Articles Tagged with: senior travel Arizona


Seniors Awed by the Petrified Forest

21046 Annual2012 pass:GENERIC-05_proofHave you ever held a piece of petrified wood in your hands?  It is amazing what has happened to the wood over eons of time. This senior doesn’t understand it, but wood becomes stone by the process of permineralization.

Petrified wood is not rare, but choice pieces fetch high prices. It is found in volcanic deposits and sedimentary rocks at many locations worldwide. It is sometimes found where volcanic activity covered plant material. And it is found where wood in sedimentary deposits was replaced by minerals precipitated from groundwater.

I have a friend who bought a huge trunk-like piece and hauled it back from out west on a trailer. He wanted it in his front yard.  It is still there I’m sure!

 Seniors Drive Through Petrified Forest National Park


The petrified forest in Arizona is one that my wife and I have driven through many times. Senior visitors will find hundreds of petrified logs at the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook, Arizona on Interstate 40.

There is a store that carries many pieces and types of petrified rock on the outskirts of Holbrook. Well worth a visit, even it you are not in the market to buy some pieces. You will find each piece to be beautifully colored by chemical impurities such as iron and copper. Cut and polished petrified wood is used for jewelry, paperweights, and lamp bases.

The Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona is 346 square miles – 220,000 acres. The stone logs in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, are of the Triassic Period, more than 200,000,000 years old. Many were carried off by folks who simply walked through the area years ago and helped themselves to whatever they could carry.


The remaining logs and pieces are carefully protected. Many visitors cannot resist taking small rocks, despite strict regulations and stiff fines against removing any material. So be forewarned. Buy your rocks at that store south of Holbrook.

 Painted Desert An Added Attraction

This popular tourist attraction sits adjacent to a sun-swept corner of the Painted Desert. Most visitors come to see one of the world’s largest concentrations of brilliantly colored petrified wood, and they all leave having viewed the beautiful Painted Desert as well.



What is neat is that you can drive through the park, stop when you want to just look and walk along the many paths that are lined with the broken logs. Plan enough time to walk among the fossil logs and the Painted Desert badlands that are adjacent to the Park.

TripAdvisor explains each of the various portions of the huge park. Included of course is information on the Painted Desert just to the north of the park. So on you way to Phoenix or Flagstaff, plan a drive through this awesome park. Take lots of photos, but remember, no rocks, okay?  jeb


Seniors Visit Page, Frontier of Adventure

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Page is a city in Coconino County, near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell approximately five hours north of Phoenix and five hours east of Las Vegas. The population runs right at 7,500.

It is said that Page is one of the youngest communities in the United States, beginning in 1957 as a housing camp for workers building the Glen Canyon Dam.

In 1958, some 24 square miles of Navajo land was exchanged for a larger tract in Utah, and “Government Camp.”  Named for John C. Page, a 1930′s Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Page is high up, perched atop Manson Mesa at an elevation of 4,300 feet.

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Seniors Find Themselves In The Center Of Canyon Country

Page is adjacent to the Navajo Nation, the United States’ largest Native American tribe and the largest segment of the population in the Glen Canyon area. Their reservation, adjacent to Page, contains more than 16 million acres (27,000 square miles) and extends into both Utah and New Mexico. For many centuries the canyon-lands and sandstone cliffs surrounding present-day Page were home to ancient Pueblo people.

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Located in the center of “Canyon Country,” Page is just a short drive from the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Monument Valley and Canyon De Chelley that attract over 3 million visitors per year. Major events attract senior visitors all year long.

Senior travelers will find plenty to keep you busy both in and around Page. The Lake Powell Museum, a great place to start, is an Official Arizona State Visitor Center with brochures and a staff ready to give advice and answer all your questions.

Lake Powell is named for John Wesley Powell, a colorful, one-armed explorer and Civil War veteran. Located in the high desert country, Page offers scenic vistas, outdoor activities both on land and water, with a plethora of historic attractions, museums and surrounding parks.

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Antelope Canyon Draws Senior Hikers

By all means, do not bypass Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River. The bend is locally known as “King Bend” and is one of the most photographed areas on the Colorado River.

Visit Lake Powell for your water sports and water activities. Visit Antelope Canyon for hiking and amazing scenic  opportunities.The Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.

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For senior bikers, take a 14-mile biking/hiking trail around the city to Lake Powell National Golf Course, which offers 18 holes of scenic beauty and golf for every experience level. Page is the base of choice for those who want to enjoy some time in one of the most beautiful parts of the southwest. jeb


Seniors Find Fountain Hills To Be Ideal

Fountain Hills, Arizona has become a popular town for retirees. The Town is a master planned community established in 1970 by McCulloch Properties, now MCO Properties, Inc. Prior to 1970 the area was a cattle ranch and was part of one of the largest land and cattle holdings in Arizona.

The land was purchased by Robert McCulloch in the late 1960s and the community was designed by Charles Wood, Jr., designer of Disneyland in southern California. The centerpiece of Fountain Hills is a beautiful fountain, one of the world’s tallest man-made fountains. It serves as a focal point for the community and attracts thousands of senior visitors each year.

In 2006, Fountain Hills was named by Phoenix Magazine as the best place to live in the Valley of the Sun and was cited as “a welcome oasis on the outskirts of a metropolis.” Senior visitors will find several top quality resorts as well a host of other accommodations.

Unmatched Natural Beauty and a Great Fountain

One of the community’s most valuable assets is its natural beauty. Incredible views and natural desert terrain provide for a wide range of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, boating and golf. Fountain Hills contains some of the more challenging and picturesque golf courses in the State of Arizona.

The fountain was built in 1970 and sprays water for about 15 minutes every hour at the top of the hour. The plume rises from a concrete water lily sculpture in the center of a large man-made lake.

 Senior Visitors Drawn to Art Fairs

Fountain Hills is home to many pieces of publicly displayed artwork throughout its downtown and at public buildings. Art is a significant part of the town’s heritage. One of my favorites, yes my wife and I live in FH, is a mother mountain lion holding her baby in her mouth, in front of our local library.

Fountain Hills offers recreational, cultural and retirement programs that address the needs and lifestyles of active families as well as older adults.

 We love it here, there seems to be something going on all year long that  includes the Great Fair, a three-day juried art show on the Avenue of the Fountains that features over 500 artists, with food booths, beer garden and entertainment.  A popular Art and Wine Affaire is also on the Avenue of the Fountains.

Senior Hikers, Senior Golfers

Fountain Park is a 64-acre passive recreation area and anchor to the town center and where senior visitors find dozens of the local folks walking for exercise every day of the week…and all year long. Yes, the weather is terrific.

Nearby Fort McDowell is widely known for its casino, its live entertainment and the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club. One fellow wrote…”We-Ko-Pa is a gorgeous layout, with amazing vistas and views, wide open, non-residential, challenging holes but forgiving, and good for most experience levels. We even saw some coyotes.”

So come to Arizona, check us out, and spend some quality time in gorgeous Fountain Hills. jeb


Seniors Awed By Magnificent Views

Page,The Frontier of Adventure, is a city in northern Coconino County, Arizona, near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. This spectacular lake, the second-largest manmade lake in the United States, extends more than 180 miles up the Colorado River, providing access to 96 major scenic canyons and all the water sports, fishing, kayaking, house boating and camping you could imagine. Senior visitors will discover that Page has magnificent views in all directions, with Lake Powell and the Kaparowitz Plateau to the north, the Vermillion Cliffs to the west, Navajo Mountain to the east and the towering red buttes and mesas of Navajo Sandstone to the south.

Not Big, Just Very Attractive

As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 7,247. Why the name?  I’ve always been intrigued with the name Page. Originally a “Government Camp”, later called Page in honor of Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner John C. Page, the town was founded in 1957 as a housing community for workers and their families during the construction of the nearby Dam on the Colorado River.

Its 17-square-mile site was obtained in a land exchange with the Navajo Nation. So by historical standards, it’s a recent city. This town is on the  southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell… a friendly community that offers senior visitors outstanding recreation and a wide variety of lodging and services. The location is ideal for exploring many of the American Southwest’s renowned national parks and monuments, and discovering the unique culture of the nearby Navajo Nation.

History, Culture and a Beautiful Setting Draws Senior Travelers

Located right in the center of “Canyon Country”, Page is just a short drive from the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Parks, Monument Valley and Canyon De Chelley (can-yen duh shay). Annual events include golf tournaments on Lake Powell National Golf Course, bass fishing tournaments, mountain bike racing, rodeos, Native American dance performances and pow wows, art shows and an annual air show.

The Lake Powell Arizona Balloon Regatta, help in November, packs in senior visitors from across the country. Horseshoe Bend is a big attraction. A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon, which explains the canyon’s English name. According to local Navajos, the canyon and the LeChee area were places where cattle grazed in winter.

You can download a helpful Visitors Guide on Page and the surrounding area. Senior hikers, check out Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the Southwest. TripAdvisor will tell you all the things to do and canyons to explore, activities, nightlife and shopping stops. See you up in Page.  jeb




Seniors Fly High Above the Rim

My wife and I just returned from spending five days ten miles north of Payson, Arizona in the heart of what is called Rim Country.  We rented a cabin with my wife’s sister and her husband and enjoyed exploring the region. It was a magnificent means for these seniors to escape from the 119 degree heat in the Valley.The Mogollon Rim is an escarpment 7,000 feet in altitude with a dramatic drop of over 2000 feet to the communities below. The Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona.

Arizona is a handsome state with a variety of natural environments from the hot, dry desert to the cool, mountainous pine forests. When seniors are looking for a place to cool down, the Rim Country is where they often find themselves. The Mogollon Rim, pronounced “muggy-own” or “muggy-on”, is a mountain range that extends 400 miles.

My wife is enthralled with the plethora of her favorite Arizona tree, the magnificent Ponderosa Pine, and Arizona has more of these trees that anywhere else in the entire world! We drove along the Rim to Woods Canyon Lake to observe eagles circling overhead, looking for their lunch…we saw a catch.  What a thrill!

The Mogollon Rim is Arizona’s mighty backbone. Payson, close by, makes a great base for senior exploring. Many locals in the Valley have a second home or cabin near the Rim where they spend their summers. The difference in temperature between the Valley and the Rim is dramatic. This makes for weekend rushes of heat refugees who bring along their fish poles as the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks trout on a regular basis in the local streams that dot the area.

Seniors Head North on Beeline Hwy (#87)

Tonto Natural Bridge

All around Payson we discovered an area teeming with stunning wildlife (a huge elk walked in front of our cabin), fishing lakes and streams, special events, hiking trails and natural wonders like the Tonto Natural Bridge. The natural travertine Tonto Bridge is the world’s largest and represents Rim Country’s best-known tourist attraction and its crown jewel. 83-feet-high, it is a 400-foot-long tunnel created over eons of time.

 In Payson seniors will discover the Festival Capital of Arizona plus the famous World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo that heads a long list of events, including the Mountain High Games, Beeline Cruise-In, Arizona State Fiddlers Championship.

We returned to the Valley on the Fourth of July and what luck.  Not only did we escape some record heat, but Highway 87 heading north out of Phoenix was jammed with campers, motorcycles, cars and pickups and we were glad we were heading the other direction.

The Chamber Visitors Guide is informative and makes the Rim Country inticing. Enjoy your visit.  jeb




Seniors Awed by the Arizona Biltmore

The Arizona Biltmore Hotel is world famous. While Frank Lloyd Wright was NOT the principal architect, it is said that his “DNA is all over the building”. The 200 foot long lobby, with its guilded ceiling is said to be second only to the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. This senior has learned a lot about Frank Lloyd Wright through my work as a guide at Taliesin West,  which was FLW’s home base and school of architecture in Scottsdale, Arizona from 1932 till his death in 1959.

FLW had built four homes in California in the LA area using a concrete textile interlocking block and the McArthur brothers would be using 250,000 of this style block (my wife says it looks like a magnificant prison).  While Wright was on site as a consultant only four months, it is evident that his skills were crucial to its design.

Biltmore’s Story Intrigues Senior Visitors

Albert Chase McArthur, the Biltmore’s chief architect was one of FLW’s former students. Along came the great depression and McArthur and his two brothers, who were financing the construction, lost the hotel. Wm Wrigley Jr. purchased the hotel and went on to build the Wrigley Mansion on a nearby hill for $1.2M… right in the heart of the depression.

The Mansion now operates as a private club with meeting facilities. Great place for lunch or dinner, but take valet parking at the top or seniors will be climbing over a hundred steps to get to the restaurant. The tour of the Mansion with it 24 rooms, 12 bathrooms, and over 16,000 square feet is most interesting. In 1989 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Biltmore Hotel has 438 rooms on 39 acres. Every president has stayed there since it’s construction and today it rates very high with all senior visitors. During its construction it was 8 miles outside of Phoenix. It is said that White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, was written on the site.

The Biltmore seems to have it “all together” including a championship golf course, a 22,000+ square foot spa and fitness center, multiple restaurants, and a variety of amenities that await senior visitors. Experience the unrivaled grace of this timeless treasure. Wikipedia enlightens every aspect of the Biltmore. Everywhere you look there is beauty…a fountain here, ivy covered cottage there, palm trees, relaxing spa and pools, and exciting bars and restaurants offering delicious food and beverages.

This area has become nationally and internationally renowned for its real estate. As you drive in you will see some fabulous homes on both sides of the access. Reproductions of the geometric ‘sprite’ statues, originally designed by sculptor Alfonfo Ionelli for Wright’s 1915 Midway Gardens project in Chicago, are placed around the property. Also, the original hotel solarium of 1929 was converted to a restaurant in 1973 and since the mid-1990s has been named ‘Wright’s’.

The Biltmore should be on your “bucket list” if you visit the Valley and plan on dinner at “Wrights.” jeb




Some Say 14 and Others Say 18

The are somewhere between 14 and 18 different varieties of hummingbirds that senior citizens will find in Arizona. Southeast Arizona is a premier location for sighting hummingbirds. And a one-day record for the most hummingbird species seen in a day in the United States – fourteen – was set in the Sierra Vista, Arizona area.

Historically, these tiny flying jewels begin to arrive in mid-March and leave by early October. Peak months for the greatest number of hummingbirds and species sighted are May and August.

When I was in Ecuador I could not believe the size of hummingbirds. You will not believe this, but they actually were the size of a full-grown robin. HUGE! Over 330 species are known to science. All are found only in the Western Hemisphere, and the vast majority live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Almost half of the known species have been reported from Ecuador.

Senior Birder’s Premier Destination

If senior travelers have a particular place in their heart for hummingbirds, southern Arizona harbors an ideal getaway. The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve is a pristine sanctuary tucked in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona. The preserve is home to nearly all of the hummingbird species known to visit the United States, fourteen of them in all and among them the Anna’s: magnificent, black-chinned, long billed, white-eared, and rufous varieties.

No other public spot in the country offers such a wealth of hummingbirds, as well as 150 other species of birds, making it one of the country’s premier birding destinations. The World of Hummingbirds will provide interested seniors with information on the feeding, life, babies and more.   This site is also over flowing with interesting facts on hummers.

Why southeast  Arizona? Here’s why.  Southern AZ Bird Observatory has additional information on hummingbirds noting guided bird walks, tours and educational workshops.  You can learn about banding hummers as well as SABO recommendations. On your way to southern AZ, pick up this book (A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America). This site features a hummer survey in Arizona.

 Where to “bird” in AZ will be helpful for seniors who want to know where all the other species can be found.  And these sites offer more information for senior birders: bird watching toursbird watching destinationsbird watching vacations.

So take a senior birding vacation in Sierra Vista Bring your binoculars and get ready to enjoy thousands of hummers.  jeb



Senior Birders are Buzzing to Arizona

 Senior Birders will love Sierra Vista, Arizona. Located at the center of one of the finest birding areas in the United States, Sierra Vista is often referred to as “The Hummingbird Capital of the U.S.” We know that hummingbirds are small and interesting but beyond that, many people have limited information, so I wanted to provide some of the most fascinating hummingbird facts.  In truth, the hummingbird is an amazing creature.

The mild climate, proximity to Mexico and diverse habitats, including 9,000-foot mountains and the magnificent San Pedro River Valley, make southeastern Arizona a major hot spot for rare and unusual species of birds.

What Senior Doesn’t Love Hummers?

Can you think of a single individual who does not love Hummers.  Many of us senior citizens hang out our little red feeders full of red sugared water just to watch the birds come in to feed.  Tiny as they are, hummers don’t seem to fear humans, making them fun to watch and highly addictive.  Baby hummers have to eat too and mama is there to do it.

In Sierra Vista you will find White-eared, Costas, Annas, Roufous, Magnificent and more. There are at least fourteen varieties that inhabit the Sonoran Dessert in Arizona. I recently heard an Arizona desert specialist who was giving a talk ask the audience, “What do rattlesnakes and hummingbirds have in common?”  No one knew the answer.  “They live in Arizona!” he responded.

Hummingbirds are found only in the Western Hemisphere. They are fierce and fearless despite their diminutive size. When it comes to defending their nectar or sugar water feeders, you can expect the males to pursue any interlopers right out of your yard. They will not hesitate to collide with another bird. They can fly backwards and upside down if they have to.

Hummingbird Banding

When I read about banding hummingbirds, I asked myself…”How in the heck to they catch them and band them?” But they do. Researchers conduct hummingbird banding to collect study data on the migratory patterns, breeding habits and other behaviors of these incandescently colorful birds.

The two Sierra Vista locations encourage senior citizens to visit and observe researchers and licensed hummingbird banders carefully do their work.  When the summer migration of hummingbirds has begun, it is a perfect time to witness the rare treat of hummingbird banding.

Two locations in the Sierra Vista area offer senior birders the unique opportunity to see the tiniest of birds being weighed, banded, fed and released. Banding is conducted on Fort Huachuca and at the San Pedro House through the migratory season. The AZ Game and Fish Dept. has a short video with information on hummingbirds.

The good folks down in Tucson have a hummingbird project ongoing for seniors interested in increasing hummer diversity.  So buzz on down to Arizona and enjoy the thousands of hummers that are just waiting for you to come and see them.  jeb


Senior Hikers…the Red Rocks Await Your Visit


Sedona’s Red Rocks are world famous and are the pride of Arizona.  Each year hundreds of seniors take the Top 5 Hike’s in Sedona, Arizona to get a closer look at the colorful array of rocks splashed in iron oxide.

Actually you will encounter a myriad of colors that include bright orange, red and tan displays.  Over 150,000 years old and once at the bottom of a magnificent sea,  senior hikers will enjoy wide vistas of scenery that make Sedona a one of a kind marvel.

The Best Hiking Trails

Bell Rock in the village of Oak Creek is an easy hike around a formation that looks like a giant bell.  That trail will take senior hikers 1-2 hours and is a 4 mile trail. Cathedral Rock in West Sedona, also an easy hike that follows along Oak Creek, is topped with stunning views.  This hike will take you only 30-40 minutes and runs about 1.5 miles.  Boynton Canyon, also in West Sedona is another easy hike for seniors of all ages.  With open canyon views, this hike will take 3-4 hours and is a 2 mile roundtrip.

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Devil’s Bridge, in the same area, is a moderate hike that leads to a geographical wonder.  This 2 mile hike requires 1-2 hours.  Lastly I highly recommend Bear Mountain.  This one will require more strength in your legs and good shoes because there is some challenging terrain.  Plan on 5-6 hours round-trip on this 5-mile path.

 All in all, senior hikers will find that any and all trails will be highly satisfying… Sedona is unlike anywhere else on earth.  If those are not enough, here is another URL for your consideration. And the color of this URL says it all. It’s all orange and red up there.

 Seniors Find Solace for Body and Soul

Nature’s red-rock temples invite senior visitors to experience its soul-nourishing work in person. Sedona is a perfect place for spiritual and personal enrichment of the body and the soul.

From healing massage treatments, yoga, spas and salons to hypnotherapy and retreats, Sedona has something to offer. They say that the red-orange color of the rock is one of the most neuro stimulating of colors. It enhances creative thinking and problem solving.

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Here’s a map of the area with distances from Phoenix and elsewhere. The Sedona airport is located on a mesa that experiences cross winds.  I experienced this when I flew in there with a friend in his small plane.  It’s called “America’s Most Scenic Airport“and this link shows you why.

If you happen to be a pilot, you may want to look over this informationHope to see all you senior hikers at the Red Rocks in Sedona.  jeb


Seniors, Where is Why?

Why, Arizona has long had an interesting history.  I pass through Why on my way south to Mexico on mission trips from the Valley. We always stop in Why to gas up (and buy Mexican car insurance) on our way to Rocky Point (Puerto Peñasco).  This senior citizen has wondered how Why ever got a name like that. 

Why, Arizona

Why is a tiny community in Pima County. It lies near the western border of the Tohono O’Odham Indian Reservation and due north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona. It is approximately thirty miles north of the Mexican Border where Lukeville, Arizona, and Sonoita border each other, and just ten miles south of Ajo, Arizona. So why the name? The unusual name of the town comes from the fact that the two major highways, State Routes 85 and 86,originally intersected in a Y-intersection. At the time of its naming, Arizona law required all city names to have at least three letters, so the town’s founders named the town “Why” as opposed to simply calling it “Y.” So there, now senior travelers know why Why is called “Why.”

Ajo, Arizona

Ajo is much larger than Why with a population of 3,705. Ajo, located on State Route 85,  just 43 miles (69 km) from the border, is the closest community to Organ Pipe Cactus Forest.  If you know Spanish then you know that Ajo is the word for garlic. The Spanish may have named the place using the familiar word in place of the similar-sounding O’odham word for paint (oʼoho).

How Ajo Got Its Start

The town’s economy originally centered on the New Cornelia copper mine that was open from 1926 to 1985, but now serves mostly as a retirement community and a waypoint for senior tourists heading from Phoenix to Mexico’s port city of Puerto Penasco. Ajo is a thriving community during the winter months, but during the scorching summer months tends to be a quiet place.

Ajo is home to some of the most spectacular photography opportunities in the world.  Vibrant colors of multicolored horizons draw senior photographers from across the globe.  

Meet me same place, another time, senior travelers,  to hear more about Ajo… its quaint downtown and historic past.  jeb

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