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31 Things To Do Before You Kick The Bucket
"Every man dies. Not every man really lives." That quote, attributed to William Wallace, comes from the movie Braveheart, but it underlies the premise of that other popular movie. The one starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The one that got us thinking about our lives, and what we'd like to look back on someday. Most of us want our time on Earth to have some kind of meaning. We want a challenge, a purpose, and to make some great memories. With that in mind, we've put together an Arizona-based bucket list that combines a little of each. Some of these things you may have done already; others, probably not. Take a look and hit the road. The clock is ticking.

By Kathy Montgomery

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Natural wonder
Snow-hiking, Humphreys Peak
Photograph: David Wallace


25. Hit the Trails
Seven Falls, Widforss, Inner Basin, Humphreys Peak
Hiking is supreme in Arizona. It's why many of us live here. Creeks flow in the spring, making that the best time for the Seven Falls Trail in Tucson's Bear Canyon. It's all cliffs and high canyon walls, with the ultimate payoff of an improbable desert waterfall. In the summer, there's nothing grander than the Grand Canyon. The premier trail is Widforss, a beautiful, forested walk along the North Rim, culminating in views of formations named for kings and goddesses. The Inner Basin in Flagstaff is tops for fall color, when golden aspens punctuate its idyllic route into the heart of the San Francisco Peaks. Topping all of them, literally, is Humphreys Peak. At 12,633 feet in elevation, it's the highest point in the state. Lots of people hike it in the summer, but for the hike of a lifetime, tackle it in the winter with a pair of snowshoes.
Information: Seven Falls: 520-749-8700, www.fs.usda.gov/coronado; Widforss: 928-638-7875, www.nps.gov/grca; Inner Basin and Humphreys Peak: 928-526-0866, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino

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26. Go to Hellsgate and Back
Hellsgate Wilderness
Prepare well for this three- to five-day backpack, or you'll feel like you've entered the gates of Hell. The name refers to what pioneer settlers called the confluence of Tonto and Haigler creeks. In 1984, it became the name of the surrounding wilderness. If you follow Tonto Creek, plan on 10 to 12 swims per day, alternating with boulder scrambles to challenge the most avid hikers. Rewards include some of the most heavenly scenery in Arizona and a sense of accomplishment that feels out of this world.
Information: 928-474-7900, www.fs.usda.gov/tonto


27. Listen to the Blues
Mr. D'z Route 66 Diner, Kingman
As Havasu Creek rushes toward the Colorado River, its famously turquoise waters cascade over a series of waterfalls and feed a ribbon of greenery that some have compared to Shangri-La. Over time, minerals in the creek have formed travertine benches and natural dams, creating resort-like swimming holes that remain a near-constant 70 degrees. The most famous, of course, is Havasu Falls. Located 2 miles from the remote Havasupai village of Supai, Havasu Falls plunges nearly 100 feet into a clear, wide swimming hole, surrounded by tall, shady cottonwoods. Call it Paradise Found.
Information: 928-448-2121, www.havasupaitribe.com
28. Go to the Flow
Toroweap Overlook
This remote spot is prized for its rugged, undeveloped character and solitude, and getting there takes temerity, perseverance and a high-clearance vehicle. But the rewards include one of the most unique and dramatic views of the Grand Canyon. The remnants of lava flows that spilled over the canyon rim are visible here, at one of the narrowest and deepest parts of the gorge. It's a sheer, 3,000-foot drop to the Colorado River, with a view of its most dramatic rapids. For the truly adventurous, take the nearby hike down, but beware. The 1.5-mile Lava Falls Route is extremely exposed and crosses steep, treacherous talus slopes on its 2,500-foot plummet to the river at Lava Falls Rapid. The route, marked in only a few locations, descends one of the hottest, scariest chutes in the Canyon. This route is life-threatening in the summer due to the extreme heat and lack of water.
Information: 928-638-7888, www.nps.gov/grca
29. Get Into the Spirit
Room 426, Hassayampa Inn
One of the first guests at this historic hotel in Prescott was a young bride named Faith whose husband left on their honeymoon to buy cigarettes and never came back. Three days later, Faith hung herself in despair. Since then, visitors periodically encounter Faith in Room 426. Guests report waking up to find the TV blaring, the lights on or their toothbrushes missing. The inn's spirited Halloween bash makes it the perfect occasion for a rendezvous with Faith.
Information: 122 E. Gurley Street, Prescott, 928-778-9434, www.hassayampainn.com
30. Settle in for Sunset
Hannagan Meadow
Located at the edge of a remote wilderness area, the historic lodge and campground at Hannagan Meadow offer unspoiled, peaceful, high-mountain retreats. Sunset is magical. Elk, turkeys, bobcats and bears emerge from the surrounding forest of spruce and firs. Crickets chirp, coyotes yip. You might even hear the howl of a wolf as the light shimmering on aspen leaves gives way to the glitter of stars as bountiful as sand on a beach.
Information: 928-339-4370, www.hannaganmeadow.com (lodge); 928-339-5000, www.fs.usda.gov/asnf (campground)
31. Crawl Into a Cave
Kartchner Caverns
A soda straw lives in Kartch­ner Caverns — not the kind you'd expect to find in a fountain drink, but an amazing, 21-foot-long limestone stalactite. It hangs from the ceiling in the Throne Room, one of many remarkable areas visitors to the caverns can explore. The cave, discovered by Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen in 1974, is now part of Kartchner Caverns State Park, and it's open for tours most days.
Information: 520-586-2283, www.azstate​parks.com/parks/kaca

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