By now it was 3PM so we thought we had better get moving to Sedona, 30 miles away. It was a very pleasant drive as the mountains rose to jagged red peaks all around us. They call it Red Rock Country and there was certainly no question where that handle came from.We stopped at the tourist information store and Karen went in to find out where the motel was. She reported that the proprietor was quite rude because she would not buy anything from jeep tours to time share presentations. At one point he commented to her that it seemed she didn’t travel much. If you only knew fella – I guarantee it is considerably more than you. As usual, the motel was within sight just ahead of us.
The Sugar Loaf Lodge was perfect for us. Now Lodge is a bit of a stretch, it was a motel, a small one at that but it was a reasonably priced gem in a very expensive town. It was not that pretty but very comfortable and extremely clean; a sixties style, all on one level and that is an absolute joy in this day and age. Who needs the aggravation of hauling bags up stairs and elevators? This also guarantees that no one will be above you – a real pet peeve with me. Don’t get me started…
We were travelling with friends so went out for dinner. Perhaps the place was new or perhaps the people were being trained but it seemed to me that customer service was a process not yet addressed and was a ways away from their mainstream. They actually had a “please eat quickly and get out of here because I have a long line of people to ignore” attitude.
When we got to our table Karen asked what movie the photo on the wall was from. The lady replied, “Oh that’s from ‘Elvis Out West’.” Interesting movie title. I have been an Elvis fan for more years than the man was alive and I knew there was no such movie. It was quite obviously from the set of “Stay Away Joe.” The waitress pretty much threw the menus at the girls. We were not impressed.
As we ordered Karen dropped her fork and a busboy pounced on it and said he’d get her a new one. I guess he was either kidding or never had any intention of getting one because five minutes went by and there was still no sign of the busboy or the fork. The food was decent and the price was okay but it was obvious that the drawing card here was the amazing view because it sure as hell wasn’t great, good or even acceptable service.
The city of Sedona was incorporated in 1987. What once was considered “in the middle of nowhere” became a thriving community of more than 11,000 who had the luxury of a treasured, awe-inspiring landscape as their backyard. The airport mesa is a wonderful spot to get a bird’s eye view of Sedona nestled amongst the crimson rock formations.
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel built into the high, red mesa of Sedona. Built on a twin-pinnacled spur nearly 250 feet high, it juts out of a 1,000 foot red rock wall and is a bit of a construction miracle in itself. Completed in April 1956, all attention is focused on a great window and cross behind the altar. It is also the site of one of the so called Sedona vortices.
Sedona is believed by some to be a vortex meditation site, a place of power in the red rocks that enhances prayer, contemplation and reflection. It’s an odd situation for those of us who do not believe or perhaps do not understand when we see rules like, “Please chant, drum, sing and pray quietly.”
Oak Creek is only about seven miles south of Sedona. Due to this proximity it has come to be known mostly for using the name of Sedona when it is beneficial to do so in their advertising of businesses and events. Some sources say they had observed a contingent of seniors clad in Bermuda shorts, sandals with socks and striped hoodys at the airport mesa. This odd group of elders was armed with portable vacuums and leaf bags in an attempt to capture the vortex and release it once back in Oak Creek…or so reports the April issue of the Sedona Centric.
A drive around the circular Red Rock Loop road gave us a never-ending spectacular mountain view. As we drove along we came to an incredible rock formation and Karen commented, “That HAS to be Cathedral Rock!” One of four rock formations in Sedona believed to contain a power vortex, it is said to contain feminine or magnetic energy which is supposed to encourage relaxation.
The Slippery Rock Hiking Trail was marked with a directional arrow only. No description, no length, nothing that would help in any way. Ever on the alert for snakes, that nagging worry disappeared quickly as we slipped and slid down a loose rock path to an expansive flat rock with a breathtaking view of Cathedral Rock.
While I completed my usual photographic essay on the area Karen and Karen wandered off to the far side of the rock plateau. When I finished shooting and looked back the girls were gone. I figured they had found a way off our perch so I walked over to the edge of the rock. They had indeed found another path below the rock shelf.
At a junction was another sign indicating the trail we had been on was the Ridge Trail. The one we now entered had another name so we really were sure of nothing. Karen insisted she heard cars but I did not, however, I was reasonably sure that this new trail headed toward the road so it could be true. After a pleasant walk along the undulating forest path we exited onto a gravel road. Hmmmm? Is this the road we came in on? I was sure it was and that the car was to our right. We headed in that direction. I’m not sure if Karen and Karen were in agreement that this was correct but I walked up a hill and turned around and shouted, “It’s okay, I see the car.”
We arrived back to find Murray enjoying the view out of the windshield of the car. Pretty amazing that you can pick just about anywhere in Sedona and do that. The hike had been about two miles long but the footing was very unstable so it had been challenging in spots.
A final drive through the Sedona paradise at sunset came after dinner. I guess we left a little late because we wanted more sun on the mountains but it was pretty much gone. A drive through a residential neighbourhood showed us how the lucky ones lived. Imagine having this incredible scenery in your own backyard. Sunset at Chimney Rock put a cap on this spectacular phase of our Arizona visit.
Much more travel writing by this author in his book, That Road Trip Book.