Sunday, October 28, 2012


Sedona. This was not a major stop on my list while visiting Arizona. It should have been.

KSEZ in the distance (see it?)
We departed KSDL on our way up to Page (KPGA) to attend the (CT)Light Sport Fly. KSEZ was merely a mid point rest stop along the way to another interesting destination. The climb out was normal for the area, trying to reach 8,500' to work our way around some mountains. The landscape is phenomenal, desert, mountains, mesas, gulches and all in beautiful earthy colors. As we wound through the passes south of Flagstaff we found a valley of sorts, speckled with towering rock formations. The GPS told me the airport was close but I couldn't pick it out. Kathy suggested it was a 'white' area ahead but I couldn't believe it. She was right. Who was the guy that thought of putting an airport there?

I admit that the approach is intimidating. First you weave your way through the towering rocks, then turn downwind over a deep valley to end up on final with a very steep drop off just before the threshold. When Sally called 500' on base I couldn't believe it. Surely we were higher, but she was programmed for the the runway height not the surrounding terrain. So I ended up fast. Not my best landing. Fortunately we had light winds to go along with the long runway.

Just past this rock and turn right on downwind.
I'll post about our trip to Page later, but after the great fly-in we returned to KSEZ on our way back to Scottsdale. Finding the airport when coming from the north wasn't as challenging but perhaps even more spectacular. How often have you made a visual approach looking UP at rock formations as you descend between them approaching the runway? This time I was more prepared and made a very nice landing. We decided to stop and make a day trip out of it and visit the nearby village. Car rental was $10/hour or $30 a day. What a bargain!

Depart just to the right

Looking up at the rocks
We toured Tlaquepaque, a beautiful shopping plaza down from the airport. Enjoyed a delicious light lunch at "The Hidden Garden" and casually drove around the tourist spots.

The Holy Cross Chapel is built right into the rock face offering wonderful architecture and more amazing views.

The words don't match the experience. The pictures don't quite capture it. Kathy and I have been changed by the beauty of the this country. Take the opportunity to visit, you won't be disappointed.

Video: here

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