September 7, 2019

Highs and Lows

I know regular readers enjoy posts that feature pictures of places Betty and I visit. If so, you are in luck.

A few weeks ago we headed north for a 4 day trip to revisit a few places we enjoy: Flagstaff and The Grand Canyon. With temperatures predicted to be around 110 at home, even the mid 80s up north seemed pleasantly cool. 

Flagstaff was our first stop. Surprisingly, we were a bit disappointed this time around. The downtown had several more vacant storefronts than we remember. Our favorite place to eat is gone. Another that offered nice dinners on an outdoor patio had become the home of fast-casual type meals. The homeless population has increased while the streets and parks are less clean. Overall, things just felt more frayed at the edges. 

Even so, the weather cooperated, with clear sunny days. We decided it was a good time to ride the ski lift to the top of Snowbowl ski resort, about 20 minutes north of town. During the winter, several hundred inches of snow blanket the slopes and the 55 different trails.

Our visit was much more to our liking: low 70's and nothing but wildflowers, green grass, and towering trees. The 25 minute trip up the lift travels to 11,500 feet. Though still 1,000 feet below the highest peak,  the view is amazing. We saw the Grand Canyon some 70 miles away,  mountainous volcano cones in every direction, beautiful meadows, and even the beginnings of a forest fire on a distant ridge. The Forest Service was aware of the blaze and letting it burn, but the sight was still a little unsettling. 

Here are some pictures that don't really capture the total quiet and peacefulness, but give you a chance to armchair travel (without the effects of rather thin air over two miles above sea level).













Less than two hours north is the Grand Canyon. A mile deep in some places, covering well over 200 miles from end to end this is a really big hole in the ground. Even though the distance from the popular South Rim to the less-visited North Rim is just 10 miles, to drive from one to the other takes five hours;  there's this wide chasm in between, you see.

This is one of the few places in the country where the majority of people are not starting at cell phone screens. To walk along the trail near the edge of the canyon does not lend itself to distracted strolling. Instead, thousands are using the built-in cameras or simply enjoying the breathtaking beauty and power of the place.

Another thing we noticed were the number of languages being spoken by the clusters of people walking by us. German, Japanese, Italian, Greek, Polish and others we didn't recognized filled our ears. English was very much in the minority.

















Obviously, this little fellow has done this before

Beautiful sights, a great time to reconnect as a couple, and some lasting memories. Thanks, Northern Arizona.





16 comments:

  1. Nice post and pics. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Nice photos. We were at the Grand Canyon in 2012. Doesn't look like much has changed! We were in Flagstaff this past May ... and didn't notice your complaints, maybe b/c it was our first time there. We stayed at the Hotel Monte Vista right downtown and loved the location and the oldtime feel -- altho' the room was tiny. We also enjoyed an evening at Lowell Laboratory. We'll be back ... and maybe next time we'll take that ski lift at Snowbowl.

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    1. Over the 30+ years we have lived in Arizona we have been tro Flagstaff at least a dozen times. This last visit was the first time we noticed the changes.

      Lowell Observatory is a fascinating place to visit and gives you a great view of the city. We have been there a few times when they offer nighttime telescope use...absolutely overwhelming.

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  3. Sounds like a great get-away for you two. Love your narrative and the photos.

    Your comment about the languages being spoken at the Grand Canyon: I'm closer to Niagara Falls and it's the same way there. Been that way since I first went as a kid. It speaks---no pun intended---to the natural beauty of places like these and, in my opinion, it adds to the mystique of being there, the smallness of mankind next to the vastness of Mother Nature.

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    1. All the languages were strong reminders that we share more with others than we may realize. Betty and I were pleased that families from other countries felt free to visit such a wonder of the world.

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  4. Hi, Bob,
    There's a lot to like about wildflowers, green grass, and towering trees. Your pictures are great! Thanks for sharing! Joe

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    1. Being in nature, even if rather warm (or hot, for most), is worth the effort. Thank you, Joe.

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  5. Replies
    1. Betty took several. I will pass along your kind words.

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  6. Love the photos. I think the Grand Canyon was one of the first places I visited that made me think I couldn't capture the amazing beauty on film (obviously back in the day). Yosemite was another. They're really sacred spaces IMO. Glad you had a good getaway!

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    1. I completely agree with you! There are some places on this earth that you can only view in awe, enjoying and absorbing the beauty around you. Descriptions and photos will never do them justice.

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  7. Beautiful photos, especially of the Grand Canyon. Now you can paint some of them!

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    1. I can try! Yesterday I worked on painting pine trees.

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  8. A brief time away from home does much to refresh and renew our bodies and souls. Bob, you and Betty are fortunate to live in a beautiful area of the country and close to such a magnificent natural wonder. What a great getaway! Enjoyed the pics, too!

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    1. About 2 hours south of us, near Tucson, is another cool spot to check out: Mt. Lemmon.

      There is a ski resort there, too, though not as extensive as Snowbowl. But, at 9,000 feet it is a cool option during our endless summers.

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