Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
David and I escaped Los Angeles this past weekend to go camping in Sedona, AZ – where the red rock towers high in the pristine blue sky. Ahhhhh. It was BEAUTIFUL. Ok, once we got there, it was BEAUTIFUL. I’m the type of person where I like to be secluded when I go camping and hiking. I love to be alone in nature and go through all my thoughts and enjoy SILENCE. So, I tend to get frustrated with crowds and traffic. (That alone should have taught me by now not to travel on a major holiday. Hummm.) So, understand that and don’t take my story as negative. It’s actually rather funny now. And it was worth it!
We left LA on Friday at 2pm. It took us 4 HOURS to get out of LA. Yup. We didn’t make it to Pheonix until 12 midnight. So tired. Then the next day, there was a wreck on I-17 N to Sedona, so more traffic. Our Garmin (GPS), Jane, thought she would be a genius and avoid the traffic and take us on the Business 17…it turned into a dirt road…which turned into 4-wheel drive territory. Though Reese, our RAV4, is awesome and could TOTALLY take it, we turned around and waited in traffic instead. We finally made it to our exit and enjoyed the winding roads to a little town, Jerome and then down into Cottonwood. After mistakenly following another suggestion of Jane the Garmin that ended in yet, ANOTHER dirt road and dead-end, we found our campground, pitched the tent and went hiking.
First we saw the Montezuma Castle from the 12th Century- former dwellings of the Sinagua (settlers who are believed eventually absorbed into pueblos to the north in the early 1400’s.). I was so excited. Ever since my middle school days when I first learned how theses mountain side homes were built, I’ve been eagerly waiting to see them in person. And now I have. A childhood dream came true. Yay, me. It was sooo the coolest.
The park has removed the ladders the connect the different levels because tourists were scaling the walls and damaging the castle. Sad. Nevertheless, can you imagine HOW they even built the dwelling? Again, it’s the coolest.
Afterwards, we went to the Montezuma Well, a natural fresh water reservoir the size of a lake, in the MIDDLE OF THE DESERT. Imagine wondering the desert and stumbling upon this…
How does that even happen? Wild. The next day, we woke with the sun (and the neighbors’ baby screaming…they made homemade ice cream, they were forgiven) and drove into the city of Sedona. I had been here about 5 years ago to film an independent movie and I fell in love then. It is just as beautiful as I remember. The disappointing part was the “Old Town Sedona” area. It has been built up and commercialized to the point of heartbreak. I’ve seen this happen in the Smokey Mountains too; hundreds of “touristy” shops and over priced restaurants. What’s really sad is that a huge majority of visitors never drive any further than this point. This is all they see of Sedona. Though the view is beautiful, they never experience the hiking and open spiritual vortexes of Arizona. But, yay, for local residents and businesses. At least they are thriving.
We opted to pass on Sliding Rock park – it costs $20 per car load to enter. It’s mainly a place where people go to swim in the river and slide off a rock. It looks like fun from the side of the road, but it was SWAMPED with families. And did I mention, IT COST $20 TO ENTER. Really?! So, we continued north and drove to West Fork trail head. By the time we figured out that’s where the main hiking was, there was a line to get into the parking lot. So, we had to wait…for 30 minutes…until people were done hiking and left. So close, third in line.
I had to keep reminding myself that at least we were in beautiful surroundings and that’s what mattered. The rocks weren’t going anywhere. Patience, Tiffany. After we paid our $10 parking fee (honestly?), we were up the trail in a flash. We crossed the first bridge and turned the first corner and ahhhh, beauty. I could suddenly breathe easier.
We hiked for four hours. Couldn’t get enough of the river and rock. And everyone we passed on the trail was so friendly, especially all the doggies. I was pleased to see Arizona is a dog friendly state. Go team. We went back through Old Town…more traffic (which only happened when I drove, odd)…and cut Southeast to Chapel Rock and Bell Rock.
We also passed Camel Head and Snoopy – can you see them?
Despite all the traffic, crowds, and burning sun, we loved our getaway to Arizona. I wish it was closer, I would go back. I was so inspired by all the colors, light, patterns and majestic rocks. I have a million ideas for new quilt and fabric designs and new projects.
For some people, a night out on the town or to the theatre or museum is their change to revive their souls. Me, unplugging and surrounding myself with nature recharges my soul. It calms me and brings me back to sanity. Nature is where I am my most true self. Afterall, I was born on the bayou, raised on the beach, and vacationed in the mountains and lakes. My happiest memories involved water and nature. It’s a part of me. I guess that’s why you often see colors of the ocean and sky in my crafts.
I hope that our country makes progress in putting politics aside and make more efforts in preserving what was here before us so that our children and grandchildren have a chance to connect in their souls…and I can keep my sanity.