We kept hearing reports of wretched weather in our home territory -- but in Las Vegas and in Arizona it was beautiful -- unseasonably warm for the mountains of Flagstaff, our first stop.
We were staying with cousins Nancy and Walt, generous hosts who welcomed us far too late at night with open arms and a comfy bed!
This was our view from the bedroom!
After the relentless sounds of Las Vegas, the quiet of this little haven was a joy.
Walt took Rick and me to Walnut Creek Canyon where we walked deep into the canyon to observe the rock dwellings of a thousand years ago.
There is little room to maneuver on the paths that go straight down to the bottom of the
canyon. It's amazing to think how people lived here, hunted antelope or were able to grow what they needed to live.
It was fascinating -- looking up or down, the views were amazing.
Here's one of the "houses." No McMansion here!
The vegetation was beautiful, and I fell in love with prickly pear cactus.
It was a special and fascinating experience.
That evening we were joined by Cousin Jim, along with Nancy's son John and both their children.
Nancy made a fabulous fennel-stuffed salmon...
...and we spent many good hours by the warmth of her Aga, soaking up memories.
The candles provided a soft glow, although I suspect the glow of connecting with one another would have been just fine all by itself!
One highlight was story time, which was simply enchanting.
Another was Hamilton (aka Ham), the Jack Russell I fell for in a big way!
It was early to bed for Rick, because the next day he and Walt were hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back again.
Nancy and I hit the road, shopping in Flagstaff, then in Sedona. The Oak Creek canyon road was one curve after another, with dazzling views on either side.
My favorite stop -- Hummingbirds, a wonderful gift shop.
Needless to say, it was all decked out for Christmas!
Meanwhile, our happy hikers were having a great time at the Canyon. Rick found it a little less great (at least physically!) the next day after the hike back up!
A cozy dinner by the fire was just the ticket.
A trio of folk art angels watched over us. I couldn't help but think of Nancy's mom, mine, and my aunt Grace, the three sisters. They'd be simply loving this!
Even Ham was happy as a clam!
It was hard to draw Rick out of bed the next day so we could leave for Wickenburg, near Phoenix. But the thought of pancakes never seems to fail!
The word of the weekend was cozy --
And after the relentless sounds and stimulation of Las Vegas, it was exactly what was needed!
After a wonderful breakfast and lots of hugs, we were off again --
-- from the mountains to the desert!
We were off to see Cousins John and Pat!
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