SEDONA: BEAUTIFUL MORNING HIKE IN RED ROCK COUNTRY

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.

HEART FLUTTER AFTER REENTERING ARIZONA, HIKING IN WALNUT CANYON TO 900-YR OLD CLIFF DWELLINGS

When we crossed the border between Nevada and Arizona after driving over the Hoover Dam, my heart fluttered for joy. "We are home again," I said to Elizabeth. "And my heart knows it." I then told her about the same warm feeling in my heart when I returned to Arizona 16 years ago, in September 2011, after cruising through 10 western states right after 9/11. During our drive on the I-40 toward Flagstaff, Elizabeth suggested we make a side excursion to the Walnut Canyon. She remembered visiting there 17-18 years ago the ancient Indian cliff dwellings from the 12th century.  It was a great idea and a fun detour on our route to Sedona, our final destination for tonight. Even though Arizona has been my home for three and half decades, I had never been there before.

LEAVING SIERRA NEVADAS, SEEKING “LOVE” IN “SIN CITY”

After two wonderful days at Mammoth Lakes, Elizabeth and I continued out journey south. Our ultimate destination was Las Vegas, Nevada. But for the first couple of hours of our drive, we paralleled the southeast Sierra Nevadas. SEEKING "LOVE" IN "SIN CITY" Those who know me well, also know that I hate Las Vegas with a passion. The city's real name should be Sin City. It stands the worst of the US traits... greed, love of money, belief in a free lunch, porn etc. But Las Vegas has one redeeming feature. Occasionally, the casinos put on good shows, like tonight's performance of the acclaimed musical - The Beatles LOVE: Legendary Musical | Cirque du Soleil​ at the Mirage (see https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/beatles-love).

SPECTACULAR SIERRA NEVADAS, YOSEMITE

We have seen the Rockies. We have seen the Alps. We have seen the Andes. I have seen the Himalayas. And after all that, I can say that the Sierra Nevadas and its jewel - the Yosemite National Park - are every bit as beautiful if not more so. But don't take my word for it. Check out some of the pictures Elizabeth and I took during our drive from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite, where we are spending the night.

BEAUTIFUL LAKE TAHOE

It was a perfect day for sightseeing. The sky was as clear as a bell, and the deepest lake in the United States (600 ft) as calm as can be. So before we actually got to our today's destination - South Lake Tahoe - we stopped at a scenic point to take these beautiful shots of Lake Tahoe. And for Elizabeth to go foraging for pine cones. She is already planning her Christmas decorations in her mind. 🙂

TWIN FALLS ENCHANT, NEVADA CASINOS DON’T

This morning, we awoke to a beautiful clear day in Twin Falls, Idaho. It was the first time in several weeks that we have had such good visibility. Even the air in Arizona was affected by the far-away western forest fires before we left on this trip. We used the chance to see how and why the town of Twin Falls got its name. We drove to the twin falls, about 5 miles east of the town. And here are the pictures we took there.