One night and a hike in Sedona

We spent just enough time in the charming Sedona last week to make me wish we lived there.  We started the morning in Phoenix and drove north to visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, or rather two of us did and the one with pneumonia and I drooped our way back to the car and drank juice and coughed until it was time to go.  I got just enough of a look to be amazed, and realize any pictures I took made it look like a doll house in the rocks. Guy overheard a teenager lie to his sister that this was Montezuma’s summer home.  *snort*  

We drove on through Jerome (more on that coming soon) and finally made it to Sedona just in time to be crushed to realize The Red Planet Diner is no longer.  We mourned the loss of Space Junk, the entree, then found a worthy replacement at MoonDog’s Pizza.  Granted, we were starving, but I’m still pretty sure the pizza and ancho chicken sandwich and spaghetti were great.  I wanted to ask the owner if he was Moondog, expecting some old hippie, and was grateful I didn’t….because we heard a pack of coyotes singing and chattering three times that night and I put it together.  Aha.  Moondogs are coyotes.  See, here, we hear a couple coyotes do a low howl now and then, but the moondogs in Sedona have a LOT to say.  Especially at the full moon.

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Moonrise over Sedona

Even after a night filled with coyotes, snoring, and two coughing kids, we were sufficiently reenergized by breakfast at Nick’s to go on a short hike before the day heated up.  We headed to Boynton Canyon in a designated Red Rock Secret Wilderness of the Coconino National Forest to hike the Vista trail for the supposed vortex at the end.  We’ll take all the good mojo we can get for the Peanut. Perfect for us.  Gorgeous and restorative, and only one of us needed a piggy-back ride back to the trail head. We’ll go back again and hike some more of those beautiful red rocks for sure.

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After a roadside picnic, we piled back in the car for a drive along Oak Creek Canyon, a thirteen-mile stretch I remember well from the first time my husband and I drove it; I was pregnant and the curves and the dizzyingly close canyon walls were intense and nauseating.  This was a much easier drive.  We stopped at the canyon rim and got a chance to get out and look back….and promise to come back again soon.  Thanks, Sedona!

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Dinosaurs of Arizona

The other main reason we went to Arizona last week was to see dinosaurs.  The dino-philes amongst us had heard there were some fine Triassic fossils, models and murals spread throughout Arizona.  Some of us researched how and where to see every last dinosaur and dinosaur-like creature in the state.  We also brought some of our own and showed them around.

Now, my kids were beyond bored with the amazing facts about the Grand Canyon, including the that the top layer of earth there is Kaibab limestone, rock older than the dinosaurs.  As you proceed down the canyon, the rock gets even older, with the deepest part of the canyon being 1.5 Billion, with a “B” years old!! (Vishnu and Zoroaster formations. Geonerds, check out this awesome geologic map of Arizona. )

Of more interest was the rock formations left from the early and late Triassic periods (Moenkopi and Chinle) for the Postosuchus and the Coelophysis fossils they contain.  (That’s “crocodile from past” and a 10-foot-long bipedal, carnivorous early dinosaur.)

We looked high and low and this is what we found…

In Flagstaff’s Museum of Northern Arizona

In Petrified Forest National Park and the park’s Rainbow Forest Museum, Arizona

 

At the Museum of Natural History of Mesa

*What a gem of a museum.  The Dinosaur Mountain exhibit is several stories high and combines geologic layers of rock with animatronic dinosaurs, animal, and plant life from the corresponding age.  The flight exhibit was also a bit jumbled, but worth visiting.  Not pictured is the Dino Zone, a room for kids to touch, climb and explore around life-size models of  a stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, and triceratops set in front of realistic background murals where my children spent more time than the rest of the museum combined, crawling in and out of a tube.  Because they were raised by animals.*

And then there was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

 

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Some of us see dinosaurs everywhere 

May you too find dinosaurs wherever you look.

We’re Not in Arizona Anymore

Later, I’ll post a fraction of the dinosaurs and dinosaur-like things we saw on vacation, but right now, I’m going to bitch and moan for a few minutes.  Feel free to skip if you’ve had enough already, but I’m going to sit here with my greasy fingers, eating my cold latkes and list off my most pressing worries:

  1. She’s sick. Of course. She was better, almost, and then she finished her antibiotics, came home and she coughed her disgusting, croupy, pneumonia cough all night long.  Again.  Don’t worry, though—her tummy and head still hurt too.
  2. She’s stressed and went to school in tears. (Although, her brother got up early, got ready early and walked himself to the bus stop with absolutely no cattle-driving done by me.  Miráculo!)
  3. Her new doctor says “let’s give a few more days.”  Sure.  What’s a few more days of misery when it has been years.  Sure.

She started coughing last night and I went out to find something, anything, for her, and instead ate two brioche buns with “butter” and raspberry jam in about a minute as buffer against another sleepless night.

And now we wait.  We wait for school to call to say she’s miserable, her tummy hurts, her head hurts, she coughed up something.  We wait for another couple days to call her doctor back and say “Nope, she’s not better.”  And we wait for summer and better times.

Let’s think about vacation and how easy everything was, even if she was miserable, and then replace all water intake with coffee and/or cheese.  Say “We’re just fine” to people who ask, go for the shortest of runs, cancel acupuncture appointments because we’re too stressed to be still with our thoughts, inspect the blinds and find mold all up the back of them and contemplate burning it all down.

*deep breath*

That’s all for today, folks.  Another edition of “Mom’s Thoughts” at another panicked moment in the future.

 

 

The Grand Canyon, April 2017

Ostensibly, this recent trip was about taking the kids to see the Grand Canyon….and they both thought it was a total dud.  I joked beforehand with a friend who had taken her young kids about the whining, “Moooom.  We’ve been here twenty minutes and haven’t even seen a condor yet. Lame.”  In reality, it was less than a minute, no lie, before my six-year-old daughter turned to me and said “I can’t believe we drove a HALF HOUR to see this.”  (Bless her heart.  We actually took a week vacation, a four hour flight and did five hours combined, driving, to get here…but still.)

I’ll put up lots more from our trip in the following days, but here’s some of the best pictures from our morning at the Canyon.  For your viewing pleasure, none of the wilting or whining or “mood enhancers” (Jolly Ranchers, handed out at desperate times,) are included.  But, there IS a condor!

I haven’t enhanced or filtered any of these, only cropping one and spot-removing grit form three images.  The colors of the canyon are muted in the morning and develop as the sun moves overhead.  If you’re not eight and/or hot, tired,crabby, or generally miserable, it would be amazing to stay the day and watch the colors of the rocks “change”.