Sunday, December 30, 2007

Canyon Experiences

THE SKYWALK EXPERIENCE does seem expensive, but that does not necessarily qualify it as a "big rip-off" [Message Center, Dec. 23]. The Hualapai Indians apparently have not made enough money even to finance the proper improvement of the 18-mile access road. Imagine the kind of roads the tribesmen have to put up with in their daily lives and the standard of living they experience if the best they can do for a revenue-generating venture is a "rutted dirt road." Going to Skywalk is an opportunity to view the Grand Canyon from an unusual angle. It can also be a chance to learn something about the resilience of Native Americans in the Southwest.

Rosalia Chow

City of Fairfax

DON'T COUNT OUT the Grand Canyon in winter.

We flew into Phoenix last December, and it was an easy two-hour drive to Sedona, Ariz., with little traffic and cool but comfortable temperatures. We stayed at a pleasant bed-and-breakfast, the Southwest Inn. From our front door, we had a fantastic view of Thunder Mountain, one of Sedona's landmarks. Each day, we drove a different self-guided "loop" around Sedona, hiking the area's many trails and visiting Native American museums, ancient sites like Wupatki, old cowboy towns and as many of the national parks as we could get to. Often we started out in cool, sunny elevations but ended up in snow-covered mountains with frozen streams.

We planned the trip to the Grand Canyon with the concierge at Southwest Inn. We covered more than 200 miles to and from the South Rim. Our driver and guide was experienced, knowledgeable and congenial, and by the end of the trip, we were exhausted. The Grand Canyon was a major highlight, with its breathtaking views in winter. And unlike in spring and summer, there were no crowds and no long lines. My husband took more than 400 pictures, and I was glad to have made the journey with him.

Turiya S. A. Raheem

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