14 Gorgeous Places You Didn’t Know Were in Arizona

Autumn is the best time of year in the Southwest. While dropping temperatures mean breaking out the sweaters and heaters everywhere else in the country, in this corner of the U.S. it means the weather is just right for some outdoor exploring. While most minds immediately jump to the Grand Canyon when thinking of Arizona, there are plenty of other fantastic spots in this sunny state that you have to see to believe.

1. The Wave

Lone hiker explores the Wave in American Southwest

If you’ve scrolled past this natural wonder on Instagram you’ve definitely wondered, “How do I get there?” The Wave is part of the Coyote Buttes North Special Management Area straddling the border of Arizona and Utah, and yes, it’s just as spectacular in person. The product of centuries of erosion, this geological feature is only open to those with permits, and even then only a few fortunate visitors get to enter each day.

2. Antelope Canyon

Antelope Slot Canyon

Not too far from the Wave, Antelope Canyon is another astonishing feat of erosion. Arguably the most famous slot canyon in the West, Antelope Canyon is split into Upper and Lower canyons and also limits the number of visitors allowed entry. The lucky ones who secure a ticket will find themselves in a silent world of golden light and impossibly smooth orange walls.

3. Devil’s Bridge, Sedona

Devil's Bridge Trail, scenic view panoramic landscape, Sedona, Arizona, USA

We could have put the entire town of Sedona on this list, but if you’re looking for the best of all worlds, Devil’s Bridge delivers. A bit of a hike outside of town, this natural rock bridge is one of the most photographed points in Sedona. Take the short hike to this point and get an up close encounter with the red dirt this region is famous for.

4. Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest

Just outside Sedona, you’ll find the largest ponderosa forest in the world in Coconino National Forest. But that’s not all this area has to offer. From mountains and canyons to rivers and red rocks, this is the perfect place for some outdoor exploration, whether you prefer hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

5. Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified forest national park, Arizona, USA

If you thought living trees were incredible, check out the fossilized trees at the Petrified Forest National Park. These fallen trees thrived in the Late Triassic Period, about 225 million years ago, and now reside in one of the most colorful and unique landscapes on earth. Look beyond the fossils and explore the bright badlands and desert terrain that makes this area so stunning.

6. Superstition Mountains

Blooming Desert

Set an hour or so outside Phoenix, this mountain range earned its mythical name. Rumors and myths of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine and other treasures have surrounded the Superstition Mountains for decades, though these days the area attracts more hikers than gold seekers.

7. San Francisco Peaks

San Francisco Peaks in winter, Arizona
https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/landscape-with-humphreys-peak-tallest-in-arizona-gm472327544-63309227
Thought Arizona didn’t have snow? You thought wrong. You can find world-class skiing in the San Francisco Peaks of Northern Arizona. Included in the area is Humphreys Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona, which comes complete with some epic ski runs at Snowbowl.

8. Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend At Sunset - Colorado River, Arizona

Long famed for its iconic viewpoint, Horseshoe Bend is an offshoot of the Colorado River and makes for one of the most romantic spots in Arizona. Downstream from Lake Powell, this stunning spot is accessible via hiking trail, and sunset viewers are treated to the perfect perfect show.

9. Havasupai Waterfalls

Havasu Falls Turquoise Canyon Oasis

Turquoise blue water is not what you’d expect to see in Arizona, but the Havasu Creek defies the odds. Conjuring up a series of magical cascades, from Beaver Falls to New Navajo Falls, there are plenty of waterfalls to chase here. Whether you hike from fall to fall, spend the night camping, or just stop by on your way to the Grand Canyon, it’s definitely worth a place on your Arizona road trip.

10. Saguaro National Park

Saguaro cactus forest in Saguaro National Park Arizona

Did you know it’s illegal to chop down a saguaro cactus in Arizona? Perpetrators can find themselves slapped with heavy fines and even jail time! These protected plants are plentiful in Saguaro National Park in southeastern Arizona. These cacti have long been a symbol of the state, and coupled with an incredible sunset, will convince you that the desert heat is worth the sweat.

11. Hunts Mesa

Hunts Mesa navajo tribal majesty place near Monument Valley, Arizona, USA

Utah might be better known for hosting the famed Monument Valley, but part of this historic area stretches into Arizona. Hunts Mesa, a section of the Valley, is a particularly photographic area that falls within the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The stunning rock formation seems like something out of an Old Western film, and you’ll be tempted to spend the entire day finding new angles from which to admire the landscape.

12. Blue Canyon

Blue Canyon located in the Native American reservation near Tuba City, Arizona

Not far from the Wave, this scenic area looks like something out of a science fiction film. Part of the Moenkopi Wash on the Hopi Indian Reservation, Blue Canyon is chock full of colorful rocks and hoodoos that have been eroded into fascinating shapes over the centuries. Would-be visitors must be accompanied by a guide, but the views are unlike anywhere in the world.

13. Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Caverns - big room

Over 2 miles long, this underground cave system is a wonder to behold. Carved from limestone and decorated with dazzling cave formations, Kartchner Caverns contains some of the largest stalagmite and stalactite formations in the world. The Throne Room and Big Room are open to visitors, and if you’re lucky you can spot a few of the cave bats that make their homes here.

14. Arizona Scenic Trail

Apache Lake Scenic Landscape in Arizona Superstition Mountains

Arizona is home to one of the nation’s 11 National Scenic Trails, and this one is a doozy. Stretching from the Mexico border to the Utah border, the Arizona Trail passes through the entire state, exposing those who attempt it to Arizona’s many varied and beautiful landscapes. If you want to check off all the best stops in Arizona, this is the ultimate trail for you.

Since her first trip across the pond Kellie has been a voracious traveler. As the Editor of The Discoverer she is passionate sharing stories from around the globe and inspiring others to leave their comfort zones. Kellie has her MFA in Creative Writing and in her free time tries (and mostly fails) to cook.

The Smiley Face on the Window

GIRLFRIENDS IN GOD

April 21, 2020

Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14 NIV).

Friend to Friend
I was flying home from Pennsylvania on Good Friday of the Easter weekend, and the airport was packed. As I waited for the plane to arrive at the gate, clouds began to fill the sky. Unfortunately, overbooked airplanes and stormy weather do not a good combination make. Delays and cancelations lit up the departure board like fireflies at dusk in summertime south.

I was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, N.C. at 7:00 p.m. But then my arrival time was pushed back to 7:40, then to 8:40, then to 9. This was turning out to be not such a “good Friday” after all. The travelers were getting angry, the ticketing agents were getting agitated, and kids were getting antsy. I just wanted to go home.

Finally, after many gate changes and time delays, we boarded the plane headed for Charlotte. I closed my eyes and went to sleep. About an hour later, the pilot made an announcement.

“Hello, this is the captain. Unfortunately, the storm is passing through Charlotte at this time and we will not be able to land. We are going to land in Greensboro, 90 miles away, and wait it out. Feel free to disembark the airplane, but do not leave the boarding area. We will make an announcement when it is time to re-board. Don’t worry, we’ll get you to Charlotte just as quickly as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience. “

We landed in Greensboro and waited…and waited…and waited. About 10:30, there was another announcement. “May I have your attention please? For those travelling on flight 389 to Charlotte, unfortunately, the flight crew has logged too many hours and they will not be able to continue the flight to Charlotte. We have secured vans to drive you the rest of the way. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

You could just hear the collective moan. We trudged down to baggage claim, retrieved our bags, and separated into groups of nine.

And we waited.

Finally, we piled into the van: eight traveling to visit family, one going home. We quickly learned that the air conditioner was broken, and rather than cool air coming through the vents, heat poured out in every direction. No one could figure out how to shut it off. Temperatures rose, sweat poured, layers came off, the widows fogged up. It was miserable.

After about an hour and a half, I started to relax, thinking we would be in Charlotte at any minute. In the seat in front of me, a twenty-something woman and her mother chatted happily. They were on their way to spend the weekend with daughter number two. Daughter number one, who was apparently tracking our progress on her iphone, turned around in her seat to face me.

“We’re passing Statesville,” she said. “How much further do we have?”

“Statesville!” I cried. “We’re not supposed to be passing Statesville!  He’s going the wrong way!”

Our one and a-half hour van ride turned into a three-hour trip. I was ready for this not-so-good Friday to be over. And it just about was because it was close to midnight.

Just as I was having a not-so-nice, one-way conversation with God, the mother in front of me drew a smiley face on the window on the steamed-up mirror! A smiley face!

What in the world does she have to be happy about? I mused. I don’t see anything “smiley” about this entire situation!

We finally arrived in Charlotte sometime after midnight. The quick one-and-a half hour flight had turned into an eight-hour nightmare. Nine dripping-wet, exhausted passengers climbed out of the van and breathed in the fresh night air.

“Bye Krista,” I said to the young iphone toting girl. “You have fun with you sister and mom this weekend.”

“Oh, we will,” she said. “My mom just found out that she has cancer for the second time.  It doesn’t look too good. We’re going to spend a weekend together, just the three of us, simply enjoying each other. It might be our last.”

She turned to walk away…never seeing the tears that filled my eyes.

David’s words came to mind…words that he penned when he was having more than one bad day but many,” As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14 NLT).

I looked back at the van’s window, which still held the picture of a smiley face drawn by a dying woman’s hand. Suddenly, my night of little inconveniences seemed rather petty.

It was a Good Friday after all. God had reminded me of all the reason I had to be thankful. Irritating circumstances are a sure thing in this world. Storms will rage. Winds of adversity will blow. It is our perspective durin the storm that will determine whether we will grumble and complain or draw a smiley face on the window and thank God for each and every breath we have. There is always a choice.

I slipped into the car with my precious, patient husband, gave him a quick kiss, and drew a smiley face on the window.

When we look at the difficulties, inconveniences, and problems of life as potential assignments from God, our perspective changes. We can decide to focus on what God can do through a difficult circumstance rather than the details of the circumstance itself.

We can’t control our circumstances, but we do have a choice as to how we react to them.

Let’s Pray
Lord, help me to have a good and godly attitude when life doesn’t go the way I’d hoped. Rather than see the inconveniences as a trial, help me to see them as an opportunity to grow. Help me to draw a smiley face on the adversity of life.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Read the following smiley face that Habakkuk drew on his terrible day.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Consider writing your own version of Habakkuk 3:17-18.

More from the Girlfriends
Sharon’s best-selling book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others and Bible study guide is being re-released TODAY with new content, including a chapter on the power of a woman’s words to her adult children…it’s complicated! Today is the last day to receive the pre-order bonuses: a free downloadable e-book of Enough: Silencing the Lies that Steal Your Confidence plus much more! Click here for details.

Words are one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and God has entrusted them to you! They echo in hearts and minds long after they are spoken. How will we use this gift? Your words can change the course of someone’s day…even someone’s life. Learn how to

  • exchange careless words that hurt for intentional words that help others succeed
  • recognize words that tear down confidence and replace them with words that build others up
  • overcome the negativity that pushes people away and become a well of positivity that draws others in
  • tame your tongue by practicing practical principles that help you think before you speak
  • stop being disappointed in your lack of control by taking hold into the power of the Holy Spirit

Seeking God?
GirlfriendsInGod.com

 

 

 

Why ‘Thy Will Be Done’ Matters in Prayer

Clarence L. Haynes Jr. | clarencehaynes.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Have you ever prayed a prayer like this?

“O God, thank you for today. Here is what I want. You are God. Now make it happen. In Jesus name. Amen.”

I don’t know about you but I have prayed too many prayers like this. Yet the question begs to be asked: is this the essence of what prayer is all about?

In the gospel of Matthew Jesus instructs us how to pray. In fact, he uses these words in Matthew 6:9, “This then is how you should pray…”. After making this proclamation he then goes on to give us what is known as The Lord’s Prayer. This prayer was never meant to be recited, but it was given to us as a model or template for how we should pray. Within this prayer, Jesus makes a statement that is crucial and essential to having a successful prayer life. Those words are “Thy will be done.”

When you stop to think about what prayer is, I believe you will agree that many times we get it all wrong. Prayer is not about getting God to bend to the desires of your will. After all God is not some genie in a bottle ready to act at your beck and call.

Prayer is when you bend your will and desires to God’s will. It’s when you line up the plans on earth with the desires of heaven. Too often in prayer we only focus on what we want or need and somehow God’s plan or purpose gets left out of the equation.

The Challenge in Prayer

One of the reasons we struggle with the will of God in prayer is because we often go to God with an idea of what we believe is the best answer for the situation. Quite simply we think we know what is best and that’s usually what we ask God for. Here is the problem: our vision and thoughts are limited and God’s purposes go beyond our imaginations. Consider Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

In the military, they have something called the chain of command. Often what happens is the general will send the decisions for what needs to be done down to the next in command below them. Eventually the decision makes its way to the soldiers in the field. The soldiers follow the order because they trust that those in command are making decisions that are best for the unit. They also trust that those above them have more information than they do. This is how it is in prayer.

God sees more than we do. God knows more than we do. God’s plan involves us but also goes beyond us. That’s why when you pray it can’t just be about you and your desires. His will cannot be left out of the equation because he is operating at a level far above where we are.

His Will Is Good for You

I remember growing up in church having conversations about the will of God. Somehow the will of God meant being a missionary, but not just a regular missionary. The fear was that God was going to send you to be a missionary in the deepest, darkest jungle somewhere in the Amazon or some other less developed area.

This thought process didn’t make God’s will welcoming, but made it something to be feared. The worry was that God’s plan was going to make you miserable, and who wants that? I believe for many this is the fear in prayer. Let me reassure you – you can trust God’s will for your life. You can trust that God has your best interests at heart. Because this is true, it should not be a strange or fearful thing to pray “your will be done.” In fact, it’s a great thing to pray because it takes you out of the picture and puts the answer and leading in his hands. That’s a great and safe place to be.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Jesus Practiced What He Preached

On the night Jesus was betrayed and before he was arrested, he withdrew to pray. These are the words he prayed:

 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus knew the gravity of what was about to happen. He was about to suffer and become the sacrifice that would bring about our redemption. The reality of this was overwhelming. Yet in the moment he did the same thing he is asking of us, he prayed “your will be done.” He put his own desires aside so that the will of heaven could be accomplished in the earth.

Oh that you and I would pray and ask God for the things we need and desire, but at the end of the day let us be like Jesus and surrender everything to his perfect will.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

God Responds to His Will

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

God wants to accomplish his will in the earth. When you pray according to God’s will and you desire to do God’s will, your prayers become more powerful. The prayer that lines up with God’s will is the prayer that God will always answer. With this being the case, we should ask God to help us pray according to his will. When we do, we position God to hear us and when he does we know he will do what we are asking.

God’s will is a wonderful thing. It is nothing to be afraid of, but rather something to be embraced. There is only one thing left to do. Go and pray according to his will. God wants to do great things in your life and they will happen as you pray and as you line yourself up with his will. I will leave you with the words of Jesus. This then is how you should pray…Your will be done.

Photo credit: Unsplash/whoislimos

Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a rising speaker, teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study ClubHe has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book called The Pursuit of PurposeIf you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.

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