As we headed south towards Arizona all vegetation disappeared, even the ubiquitous sage brush, and the sandstone rock turned red. Now we were in the desert and the rock formations became ever more spectacular. On the distant horizon they could pass as mythical cities, complete with spires and towers. Closer-up, the rocks reveal their sedimental striations, each surrounded by a sloping skirt of eroded spoil. They are unforgettable sights. We stopped at the ‘Forrest Gump’ point (the one where he runs along the long, straight road) and the Redlands Viewpoint. We could see faint dust towers in the distance, where the native Indians run tours by car and horse for toursists. We knew we would soon be moving on and wouldn’t, alas, have time even for that, let alone to stay for a sunset or a sunrise. But throughout this trip we have consoled ourselves with the idea that these visits are only ‘aperitifs’ – tasters, or appetisers – and that we’ll be back to explore them properly. This is certainly one of those places where it would be good to wander and admire nature’s brilliant sculptures and camp under the stars. And then, in the midst of this, I came across an extraordinary European connection that was in none of our guidebooks, but deserved to be. But that will be for my next post.