Thursday, January 05, 2012

Starting a New Year in Arizona

Well, I flew out to Arizona on the Friday before New Year's, and I flew back on the following Tuesday.  It was a good time to go because Amy had already been gone to Arizona for a week on Christmas break, and I missed her a lot.
I flew in Sunday night, and on Saturday morning we got up (by "we", I mean Amy, myself, and Amy's parents, Jean and Greg), hopped in the car, and drove up to Flagstaff.  Along the way we stopped off at Montezuma's Castle, which is a cliff dwelling made by the Sinagua people around 700 A.D..  Montezuma's Castle was pretty darn impressive.  If I'm correct, it might also be the single oldest human structure that I've ever seen in the U.S. (I saw some Mexican pyramids once down in Tulum that might have been from 500 or 600 A.D., but in the U.S. Montezuma's Castle has to be the oldest human structure I've seen).  After visiting the National Park we drove up to Flagstaff.  Along the way we drove through an area (Munds Park?  Amy can correct me if I'm wrong) where the Davis family used to have a cabin when Amy was younger (I got to see Amy's old treehouse!).  Apparently there's talk in the family of getting a cabin up there again, and I can certainly see why.  It's a lovely area.  Pine trees, snow, and a feeling of wilderness.
Then we went to Flagstaff.  I'd never been that far north before in Arizona, and the difference between the Phoenix area and the area near Flagstaff was startlingly different in terms of vegetation, altitude, climate (there was snow on the ground in Flagstaff, but in Phoenix people were wearing shorts), etc..  We only spent a very short amount of time in Flagstaff, but it looked like a pretty cool place.  It had a sort of small, college town feel (it's home to Northern Arizona University), but it was large enough to explore, with some interesting restaurants, businesses, etc..
Occupy Flagstaff had gathered, en masse, outside of Flagstaff City Hall, but they'd only mustered four people that were dissatisfied enough with the state of the world to protest, so I figured that Flagstaff must be, on the whole, a pretty happy place.
After Flagstaff we drove down to Sedona.  True to what I'd heard, Sedona turned out to be beautiful.  The red rock canyons, pine trees, and blue skies were pretty amazing.  We visited  Holy Cross Chapel, which was a really cool building in a beautiful setting, wandered through Tlaquepaque to look at the shops and art, watched the last sunset of 2011 from a scenic overlook near the airport, and had a very tasty Italian New Year's Eve dinner at a place called Dahl & Di Luca.  Sedona was really cool, and I'd definitely like to head back at some point when I have more time.
On Sunday I mostly hung out with Amy and her family over at her house.  They hosted a really nice fish cookout with really good food and excellent company.  It was good to get to hang out with the whole family and see them in action together.
On Monday I went for a hike in the White Tank Mountain Regional Park with Amy, her mother, and her grandfather.  It was a fun hike.  The view from the mountain trails let you see for 50 miles or more, with views into downtown Phoenix and the mountains surrounding the Valley of the Sun.
The trip was really good, and it was an excellent way to bring in 2012.  Thank you so much to the Davis family for being such excellent hosts, and also to the Koffel family and the Sinex family for making me feel welcome!  I appreciate your willingness to share the holiday weekend with me!

Amy and I at Montezuma's Castle

Amy and her grandfather, Jerry, on a trail in the White Tanks
A great way to watch the last sunset of the year

Beautiful things along Highway 89A

Me, Amy, and Amy's dad, Greg, near Montezuma's Castle

Jean, Amy's mom, with Amy watching the sun set over Sedona


Jean said...

We really enjoyed your visit too. Hope we see you out our way again soon!
Jean and Greg

J.S. said...

Thanks for everything! You guys showed me a whole new side of Arizona!