Arizona Adventures: A Day in Sedona
Spending time with my family, especially in state and national parks, is one of my all time favorite past times. Since my move to Arizona, I have had a variety of family members come to visit me. Even today I spoke to my mom on the phone and we are trying to pick a date for her to come out here to visit now that we are no longer in the triple digits weather-wise. In the last week of September, my aunt who I went to Oregon with for the eclipse came out for a weekend. My first thought was that since the weather was still warm here in Phoenix, we should absolutely head north to Sedona, Arizona.
Once I was off work, my aunt and I hopped into the car for the 90 minute drive north to Sedona. As you start to head north, the landscape starts to change; the sharp, scraggly rocks of Phoenix start to turn in vast fields of saguaro cactus and soft, rolling hills. As we got closer to our destination, the sun was setting behind us. Having gone to Sedona on a day trip with a great girlfriend from high school and some of her law school buddies, I was hoping I could get my aunt and I in to Sedona as the sun was setting. As we turned into Oak Creek, just outside of Sedona, my aunt gasped at the red monolithic cliffs that make Sedona famous.
After a series of roundabouts (which I had to turn off Siri for, thanks for telling me a million times I needed to keep going straight), we got to our hotel. We found a great cafe across the street, had a flight of delicious Arizona wine, and called it an early night. Our plan was not set in stone - we came to hike and explore and take the day one step at a time. The next day also happened to National Public Lands Day, so we wanted to celebrate in the best way we could. Around 6am, we got up and went for a hike at Cathedral Rock, a stunning rock formation that you can somewhat climb up. Having a terrible fear of heights, my aunt coached me through about 3/4 of the way up, which is when my fear of heights took over. Despite that minor set back, we have a lovely morning hike for a few hours and got to sit and just appreciate the crisp morning air.
One thing I love about hiking is that you see people from all walks of life out on the trails. Plus you can get a wonderful work out in early in your day. We showered and headed out for part two of our day. On one of the mesas we found a wonderful grill next to the Sedona municipal airport. I had a great burger and delicious fries, and my aunt had a salmon filet on a bed of kale. We stood on the edge of the mesa and just took in the 360 degree view around us of the rivers of dark green trees contrasted against the red rocks in the distance.
We ended up going for a second hike before heading back to Phoenix. This is something I love about my aunt, we can just spend the day outside with some intermittent delicious meals. A an avid lover of Yosemite valley, I knew when I moved out to Arizona a few months ago that I needed to find a similar place that can captivate me. Despite the heat, something about Arizona has gripped me in a way that was wholly unexpected. I came out here by myself (well, I have miss Jazzy but she does not adventure outdoors with me - she is a snuggle bear, not an adventure kitty) and have started a whole new chapter for myself. Finding Sedona and getting to explore it with someone I care so deeply about truly makes me feel like I am at home.