Dawn & Patrick -

We're looking for the trash fence

Summit of Mount Elden in Flagstaff
AZ

I am really far behind on blog posts due to the lack of good internet.  So here is Flagstaff's blog post...but we are currently in Nashville, TN.

We were happy to get the hell outta Phoenix after record 113 degree temps sent us quickly heading north to Flagstaff. We were even more excited that it gave us an opportunity to spend some time with our friend Karin. After climbing from 1,500 feet in elevation to over 7,500 feet we enjoyed the greener more lush landscape and much lower temps that Flagstaff had to offer. We decided to stay at another KOA, KOA Flagstaff, which makes our third KOA on this trip so far. It was clean and beautiful with the added feature of being just feet away from some of the best hiking in the world. Karin was very gracious and took us on a little tour of downtown Flagstaff. I have never been so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Flagstaff is my kinda town. Karin warned that it has very strong gravitational pull and I totally agree. There are tons of people out and about on bikes and walking around just enjoying the outdoors. It has some awesome paved trails that lead in and out of downtown and follow the historical Route 66! It was so great to spend some QT with Karin and meet her roommate and doggies. Karin is a huge outdoor enthusiast and she graciously gave me a list of recommended trails to try for my morning run. So the next morning, it was bright and sunny and I was rearing to hit the trails. The KOA backs right up to the Elden Lookout trail and the Fatman’s Loop Trail. The trail climbs 2,500 feet in about 3 miles and ends right on top of Mount Elden at the Peaks Ranger station. I started out running and scampering up the many many switchbacks. The views were spectacular and so breath-taking that I had to stop and take a few pictures. I ran up the trail until it got so steep that I had to climb over big rocks and up stairs. I made it up there in one hour and ten minutes! So for those friends back in Seattle, Mt. Elden is about the same elevation as Camp Muir on Mount Rainier. I took in the amazing views of downtown Flagstaff and could even see Meteor Crater in the distance. After some rest and pics I descended the trail quickly and made it back to the trail head in one hour. But man, were my quads screamin’! And I loved every minute of it!  After we spent some time with Karin we decided to visit the Lowell Observatory.  If you don't know what the Lowell Observatory is, it is the place where Pluto was discovered back in 1930!  Man it was so cool.  Pea and I spent several hours there walking around from lecture to lecture and movie to movie.  The volunteers that work there are absolutely wonderful and engaging.  My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Clark Refracting telescope, built in 1896 for \$20,000!  Today it is still used for education purposes.  We also got to see the telescope that Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto in 1930.  After we spent hours walking around the campus we were told that we could stick around until after dark and look through some of the telescopes!  Once they set everything up we were able to look through the Clark telescope to view the M11 Wild Duck Cluster, which is an open cluster formation of over 2,900 stars which are about 220 MILLION YEARS old!  Amazing...then we got to look through another telescope to see the globular cluster M13 in the Hercules constellation and Vega, the brightest star in the Lyrae cluster.  But the best part was seeing Saturn's rings and it's moon, Titan!  I can't even describe to you how breath-taking it was to see the rings so vividly.  Pea asked the volunteer if he had any newspaper for me to stand upon (insinuating that I would pee the floor from my excitement...very funny Pea).  As Karin mentioned, Flagstaff has a very strong gravitational pull…and she is right. We are going to stop back in Flagstaff after we leave the Grand Canyon.