My vacation to Arizona had been a long awaited one. And must I say that it was fully embraced too. I got to meet an old friend and also the scenery was such a treat to the eyes.

Three days vacation off a hectic week was more than what a software engineer working on H1 would expect (when atleast a 3 week india visit is an unshaking priority.) But I must say that 3 days are nothing to explore a state like Arizona which is rich in National heritage. Sedona, Grand Canyon, Nevajo Reservation, Kartchner Caverns, Tempe, Phoenix, Arizona State Univ, Tucson were a few areas I was fortunate enough to explore.

 Driving into Sedona on scenic highway 179, the gorgeous red rocks craved out in beautiful shapes (bell rock, twin rocks, snoopy rock) offer a breath taking scenery. The Grand Canyon was carved by the Colorado River over a period of thousands of years. Grand Canyon summed up in one word – MESMERIZING. As you get closer and the canyon comes into view, you’ll be struck with awe & wonder by the massive chasm that lays there since thousand of years. You can hike it, camp in the resort a little ways down, or even take a helicopter tour. In all seriousness, if you truly have a heart condition, then drop the “hike” idea as I am told its 15 miles round trip and it takes double the time to traverse ur route back up. This being my first trip there, so I had taken a guided tour. He showed us three scenic points and then we had to head towards an american indian civilization Nevajo Reservation. Nice artifacts and handicrafts and must I say, very expensive too. They say one exquisite rug was once prized at a few hundred thousand dollars (would be so far my most expensive b’day gift if u chose to buy me that 😉 )

 229.JPG bellrock.JPG 179.JPG

The Kartchner Caverns are two caves (Big Room and Throne Room) discovered by two young cavers, Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were exploring the limestone hills at the base of the Whetstone Mountains in Nov 1974. In the bottom of a sinkhole they found a narrow crack leading into the hillside. Warm, moist air flowed out, signaling the existence of a cave. After several hours of crawling, they entered a pristine cavern. It wasn’t until February 1978 that Tenen and Tufts told the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, about their amazing discovery.The cave’s existence became public knowledge in 1988 when its purchase was approved as an Arizona State Park.

We drove from phoenix through tucson to explore the Kartchner Caverns. The drive showed u teh farthest ur eyes could see….at times even 100 miles far away. At Kartchner National Park, we took a 1 1/2 hour tour of Rotunda or the Throne Room. The big room is closed in August as the bats chose to mate there and for the first time, the Govt. chooses not to interfere. 😉
On the throne room tour we discovered the role water has played in the creation of Kartchner Caverns. We saw some of the tiniest, most delicate formations including speleothems, helictites and stalactites found in the cave, as well as the world’s most massive column in Arizona – Kubla Khan:58 feet tall. This tour includes an up-close look at the variety of formations and colors that makes this cave one of the top ten in the world. And for you music lovers…the music that’s played at the end of this tour is entitled “Adiemus” (Virgin Records Ltd.). And remember, it all began with a drop of water………( read more – Kartchner Caves )

To fulfill my quest for exxcitement, there was sunset at Papago park, Echo Canyon, Camelback Mountain,  a guided tour of Arizona state univ by my always busy friend who now happens to be an associate professor there, Bird Eye view of Phoenix and its suburbs from the pinnacle of South Mountain, the A mountain of ASU and Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix Downtown.

The rich and diverse vegetaion, from cactus covered barren lands to grand gorges and canyons and mesas to alpine forests, the vastness of nature forces us to look down upon us as low humble creations of God. Our pride and ego sees a very low lying image in the clear waters of Colorado river. I would really recommend a rendezvous with this miracle of God. A must visit ::