We had always wanted to see Sedona, since it is relatively close to home (less than 500 miles, which is pretty close as compared with most of the West). We've also heard that there is some good boondocking not too far from town, and the low elevation (around 4500 feet) means that it would be warmer than the Sierra in the winter.
Just to sample the hiking, we took the popular Courthouse Trail, and we were pleasantly surprised -- the rock formations were beautiful, and the trail was not crowded once we got away from the parking area. The sunlight kept changing all day, and so did the cliffs:
That formation (the Courthouse) is several hundred feet high -- for scale, we are standing on a ledge at the bottom of this photo:
The trail went all the way around the Courthouse:
This is the Cathedral formation, visible from the northwest part of the trail:
We came across a group of healthy-looking ocotillo, which were bright green after the recent rainstorm:
The well-worn boots insisted on this shot -- we were on top of the Baby Bell formation, an easy climb:
The eastern side of the Courthouse was particularly colorful:
After the hike, we stopped off at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built right into the cliff -- this looks post-modern, and yet it was built in the 1950s. It was designed by a female student of Frank Lloyd Wright:
Back in town, we got some ice cream, and I played the pentatonic xylophone next to the Visitors' Center -- a very beautiful tone, made of thick-gauge aluminum tubing and mounted on coated stainless cable, with spacers (felt? rubber?) to help sustain the notes. They are made by an outfit called Freenotes Harmony Park:
Oct. 6: We left for home, with a wonderful overnight stop in the Palm Springs area to see some family members. Excellent pizza was consumed, at last -- I had been wanting pizza for a month.