Friday, February 17, 2006

Sedona, AZ

First the bad news: there will be no logging for the next two days. Reason being: we are staying put in Sedona and only use the car for errands such as getting groceries, booze and getting to trail heads. We didn't even use the car at all yesterday as the trail we selected to walk started right in our backyard. Or so I thought, by looking at the map. Actually, it started about 1.5 km away from our back yard at the end of Jordan Avenue, the road on which our motel is situated. So that added to the overall length of the trail, which was to be almost 4 km one way. Brilliant sunshine greeted us as we headed out, jovial mood, backpack full of supplies, water, alcohol, jalapeno chips, all good sustenance. Alas, I lied about the chips and alcohol. Almost immediately I spotted a blue bird (appropriately named) in a tree and fired of a couple of shots with my Rebel. We really haven't seen much wildlife in the way of birds or mammals, I suppose the lack of moisture makes it very difficult for it to survive.

Speaking of moisture, nearby Prescott broke a record today with 121 days without rain ( never mind snow). Although today was cloudy, and it actually rained in Phoenix, there was no rain in Sedona. It is very rare indeed to see free standing water here. That's why, when it's cold, it's a "dry cold". I don't know how many times I heard that phrase before and scoffed at it, now I'm afraid I am forced to pick crow from the menu.

I believe the explanation for dry cold goes something like this: Since there is little moisture in the air, not much of it can deposit itself on your skin. Therefore, only a little heat is extracted from your body in order to accomplish evaporation of this moisture.

The explanation for dry heat is this: since the moisture content of the air (relative humidity) is low, any perspiration a person produces readily evaporates, making one feel cooler.

But once again I digress. The trail was relatively rough, with quite a few steep inclines. After an hour, right at the top of the trail, we met some people who told us to make a loop out of it by joining up with another trail. Easily convinced, I fell into the trap. This trail took another 1.5 hours to complete. At the very end of it, almost adjoining the first suburban houses of Sedona, we stumbled upon this truly massive sink hole, measuring roughly 100 m by 100m and 30m deep. You can only wonder what forces of nature were at work to create this enormity. The most fascinating feature though was the fact that all walls were undermined and on the north side a ginormous rock, the size of a small apartment building had broken off from the underside of the upper ridge of the cave. This must have happened sometime between yesterday morning and 10,000 years ago. The fractures lines are so clear, that if one had enough strength and one happened to have a (non leaking) bottle of Krazy Glue in one's pocket, one could pick up the rock and glue it back into place. For perspective, I asked Anne to stand on the last remaining piece of the cave bridge, which she reluctantly did, although cries of "Hurry up" and "Am I being paid for this?" were clearly audible across the canyon floor. I told here to not to worry, that the bridge would likely stand until the next earthquake, but somehow she seemed to attach very little value to my well analyzed statement. Note that if you doubleclick the boulder picture, you might just spot her with hands in the air, as if grasping for straws.

Having safely cleared the sinkhole, we were at the end of the trail, at the outskirts of Sedona. However, we were nowhere near our motel. So now we had to complete the loop by walking back to the motel along a 4 lane highway, with cars zooming by at the rate of 100 per minute. Needless to say a fair amount of grumbling was being done, as we had already walked for 3 hours in the hot blazing sun. Some phrases being carefully formulated and finally uttered were "dyin' of skin cancer", "suckin' up gasoline fumes" and wanting equal time on my blog. I sheepishly decided to avoid a confrontation , bite my tongue, which I did until it bled profusely.

After an hour, we reached the first latte house of Sedona, where I was instructed to order coffee and something good to eat. I desperately searched for jalapeno and cheddar chips, but ultimately only came up with macadamia (sp?) cookies.

We gathered the last strength our legs could muster and walked the last half kilometre home, Anne noticing by the way that this severe senior citizen couple walking ahead of us seemed to go faster than we did.

Finally, we reached home and we had showers and rested. Anne prepared a turkey lasagna we bought at Safeway earlier and it was grand.

Technology wise, I worked on creating a KML creation and upload utility (program), which is now finished. It uses the shareware version of West Wind wwclient classes to perform the FTP action up to my own server. So now, at the end of the day, all I need to do is supply a few parameters and I'm done.

Now the good news: it appears we will live to see another day...

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