Arizona/Grand Canyon                          

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Kathy and Bradley at Montezuma's CastleIn March we set off with our good friends John and Leanne for a trip to Arizona, the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas. John and Leanne are from New Zealand and are both officers in the NZ Air Force, stationed temporarily in Texas. They have sailed with us in the past andplan to join us for some cruising adventures on the next Shear Madness. In the meantime,  we wanted to explore parts of the US none of us had seen before. We met in Phoenix and our first stop was Montezuma's Castle, the home of ancient cliff dwellers who mysteriously disappeared. After a brief hike there, we proceeded to Sedona, Arizona, known for its red hills where we planned some serious hiking. It was still early in the season, so snow covered the ground in places and patches of ice made hiking treacherous at times, but we did long hikes every day. We did have to alter our plan the first day as our planned route took us on a trail with multiple water crossings. With daytime temps peaking above freezing, the river was thigh-deep and very, very cold. So we chose an uphill route instead offering great views, albeit with man-eating cactus that drew blood from more than one of us! Leanne and John in the red hills of Sedona

From Sedona it was on to the Grand Canyon, where again snow and ice limited our hiking to the South Rim trail. But the views were spectacular and we encountered very few people enroute, except at the places where the tour buses stop. It truly is a spectacular sight. We also enjoyed a sightseeing plane ride, giving us great views of the canyon.

Our next stop was the Hoover Dam where we took a tour and learned the history of the dam. It was - and still is - a facsinating engineering feat and well worth a visit. From there it was on to Las Vegas where we enjoyed some great shows and good food. While I tried my luck at the blackjack tables, the others enjoyed (or should I say survived) the roller coaster at the Sahara.

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