A few weeks ago the stars aligned with opportunity, airfare, and babysitting all falling into place and Earl and I were able to spend a few days in Arizona.
Because we were combining a work trip (Earl) with pleasure (me) we had a limited time and a long list of things to see. The government shutdown almost changed some plans, but in the end the state of Arizona paid to keep the Grand Canyon open. It even worked in our favor since most of the attractions were open, but didn't charge admission.
We arrived at our hotel around 11pm on Saturday, by 6am we were up and packed and out the door. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. A few inches of snow and temperatures in the 20's didn't deter us!
Most people must have opted to stay inside where it was warm because there were hardly any people in the park. It was beautiful!
Maybe someday I'll see it without the snow...
The day was sunny, but so windy and cold. We hiked about 3-4 miles down the South Rim Trail, ending in Grand Canyon Village, then got a hot lunch while thawing out before hiking back to our car and searching out a sunset spot.
We opted on Navajo Point, giving us an amazing view of the canyon with the Colorado River meandering along at the bottom.
Sunset is always my favorite time of day and no matter if we are home or away, I love to watch the colors change.
We found the perfect, quiet, peaceful place, with only another photographer and some deer for company.
It didn't disappoint!
Although I was SO COLD by this time!
After the last rays died we got back in the car and drove the 1.5 hours to Flagstaff.
In the morning we woke up before the sun, again, and got packed and ready to leave. On this day we drove through the gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon and into Sedona, where we spent the day hiking through the red rock formations.
If I had proper footwear I would have loved to climb up Cathedral Rock. I didn't want to chance it in sneakers, so we hiked the trail that went along the foot of it instead.
We still had fantastic views of the valley.
The next hike was the Little Horse Trail. We were in a hurry thinking we had to be back in Phoenix by supper so we booked it to the top of Chicken Point, only to discover a jeep parked on top!
We could have sat there forever. The pictures don't do the place justice. You can't appreciate the scale...it was magnificent!
Our dinner plans were cancelled so we watched the sunset "Sedona style" with our backs to the sun to watch the rocks light up. I think in the summer, when the sun isn't blocked by hills to the south, this would be quite a sight! It was beautiful, but over far too quickly.
Although by this point we were both sore, dehydrated, tired, and sunburnt.
And still had over 2 hours of driving to get to our next hotel.
Our time in Phoenix was spent in meetings (Earl) and meeting friends (me). Our last afternoon we squeezed in one last adventure by driving to the summit of South Mountain, seeing all of the Phoenix area spread out and watching the planes come and go.
It was a wonderful way to spend a few days and get out of Pennsylvania's winter doldrums!