Birthday with Friends in the Southwest- January 2005

There is hardly an more beautiful place than Sedona AZ. Along with Zion Canyon, these are the 2 most beautiful places in the world. What better way to celebrate my 43 birthday than with my 2 friends, John Merkle and Christine Hoyer. We flew into Phoenix and made our way up to Sedona for a few days of hiking, eating and shopping (that is John's department)

Here 2/3rds of the motley crew wait for our flight to Phoenix

Sedona takes your breath away no matter what direction you look and in January there is not a soul on the back country trails

Christine on the Red Rocks

This is the Secret Knowledge of Water shot- for those of you interested see my book recommendations and read Craig Childs Secret Knowledge of Water it is a classic

John Merkle moving smartly on the trail

No trip so close to the Grand Canyon is complete without actually going. We spent a great day at the South Rim. Got John to hike about a 1/2 mile down

The canyon changes minute by minute depending on the light of day. Every moment here is amazing.

Moving deeper into the canyon on South Kaibab trail

Christine and I ventured a little further down. The pull of the Colorado River is strong... I will have to come back and get all the way down soon.

wildlife watching is a favorite pastime outside. Here a very pretty "blue bird" sings in a tree

Down and up posing with an "unreal" backdrop

We spent a day in Flagstaff as well. We visited Mt Humphreys, the highest point in Arizona. On this January day a very busy sky destination. I have never been to a sky slope before.

Mt Humphrey and Doyle Peak (right of Humphrey) and Freemont Peak ( left of Humphrey) from the West side of Flagstaff in Sunset Crater N.M.

John on trail in Sunset Crater N.M. near Sunset Crater Volcanoe

A view of the Painted Desert and Hopi Reservation land from Sunset Crater N.M. scenic road

Mt Humphrey and its brothers from Wupakti National Monument

More of Mt Humphrey from the desert floor

Wupakti National Monument ruins. John gave us a history lesson as we toured the site

More ruins

Further west is Meteor Crater and amazing site caused by a car sized meteorite.

A nice museum and viewing area, although privately run and fee based to get in. Today we made it with about 15 minutes to spare before closing

Great views across the desert from the crater site.

Trip Recommendations-
Best Western Sedona- best view from top of the hill.
Judy's- Ribs can't be beat
Dahl and DaLuca- Just about the best food on the planet- veal and fettuccine
Cowboy Club- snake as a appetizer!
Support Our National Parks - Preserve - Protect - Enjoy