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Taschenbuch, 27. Oktober 1998
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In the FODOR'S POCKET GUIDES series a pocket guidebook to the Canyon, the Red Rocks and the Native American Sites with a full colour fold out map. Includes details on where to stay and where to enjoy South-western cuisine and coverage of all sports and outdoor activities.
This excerpt, from the Pleasures and Pastimes section, gives you a taste of what Arizona has to offer and the sights and scenes that make it a great place to visit.
If you're so inclined, floating in a balloon can be a delight. In both Phoenix and Tucson, pilots will take you up over metropolitan areas as well as the Sonoran Desert.
The newly minted Arizona Diamondbacks are the big draw come April, but many fans come in March to watch professional teams warm up for the season in spring-training Cactus League games, most of them in the Phoenix area. The teams start their training camps as much as three weeks earlier. Free drills -- held in the morning before an exhibition game -- are fun to watch, and there's a good chance you might be able to chat with the players before or after these sessions. In some cases, reserved seats sell out each fall before the upcoming season, but you can almost always get general admission seats on game days.
Boating and Lake Activities
>You may be surprised to find so many lakes in what most consider a desert state. In fact, Arizonans own more boats per capita than residents of any other state. The two national recreational areas, Glen Canyon (Lake Powell) in north-central Arizona and Lake Mead (including Lake Mohave) in the northwest, have marinas, launching ramps, and boat and ski rentals. At both lakes you can take a paddle-wheeler tour or take the wheel yourself in a fully equipped houseboat. Lake Havasu, fed by the Colorado River in the western part of the state, is another popular site for boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. London Bridge, which was moved block by block from England and reassembled here, is a surreal vision at this lakeside resort. Saguaro and Canyon lakes, just east of Scottsdale, offer good boating and waterskiing for those based in the Phoenix area looking for a convenient day trip.
Fish virtually jump out of Arizona's cool mountain streams, major rivers, and man-made lakes and are especially plentiful at Colorado River resorts. Rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout, as well as catfish, crappie, bass, pike, and bluegill, are the primary game. Trout are plentiful at Lees Ferry, and in lakes and streams throughout the White Mountains. Fishing licenses are required.
Your clubs certainly won't gather dust in Arizona. Aside from attending the big-draw Phoenix Open golfers flock to this state to tee off at the myriad top-ranked private and municipal courses. Year-round desert courses offer cheaper greens fees during the summer, while those in the northern part usually shut down for winter. Just about every resort has its own course or is affiliated with a private club.
Throughout the state, hikers can choose from trails that wind through the desert, climb mountains, meander past supernal rock formations, delve deep into forests, or circumnavigate cities.
Traveling by horseback through the somewhat wild West or the scenic high country is perhaps the most appropriate way to explore Arizona. Stables offer a selection of mountain or desert trail rides lasting a half day, two days, or as long as two weeks. In northern regions the season is from May through October. If riding is the focus of your Arizona holiday, you might consider staying at a dude ranch, where you can saddle up every day.
Native American Culture
Attending Native American festivals and exploring the remains of earlier settlements can be a rewarding part of a trip to Arizona. As is the case with traveling anywhere, any effort made to enhance your understanding of local culture and history will enrich all aspects of your visit. Keep in mind, too, that when you enter a reservation you are, in effect, entering another country, one governed by different laws and customs. Obey all posted signs (some signs on the reservations look less than official, but they mean what they say) and ask at the reservation visitors center or check with local authorities if you have any questions.
Arizona is rock-hound heaven, its deserts and mountains laden with a dazzling variety of rocks and minerals: agate, jasper, tourmaline, petrified wood, quartz, turquoise, amethyst, precious opal, fire agate, and more. The Department of Mines and Mineral Resources has a fine Mining and Mineral Museum as well as a rockhounding reference library. Remember, however, to inquire about restrictions before you fill your pockets. Taking rocks is illegal on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, for example.
You can purchase rocks and minerals at specialty shops or at one of the state's year-round rock and gem shows. The largest shows are held in Quartzsite, about 19 mi from the California border, and in Tucson, generally from late January to mid-February.
Many tourists come to Arizona for no other reason than to purchase fine Native American jewelry and crafts. Collectibles include Navajo rugs and sand paintings, Hopi kachina dolls (intricately carved and colorful representations of Hopi spiritual beings) and pottery, Tohono O'odham (Papago) basketry, and Apache beadwork, as well as the highly prized silver and turquoise jewelry produced by several different tribes.
Cross-country and downhill skiing are winter pastimes in Arizona, even if its mountains don't quite match the scale of the Rockies. Flagstaff Nordic Center, Mormon Lake Ski Touring Center southeast of Flagstaff, the North Rim Nordic Center, and miles of crisscrossing trails around Alpine are good places for cross-country skiing. The three peaks of Sunrise Park Resort in the White Mountains are owned and operated by the White Mountain Apache Indians and constitute the state's largest ski area. Other popular areas are Arizona Snowbowl near Flagstaff and Mount Lemmon Ski Valley near Tucson, the continent's southernmost ski slope.