In a sunny hike today swathed in the brilliance of Sedona’s red rocks, I smelled my first Ponderosa pine. It smelled of a rich vanilla, and in the warmth of today’s sunshine I was so happy to be in the beauty of these woods I just about hugged these gorgeous old pines. They age for over a hundred years before they shed their black outer bark, and the warm yellows smell of vanilla, cinnamon, butterscotch… basically all the best smells in the kitchen surfacing in the old forests.
In case you’re confused, while not a NP, we’ve been tucked away in Sedona and the Verde Valley this last week. Due to (yet another) snowstorm in the West, we pushed back our hiking trip down into the Canyon and have been enjoying Sedona with family instead. It’s a magical spot in creation, and I see why my sister (among others) have fallen so in love. It’s a good reminder that the National Parks don’t have a monopoly on beauty in America – with 4 million visitors a year Sedona beats out most of the 59 NPs in popularity with visitors.
My laptop has also taken this inopportune time to seize up and die, so we are a few National Parks behind on our blogging. But part of this year was to rise to all challenges, be it dead RV batteries, live rattlesnakes or inadequate tech, so I will be blogging by iPhone till all is fixed. Please forgive all typos and inconsistencies, not to mention iPhone photos.