You don’t have to be a hiking enthusiast or a professional photographer to enjoy Sedona, Arizona’s red rocks, the Grand Canyon’s rich hues, Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, Zion Canyon’s erosion-sculptured sandstone or Hoover Dam’s curved wall of concrete. Simply slip into your favorite walking shoes, grab a bottle of water and you’re ready to move from one mesmerizing view to the next. After my husband and I landed in Las Vegas to begin our 10 day southwest road trip, we rented a car and headed south for the Hoover Dam.
Concrete Rules at the Hoover Dam – Day 1
To say that large amounts of concrete were poured during the construction of the Hoover Dam is an understatement. According to the US Bureau of Reclamation, which has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including the Hoover Dam, there is enough concrete in the Hoover Dam (4 ½ million cubic yards) to build a 2 lane road from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida or a 4 ft. wide sidewalk around the Earth at the Equator.
When I looked at the enormous cascade of concrete sweeping down into the dark blue Colorado River, it was easy to understand how the Hoover Dam could be described as a marvel of engineering and an astonishing feat of construction. For 80 years, the massive Hoover Dam has been holding back the Colorado River and generating hydroelectric power and water for customers in California, Arizona, and Nevada. During the first summer of construction, workers endured daily highs of 119 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in a wave of heatstroke among laborers.
Sedona’s Red Rock Country via Route 66 – Day 2
After a night in Kingman, Arizona, we took a scenic side trip to Sedona, Arizona where I experienced my first exposure to Red Rock Country. As we approached the town from the south, along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (Rt. 179N), every turn was an eye-opener. We wound our way around red sandstone formations that jutted upwards from the desert floor.
The Bell Rock formation looks like a church bell. If you look closely you can see the profile of a face staring up at the sky. The Courthouse Butte, slightly east of Bell Rock was supposed to be called Church Rock because of its close proximity to Bell Rock. But mapmakers mislabeled the formations and the names were never changed.
Before leaving Sedona, we stopped off at the Sedona Airport, located on top of a high mesa, where we were treated to panoramic views of Sedona and its multi-hued stone formations.