First week of hiking in Sedona

On the first hike we saw prickly pear cacti, big red rocks, pink jeeps, lizards , red ants, and pretty birds. I also saw an unusual hoof print. I am still trying to identify what animal left the print?

Hiking with Jack
Cool lizard










On the second hike we saw weird trees, a weird blue jay like bird, submarine rock, and a bat cave.


I really liked how there was a lot of climbing using both our hands and feet.

Pretty bird

Sedona So Far

Our first week here has been amazing. On the first day we went on a beautiful hike just two minutes away from our house. Also, a cool thing about here is you see a lizard every day; it might just be on your back porch, on a trail, or maybe even in your shoe when you go to put it on.

Look at this trespasser!

We have seen lots of wildlife, anything from humming birds to baby tarantulas. One baby tarantula we thought was dead because it did not move for two hours until we tried to pick it up. On Friday, my dad, Joe and I went to check out the public library. It was massive and had an extensive collection. I got a book on the history of the machine gun, a funny book on the history of World War One and a real cruddy movie called American Bandits Frank and Jessie James.

It is unreal how beautiful it is here. It has the most green in any desert I have ever seen. Most of the clouds here look unreal like they have been painted onto the sky. The mountains are almost all red. We can see the full beauty right off our back porch.

View from back porch

Our first visitor

This little guy was out on the deck in our home in Sedona when we opened the blinds today. Sort of freaked the kids out to see a tarantula, but hey, welcome to the desert!

Furry visitor
Furry visitor

It’s gorgeous here in Sedona (house pictures will follow in another blog) but we stopped on the way here yesterday to visit the Petrified Forest and Painted Rocks National Park. The colours were stunning, and when we took a short hike down deeper into the landscape, it felt like we were on the moon.

Stunning colours
Heading down on the trail

Jack and Joe started home schooling with Dan today, and I got back to work after this extended holiday. The view from the office area is distractingly beautiful, but I guess I will just have to learn how to cope. Oh, and it’s 35 degrees C and sunny!

Road Trip!

The last week has been a massive road trip from Bracebridge, Ontario to Sedona, Arizona.

Chillin’ in the paddleboat in Bracebridge

First we went to my grandparents’ house in Kingsville, a small town outside of Windsor. Then we went to my aunt Mary’s and uncle Kevin’s house and got to meet their crazy dog named Sophie who jumped on everyone at least five times. Next we went to my uncle John’s who is living the American dream. He is big into hunting and has nine guns; when we showed up he had a revolver on his chest and a knife strapped to his pants. That same day we stopped at a hotel in Rolla.

Hiking the Petrified Forest National Park

The next two days we drove to Amarillo and then to Albuquerque, which we stayed at for two nights and then drove to our home in Sedona for the next three months.

My first day of school at home in Sedona.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park and Albuquerque

What a fantastic day! Leaving Amarillo this morning we took a side trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. It is the second largest canyon in the U.S. after the Grand Canyon, and we hadn’t even heard of it until we arrived in the hotel in Amarillo. It was breathtaking. Unlike the Grand Canyon, cars are able to drive to the bottom of the canyon, which gave us fantastic views and photo opportunities. We signed up for zip lining across the canyon, and the plan was for Joe to tandem with Dan.

However, when we got to the top of the platform it was too scary for Joe. But hey, look at me go!

June zippin’ across the canyon

Such a shame! The ziplining was great, and the rest of us had a blast – great views and great times. 

One of many fantastic views of the canyon.

We have a couple of days in Albuquerque, and desperately need a day off from driving! After the cold summer we Canadians had, the temps of 38 C and full sun feels wonderful. 

Deep in the heart of Texas

We had a great time visiting Dan’s sister Mary and her family in Edwardsville, Illinois. Joe and Jack were in dog heaven, with two Brittany Spaniels to love and play with. After a visit to Dan’s brother John’s country place in southern Missouri, and a night in Rolla, Missouri, we had a very long travel day today (over 1000 km). We are spending the night in Amarillo, Texas. Of course, that meant Texas steak for dinner. Tomorrow, on to Albuquerque for a couple of days – hopefully including some rafting on the Rio Grande. 

It is starting to sink in to the kids that they aren’t going back to regular school. That could be good or bad, depending on how tough things get in “Dad School.”


Post Cottage and Camp Rest

Checking in from Kingsville Ontario where my parents live. Jack had a great time at Camp Big Canoe as a Senior Camper for the first time. We picked him up yesterday, with more mosquito bites than I thought a body could bare! He also had tons of rain during his 12 days in a tent, but still had a fantastic time. 

Our last few days at the cottage were rainy, again, but we visited Minden and Haliburton and made the best of it. On one of our final days, Joe took to feeding one of the ducks with worms meant for the “stupid fish.” Here is a video clip of him hand feeding the mommy duck. Unfortunately, we were out of worms when she returned the next day with her babies!

Stupid Fish

Joe here. A few days ago, we came to the cottage and it is a really cool one. But there’s a little bit of weirdness to it. The lake here sometimes acts like a river and the main topic: the fish.

One of the dumb fish


The fish that live under our dock are the dumbest fish ever known to mankind. It was only three seconds before another fish would bite on my hook. So Dad said “I am not putting any more bait on that.” So, I put my hook in bare, with nothing on it, but I still caught a fish. There are rock bass, striped bass, sunfish and bluegills and they are all stupid!

Catching the stupid fish!
Cool loon on our lake

Cottage Report

We are well into week 2 in the Haliburton Highlands area (I am posting from the Haliburton Public Library). The first week saw the great views of the “super moon” we had in the area, followed by 5 straight days of rain. Dan, Joe and I were in a nice warm cottage, but Jack is at Camp Big Canoe and was sleeping in a tent the entire time. 

Super Moon seen from the dock

The weather for this week looks great, and we are exploring the full area, including Minden and Haliburton. The cottage came with a canoe and a paddle boat. We all love the paddle boat, and it easily seats three!


Enjoying Oblong lake from the paddle boat



June's chronicle of Semester at Sea 2022