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Month: December 2015

Parents visit – part III: Sedona

Parents visit – part III: Sedona


After Desert View succumbed to darkness we headed south to Sedona. There too the stars eluded me another night.

On Friday morning we headed under overcast skies to Cathedral Rocks. Sam and I hiked all the way up to the “saddle” point and back. Then we headed to Bell Rock, where our vertical ascent was stopped by rainfall.

Knowing that the rain would only last an hour or so we refueled and headed to Devil’s Bridge.

The hike to the bridge was described more than once by people coming back from it as “very vertical” and difficult.

Sam and I somehow lost the trial (mom and dad didn’t come that far) and went straight up the hill, but still didn’t find it that difficult. On the way down we found the proper stone stairway leading up to the bridge. I’d classify it as an extremely easy hike compared to the Grand Canyon.

After hiking more than any other day on the trip (about 13 miles), we retired to Mariposa Grill for a birthday dinner for my father.

On our last day in Sedona it snowed in the morning, so we hurried to all the viewpoints to take photos of the mist on the snowy peaks. Afterwards we took coldwater “Scenic” road, which turned out not so scenic, but took us back to red rocks state park.

We walked a few miles around red rocks state park, visiting Eagle’s Nest and observing a family of deer.

On the way out of the Sedona area we stopped at a few more viewpoints before chasing the rain to Phoenix.


Parents visit – part II: Grand Canyon

Parents visit – part II: Grand Canyon


On Monday morning we flew to Phoenix and picked up a rental to drive to the Grand Canyon, arriving long after dark.  Sam and I went to Mather Point for star photography, but unfortunately the sky was cloudy. The canyon, which spread before us, was completely black and invisible. We knew it was out there, but couldn’t see it. The moon was absent and the stars so disguised by clouds that even a five minute exposure on my full-frame camera didn’t show the canyon (except for the tiny lights at the basecamp by the river). I didn’t try for long, assuming we’d get a clear sky another night (boy was I wrong!).

Tuesday morning we tried the breakfast at Yavapai Lodge. It was overpriced prison food and we never ate at the lodge again for the duration of our stay.  e decided to try Hermit’s Rest trail. We got about a mile and a half down and turned back. The rest of the day we visited the other stops on the (not running in winter) red route.

We decided to try Hermit’s Rest trail first. We got about a mile and a half down and turned back. The view was okay, but Hermit’s Rest is sort of at the western edge of a single canyon, which obstructs the broader views of what you normally think of as the Grand Canyon. The views probably wouldn’t get better unless we hiked halfway down to the river, a good six miles, so we opted to turn around. The rest of the day we visited the other stops on the (not running in winter) red route.

The rest of the day we visited the other stops/viewpoints on the (not running in winter) red route. We went back to Mather Point for a rather uneventful sunset. The stars were even more hidden than the first night. Worse than Los Angeles.

The second day we started out on the famous Bright Angel trail, which had much better views than Hermit’s. Here, too, we turned back after about a mile and a half. The rest of the day we went to the remaining stops on the orange route, driving all the way to Desert View. Finally, we came back for a stunning pink and purple sunset at Yaki Point.

The same clouds that made the sunset so great made the stars impossible to see once again.

On our last day, we hiked Kaibob Trail down to Cedar Ridge.

Afterwards we drove to Desert View for another sunset that sadly turned out as uneventful (i.e. no color) as the one 48 hours before at Mather Point. We agreed that Kaibob was the best trail of the three we’d tried.

Parents visit – Part 1

Parents visit – Part 1

On December 3rd, my parents flew in for a visit.

The next morning we dropped off Sam at work and borrowed her car. We went to a church that mom wanted to see for its stained glass windows, then the Wende Museum, the cemetery next door, then I dropped them off at the Grammy Museum (parking was impossible thanks to Jimmy Kimmel filming a band outside).

Afterward, we picked Sam up and headed home to watch the first of the three hobbit movies.

The next day I took them to the Forest Lawn cemetery near our condo, then Sam joined us for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Hollywood.

After we got home we watched another hobbit movie before I took them up the trail behind our condo.

After coming back, we watched the last hobbit movie.

On Sunday, we headed to the grove for brunch at the Farmer Market and hiked up the mountain in Griffith Park until sunset.