Fellow baby boomers, it’s finally summer and whew, our thoughts finally are turning to vacation. Where will yours take you? Our friends, writers Carol and Paul Viau of Waynesville, North Carolina, have already gotten started, and Carol shares with BoomerCafé’s readers a great idea … if you’re not averse to heights!
Boomers are reaching retirement age at the reported rate of 10,000 every day, and so, many are spending more time traveling than we could during our working years.
We have friends who went on a river cruise in Europe last month. They loved it. But when thinking about traveling, my husband Paul and I try to keep in mind that there is a lot to explore in the good old USA.
Don’t get me wrong — a river cruise in Europe is on our bucket list. But the point is that exciting trips can include great destinations in the states.
Paul and I visited Sedona, Arizona, this spring. It had been twenty years since we vacationed there. We remembered the beauty of the red rocks, of course, but once there, we wondered why it had taken us so long to make a return trip.
This time, we got out into nature and hiked along Oak Creek at Red Rocks State Park. The walking path is a natural draw to artists, who set up easels for the day and paint “en plein air” looking at the view of Cathedral Rock. Walking farther along the path, we came upon hundreds of stacked stones, “cairns” as some call them. What a mystical way to leave a statement that “We were here.” It’s a testament to the Zen of Sedona.
The highlight of the trip was a flight-see to the Grand Canyon. Yes, views from the rim of the canyon are awesome, but the views from the air really showcase the grandeur of America’s contribution the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. We consider it a “must-see” adventure.
Grand Canyon flight-see excursions are available from several companies, departing from Sedona (and some from Phoenix, too) on either a small fixed-wing aircraft or a helicopter. We decided to take two seats in the plane, a nine-seat Cessna with a center aisle so that every passenger has a window view.
Once strapped in, the pilot flew over Sedona’s iconic red rocks and headed north to the Grand Canyon. The half-hour flight to the canyon gave the eight of us onboard terrific photo ops, but nothing could prepare us for the amazing sight flying over the Grand Canyon itself and the Colorado River running through it. Wow. It was eye-candy. Colors of red, orange, and bluish haze in the distance dazzled the senses.
This flight-see included a Jeep tour at the Grand Canyon National Park. After landing at the Grand Canyon Village airport, our group was met by guide “Frankopedia” and a comfortable 10-seat Jeep. Frank, a self-taught naturalist, got the nickname because he is a virtual “Wikipedia” of information on the flora, fauna, and geology of the Grand Canyon.
During the almost three hours on the Jeep, we stopped at South Rim overlooks, listening to Frank’s knowledgeable tour.
Yes, the flight-see is an expensive way to see the canyon. But it was a “once-in-a-lifetime” exciting day — with a definite “Wow” factor.
If high adventure is not your style, there is still more to do down on the ground. Try a laid-back day on the Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail. There are ten stops at craft breweries and restaurants, so you might want to break it up into a few visits. Those into craft beer should look into the ale trail “passport,” with its discounts (visit www.flagstaffaletrail.com).
There is so much to do and see in Sedona and the surrounding area that we’ll just have to go back. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the USA.