There is, believe it or not, much more to see than just the Grand Canyon in Arizona. During their 2009 Grand Canyon expedition Brian and Sylvia decided to see some more of what the Grand Canyon State has to offer.
Of course, Brian had in fact been to the Canyon twice before, including a full North-South traverse of it in 2003.
Sylvia never has a problem with any town filled with shops full of artworks, crafts, interesting gems, décor items, designer clothes, scented candles, soaps, and various other small things with large price tags. It is then no surprise that either ended up in Sedona, AZ.
The Team visited in March, 2009, and can report that every day was disappointingly sunny and dismally bereft of clouds, with dreadful clear blue skies, morning temperatures stuck in the horrible 60’s and 70’s reaching an afternoon high of 80 that sadly lacked for humidity. And each sunset was alas surpassed by a more spectacular one the next evening.
No, nothing to see and do here, folks. Definitely don’t go to Sedona. Not unless you want to visit a red rock paradise.
Oh, and amidst the Fu there is hiking. A LOT of hiking. This combination of natural splendor and unrivaled Fu makes Sedona, and the surrounding Oak Creek Canyon area, Arizona’s second largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon.
Sedona sits on the broken and folded country known as the Mogollon Rim — which is basically the eastern edge of the Colorado Plateau as it approaches the Arizona/New Mexico Border. Here the land it drops down into the arid plains eastward and Sky Island country further South. Sedona is an island of red rock, surrounded by slopes full of ponderosa pine, south of which begins the much more open and plainer (but still remarkable) Sonoran Desert.
Much like Colorado Springs, you don’t even have to leave town to do some very fine hiking. There are a number of great rock formations you can hike under, over or around…among them are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte, and Snoopy Rock (because it resembles Snoopy lying prostate on his doghouse.) Sylvia and Brian chose to hike around Bell Rock.
Why do they call it Bell Rock? Well…
The loop hike is easy, though it would be quite hot in summer.
Brian observed several of his favorite southwestern Bird Species on this hike, including a shark shinned hawk, a canyon wren (heard but not seen) and a cactus wren (seen and heard.) Sylvia also noted a small covey of quail rushing away from us down a dry wash as fast as their tiny legs could carry them.
Sedona, incidentally, is one of those places where people claim to feel an energy ‘vortex’ of some sort emanating out of the ground, which gives them some sort of spiritual high. Seeing that many of these Vortexes were in places where one could get a definite visual high, we decided to visit one of these as well…Airport Mesa.
As the name infers, the Airport Mesa is just down the road from Sedona’s small airport. The view from here is impressive.
Sylvia claimed to feel the Vortex and be energized from it. Brian claimed to feel something too, but it might simply have been aftereffects of eating in a Carl’s Jr. just outside Flagstaff.
We very much enjoyed Sedona and would love to come back here and hike the rest of the trails near town and the surrounding Coconino National Forest and Oak Creek Canyon.
However, we weren’t done exploring the Arizona Canyons! Having soaked up as much energy and Fu as we could in Sedona it was back up the highway to the tiny town of Page, Arizona, near the Utah state line. And what’s there, you ask?
Well, that’s a good dam question.
Next up: The Grand Canyon’s Grand Front Door