If a picture says a thousand words this is going to be a really long blog post.
My drive from Wickenburg to Sedona was relatively short and easy. No surprises on the road. No huge hills or super windy turns. The comfortable roadway made it easy to relax and take it all in. I was thinking about how much more I enjoyed the desert than I thought I would as I was nearing Sedona, and I knew I was in for a treat because everyone I know who’s been there told me so. I have to admit though, I wasn’t prepared for what I found. Many miles before my arrival, with Sedona’s red rock landscape towering in the distance, I was already saying wow. Seriously… WOW! This place is truly magical. From almost anywhere in Sedona you have a 360 degree stunning vista. I’ve enjoyed an amazing number of beautiful landscapes already on my journey, but usually (with a few exceptions) I’m looking in one direction. In Sedona the beauty not only encircles you, it is almost surreal. This is said to be a very spiritual place. It certainly feels very spiritual to me. After boon docking my RV on the property of my new friend, local Artist Ross Mazur, I headed into Sedona just to look around and gather a few supplies. After driving through Sedona and back… gawking all the way… I turned up a road to buy groceries. I can’t explain why, but as I was about to turn into the parking lot I changed my mind and kept going up the hill. I drove up and down a few streets, and was wondering to myself if the folks who live here know how lucky they are to have these beautiful rock formations right in their backyards, when I happened upon a trailhead sign. After spending much of the day driving and docking I thought a hike would do me good. No need to ask the girls how they’d feel about it, so we set out up the hill with no destination in mind. We hit a few forks in the trail with signs pointing this way and that, and I believe it was the word summit that guided me. Considering we were just out for a stroll, and I was wearing slip-ons instead of my hiking shoes, this was quite a climb, but well worth it when we reached the top!
The next morning I rolled out in the wee hours to drive to Jerome before sunrise. I’d heard about this place from several friends. It was described as a historic little town built on a steep mountainside. They weren’t kidding! The main road (almost the only road) is a series of switchbacks. I’m sure it’s more lively in the summer months than I found it. In winter it’s nearly a ghost town, very quiet and inactive. I spent a couple hours driving up on down the mountainside, just looking… and stopping from time to time to grab a memory.
Later that day we were surprised to find ourselves hiking through the snow along Oak Creek. Judging by their energy and antics I believe Jazzy and Sadie love the snow about as much as they loved the beach! They had me laughing all the way up the trail! It was posted that dogs must be on leash. That didn’t last long. There were few people on the trail to begin with, and none of the dogs we saw were on leash. In addition, you have to cross over the creek several times by way of slick rocks and downed trees. Not easy with a big camera in one hand and two excited dogs tugging on the other. This was a beautiful and refreshing hike.
Funny story… I’d been reading about Sedona’s Schnebly Hill Road and decided to check it out before meeting up with more new friends, artist June Hart and her husband Ron. The paved road ended very quickly with warnings about the terrain ahead. I scoffed at these warnings. Zippy had proven herself off-roading to the Borrego Badlands after all! I made it about a half mile up the extremely rocky road and waited for one of the jeep tour vehicles to pass in the opposite direction so I could move to his side of the road to avoid some very large bumps. I didn’t drive much further before stopping at a sizable drop… one that I knew Zippy could not handle without damage to her belly. What’s funny is that I looked back to find the jeep sitting a short distance behind me… driver and all passengers with eyes on me in my little Honda. Once turned around I came along side of them while the passengers gawked at the beauty. I rolled down my window, smiled at the driver and said, “Were you looking out for me back there?” He said, “Well yes… kind of. We were waiting to see if you would do it.” To that I could only say, “I may be daring but I’m not dumb.” Smiles all around. This is as far as I got out this well known scenic path.
And a bit further down 79…
I didn’t get enough of Sedona, and I’m glad I’ll be heading back there to reconnect with “The Beast”. I had to leave her behind, winterized just in case, while I travel the mountains of Colorado for a few weeks working on my next book. So… more to come on Sedona. Until then I’ll be traveling throughout Colorado capturing the beauty… and the dogs!