Flagstaff to Sedona

We woke up this morning to a fresh snowfall, which made the trip from Flagstaff to Sedona particularly beautiful.IMG_1355The switchback road down the mountain dropped us from an altitude of six thousand feet to three thousand in the space of half an hour. By the time we got to Sedona, less than an hour away, the snow was just a sprinkling.IMG_1358

We’d heard about Sedona from a number of people. In fact, when we began this trip, we thought we might spend much of a week here. In fact, the town is not really my cup of tea. The north side of town is strictly tourist-ville; the main street is lined with trendy (and no doubt expensive) shops, shoppes, restaurants, galleries, spas, psychics, and crystal shops–as advertised, a centre for New Age devotees. Apparently the locals don’t venture into this area. They live in a residential area a mile or so away, complete with the usual commercial centres. Everywhere, the architecture appears to be clearly controlled so that buildings—residential and commercial–blend into the red hills.

If the town itself doesn’t do a lot for me, its location is truly breath-taking, and I expect we’ll stay here a couple of nights so we can spend some time exploring tomorrow. Just when I think I’ve really had all the wow-scenery I can take, I’m wowed again.

IMG_1375If you notice that I’m running out of superlative adjectives, well, you’re right. Feel free to send me a list. We’ve seen a lot of rugged, colourful rock formations; here they are again, this time blended with trees, hills, and the town itself to create the landscape that has made this place one of the most popular tourist spots in the southwest.

And it obviously is popular. It’s still the holidays, and apparently the town will be dead in another week. But there are plenty of people gobbling up the views and the shopping now.

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The following photo, taken at a scenic overlook en route, is especially for my brother, Rod, who probably isn’t reading this blog, darn him, but perhaps someone in the family will refer him to it! Family members will understand.

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When we first got to town, we stopped at an art gallery—where we saw some particularly great photography. The owner must be on some tourist welcoming committee—she talked a blue streak about the wonders of the place, including recommending a hotel just down the street with great views and “quite reasonable, cheaper than a Super-8”. So, why not check it out? We did. They did have a couple of room left. $212 a night, but they’d let us have one for $170. We arIMG_1373e, instead, ensconced in an old motel on the edge of the tourist section at half the price—nothing luxurious, but spacious and with picture windows on two sides looking out through bare branches to the red rocks behind the town.

We drove to the most popular overlook, on the Airport Road. More wonders. Or, the same wonders from a different vantage point. The light was fantastic. IMG_1383Then Jack went wandering through the galleries and shops while I stayed behind to read. The plantar faciitis (major foot pain) I’ve been struggling with for almost a year has been much better lately, but it started acting up again after the long hike at Monument Valley two days ago. I guess that means I still have to take it easy, so choosing between galleries today or hiking tomorrow, I opted for the hiking and curled up with a book. Dozed a bit, too…

Here’s a cactus that seems out of its element.IMG_1387 The locals tell us this snow is probably one of only two or three for the year, and by late this afternoon it was nearly gone.

However you choose to mark the arrival of 2013, I hope it’s the beginning of a good year for you. Happy New Year from both of us!

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5 Responses to Flagstaff to Sedona

  1. Carolyn says:

    Happy New Year Jack and Paula – your pics are fantastic – enjoying travelling with you! Picture postcard day here today – bright sunshine and earlier light fluffy snow drifting down.

    Carolyn

  2. Onni and Ulla Juhala says:

    Feliz Año Nuevo para ustedes dos. Ulla y yo hemos disfrutado mucho viajando con ustedes a través de sus fotos e historias. Les damos las gracias por tomarse el tiempo para compartir y les deseamos más paisajes y aventuras en el Año Nuevo.
    Onni y Ulla

  3. Gilles says:

    Great vistas Paula! Glad you decided to opt-in for the hike. Some of the trails are spectacular. If you are in the Sedona area for a while longer I would recommend you check out a small town called Jordan (lots of artists – both you and Jack would appreciate it). The ride alone to the town is very impressive. http://www.azjerome.com/

    • pdunning says:

      Good morning, Gilles! Thanks for this tip. We are leaving this morning and will check our route to see if Jordan can fit in!

  4. Gilles says:

    For others reading this travel blog – Sorry I meant “Jerome” and not Jordan. Worth a drive.

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