Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Stunning Sedona

Our second stopover was at Sedona on our way North towards Grand Canyon National Park. We had seen photos and knew the scenery was going to be dramatic but the beauty that awaited us far surpassed our expectations.
On our drive towards Sedona, we took a slight detour to visit this incredible pueblo cave dwelling called Montezumas Castle, built in the 1100s high up in limestone cliffs and only ever accessible with the use of ladders.
There is a gentle river running by in the valley beneath this cliff which would have been invaluable to the people of that time who lived here. 
Nearby I saw these wonderful trees just asking to be photographed.....
I'll let the photos of the huge red rock formations around Sedona speak for themselves and you'll see that I also met a real Indian Chief!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Home with some wonderful memories!

Well, we're back from America and I'm still up at well past midnight - still on U.S. time I think!
I thought I would take advantage of my jetlag and start posting some photos from our brilliant holiday.
We began our trip in Arizona, staying the first two nights in Mesa, Phoenix.
From there we were able to drive the whole way round the Apache Trail, Sonoran Desert and had our first taste of the rugged desert scenery..............

Spring in Arizona meant that we were lucky enough to see the beautiful flowering cacti that are so plentiful there.

The Sonoran Desert is the only place where the Saguaro cactus grows and it was everywhere we looked - forests of them! It's the largest cactus in the United States and can grow to be between 40 - 60 feet tall and live to be 150 - 200 years old!

This cactus only flowers once it is 50 years old. The flowers are quite stunning, white and bright yellow, and we saw quite a few in flower. However we always seemed to be driving when we saw the best ones and unable to pull over. This is only photo I managed to get of one in flower but only one flower is out here, as you see, the rest are in bud. This was already on full zoom as we were some way off.
Along the way, we visited the Roosevelt Dam and behind it the Roosevelt Lake with an impressive bridge spanning its width.
Then we stopped to walk the trail up to an ancient cave dwelling at the Tonto National Park.
This was built by the Salado people who lived here between 1150 and 1450 A.D.  There are many more of these in Arizona and we saw another even more impressive one on the way to our next destination.
Here's a little feller I managed to capture on camera on the way up to the cave dwelling...he was about 5 inches long to give you some idea of scale and pretty well camoflaged, I think you'll agree.

So that was our first day in Arizona and it just got better and better.
Next stop, Sedona which I'll post tomorrow!