We finally left the oppressive desert heat and arrived in Sedona. Our home base while in the area was Distant Drum RV resort, owned by the Yavapai-Apache Nation, in Camp Verde. After setting up our campsite, we headed to Sedona, about 20 minutes away. Our first impressions of uptown Sedona, the main tourist area, were not positive. It reminded us of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, albeit much more upscale with fewer t-shirt shops and tourist traps. However, it began to grow on us as we explored the area and visited a few shops. Many of the shops sell local jewelry and Native made crafts. There are also quite a few shops that sell crystals and provide information about the vortex that surrounds Sedona.
Our second day in the area, we drove out to Jerome, a former mining town in the Black Hills. Located at 5,000 feet above sea level, Jerome was a bustling copper mining town with a population of 10,000 at its heyday. Currently, the population is under 450. Jerome is a popular tourist destination but has managed to keep its charm. We visited a few tasting rooms of local wineries (of course we did!), admired the artwork in several galleries, and had a wonderful lunch.
The primary attraction of Sedona is the red sandstone formations that surround the area. Located in the Coconino National Forest, there are hundreds of hiking and biking trails. We decided to tackle Cathedral Rock which is probably the most well known formation in Sedona. The trail is less than a mile, but the ascent is an arduous climb 600 feet straight up! Adele enjoyed Cathedral Rock immensely, her being a small mountain goat and all!
We also hiked Bell Rock but were unfortunately unable to make it to the top.
We took a Pink Jeep tour on the Broken Arrow trail.
Do you see that white line in the sandstone? That is actually known as the White Line trail and a few foolhardy folks have actually ridden mountain bikes on it.
This jeep was following behind us on the trail. This is the route we took!
While our initial impressions of Sedona weren’t great, we really did fall in love with the place and have decided that we may be wintering there!
After five days, it was time to head off to the Grand Canyon. I should really be careful of what I wish for: daytime highs were in the upper 60s but overnight the temperature was in the low 30s! Brrrrr!
Our first hike was the Bright Angel trail into the canyon. The Bright Angel trails goes 12 miles into the canyon to the Colorado River. Our limit is usually 3-4 miles so we opted to hike to the mile and half resthouse. Hiking to that point involves an elevation change of about 1000 feet. Going down was a piece of cake but coming back up was a bit challenging. Everyone was taking breaks on the way back up.
We hiked the South Kaibab trail to Ooh Aah Point, a distance of about one mile. Several mule trains passed on the trail.
We visited Desert View Watchtower.
We had a few visitors to our campsite.
The Grand Canyon is so vast it isn’t possible to do everything in one trip. I’d love to hike down to Indian Garden and camp overnight. We’ll definitely be back.
With that, we say goodbye to Arizona and head to the Beehive State and Zion National Park.