So in case anyone doesn't know (and I believe I have told the whole world by now because I have been telling anyone that will listen)...we are moving!!! We are moving to start a new kind of adventure in Chicago. We are moving to live the downtown lifestyle of public transit, walking, farmers markets, street festivals, and theater!!! We have really loved living in Arizona for the past 2.5 years, but we are ready for seasons and family again!
Our favorite thing about living in Arizona is all of the outdoor activities. We have taken full advantage of all the hiking, biking, and camping that was within a 2 hour drive. We have done Camelback and some other in the city hikes, we have gone caving in Tucson, driven the Apache Trail, but our favorite place is Sedona. It sounds tiered to anyone who lives here, but those gorgeous red rocks contain a bit of magic. In all honesty we only spent one trip doing any shopping and dining, every other trip has been grungy! : )
Our favorite campground in Sedona is Manzanita. I love that I can now spell that without having to look it up!!! Manzanita is a small campground nestled into the valley of the Oak Creek Canyon. Oak Creek is a beautiful, cold, stream that collects in small pools deep enough for cliff diving and swimming at some points and creates small, quick, rapids in other sections. The sun rises late and sets early in the canyon so even during the hot summers it is the perfect temperature for most of the day. The fire rings provide warmth and the stream gives you a cool escape.
This was our first camping trip with the two dogs and they did great! Oliver loved being able to lay outside and Bella's favorite past time is stick munching. The two of them got a bit dirty, but we great in the tent and on their blanket outside the tent.
I did not bring my camera hiking for fear it would get wet, so I did not get to grab any hiking photos this time. We hiked back into the trail at Red Rock Crossing and let the dogs off leash once we were far back enough. They love to run, play chase and SWIM!!! It is so nice to see Bella so happy in the cool water. We will fetch ANYTHING out of the water. If your dog does not fetch his toy, be prepared for Bella to fetch hers and then jump right back in to retrieve the other stranded toy.
Give them both a stick and they end up picking a favorite and playing tug-of-war until eventually Bella wins...here is the progression of events.
We had so much fun escaping into the quiet. I had time to read and relax and Evan had time to explore, enjoy cheap beer in head sized cans, build fires, and try his hand at widdling. He was actually quite good at it. He started with a blonde wood branch about one and a half inches wide by 7 inches tall. He was carving out a bear and got quite a bit done. The legs and stature are very well defined. He said to toss it, but I put it in the rubermaid with the rest of the camping stuff for him to work on next time.
The strangest story for me was this. My maiden name is Ingram for those of you that do not know. During our whole camping trip there was this couple camping next to us who would leave before we got up, presumably before at least 6:30am and not return until we were through with dinner, about 9:30pm. We only saw them once in daylight. We went on like that as neighbors for 3 days and 2 nights. The last day they packed in while we cooked breakfast and were gone with the morning sun. As we took our time packing up my last duty was to go around and pick up any small shred of trash (whether it was ours or not). I cannot stand to litter in such beautiful nature. As I went around one more time I noticed a scrap of paper near our neighbors campsite marker. I picked it up and lo and behold their last name was Ingram. We had been camping next to Ingrams that entire time and they were so aloof we never exchanged so much as pleasantries. All I could think was that had I been my Aunt Sue I would have known this piece of trivia days ago!!! Here is a photo of our ticket and theirs.
There are not a lot of Ingrams. Sometimes you will see one on the football field, but I have never meet another one. So - if the Ingrams from Nevada are out there - white male firefighter (your bumper sticker gave you away) about 26 and white female about 24 - "Hello, how are you?" : )
Thank you Sedona for all of the memories. I will miss your majestic red rocks and the way strong grey thunder clouds change the landscape and give ways to redder reds and bluer blues.