This is the fourth post in a series about our Arizona trip and Grand Canyon hike from April 2011. To read more, check out these other posts:
Sunday, April 3rd
Since we arrived to Sedona after sunset the night before, I had no idea what to expect in terms of scenery. When we exited the highway, it was already dark and there was no red rock in sight.
Upon waking, I opened the windows of our hotel room, and was greeted with a beautiful view in all directions – sunny blue skies and rock formations in magical shades of red and orange.
I couldn’t wait to get outside and explore, so Dave and I laced up our running shoes and hit the streets of Sedona before the massive amounts of tourists awoke. How massive? We weren’t quite sure yet.
The natural scenery was remarkable and in every direction we turned as we ran through uptown Sedona along Main Street. Despite the natural beauty, it was pretty obvious that Sedona was a huge tourist trap. We kept commenting “how can all these shops stay in business?” Later, we would find out.
Our run took us from the northern most point uptown south around Oak Creek where we ran along the water and crashed the party of a few love birds enjoying breakfast on the patio in their robes at the upscale L’Auberge Hotel. We continued south past Pink Jeep Plaza and the Visitor’s Center to the swanky Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village and around the Hillside Shops & Galleries.
The run was wonderful and all down hill, so coming going back to where we came from wasn’t fun. I dropped Dave off at Wildflower Break Company and I ran the loop again – holy hills batman.
When I couldn’t take the hills anymore, I called it a day and met Dave on the patio of the restaurant. I enjoyed fresh squeezed OJ, fruit and granola with the hubs before heading back to our hotel. Dave had to buckle down and get some work done.
I took this opportunity to do one of my favorite things – explore new health food stores. So I headed to New Frontiers Natural Marketplace to load up on some grub.
Dave and I normally rent homes or stay at hotels with a kitchen when we travel. This saves us some moola (and calories) and normally means we can support small, mom-and-pop type places which normally have more character than your typical hotel chain.
Put me in a health food store, and I’m pretty much instantly happy (especially when the free samples are in abundance). I had fun browsing the aisles, making friends with some wheat grass farmers ( I thought wheat grass grows in 1 inch of soil on your window still), and going around in circles indecisively.
After a few laps around, I decided to make roasted zucchini with quinoa pasta topped with wildwood brand tofu (this stuff has a serious yum factor). I also picked up some breakfasts staples and sammich makings for the week. No trip is complete without some form of chocolate so a cookie and Vermont Chocolate Peppermint Crunch discs hit the spot.
A carrot, apple, ginger juice with a side of a kick ass view to go please!
At this point, Dave was starting to worry. Could I really spend that much time at the grocery store? (Yes!) I rushed home, we ate some lunch, and then made a game plan for our afternoon.
First up, Cathedral Rocks. This hike, while only about 1.4 miles round trip, is listed as moderate due to its steep, slick rock. It is more of a climb and scramble than a hike in some places. I had a blast making my way through the crevices to the top, but those afraid of heights might find this difficult.
It took about 27 minutes (but who was counting?) before we emerged to the landing where the views were incredible in both directions.
The wind was very strong and there was a pretty big dust storm going on at the top. Nothing like a little sand in every crevice of my body to make the whole experience sink in.
This yorkie has changed my view of the breed.
Some one recommended we head over to the left of the landing where there is a small space between the two spires. I’m so glad we did because that spot was truly magical.
Here is a little video I took atop Cathedral Rocks.
After taking in the beauty (and getting slapped with sand), we headed back down, dusted off, and were off to Chapel of the Holy Cross.
Our Catholic parents would be proud. While the Chapel of the Holy Cross was a beautiful structure, in an even more stunning backdrop, it had nothing on Cathedral Rocks. I prefer my “church” in the great outdoors.
Feeling tired and dirty from our hike, we headed back to our hotel so I could cook some dinner. It’s always hard cooking outside my kitchen. I lack the gadgets and spices to jazz up dishes.
We then rushed out the door to Airport Road just in time to catch the sunset. Gary, the Inn Keeper, said it was the best spot to watch the sunset in Sedona. It definitely isn’t a secret though. We shared the experience with hundreds of other tourists. (You know the ones we were wondering about during our early morning run. )
It was either that the experience was tainted with all the people there or that we just weren’t that impressed with Mother Nature that evening, but Dave and I turned to each other and said, “This has nothing on a Siesta Key sunset.”
Top down, we drove around Sedona for a bit enjoying the fading colors before calling it a night.
Next up, an afternoon in Flagstaff and our much anticipated arrival at the Grand Canyon.