As I watch the news of CA on fire, my heart goes out to those in harm’s way. Having been through our own fire, stamping it out in our neighbors yard, watching the flames from our back deck, and still in the midst of the aftermath and burn area around us – I feel their pain more than ever.
We wandered around Oak Creek and West Fork Trail enjoying the gorgeous environment of Sedona, and I couldn’t help but think of all the gorgeous countryside around the wineries of Sonoma that we have been to many times.
I hope and pray that the fire fighters are safe, homes are saved, and these terrible fires can be controlled, put out, and CA can move on to the repair, restore, and heal from this awful time.
We have explored the backroads of Arizona extensively. Along our travels we have been fortunate enough to see all sorts of amazing scenery, and wonderful animal sightings. I always feel blessed to have these great animals cross our paths at the same time they cross ours. Some animals are common to see, elk and deer for instance. Others, not so much, but we have seen… bobcat, turkey, and even bear.
On a recent trip to Sedona we saw this elusive little critter practically under our feet. We spot lighted him with our flashlight and caught a fleeting shot. It’s a ringtail cat!
Apparently, it’s the Official State Mammal of Arizona (who knew?). They have a fox-like face with pointed ears and a long distinctive tail. The ringtail is part of the raccoon family… note, the familiar striped tail. They live in a riparian habitat in the rocks near water, making Sedona a prime area (apparently). They are noctural creatures, only coming out at night. So, we were lucky to catch of glimpse of him.
We had been taking night shots at an overlook in Sedona when he scurried across us, curious what we were he came back for a another quick look. Funny how that happens. Sometimes it is all about being in the right place at the right time.
Blasphemy, I know! Sedona has stunning views, no doubt. But there is something real and genuine about Flagstaff. What’s not to like in city that is littered with start up breweries and coffee roasteries. Flagstaff has more boutique breweries (NOT affiliated with any big beer company) than anyplace I know. Let’s see there is Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Brewing Company, Mother Road Brewing Company, Lumberjack Brewing Company, , Darksky Brewing, and Wanderlust Brewing Company. That’s SIX small breweries. You don’t have to like beer to understand that there is a mentality and state of mind that comes with small breweries. The people are free birds, a little hippi-ish, and proud of their passion and want to share.
It doesn’t stop with breweries… Flagstaff is home to not 1, but 2 Farmer’s Markets weekly PLUS a Farmer’s Market store PLUS an Urban Market every 2nd Saturday. It has SEVEN coffee Roasters spread across it’s charming but condensed small city. Now maybe that’s common in big cities… but it’s unheard of in such a small town. This entrepreneurial mindset demonstrates the passion that Flagstaff residents exude and want to share with their community. It’s not out of sense of making big bucks or charging high prices, but moreover sharing the products they care about and are proud of, with their community.
While Flagstaff may not be have the stunning landscape that Sedona has, it makes up for it in character and the great outdoors. It’s filled with walking paths, trails, hiking areas and National Forest. It’s a great place to camp, hike, forage and enjoy the abundant wildlife and unburdened (no fee) forests.
It also DOESN’T have the high prices, ticky tack souvenir stores, floods of tourists, or hoity toity-ness that define Sedona. You don’t have to pay to park on the side of the road (like in Sedona) or fight the insane traffic to get from one end to the other (though Flagstaff has it’s fair share of traffic – unfortunately).
Did you know that Sedona has the only McDonald’s in the world with a turquoise arch (rather than the standard yellow)? The Sedona city council deemed the yellow McDonald’s arch ‘too garish’, despite the fact that many business (including Hertz) have yellow logos along the same street. That’s Sedona. Flagstaff’s McDonald’s arch is yellow. Need I say more?
I just got back from an amazing workshop in Sedona with Scott Stulberg. Have you seen Scott’s work? Simply put, it’s stunning. I was looking forward to the opportunity to learn from Scott and further my knowledge particularly in sunsets, night, and star scenes. I was not disappointed. While it rained during our 4 day workshop, Scott was very accommodating and worked hard to make sure we got good shots and had a great time. The workshop was intense and informative. In short, outstanding!
I remember when I used to travel, I used to complain when the weather wouldn’t be perfect. No doubt there is something pleasant about a sun shiny day. But where’s the fun it that. Adverse weather brings out all sorts of new adventures… people coming in out of the rain looking for shelter, and a friend… animals getting out on a shady cool no shadow day… and us photographers looking for rainbows… or snow… or fog…
We went to Sedona for the weekend… and it snowed. It’s not often you see snow on the Red Rocks. It was pretty awesome.