Week 4: Arizona & New Mexico
My overall impression of Arizona: it's damn hot. Road Trip Tip #9: Take a car with AC or else you will literally MELT. We spent a few days in Mesa and then hit the spots below. One of my highlights was seeing natural cacti off the highway (we heart succulents!). Downtown Tempe near Arizona State campus has some cool potential. They have a Buffalo Exchange, which is a pretty good spot for vintage, re-cycled clothing.
This is a magical place! Free People did a "Ultimate Road Trip" photo story with Lake Powell on their list of stops. The photos were breathtaking. I just had to go experience it for myself. The lake is surrounded by rock and sand opposed to your typical green forestry. We took an evening dip, star gazed while listening to Edward Sharpe (our road trip theme music) and fell asleep in our tent. One of my favorite nights.
Two words: Holy shit. My boyfriend had himself convinced he had zero fear of heights, but was sorely mistaken after looking off the cliff. Those cliff heights are no joke! It is beautiful and everyone should visit at least once. You won't believe how big it is. Pictures just don't do it just justice. Road Trip Tip #10: If you're looking to hike the Grand Canyon, do your research and planning ahead of time. The hikes can be pretty long and take a whole day (or 3).
I think we came to the ultimate conclusion that New Mexico is the place all the hippie children of the 60s call home. We stayed in a quaint little town, Silver City. They had an old southwestern downtown with low buildings, small streets and plenty of turquoise and orange paint. This is the kind of town where the locals go hiking on the daily, live on a lot of land and dance on the weekends. Lora on airbnb is a great host, if you find yourself here!
Pronounced "hee-la", if you say "gee-la" every local will immediately know you are a tourist! But, there's nothing wrong with that. If you drive about an hour North from Silver City on 15 North, you'll find the dwellings tucked away in the Gila National Forest. You'll lose phone service, so remember that! Fun Fact, the Gila Forest is made up of 1 million acres of public land - no wonder there are so many hippies! The dwellings are wild, we had never seen anything like them before. They are over 700 years old and still standing. Walking through them is an easy hike and takes only about an hour.
New Mexico is known for their natural hot springs and mineral baths. Gila was closest to us and on the way to the dwellings! The springs are off the road at what looks like a horse ranch. DO NOT go to the Wildwood hot springs on the right, we made the mistake of going back there to check it out. I seriously felt like I needed to cleanse my soul after that experience! It was rundown, dirty and the owners snuck up on us out of nowhere. The Gila springs though are so nice and clean, minus natural algae (I'm a freak). You won't believe how hot and relaxing they are!