October 31, 2009

Williams, Trains, and Volcanic Mountains

We've been in Williams, AZ for the past couple of days. We originally planned to come up here simply because it was one of the only places where we could get Hilina the swine flu vaccine. But, what looked like a 90 minute trip for that one purpose has turned out to be a nice little excursion.

We are staying at the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel and RV Park. While not the cheapest place we've ever stayed at, it certainly is the best. This place has very nice, clean, spacious bathrooms, gives you access to their swimming pool and fitness center, and then there is of course the trains.

The Grand Canyon Railroad is a train that runs 60 miles north to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Hilina is in love with trains, so we have spent a great deal of time in their gift shop and looking at the big train when it leaves for the day and arrives back in the evening.

We've all enjoyed just strolling around this cute little railroad town. We also took a trip up to the top of the 9300 foot Bill Williams Mountain at the edge of the San Francisco Volcanic Field. The view from the summit was spectacular, as we could see across to the 12,700 foot San Francisco Peaks (which we climbed once I should add).

Also visible was 10,000 foot Kendrick Mountain and numerous volcanoes and cinder cones. To the north, we could see the edge of the Grand Canyon 60 miles away. To the west is the edge of the Mogollon Rim as it peters out and grades into the Basin and Range province near Kingman.

To the south was Chino Valley and Prescott, with its Granite mountains and the canyons of Sycamore Canyon heading into the Verde Valley. We could even see the metamophic summit of the Mazatzal Wilderness in the far distance.

What made this especially interesting is that we'd been to all of these places in previous hikes, so to see all of them from one spot made it all come together geographically! Also, when you think of how it takes in virtually all of the amazing geology of Arizona from sedimentary layers in the canyons to volcanic summits, metamorphic core complexes, and basin and range uplift!

Here, you can see Williams below and the Grand Canyon in the distance (the faint light break in the trees on the horizon).

Here is a little friend we saw on the mountain

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