Sedona, Arizona

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I was talking to a friend about places to go in Arizona to get out of town. She lives in Phoenix and sometimes she gets tired of being in the city. I was thinking about some of my favorite places when I lived there.

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When I think of my favorite places, Sedona always comes up. There is a little place inside a box canyon called Enchantment Resort, and I have stayed there several times.

It’s a tucked away outside of town in a box canyon, and it’s just such a peaceful, stunning place to take a vacation.

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It doesn’t matter what time of year you go. I think Fall is best because the hiking trails behind the resort have some trees that change color.

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However, it’s a wonderful place to go any time.

Sedona has a wonderful arts scene, and there are lots of galleries to enjoy. There are pink jeep tours, and nature trails all over the place.

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Plus, I think the red rocks are some of the most stunning scenery I have ever seen, of all the places I have been on Earth.

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Of course, not having a DSLR, my humble cell phone pictures can’t begin to convey how beautiful it really is. Even with a real camera, it’s not the same as seeing it in person.

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All I am saying is, if you are in Phoenix and need a break, it’s an amazing place to take one.

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A Year in Oregon

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As you know (if you read my blog) I was in South Korea from January of 2010 to March of 2013. I had a great time teaching there.

After that, I moved to Oregon to visit family from 2014 to 2015. These are some pictures from my year in Oregon, before I moved to Guam.

cannon beach gallery

The art galleries at Cannon Beach are amazing. I love art, and although I don’t buy pieces very much, I enjoy just looking at it. It’s like getting an insight into the mind of another person for a moment.

art in cannn beach

For example, this person saw a canvas and thought it would be three dimensional, so they added sand and rocks to the painting.

I think it’s interesting that many people look at the same thing, and they can all see something different.

bought a piece

In this case, I actually did buy a piece. I really enjoy metal sculptures. I saw this, and I couldn’t help getting it.

Of course the best part of Cannon Beach is going over to Seaside and listening to the waves.

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Sea grass always looks so amazing to me. I am not sure why.

I guess because my dad’s parents had a painting of the Oregon Coast on the wall in their living room, and I always liked to look at it and imagine myself there.

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I love painting that you feel like you can walk into. And it’s amazing to go to the place where the painting was done, and walk into it in real life.

Plus, there’s something about a cold beach that is so refreshing.

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I liked to bring an old Navajo blanket and sit on it, watching the kids play in the water and splash around.

Plus, the Oregon coast has so many cool rock formations to enjoy.


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I love the west coast. I know that the east coast has more history (well, white history) than we do.

However, Oregon has a lot more too it than just the beaches at the coast!

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I went to a pumpkin patch in the Fall, which was something I really missed when I was in South Korea.

Pumpkin patches and hay rides are such an American thing, as is Thanksgiving and turkey.

And of course, we have Christmas traditions too, because we spend it with family instead of as a “date night” like they do in Korea.

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And then, of course, there is spring.

I went to a tulip festival at the Wooden Shoe Farm, which was a new experience for me.

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It was really beautiful, and I had the “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” song stuck in my head the whole day.

tulip close up
Then there was berry picking out at the farms on Sauvie Island.

Koreans don’t consider raspberries to be food because there is a poisonous berry in Korea that looks very similar. I really missed them while I was away!

berry picking
Plus, it’s just nice to be out in farm country. I like the outdoors, and farms are somehow comforting to me.

When I was very young, my parents and I lived in Northern California on a small farm. We moved to Arizona before I started Middle School and Arizona is “home.”

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But, I do love farms. It reminds me of a childhood spent dragging bails of hay to the horses before school and learning to mow the pasture and the yard.

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The hiking is wonderful as well. I went everywhere I could, from Babgy Hot Springs to Silver Falls, and everything in between.

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Actually, there were waterfalls all over Oregon that are quite stunning.

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Sometimes I wasn’t even looking for one, and just came upon one.

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Other times I went out of my way to see them, like my trips to Multnomah Falls, which is a beautiful spot.

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I think the hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, like the hike to Punchbowl Falls, were my favorites in all of Oregon.

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On some of the trails, I was surprised to find rocks stacked up in the same way that you find them outside Buddhist temples.

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I am always surprised by the beauty of nature, and I find that it is healing to the soul.

But of course, I am a city girl in my heart. I love to visit nature, but I also love to be able to go buy eggs at 2am. It sounds weird, but that’s how I am.

And as far as cities, Portland is a great one.

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I loved the International Rose Test Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, and the Japanese Gardens.

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I did get rained on a lot. It’s absolutely true that it rains all the time in Portland. However, that really doesn’t keep it from being beautiful.

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Besides, when it’s usually rainy, we enjoy the sunshine that much more. It’s special.

shakspear garden

Of course, Portland isn’t all gardens. It’s also a big city full of clubs, bars, restaurants, businesses, and everything else.

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I think the most famous place in Portland might be Voodoo Donuts. Locals will tell you that Blue Star Donuts is better, and maybe it is.

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But for me, I like a Bacon Maple Bar from Voodoo donuts on the rare occasion that I want sugar.

Definitely try out The Tardis Room, and  eat all the food. Food is the best part of travel, after all!

And if you’re ever in Oregon, send me an email and I will suggest places to see.

jenifer.delemont@gmail.com

A Book!

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Some of you may remember Choose Your Own Adventure Stories from when you were younger. They were quite popular when I was little, and I loved them because they helped me to feel more engaged in the story.

Well, now Dave Strand (of the band the Strand) has written an Audio Book App for iPhones and iPads which will allow you to relive the awesome media of Choose Your Own Adventure. Instead of having to read the story (who has time for that any more?) the books are all audio, so that you can enjoy them in your car or while you work on other things. After all, it’s so rare these days to be able to sit down and just read a book, but how much time to you spend biking or riding to work?

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So the App Dave wrote is called Multi-Path Audio Books, and you should definitely download it! I thought it was such a great idea that I volunteered to write a story for it. I must admit, with a background in journalism, fiction did not come easily to me. And of course, it’s not so easy to write a story with one beginning and 30 different endings.

To write the story, I actually had to use my entire laundry room as a story board, because while most people can use a simple diagram to keep track of the story lines, I needed to print every single section and tape it to my walls, so that I could read each thread of the story over again before writing the next part.

It was certainly an adventure!

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I really enjoyed writing the story once I decided to set it in Portland and use my family members and friends as characters. I do hope they will forgive me, but I think it’s an expression of how much I miss the place and the people since my husband was deployed to Guam. There really is no place like Portland, and no one as cool as my family (again, sorry guys!)

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So, the story is called The Vampire’s Sister. It is a goofy detective novel full of vampires who do not sparkle in the sunlight. I hope that you guys will consider downloading it when it comes out mid-March 2015. I’m really very excited about it, and I think that even though it is cheesy, you’ll have fun playing it.

I’d like to thank every D&D group I ever played with, because without you guys I know I would never have had the guts to try my hand at fiction or Choose Your Own Adventure.

I have never considered myself to be a creative person. As a journalist I wrote about wonderful artists, musicians, dancers, etc. As an events coordinator with Third Eye Promotions I booked amazing bands and DJs. But I always considered myself the one to write about the creative types, rather than to be one myself. But I guess people change…

Please take a look into Multi-Path Audio Books and check out The Vampire’s Sister if you can. I really, really hope you guys will like it.

Thank you!

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Havasu Falls in The Grand Canyon

The hike into the Grand Canyon to Havasu falls is a hard, 20 mile trek. It is very worth it.

Havasu Falls inside The Grand Canyon
Havasu Falls inside The Grand Canyon

It took me awhile to recover enough to write about the hike through the Grand Canyon to Havasu falls. I do a lot of hiking, and I run at the gym every morning. But nothing prepared me for the level of insane required to do this hike through the Havasupai Reservation. It was the hardest hike I have ever done. It was also the most worth it. Here’s how to do it:

Getting there is not half the fun. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Phoenix. The I-17 takes you to Flagstaff, where you meet the historic route 66 and take it to a tiny Highway known as the 18. Highway 18 is a barren stretch of road with no gas stations or rest stops, and a bad paving job, so be ready for that.

Highway 18 ends at a place the Havasupai tribe call “Hilltop.” There is really nothing there, so I guess that’s all you need to say. We got there around 3am and napped in the back of the Expedition before beginning the hike. If you want to be a pro about it, I recommend staying the night in Kingman so you can arrive refreshed instead of cramped from sleeping in a car. I’m on a budget myself, so a sleeping bag is the hight of luxury for me.

Carl and I heading down from Hilltop at 7am
Carl and I heading down from Hilltop at 7am

We left Hilltop and started down the switchbacks into the canyon at 7:30am. We told the lady at the top that we were doing a day hike, and she looked at us like we were crazy. She also told us we were getting a late start.

We each carried a gallon of water, trail mix, dried apricots, nuts, and beef jerky. Our packs were about 35 lbs each. We took no camping equipment, just food, water, swimsuits, and water shoes for the falls. Oh, and sunscreen. I can not stress enough how important the sunscreen is!

Walking through The Grand Canyon
Walking through The Grand Canyon

At the end of the switchbacks we started walking the canyon floor. At first, it’s really cool. There are all kinds of neat rocks and the sandstone is brilliant colors. But it’s 7 miles inside the canyon to get to Supai village, and I must admit, I got a little tired of dusty sandstone after all that walking. Also, the Havasupai drive their horses up the canyon in the morning, so the smell of manure gets really old too.

When you get to Supai you just want to keep walking. There aren’t any signs, but if you keep going, you get to the tourism office (on the left.) Pay them, or they will fine you when they catch you at the falls without passes. It’s $35, and it’s a steal considering what you are about to see.

Walking into the villiage, which is primative
Walking into the villiage, which is primative

There is a café (I use the term loosely) in the village. I had been warned against eating there because a group of hikers I spoke to claim to have gotten food poisoning. While I have a cast-iron stomach with no fear or parasites, I felt that a 20 mile round trip hike in 100 degree weather was hard enough without trying out new food. So no food reviews today. We passed up the café and went strait to the falls.

First you come upon Navajo Falls. This is a series of small waterfalls that flow into pools of clear turquoise water. They are beautiful in all the pictures I have seen, but they will never look as good as they do after you just walked 10 miles through a dusty canyon to get to them. Remember a bathing suit and water shoes! That is very important. And don’t forget to re-apply your sunscreen often.

The pools at Navajo Falls
The pools at Navajo Falls

Next up is Havasu Falls. We decided in advance that this is as far as we would go, since this was day hike. If you are willing to pack in a tent, you can go on further to the spectacular Moony Falls and Beaver Falls (both are featured over and over in Arizona Highways calendars.)

Havasu Falls is less amazing than before the 2008 flood, because the pools below have washed away. However, the upper and lower falls are still just as amazing as they always were. The lower part of Havasu falls is a giant curtain of water which is all the more impressive because of the dry canyon that serves as its backdrop. My friend Carl said that it looks like something that belongs in Maui, not in the desert. I have to agree.

Carl in front of Havasu Falls
Carl in front of Havasu Falls

The upper falls are hard to get to, but it’s worth a little climbing and struggle. The many jets of water jutting over the edge of the cliff create a growing place for all kind of moss, which is a real treat for a desert dweller.

The upper part of the Falls
The upper part of the Falls

After some wadding around we turned around and headed back. The hike out is the same 10 miles as before, but in the later part of the day you use twice as much water. I am happy to say that the store in Supai sells water at reasonable prices. I am unhappy to say that the way it gets there is on the backs of pack-horses. If I could have carried two gallons of water in, I would have. I hate to think of what those poor horses go through every afternoon as they are herded back down the canyon laden with far too much weight.

The horses loaded down and crossing the stream
The horses loaded down and crossing the stream

The one plus on a day hike that I wouldn’t count on (but that we were grateful for) is that some of the horses throw their saddles. We ran across two horses which we had to save (one tangled in barb wire and one stuck dragging its saddle and load.) But there were bottles of water along the trail that had fallen off the horses, and it was like water from heaven. I tried to plan this hike on a cloudy day. I even picked a day where light showers were expected. But it was full sun all day, to my dismay. Water is so valuable at the bottom of the canyon in the full sun in August!

A few words of caution, because it is such a tough hike:

-Please remember sunscreen.

-Please take lots of water- more than you think you will need.

-Please take lots of food. Nuts for long-term energy and fruit for a sugar-shake when you’re wearing out.

-Do NOT go on a day when heavy rain is expected. The canyon has flash floods.

-There are no medical services. Bring a first aid kit and do not be reckless like me and stop to help horses. I could have been kicked and died down there.

-Remember the reason to do this hike in August is so the cold Colorado river is refreshing, so make sure you bring water shoes and a swimsuit. If you’re not going to swim, you may as well hike it in December when it’s cooler out.

Jenifer DeLemont in the Grand Canyon
Me walking in the water

The most important thing I brought was Carl. He didn’t complain once, even though he must have been miserable. And his encouragement kept me going when I wanted to nap on my swimming towel and hike out in the morning. Also, I brought an MP3 player. This is the only way I made it up the switchbacks to the car. It’s a mile up, and after an all-day hike in the sun, you need a little music to help you get back out of the canyon. We made is out by 7pm, meanning we did the whole 20 miles (with rest at the falls) in 12 hours. Wow.

Carl reading the map. Bring a good freind!
Carl reading the map. Bring a good freind!

There is a helicopter that I am told you can make reservations with if you call far enough in advance. You need reservations for the camp ground too, and for the primitive lodge where you can stay. Another thing you can do is make reservations to ride a horse out in the morning (they are not carrying anything when they drive them up to be loaded with goods in the morning.)

I am sure all of these things make the trip easier. But Carl and I did the whole trip from Phoenix to Havasu Falls for about $100 each, including gas. So really, it’s all about your budget.

Me with niffty sandstone in the canyon
Me with niffty sandstone in the canyon

The hike we did was 20 miles. It was 100 degrees in the canyon on Aug. 26th. The cliffs are just as bad as you would imagine. But of all the rural and hard-to-get-to places in Arizona, Havasu Falls has to be the most worth it. The pictures are stunning, but being there is beyond cool. Happy hiking!