Less than 24 hours after the last day of my extended work term, my significant other and I packed up our dog Scarlett, our bikes and drove to Sedona.
After 8 months of working at BC Wildfire Service during what was historically our worst fire season in history, I needed time to regenerate.
Most people like to go and lie on a beach with a book and a drink and chill on their vacation.
We have 2 weeks, so we drive like maniacs, (21 hours pretty much straight) catch a few hours sleep in the Jeep on the way down for our annual Mountain Bike/hiking trip.
The first thing we do after unloading our crap at the condo, is figure out what we want to do while we’re there. (Usually the drive down is a mix of venting about our respective jobs and listening to Sirius radio.)
Going in October draws out our Mountain Bike season just a little longer; we also hike and I can finally sneak in daily meditations in some powerful places.
We have our favourite trails we go to. We also make it our mission to experience something new.
Here’s a snapshot of a few things we did. Maybe it will inspire you to go if you haven’t been, or to go back.
First off, we go to the Visitor’s Centre in Old Sedona; it’s the only one that isn’t a time share.
We get maps and coupons and pamphlets to see what piques our interest. Yep, we’re old school like that. Bonus! The condo we stay in supplies a Red Rock trail pass.
We try to do one touristy thing; this time it was a Trolley ride.
Did you know that Sedona is known for its apples? Neither did I. We also got the low down on Vortex sites (yeah, I already knew about those. Vortex locations are subjective IMO) and a little local history. There are several tours that run throughout the day; 55 min or so.
Night ride without lights – For us it’s not a complete holiday if we don’t get caught on some trail in the desert in the dark. (Last winter I bought Lee a head lamp, which I know he thought was lame at first, but after using it every night for the next 6 months, was inspired to buy us new lights for our bikes.)
Our first ride in Sedona this year, we tried a new trail and…forgot to bring the lights. We ended up doing the last 2 thirds of the ride in the dark; part of that on steep narrow rocky terrain as it quickly hit dusk (and I’d eaten all my snacks) and then the rest under the very dim streetlights in the darkness of Sedona. It was warm, so I didn’t care. Sedona is very welcoming of cyclists any time of day or night.
The streetlights are dim so you can enjoy the stars in the brilliant night sky (found that out on the Trolley tour).
Night Ride with lights. We did a night ride at Bell Rock to experience the Full Moon. Lee was watching for UFO’s cause Bell Rock is notorious for sightings. I counted three shooting stars and in a photo I took there was a weird orb under the moon. Hmmm.
Night riding (with lights) is a whole different perspective. Your senses are sharper, but your depth perception is a little bit off. It was cool that we were the only people there (that we knew of or saw, anyway).
Hike and drum party under the Full Moon.
I wanted to experience the full moon at one of my favourite meditation spots; Cathedral Rock (we actually did an awesome ride there earlier on that day). Scarlett was into it, so with lights in hand, we hiked in a bit and watched the full moon rise across the way over Bell Rock as we listened to the drummers, guitars, and flutes just down the trail from us. Powerful stuff.
We took a Jeep Badge of Honor Trek from Highway 17 to Sedona via Schnebly Hill road.
You can see forever. The 12 mile long rough, dirt road is a little sketchy and narrow; 4×4 only.
I especially liked the “curve ahead” highway signs and the manhole covers (seriously). I’ve spent a lot of time on our local logging roads in BC over the years and they aren’t quite like that.
Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.
You don’t realize just how big and how many shops and buildings there are until you go in the complex that’s on both sides of the highway. Art shops, sculptures, clothing stores, and restaurants abound in this old Spanish style marketplace.
We had dinner and the lady behind us had her dog in her purse…then someone else came in with a dog on a leash. Dogs in restaurants? Huh. You just never know what you’re going to see in Sedona!
Hike Devil’s Bridge Trail.
We hike early morning to avoid the desert heat. We’re weird like that. We take water, we take snacks…we’re dressed appropriately. We met lots of outdoorsy types like us, but on our way out, we also met the tourists I always muse at.
You know the ones, leaving in the heat of the day, taking their selfies, dressed in flip-flops, no water.
Most look like they’ve never hiked past their driveway, let alone a 3 mile hike in ascending, rocky terrain. It’s a bit of a hike in and gradually gets steeper and rockier, but the panoramic views of the rusty rocks and the brilliant blue sky are breathtaking.
Lunch in Prescott (1.5 hours south of Sedona).
As a self-proclaimed make-up junkie, I discovered Ulta last year, which is nothing but…make-up. It’s like Sephora but there are less expensive cosmetic lines there as well. Fortunately for my bank account, we don’t have Ulta here in Canada.
With the huge selection of colours and textures, the beautiful packaging and all the shiny stuff, I consider that visit an Artist Date. We started the out morning by seeking out a coffee shop, and then inadvertently took a back road through Jerome, an old copper mining town. It was much like the Schnebley Hill road except it was paved, more narrow and way more traffic. Yayyy, In N Out Burger for lunch (we don’t have those in Canada either).
All the pretty rocks. Ahhh Breathing space.
Being the Rock Chick I am, I can’t not go into my favourite crystal shops to see what I can find for my collection. Most crystal stores in Sedona are overpriced, but absorbing the beauty and energy of huge geodes and crystals from all over the world is something I can’t get enough of. Totally rejuvenating.
One of my favourite shops is Peace Place Gifts in the Centre for Reiki and I always go into the Mystical Bazaar. I like the stores that encourage you to touch and hug…I mean hold, the magical stones.
Aaaaand, of course every day we’d go for a ride and take Scarlett for a hike.
That in itself saves me. Being in nature with no schedule, no agenda allows me to breathe.
I can forget email. Forget computers. I can get lost in the rusty blue magic of Sedona.
And the energy there? That’s another blog in itself.
And… that was just the first week.