Friday, August 28, 2009

A Very Happy Return to Sedona

On our family vacation this year, we introduced my son to one of my loves: Sedona, Arizona. Hubby took me there for the first time several years ago, and we've been wanting to return since then. The people we met were all very friendly, and the whole area has an open, relaxed atmosphere. Sedona's first white settlers came in 1876, and the town was officially named (after the shopkeeper's wife) and granted a post office in 1902. So, compared to much history "back east," Sedona's pretty new. In the late 1950's, spiritualists and "hippies" came to Sedona, drawn by spiritual "vortexes" (energy centers) they found in the red rocks. Now, the place is full of "new age" spiritualists and has a very relaxed feel.

Although the area has grown up a lot since we last visited, much remained the same. This time, though, in search of adventure (teenager, remember), we booked an "Extreme" Hummer tour through the mountain trails. It was fun and scary for me--here's a picture of one of the so-called-roads we first came down, then went up. (You cannot get the full idea from the picture, but it was just barely wide enough for the hummer, with a cliff-like drop off just past the trees, and the darker step-like rocks are about 14-16 inchs high each.) The teenager had a fantastic time. Both of them.

Hummer dude also took us on a tour of the named rocks. Here's Snoopy Rock (he's lying just to the right of the big squarish formation.)

We also biked in the red rocks. The still-great Bike and Bean, , still at the edge of Oak Creek, hooked us up with the perfect bikes, helmets and water, and off we went. It was darn hot, even at 9 a.m., but once my son and I discovered the exhilaration of racing down the last half mile of trail, "catching air" over moguls, riding willy-nilly over gravel and loose rocks--it was addictive. We rode back up 2 more times just to fly down. I honestly felt like a kid again. My son even called me an adrenaline junkie. Here are some pics from the farthest point in our ride...up close to the rocks.

In the foreground is part of the trail we rode; in the distance (if you click and enlarge it you might be able to see it) is the cathedral of the rocks--a Catholic church built right into the red rocks.

We had a great time tubing on the Verde River (no pictures, too wet...whose idea was it to provide us with super soakers???), and saw free range cattle along the road. We also went up to the airport, which is on top of a huge mesa, to watch the sunset and look out over Sedona. It's become quite popular, judging by the crowds that were there. On our last trip, it was very quiet and peaceful. These photos are of Sedona in the valley, encircled by the red rocks.

We had great meals--Picazzo Pizza really excelled--both in their huge salads and delicious, gourmet (or plain, for the boy) pizzas. Really good. A world away from your everyday pizza joint. It was such a pleasure being back in Sedona!

I mentioned in another post that I did a good job spraining my ankle one morning while on a power walk in Sedona. Here's the rest of the story. I was out around 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday, doing my exercising around several residential blocks behind our hotel. In a second's inattention, I planted my foot at the edge of the pavement, which was maybe 3" higher than the adjacent gravel. I'd have fallen, except for extreme hopping ability, spurred on in part by all of the cactuses growing along the roadside. (A five-hop recovery: pretty impressive.)

In the next few minutes, as I tried to determine how badly I was hurt, an angel in an Acura stopped to ask if I was ok. I gave her a typical east-coast "Oh, I'm fine," but she was too nice for that. "But you're obviously hurt--I live right here--let me give you a ride home." She assured me it was no trouble, and I accepted her generosity. Three blocks later, she pulled right up to the base of the stairway to our room. I thanked her of course, and she refused praise, but her kindness so touched me--I was so far from home, a visitor knowing no one--and she, a complete stranger, completely unbidden, was willing to lend a helping hand. There are still good people in the world. Wow.

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