Heading south…


September 16, 2017

Sedona, Arizona Arizona flag


Brush fire on homebound I-17

This is the last day of our trip. We are already home, meaning in Arizona. And nature may have said the best for last on our 3,000-mile journey through the American West.

Or not. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as Elizabeth remarked this morning on our 2.5 hour-hike on the Hiline trail. And what a hike it was!

Take a look at these panorama shots first we took from the trail.


I have not been hiking much this summer due to excessive and prolonged heat in and around our home in Scottsdale. Elizabeth had not done it all until yesterday (at the Walnut Canyon) and today in Sedona. So what had been a fairly easy trail for us in the past, turned into a challenge this morning.

Elizabeth quit it three times – at about 50%, 75% and 95% points of the trail. Each time, I would give her the bottle of water from my backpack, set her on a rock in a shade of a large juniper, and then continue the hike. And each time, she pressed on until I spotted her and waited for her to rejoin me.

When I reached the end of the trail, which offered a gorgeous panoramic view of the Cathedral Rock, Thunder Mtn, Coffee Pot (“and other Sedona pots and pans,” as I jokingly said to Elizabeth), I took out my flute and played “El Condor Pasa”.

Elizabeth heard it and pressed on again. Just as I was getting ready to head back, she emerged from the Juniper bushes at the at of the trail.

“Good for you!”, I yelled and hugged her, complimenting on her perseverance.

It was only now, when I researched Sedona trails, that I found out that this hike is rated as “difficult.”


LENGTH: 3.2 miles 1-way
RATING: Difficult
ELEVATION: 4086′ – 4646′

I would never have guessed that based on our previous 2-3 times we had done this trail. But maybe today, in 81F-heat, I would agree with the Arizona Hiking authors.


On our way back from the Hiline Trail on Sep 16, 2017, I spotted for the first time a rock that looked like an eagle with its wings high up. It lies east of the Courthouse Rock.

It reminded me of a wooden sculpture of just such an eagle I have in my office at our Scottsdale home.

I don’t know if anyone has ever named this rock as such before, but if not, here is the Sedona Eagle Rock for you.


Our road trip ended the way it started – in smoke.

When we left home on Sep 5, the smokey haze caused by extensive forest fires throughout the western states, had even reached Arizona.

When we reached the Grand Tetons and Jenny Lake, the smoke was so intense that we changed the course of our entire trip. Instead of a Tour of the Rockies, we made it a Tour of the Sierra Nevadas. Instead of continuing north to Canada, we turned southwest and headed for California.

Even as we were driving from Sedona to Scottsdale around noon time today, we remarked about how beautifully clear the air in Arizona is now – by contrast to 12 days ago.

Well, that lasted until we passed the Sunset Point on the I-17. As soon as we headed down the hill from there, I notice smoke rising to the left (east) of the freeway. It was not extensive like before, but it was there,

“Somebody must be burning something,” I remarked to Elizabeth.

A short time later, it became clear that this was not some backyard barbecue gone awry. The brush fire that created all that smoke had somehow sprung right next to the highway. Which gave me a chance to take all these shots are we were approaching it. Slowly.

It was about the same time that two fire engines arrives. As I was taking the last two shots in this series, we were so close to the fire we could hear it crackling like logs in a fireplace.

Anyway, it did not look like a big fire so I hope the firemen had put it out by now.

And with that – this is THE END of this travelogue.

 * * *

Tour of Sierra Nevadas header



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