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Ode to the Southwest

  On a couple of nice occasions I was able to visit the southwest and spend quality sightseeing time enjoying very unique things that you don't see living back in the midwest.

  First of all, you have to be tolerant of dry heat that can quickly escalate to over 110 degrees in the summer time.   However, the heat is really not bad because it is a low humidity dry heat and it just feels hot but not that intolerable.   After a couple of days in the Southwest, you adapt to the weather and find it a rather pleasing change of pace.  

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  My visit to Tombstone, AZ was very rewarding in the sense that it portrayed some eerie history about the old west.   I was actually standing on the same ground where the world famous gun battle took place at the O.K. Corral.   The gun battle I refer to happened on Oct 26, 1881 at 2:47 in the afternoon on a rather chilly, windy and overcast day between a horse stable and some sheds on Fremont street.   Three cowboys died that day in a gun fight that became world history which lasted only about 30 seconds.   Wyatt Earp along with his brothers Virgil, Morgan and an alcoholic former denist named John Henry "Doc" Holiday (all four considered the law) confronted Ike and Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury (the cowboys) over some bar room alcohol related disagreements the evening before.   The close range six foot away gun battle resulted in Billy Clanton dying from a chest wound, Frank McLaury dying from a stomach wound, and Tom McLaury dying from multiple wounds from "Doc" Holiday's shotgun.   Also wounded in the fight were Virgil Earp who received a leg wound, Morgan Earp with a shoulder wound and "Doc" Holiday with a grazed left hip.   Wyatt Earp went unscathed.

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  A visit to the southwest would not be complete without a spectacular gander at the Grand Canyon.   About the size of Switzerland, the canyon has been mapped at 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and just a few feet shy of a mile deep.   It is absolutely mind-boggling that this beautiful region is the result of erosion crafted by the Colorada river over millions of years.  The very first time you affix your eyes on the canyon, it is the most uplifting experience you can imagine ... I'll never forget mine! I entered the park on the south rim on a beautiful sunny, windy day approximately 2:00 in the afternoon.   After paying a small token fee at the gate, I was handed some brochures with maps and points of interest.   From there you drive through a forest of large pine trees along a nice paved curving road to various parking areas near the edge of the canyon which is still hidden by trees.   Once you step out of your car you begin to develop a natural high and sense of awareness about yourself.  Your conscience is making you fully aware that you are indeed just moments away from witnessing one of the seven wonders of the world in all its wonderful glory and miracle-like fulfillment.   I walked briskly up the paved walkway towards the lookout area called Mohave Point.   As I crested the path where the walkway ended and the rock turnout started, I could not believe what I was viewing, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the magnificent, breathtaking, incredibly beautiful wonder.  There it was!   You can read books and look at pictures all day long about the Grand Canyon but until you actually feel, see, experience and stand amidst the beauty, then you will never know the full power of the senses that abounds here.   Views change with the time of day because of reflected light that angles off the different rock faces as the sun moves.   My favorite ultimate view is the sunset/sunrise times because the canyon becomes one giant prism of color and light.

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    My adventure into the charm and mystique of the red rock back country of Sedona, AZ began on a beautiful hot, sunny day without a cloud in the sky.   Probably the fastest and best way to view all that Sedona has to offer is to take one of the many Jeep tours that are offered.   The particular day I was there I decided to pass on the guided tour and followed the tourist map by driving to the nearest parking area next to the attraction and "hoofing it".

      To be continued ....

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Southwest places I have visited ...
Grand Canyon
The Biosphere
The Devil's kitchen
Las Vegas
The OK Corral
Catalina mtns
Hoover dam

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Things unique to the Southwest ...

Dry heat
Desert animals
Cactus & desert plants
Fantastic sunsets

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