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Arizona – Happy Trails!
The sunny Southwest is a great destination for those preferring domestic travel. Arizona is a large state, yet 90% of the population lives in the greater Phoenix area. This leaves much of the land preserved as National Forests and Parks… The best known is the Grand Canyon (image at left). Ambitious hikers can make it down in less than 4 hours but the climb back up is over 8! My suggestion (if you are under 200 pounds!) is to take the trip by mule down to the base of the Canyon. There are camping facilities and bunk houses at the rustic Phantom Ranch. Natural attractions make for fun family excursions such as the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour in Sedona (image at right). Throughout the state, there are magnificent vistas and site specific architecture. For example, this gate illustrates an organic motif integrated into a Southwest community (image at left). One home I visited had a ceiling covered in bound cactus spines. This installation freed my imagination to consider unusual materials to decorate. Even stones can be incorporated into interesting paving patterns (image at right). Also, the layered colors along the mesas inspire earth toned color schemes. For adults looking for more relaxing venues, resorts abound. One of the luxury resorts in Northeast Scottsdale (near Pinnacle Peak) is the Four Seasons Resort. An oversized stucco hearth with an interesting fire screen and timbered ceiling transplanted to an East Coast Family Room (image at left) would create sculpture and texture to enhance family gatherings. After a visit to the Spa at Troon, lingering by this rustic wood trellis with cactus spines, bougainvillea, and a framed mountain view, reminded me that I was far away from everyday demands (image at right). One of the few remaining authentic cowboy towns is located in Wickenburg (60 miles from Phoenix). Each April, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum organizes a week-long, fundraising ride into the desert…complete with 200 riders and chow wagons (image at left). Some people use old saddles and spurs to supplement other antiques in their homes to create a relaxed ambiance.
Travel tip: Saddle up with a comfortable canvas bag. Mine is ergonomically designed with zippered outside compartments and interior pockets for my camera, passport, cosmetics, cash, etc. (image at right).