Sedona is maybe one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, right down to the drive into town. I want to post all of our pictures to prove it. You just feel totally surrounded -- engulfed-- in the beauty there. We really lucked out with the weather: the day we landed it was about 90 degrees and sunny, but day 2 was overcast and 79 degrees, which made it perfect for hiking with baby A (and on day 3, as we were leaving, it started raining). Yes, we cheated and hit an RV park. We've had some struggles with our setup, so until we do a few upgrades on Betina, we might not be able to boondock as much as we were originally hoping. C'est la vie!
Making moves: Hiking, Vortexes, Off-roading...
On a recommendation from Sean's parents who frequent Sedona, we hit the Oak Creek West Fork trailhead in Coconino (best word ever) National Forest. This was one of the single best hikes I have ever been on. As Sean put it, "There are like a hundred creek crossings." A loved being in her pack, and the busy trail meant a lot of people stopped to say hi to her (which, of course, she loved).
In addition to being an incredibly beautiful place, Sedona has long been a spiritual power center and full of "vortexes" of spiritual energy. A vortex is a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy.
We could tell we missed a pretty spectacular sunset the night before, what with baby bedtime and all, so we set out in hopes of a great second show. (Just up the road from where we were parked was one of the Sedona vortex sites.) It ended up being too overcast for a vivid sunset, but Sean did get to test the limits of the Touraeg on an insane off-roading adventure up Schnebly road. I can see my father shaking his head now.
Less Adventurous Trinket Browsing
Thanks to the internet, I found a wacky place called Silver Son West. It is the kind of shop where I could just imagine my mom and I walking around for hours (while my Dad checks out the first room and decides he's better off at the bar across the street). On vacation, you might buy little things to remember your trip. But when you are on a long-term sabbatical in a tiny, 200 square foot Airstream called Betina, you have no room for any more stuff. Browsing this place was super fun - they had some weird stuff and cool views. I have no idea how they make any money at this place. They are sitting on A TON of inventory.
Call me a dirty hippie, but I was STOKED to find both a Natural Grocers and a Whole Foods. Natural Grocers had a great selection of organic produce and the special milk we get for A. We did hit Whole Foods for our packed lunch for our hike and regretted it as soon as I hit the cash register (Whole Paycheck, amirite?). Our last "big town" for a while, we decided to go out to eat. Plus, window shopping always makes me hungry. A is on restaurant probation as she sloppily slams into toddlerhood headfirst (not a pleasant dining companion). Enter: Hideaway House. Gorgeous views, good food and the most lovely staff I have ever encountered in a restaurant. We were there on the early side, and the staff had A entertained the whole time. It was fabulous.
I really did have to peel myself away from Sedona to get on the road. But we have a great drive day planned with a few stops to explore along the way!