It’s chilly tonight. . .

In true Alberta fashion the temperature dropped 15 degrees in 24 hours.  This morning when I went out to jump in my car it was actually snowing.  Not much, mind you, but it was snow.  The awful, styrofoam pellety kind.

Along with the colder temps has come wind.  Lovely while I was on supervision at lunch today.  The sun was shining, but the air was cold.  Still, I enjoyed being out in the fresh  air.

This province can make you crazy.  So, what I’m doing is thinking about my recent vacation to Sedona, Arizona.

Once upon a time Sedona was a little western town in the desert.  People raised cattle and horses, tried to grow peaches and apples, and generally eked out a living in desert-like conditions the best way they could.

Then, along came Hollywood and the place got famous.  Now, it’s a major tourist destination.  The town is full of hotels and shops.  In fact, you could say it’s the world’s largest outdoor mall.

But what’s really special about Sedona is the red dirt that it’s built on and the red rock formations that surround it.  It is an absolutely beautiful little spot.  We spent four days there in the warmth and sunshine, wearing shorts and sandals and swimming in the outdoor pool.  I loved telling people we met that ‘back home’ there was still four feet of snow lining our driveways and sidewalks.

Of course, because this was a holiday, we did tourist-y things.  We took a Pink Jeep tour into the canyons — what a blast!  The scenery was gorgeous and the view from on top of some of the formations was spectacular.  We checked out Boynton Canyon and the vortex there — I didn’t feel anything — my husband says he did.  All I felt was silly for thinking that when I stood where the vortex is supposedly strongest I would somehow be magically imbued with health, strength and positive-ness.  Hmmm.

We went at sunset to take pictures of Cathedral Rock; we were just four of many dozens doing the same thing.  There was a really snooty professional (?) photographer there as well.  He hogged the best spot — or, so he thought!  My intrepid husband had scouted out a great location further on up the creek and from there I was able to get some phenomenal pics.  I think they’re rather good, anyway.  Don’t know about mister-look-at-me-in-my-photographer’s hat-and-matching vest, but I don’t really care, either.

Then, the highlight of my trip — a hot-air balloon ride over the red rocks at sunrise.  It was truly wonderful.  We floated alongside the rock walls and then drifted ever higher until the rocks were quite far away beneath us.  We saw deer running through the scrub  and birds soaring on the thermals.  It was quiet — except for the occasional really bad joke from our pilot and the constant clicking and whirring of digital cameras as we tried to capture the essence of a perfect morning aloft in early morning sunshine.

Our time in Sedona had to come to an end — there were jobs that two of us had to return to.  We set out back home via I15 North through Page, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

I thought Sedona’s landscape was beautiful!  Zion National Park is unbelievable in its beauty.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stay and explore, but we’re decided we’re returning.  How could we not, when we know the beauty that is there?

Another highlight of our trip was the couple of stops we made at the Grand Canyon.  The Canyon can reduce me to tears simply from the vastness of the place — it’s just so hard to grasp that such a place exists.  I can never look out upon it without thinking about the pioneers who came across this chasm in the wilderness as they searched for safety and new homes and can’t help but wonder what they thought when they saw it.  Were they awestruck by its beauty, majesty and power, or were they disheartened by loneliness or despair when confronted by the immense challenge before them?

Our other stop at the GC was along the South Rim, called the Watch Tower.  It is a replica of the towers built by native indians as lookouts for danger or wandering herds of buffalo, deer, elk.  It serves as a way station and (what else?) a gift shop, but it is a lovely structure.  Made of stone, built like a small lighthouse, it is decorated inside with Native Indian art and motifs.  There is a very narrow and steep staircase that winds up along the wall to the top.  Unfortunately, it is not open at the top you have to look out through smoky, scratched glass, so it’s a bit of let down after you manage to huff and puff yourself all the way up there.  But, the art and hand-made furniture and carvings is worth it.  Really.

Half way up there is a door that leads to a viewing platform and from there we got some amazing pictures of the canyon.  If you ever are lucky enough to get to the GC make sure you go to the Watch Tower, it’s well worth the visit.

My husband and his brother, Rick, did the ultimate tourist adventure — they took a helicopter ride over the canyon.  They both said it is something they will remember always.  One moment they were over land and trees and the next the earth just dropped away and there was nothing but canyon walls and a canyon floor far, far below them.  It took their breath away.

When I go to the GC next time, my plan is to take mule ride down to the bottom and then take a river raft ride through the canyon.

But right now, I’ve got to contend with a forecast that includes below zero temps for this weekend and possibly lots of snow.  Oh yeah, Springtime in Alberta.

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4 Comments

  1. Cindy said,

    April 12, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Arizona does sound like a place to see, I have a friend who lives in Chandler. Keep warm, winter’s fast here this year, a crisp day in Johannesburg.

  2. April 13, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Come West, Young Lady! I mowed my lawn yesterday, the daffies are peaking, the hyacinth and tulips are coming out and my forsythia is out with a vengeance. The azalea trees are slow, but everything else seems to have loved our cold winter.

    And my brother is trying to talk me into going to Calgary with him next week…

  3. Chloe said,

    April 19, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Ah…this has brought back some of my best ever memories…my time in Sedona back in 2005. And on another trip I also visited Lake Powell and Bryce Canyon. The scenery there is simply breathtaking isn’t it?

    If you have time, I have some photos on my blog of Cathedral Rock – I wonder if that crazy ‘professional’ photographer would think they were any good? Probably not – lol 😉

    Thanks for the memories and for sharing your beautiful photos xx

    • klrs09 said,

      April 22, 2011 at 8:49 am

      Hi Chloe, nice to hear from you. We absolutely loved it in Sedona, and wasn’t shocked to find that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of retirees from Canada who flock there for the winter. I would love to spend more time hiking and taking pictures, maybe even a few days sequestered in a quiet spot to do some writing. That would be lovely. One can dream!


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