountains are made of red rock and there are a few rivers that run through the town. There are heaps of waterholes and swimming spots that are open to the public but unfortunately Sedona has a higher tax rate than other places in Arizona. It is very picturesque though and it definitely looks like it should belong to the Aussie outback.
As well, I was privileged to visit the town of Williams, where I encountered a Flinstones themes campsite with a massive Fred Flinstone and quite a few of the suburbs of Phoenix.
Arizona as a whole has definitely surprised me. I did not expect it to be so diverse. It was definitely a relief when I realised I did not have to live in the desert for 3 months. Never judge a state by what the internet says!