The first time I ever saw the Pacific Ocean was during last spring's MRS meeting. It holds a special place in my heart as the first California city I ever visited, and I have MRS to thank. However, after the conference ended today, I got the chance to make some new Arizona memories. I drove north to Sedona with some old friends, and along the way saw the raw and powerful beauty of the Arizona landscape. As we left Phoenes, first I was blown away at the beautiful and foreign Saguaro Cacti as we drove up I-17 just to the east of Prescott national park. From there, we ascend a series of mountains until we arrived on a large plateau. As we went, the elevation increased and so did the vegetation. We transitioned from the borders of the Sonoran desert to the grasslands of the higher elevations. From the top we were able to see the distant mountains near Flagstaff, a distant glimpse of the great mountains of the west. Finally, just when I thought things could not get any more beautiful, we descended from the plateau into the v=Verde Valley; appropriately named, it seems, due to the several small stream and river valleys, fed by the mountains to the north, the leave long streaks of green wherever a river flows. Finally the famous red rocks of Sedona emerged like titanic watchmen over the land. All of this happened within a two hour drive of Phoenix. I left a few pictures here from the trip, but my point is this; Phoenix and Arizona have shown me incredible beauty, and I am looking forward to exploring this land for many years to come thanks to MRS.
An Arizona sunset