Sunday, June 21, 2009


Time difference, altitude, hiking my tushy off. Best time of my LIFE. Oy, I'm tired. But I bring pretties from Arizona!

Note to my dial up friends: This be a picture heavy post (and practically snark-free, cause you know, TIRED.)

Day one: Montezuma's Castle. A seriously cool way to start a vacation.

Just down the road lies Montezuma's Well (note the cliff dwellings along the sides):

Day two: Pink Jeep Tour of Sedona. All I have to say is if you're ever in the area DO THIS. It was so much fun!! And probably the best way to see Sedona (which is just gorgeous!)

After lunch we were still pretty energetic so we decided to trek up to Sunset Crater Volcano & Wupatki National Monument. Here's the volcano as you're driving into the park:

And here are the lava flows (we hiked the "Bonita Lava Flow Trail"). It looks like you're walking on an asteroid!

It was getting late in the afternoon at this point, but we were only 20 miles or so from the Wupatki National Monument so we forged ahead. I was so glad we did! This was spectacular, and easily my favorite of the ruins we saw on our trip. This is the Wukoki Pueblo:

The sun was only about 90 minutes from setting, so the light was interesting (and made it tough to get good shots facing the ruins. But I could pretend I was an artsy photographer!)

And this is the Wupatki Pueblo, with more than 100 rooms!

We were nearly by ourselves at both of these, with only 1 or 2 other cars arriving/leaving during our visit. The pueblos are 20+ miles out into the back country, and there's not an electrical wire or telephone line in site. With the wind blowing through my hair, the complete silence, sun setting, I felt like I'd just stepped right into the past. It was a very odd feeling, and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Day 3: The big one, the Grand Canyon!

The canyon was a little hazy, and it was a cloudy day. It even sprinkled on us! But I still got some good shots I think. Me & the G-man at the south rim:

And me & lu:
Day 4: Back in Sedona, we decided to take it "easy", which meant no long car trips! But we couldn't just stay in the hotel either, so we went up the road a ways to Jerome, which (I think) Linda suggested! Jerome is seriously cool, a mining town built right into the side of a mountain. Here's me feeding the mule at the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town (he rings a bell until you feed him.)

Then we traveled down the road a few miles to Prescott to go to "Out of Africa", a drive/walk through safari (Warning...EXPENSIVE! We about croaked at the entrance gate, but we were too hot and tired of the car at this point to turn around and leave, so I just went with it.)

Lots of big cats. Honestly? Probably not worth the money, but we may be spoiled by our really fabulous Tulsa & Oklahoma City zoos. And...we have a wilderness safari a few miles from here at home where you can get in with the baby tigers and bottle feed them/play, etc in the spring. So we're probably biased.

We also stopped by the Tuzigoot National Monument, another ruin. It was my least favorite of the trip. It's been "preserved" a little heavy-handedly (in my opinion) and looks overdone. Some of the masonry has been reinforced with what looks to be concrete mix rather than completely indigenous materials. And I'm sorry, but if its stood there for 1000 years (or near so) before WE found it and started messing with it, why assume current materials are better and longer lasting?

Sorry for the rant. Here's Tuzigoot:

Day 5: Last full day in Arizona! Lu had been waiting all week for this day, because we finally visited the Petrified National Forest & Painted Desert.

The petrified logs were really amazing. I couldn't stop touching them! Of course I had to buy a little piece from the gift shop to bring home. Still amazing to me that it was once part of a tree! And the Painted Desert is BEAUTIFUL!

This is Newspaper Rock, where over 650 petroglyphs have been found:

And here's me, still smiling after traveling for 5 days with an 11 year old and a 14 year old (mostly in a car!):

Two more of the Painted Desert, because I couldn't stop taking pictures of it. It took my breath away...

We're home safe and sound now, doing the drudgery of things like laundry and unpacking. Thank you all so much for the well wishes on our trip! I hope you enjoyed the recap. If you have the chance to visit this beautiful state, I highly recommend it. I would go back in a heartbeat!


  1. Oh my gosh and to think this is not too far from where my DD lives. We will have to go north when we visit next time. Beautiful!! Did you find or need a Target?

  2. Gosh, the photos look incredible! I'm so glad you had a great time and made it there and back safely. Thanks for sharing your memories!

  3. Thank you for sharing these pictures. What a beautiful place.

  4. what an astonishingly beautiful place.

  5. Breathtaking scenery. Wow. Enjoy your trip.

  6. Your photos are truly beautiful, and it is obvious that you guys had a blast!!! That's what amazing vacations are made of.

  7. Fantastic photos!!!!!!!!

  8. Don't we live in a beautiful country? Last spring my family visited the southwest stopping at Canyon DeChelley, Chaco Canyon, and Mesa Verde. I'm hoping to get to the Grand Canyon this summer sometime. That trip will stay with you and your kids forever. I'm so glad you all had a great time.

  9. The scenery is breath taking. So beautiful.

  10. Wow! Amazing trip!

  11. Gorgeous photos. So happy for you and your kids, sounds so fun.

  12. Sounds like you had heaps of fun! The pictures are amazing.

  13. I loved Jerome - we found it be accident. The painted dessert is just incredible. Glad you had a good time. g

  14. God is great and you have shown beautiful shots. What a fantstically beautiful area. Since I may never get there, thanks for showing it to all.

  15. Great shots! Looks like you are having fun! I was watching a show a couple weeks ago that looked just like your photos!! It has been awhile since I have been to that area and your photos make me want to go back!

  16. femmeelise11:51 AM

    What a beautiful country we live in! Maybe someday I'll see Arizona (I hope). The pictures of the painted desert are breathtaking! It's so amazing how beautiful simple surroundings can be. Love the picture of you &Lu so cute! Thanks so much for sharing.

  17. What an awesome trip. Looks like you had a great time! Great photos.

  18. Wow that looks fantastic! I'm so glad you shared. I might need to plan a trip there sometime!

  19. Gosh, I've been to several of those places too--Montezuma's Castle, Grand Canyon, Painted Dessert, Petrified Forest, Sunset Crater and loved them all! Even as an 11-year old, I could appreciate it in all it's glory. What's wonderful is that your kids are at the age where they will remember it forever. And remember it they will!


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