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Why We Didn’t Take the Train to the Grand Canyon from Sedona

“The only thing I REALLY want to do when we go to Sedona, Carrie said, “is to take the train to the Grand Canyon.”

While taking the train from Sedona to the Grand Canyon has a romantic appeal, my husband convinced his son’s girlfriend she would enjoy driving better.

Little Colorado River Gorge

Little Colorado River Calls

Little Colorado River

First of all, you would miss seeing the Little Colorado River Gorge. Sure enough, a Navajo Parks and Recreation clerk collected $5 per car from her toll booth set in the middle of nowhere.  None of us had ever heard of this seldom discussed tourist site of Little Colorado River Gorge.


Little Colorado River Calls

The picture deceives the eye. It seems that you could touch the other side. It looks like rugged, barren countryside that had been fenced to keep the cattle from straying out of the area.

Nothing was further from the truth.

Little Colorado River Calls

Perfect Weather in September in Arizona

We enjoyed breaking up the two-hour car trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon and stretching our legs.

The weather was perfect, sunny in the mid-70s, as we left the car to view the spectacle you could not see from AZ Highway 64. Coming from the hazy Central Valley in California, we enjoyed these fake-looking skies. Even without a filter on my phone, they looked dazzling, don’t you think?

Little Colorado River Calls

Unlike the Grand Canyon, this gorge looked like a fissure in the rock. No big deal, right? But wait, look down.

Little Colorado River Calls

Next Exit 3,200 Feet Down

You might want to climb down 3,200 feet to the bottom of the canyon, but we chose not to do so. Probably wisely so. We went as far as the guard rails. The river looked muddy in September which might have meant that they had a flash flood before we came. Little Colorado River Calls

Commonly the river is tinged blue or turquoise fed by springs and groundwater. Not everyone who ever saw it loved it. The first Americans to visit and tell about it, would not have made the best tour guide salespeople.

“It is a lo[a]thesome little stream, so filthy and muddy that it fairly stinks. It is only 30 to 50 [yards] wide now and in many places a man can cross it on the rocks without going on to his knees … [The Little Colorado was] as disgusting a stream as there is on the continent … half of its volume and 2/3 of its weight is mud and silt. … It seemed like the first gates of hell.”

—George Bradley and Jack Sumner, August 1869

Little Colorado River CallsThe Mormons who struggled to cross the shallow river in 1876 in wagons discovered quicksand as well as water. Do you think some of their journals might have had some ungodly words describing that journey?

Little Colorado River Calls

Nature did not paint the rocks a deep luscious burnt red as the Sedona rocks or even the salmon and copper patina of the Grand Canyon.  Yet you could admire the time it took the little river that could to carve down to where it flows today.

Little Colorado River Calls

As proud as Vince was to have found this stop that the train tour for $206 per person would have missed, we did not stay long.

Little Colorado River GorgeVince might be holding on a little tight to my shoulder, don’t you think? At least he wasn’t pulling me toward the edge! However, this was our last stand in front of this view. Like Carrie, we wanted to see the Grand Canyon, not the Little Colorado River Gorge.

For more fun walks around the world check out these two blogs.

#Which Way Challenge #Monday Walks with Jo

Road Trip Anyone?

Where have you been recently? Leave me a comment, and I’ll come check out your road trip.

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34 replies »

  1. It is so grand to venture into those less-trekked places, the rare ones somehow magically sheltered from the crowds that seem to occupy most spaces today- in nature and otherwise. It would be VERY difficult for me to deny the opportunity to ride on ANY sort of train (bit obsessed with trains), but to amble along the sides of a quiet gorge, with a little contemplative river burbling unassumingly below…well worth the sacrifice, I should think. Lovely images and stupendous narrative to accompany them.

    Sir and I visited a gorge in Georgia last year. A deer tried to eat my tent at 3 am- apparently, my tent is rather delectably crunchy and the perfect chew-toy for rambunctious little deer out for curious strolls through snoozing campsites beneath the dazzling blue smoke of the Milky Way above.


    smiling toad


    • Only you could get your tent nibbled by a tiny deer! How funny. Did you wake up and take a video? This train doesn’t do anything spectacular along the way. It stops at the Grand Canyon and lets you out. Along the way they regale you with cowboy poetry and drinks. Neither of which would be a bad thing, but for $200 per person and Vince paying, mmmmm I can think of better ways to get my poetry! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course I awoke. I cooed to the deer and eventually got Sir to stir from his un-chawed tent, but by that point, the obnoxious and dainty creature, who mistakes tents for late-night snacks, had scurried back into the woods.

        Trains, themselves, are spectacular, and the prices are even more spectacular, sheesh. Not sure I would have been thrilled with cowboy poetry and drinks. I would enjoy a long discussion about the locomotive itself, though.

        I understand quite readily why you opted out. I would have too.

        Did I ever tell you that Sir writes for train signaling? I talked him into applying for this engineering position in train signaling a while back (even though Sir is not an engineer, I just think of him as one, which is an improvement, as I used to tell other children he was a scientist, when I was little), and he got the job, which lead to another job in train signalling that contains his actual job title.

        By the way, have you seen the film “The Train” done in 1965? Not a bad one this time of year, I think. The train in that is a BEAUTY. Phew. Gorgeous. And the gritty and grimed train engineer (a small part) is exactly the character I would love to play- oh he was just perfect!

        There he is on the left in this photo-


        Liked by 1 person

          • It came yesterday, and Vince figured it out today. Turns out you have to order all the subscription services, but it will save a ton of money because we order movies. So we tried it out this afternoon and watch a Netflix series. V is sleeping through the World Series right now. He should have been awake. He just missed the tie run. 🙂


          • Boo.

            Oh no…I forgot about the World Series! Drat!

            Poor Vince, I know his pain.

            So you can get movies on this thing for low-cost? Glad it is going to save you some money, stupendous!

            Happy belated Halloween wishes to you both, by the way.

            A twee grey mouse came out of the shadows, last night, just as I popped out to empty the bin. He came right into the light and promptly planted himself on the outside rug by the door, looking forlorn, little ears perked forward. I approached for a closer view (mice approaching me is not new, but this was somehow different) and then I saw the “look” about the eyes and knew he was dying. I brought out some crust for him, which he nibbled for a few minutes, and then he settled in to his fate. I checked on him throughout the night, now and then, as his breathing became slower and slower, until, Halloween morning, with the glorious pink and orange flush of sunrise reflecting in his little onyx eyes, he died. His last sunrise. I am an emotionless stone but this got to me- I sobbed. I placed the corpse in a secluded and protected place near an old surfboard I keep propped outside and should have a shiny little mouse skull in a couple weeks, so there is a little glimmer through grief.

            Ghoulish wishes,


            Liked by 1 person

          • You could have put it on your front step to scare away all the trick or treaters. It would have fit in perfectly at our neighbor’s house that is decked out in bones and ghouls from porch to fence. I posted some of their pictures on Instagram yesterday or the day before. Your little mouse would have loved being there. Happy Halloween to you and Sir, too.


          • Big Bang character? Had to look that up, had no idea what you were talking about, har. Never seen it. Although, I see the character is a theoretical physicist- I approve. A Lawrence Krauss type, eh?? 😉 Have you heard of Professor Brian Cox and the FANTASTIC documentaries that he hosts? He is a Manchester University professor and particle physicist. Just watched “The 21st Century Race for Space” WOOOO Blue Origin and Musk’s SpaceX were naturally featured, among others. How about that BFR, by the way???! I love Musk. Oh, back to Dr. Cox- I recommend “Human Universe” wonderful documentary if you have not seen it. His hopes for nuclear fusion are darling (I have the same hopes, ah to hope…). Also beautifully filmed, philosophical, introspective, just right- be sure to get the BBC version, not the Discovery, if you decide to give it a glance.

            Did you see “Hidden Figures”? Or read the book? And, since we are on that topic, or around there, how about the BBC film about one of my all-time heroes, “The Man Who Knew Infinity”? HIGHLY recommend that one (and the book too). Jeremy Irons does a sublime job as Hardy (his memoir is grand too, if you’ve caught that). Perhaps you have seen it? I wish the book could be required reading in schools. I also wish they would do a film on another couple heroes of mine- Maxwell and a more obscure geologist (though famous in his time, as he was a pivotal one in unraveling Earth’s history), Edward Bailey. Have you heard of Bailey? I know I’ve probably mentioned him before. Bailey was the sort to trek through the snows of the Scottish highlands in shorts and loved a bracing swim in snow-fed lakes. He is like my long lost twin. I could go on and on so I will stop now…

            Liked by 1 person

          • Oh My Gosh, you are such the scientist. You are much deeper than I am. My post on Thursday is a book review about mind candy. My Good Reads account is way behind what I’ve ordered. I am woefully behind even rating the books I’ve read, let alone writing the reviews. I’m trying to catch up to the ones I’ve at least read already. I try to read indie books as well as NYT best sellers in fiction especially psychological and historical fiction. My interests run in the social sciences rather than the sciences. So when you ask me if I’ve read this or that, you take me into a brand new world. You would love my world right now, though. We have a botanical garden in our town and the city manager and the professor of row crops and blueberries (they get very specialized at UC Davis) have been unsuccessful in determining which group is going to do what in order to come up with a new MOU to successfully continue the Botanical Gardens. Whew! That was a long sentence. 🙂

            So I’ll put some new things on my reading list so I can at least talk some sense with you. And you need to read some mind candy! 🙂


          • Botany is such a beautiful and rich science- I would absolutely adore your world right now. Sounds phenomenal!

            Ha, I am NOT a scientist and it seems I barraged you…oops! I blame your previous comment- you mentioned theoretical physics and that is all it takes to set me off- this actually was not too bad- I was running out the door when I wrote it- might still be writing now if Sir hadn’t dragged me away screaming as we had an engagement to get to…

            Har har. I do especially stress catching the BBC film “The Man Who Knew Infinity” and DH Hardy’s little memoir the most out of that bombardment. I suspect you will enjoy them. Well, I hope so. Also, did you really miss the “Hidden Figures” film (also book)?

            All right one more documentary recommendation (sigh…I cannot help myself, Marsha, I have a problem…please forgive me…)- “How to Grow a Planet.” Sigh. And since I’m on Professor Iain Stewart now…another doc he presents that I must recommend, as I think you would also really enjoy it- “How Earth Changed History” (also known as “How Earth Made Us”). RIGHT done DONE!

            No more barraging…sheesh!

            I love literature, too, and need to read much more of it. As for NF, I love almost everything, from history to physics to architecture to politics to true crime and beyond. I adore podcasts, too- “Stuff You Missed in History Class” is a fun, simple one that I’ve been listening to lately.

            Sounds like you are very much into metafictional novels! I am about to venture into the world of Céline- that same librarian, Val, recommended him to me rather ardently.

            I am behind on my goodreads account, too- I can never keep up! I will check yours out and read some of your recommendations. I still need to read the one your recommended a few months ago- I have it here. Looking forward to more of your future reviews, by the way 😀

            I’ll leave you with a popular Feynman quotation about the beauty of a flower, now-



            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m going on vacation for a few days. Time to catch up on reading. I’ll also check out the documentaries. I’m so glad you wrote before Sir dragged you away!!!!

            Liked by 1 person

    • Vince got absolutely grumpy at Jason because he went past the rail. There are levels of landings, and even though it looks like your are going to end up on the bottom level, there are some stops in between. Neither of us were adventuresome, much to our son’s disgust. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person




Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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