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Sedona and the Grand Canyon

By Saturday, April 5, 2008 , , ,

For my spring break Lukas and I headed over the Arizona for a week of hiking in Sedona. We had an amazing trip, took a day trip to the Grand Canyon, and had a wonderful time being together. Here's a bit of blogging and pictures from our week. (Lukas gets all the credit for the pictures. Didn't he do an amazing job?)
The week before break though, I got hit with the bug that had been going around. It started as a little tickle in my throat and a slight headache - you know, one of those where you just think you're tired or maybe dehydrated and it'll all go away once you get a good night's sleep. Well, it didn't go away over night and it got worse. But, thank goodness for ibuprofen... it does wonders for easing aches and pains. I kept thinking it'd just go away, but I should have known - things have to get worse before they get better. Wednesday night Lukas took me to see Wicked for my birthday. It's a good thing Wicked is an amazing musical because by intermission my ibuprofen had worn off. It totally took my mind off of feeling sick. The next two days I had a 101 degree fever and got to miss work and stayed home to grade final exams. Lukas kept me company and by the end of Friday I was convincing myself that I was on the mend. (I had to be... we were leaving Saturday morning for Arizona!)

Saturday morning we left for Arizona. Let me tell you, once on I-40 the scenery doesn't change much. I remember Lukas turning to me and saying, "It better be much better than this when we get to Flagstaff." We were staying in Flagstaff (about 45 min outside of Sedona) because it was much cheaper. We made it to Flagstaff and checked into the hotel - nothing special there, but it was all we really needed. After crashing that night from the long drive and all the energy I'd been expending trying to feel better, the next morning we were off and running bright and early. Our first stop was to the Sedona Airport. The airport was up above the town and was supposed to have one of the best views and we didn't need a Red Rock Pass to park there. The Red Rock Pass was needed to park at all the trail heads around Sedona and the visitor center we were planning on buying our pass at didn't open till 9 on the weekends. That would mean missing the good light of the morning if we waited till then to start our adventures. So, we started at the airport and the view was great. Only, it was a bit on the cold side. Here you can see me all bundled up in Lukas's jacket and I had on 3 other layers underneath. After watching the sun creep over the town we headed off to check out Dry Creek Road. It wasn't 9 yet and we needed something to do to kill the time till the visitor center was open. Dry Creek Road seemed like a good place to check out because many of the trail heads were off this road. As we started to drive out the road we passed a sign reading, "Red Rock Pass - 1 mi ahead". We were in luck! Just a few bends and a right turn up the road was on automated kiosk. We fed it our (Lukas's cash, I'm a woman therefore i never carry cash) money and it spit out our pass. We were off and rolling to Fay Canyon just a bit further down the road and the first hike of our trip. We picked it 'cause it sounded good and not too hard either (remember, I wasn't feeling well). And it was nice and not too hard except for a little tiny side trail that we did that was basically straight up. That part wouldn't have been too hard either if I had been feeling 100% but 3/4 the way up the trail I pooped out and had a few frustrated tears. Lukas continued up to the top and since it was pretty cool convinced me to continue up. At the top there was a cool arch just in front of the canyon wall. Some very cool people that had been there before us had left perfectly flat and inviting seats. It was time for a break and a self-portrait. Then off we went for the rest of the trail. It wasn't too amazing but it was a nice way to start our trip.
The plan for the trip was to hike in the morning and then again in the afternoon and just hang out in Sedona in between and that's what we did that first day. The hanging out in Sedona part wasn't that great. We tried to stay away from the crowds and found a park to relax in, except it was windy and not relaxing and got boring really fast. Finally the afternoon came around and we went to hike Thunder Mountain. But that didn't go so well either and we gave up and went to check out Red Rock Loop. We found a nice place to pull off the road and got a great view of Cathedral Rock. Here we relaxed with some ice cold drinks and watched the sun set. As the sun got lower on the horizon the rocks just kept getting more and more orange. Then we headed back up north through Oak Creek canyon to our hotel in Flagstaff.

Each day we drove into Sedona by way of Oak Creek Canyon and got to see the sun just starting to come up. As we wove down the steep walls of the canyon the sun was beginning to sparkle off the patches of snow that remained in the shadows for most of the day. It was a pretty spectacular drive (much better than I-40).

Day two we hiked Broken Arrow Trail in the morning. This was one of the best trails we did all week. The scenery was amazing and varied throughout the entire trial with great views and moderate level of difficulty. (Plus, each day I felt a little bit better.) This trail had great views and the vegetation really gave it character. Besides all this the highlight of the trail for Lukas was my very minimal complaining about not feeling good. I was definitely on the mend. And, it helped that after this trail I knew we had different plans then the first day we spent being bored and tired in Sedona. Today after our morning hike we drove back up to Flagstaff for a much needed nap for me and some veg time for Lukas. This made things go some much more smoothly. Live and learn! In the afternoon we headed back down the canyon into Sedona and out to Crescent Moon Ranch. We were pleasantly surprised when our Red Rock Passes got us in; we were expecting to have to pay an entrance fee. Crescent Moon Ranch was a great place to end the day. After walking by the open grassy area we found the little "trail" that ran along the water and led out to the big flat red rock of Red Rock Crossing. Here the water tumbled over rocks and there was a great view of Cathedral Rock. We spent the rest of the day here taking pictures and enjoying the area. The sun was warm on the red rocks and I thought it'd be a good idea to dip my feet in the water. It looked so fresh and inviting. Well, it was fresh... fresh as in fresh snow melt and it was COLD! The dipping of the feet lasted no more than 3 seconds a dip and made my feet ache. So much for my good idea, but it was still fun and felt wonderful to have my shoes off for a little bit. And to get the red dust out from between my toes. That red dirt got everywhere! I think fine particles of it coated us the entire time we were there. (I know my car is still covered in it from the crazy dirt roads we got to drive on.)
A side note on dirt roads: I would never call a dirt road good unless it was just like a paved one only dirt. But according to our hiking g
uide a good dirt road can have huge ruts, gigantic rocks all over it, and wash board bumps for miles on end. After 15 minutes of this I got quite tense and would get immensely happy when it would clear up enough that we could go over 5 mph. Paved roads are a great thing.
Ok, back to our trip. Our third morning we went to hike West Fork trial. This was in Oak Creek Canyon and that meant we could sleep in a little bit (i.e. waking up at 6 instead of 5). Well, we got there and things were looking great until we came around a bend and the trail led right into the water. We could see it continued on the other side. Hmm, this could be fun. A water crossing! A little "bridge" existed of rocks and logs and slow and steady we made it across. We felt like such brave explorers. We continued on past patches of icey snow and color walls on the opposite side of the stream. But, we only made it about 5 more minutes of the trail before we came to another water crossing. Here the rock bridge wasn't was defined and mainly made up of slippery logs and the water was much deeper. But we'd made it across the first one we could do this one too! Ha! With confidence I stepped out onto the first log and in a fraction of a second my confidence evaporated (too bad all that snow melt didn't). I turned to Lukas, "Um, I don't think this is happening." He looked at me like he thought I was being silly and maybe not tough enough. "You give it a try I said," slowly inching my way back off the log. With a smile he put his foot out there and then backed off. It was tricky! After a bit of hemming and hawing we decided we can do this (plus we had to get across to continue the hike). With a great show of determination I made it past the first log and onto a huge rock where I was soon joined by Lukas. The next step would be to walk across another log that wasn't very flat and looked slippery. Maybe we could do it on our hands and knees but even that didn't seem promising. So, a bit more hemming and hawing on the rock in the middle of the water and we turned around. Getting an early morning dunking in the ice water didn't sound to appealing to us. On the way back we had to stop and wait at the first water crossing as a family with two young kids made their way across the water. I wonder if they made it across the next water crossing. With West Fork no long an option we headed out to hike Devil's Bridge Trail. The good morning light was already shot for taking pictures, but it was super cool to see this arch. I can't believe those crazy people sitting out there in the middle of the arch where it's the thinnest. We saw it from below and that part didn't look sturdy enough for me to even want to think about walking out there. Just a bit too much on the sketchy side of things, much better to stay on the firm ground. The hike itself was pretty good too. Great views again. Can you see the little dot that's me? And can you find the new golf course? Sedona is starting to get built up as a posh resort town. After Devil's Bridge it was back to Flagstaff for a nap and then back out we went again, this time to hike Doe Mountain. This was a challenging hike due its straight up the side of the mountain nature, but it was also one of the best hikes. The lowering sun provided just the right kind of light and the views were spectacular. Across the way we could see the bigger Bear Mountain and at the top of Doe we walked all around the edge to get amazing views of Sedona far below. The walk around the top of the mountain was great, but we found out that it wasn't a circle on the top. Imagine that! Instead it was move of a U shape and we did some wondering, trail blazing to get back to the place where we had come up. Behind Lukas, in this picture, you can see Bear Mountain. We thought of giving that one a try to, but it was twice as long and much more challenging than Doe and that ruled it out for us.
The next day it was up even earlier for us as we headed for our day trip to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. For being just a "big hole" in the ground the Grand Canyon was pretty amazing. At many points along the rim we could see the Colorado River far below. It was mind-boggling to me how that "little" river carved this huge canyon. The exposed layers of rock were fascinating to see. We spent the entire day at the Grand Canyon. We rode the free shuttle bus for point to point going west along the rim and then walked between the last to points out to Hermits Rest. Then we headed back to the car for a little quiet time and relaxing. I got to take a little nap and we made some sandwiches. To fill the time we checked out the store in the village and had fun ooogling all the super cool camping/hiking gear they had. And, then we got to big sugary popsicles and sat in the sun eating them. Then it was back to the car for a half game of cribbage (which I won!) and then we drove out to Desert View. Along the way we stopped at several of the view points. It was amazing to see the canyon. We made it to Desert View as the sun was getting lower on the horizon. Here there was an interesting stone lookout tower that was kinda stinky inside (too many sweaty bodies walking up all those stairs). The view of the canyon from here was also spectacular. After our adventures at the Grand Canyon back to Flagstaff.
Our last day in Sedona we hiked Cow Pies in the morning. It's not disgusting as the name would make you think. Really, this was an easy walk out to these huge round rocks (the "cow pies") that made for fun exploring and a cool place to eat GORP and watch the sun come up. It also didn't make for easy picture taking, but it was fun to hang out here in the morning. Again we stuck to our routine of a mid day nap and our final hike of the trip was out Long Canyon. This was a long hike and we only did part of it. I really enjoyed this hike that took us by the golf course we'd seen from Devil's Bridge and then out into the canyon with lots of trees. Here I am enjoying a sandwich along the trail. We turned back with enough time to get back out to Crescent Moon Ranch before the sun set. One more picture session here and then it was back to Flagstaff for our last night and in the morning, after a yummy IHOP breakfast we were on the road heading home. All-in-all it was a great trip and by the end I was feeling just about back to 100% (minus the hacking cough I've still got).
And now, back to school for my final quarter at UCLA. In June I will have my MPH and will be off to bigger and better things (like working full time?!).

Other little bits of my life...

4 comments

  1. sounds, and looks like fun megan! glad your feeling better! love em

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  2. hey megs,

    thanks for sharing your trip...looks beautiful there! what a fun adventure you all had! luv, becca

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  3. Great trip Matil!
    Thanx for sharing.......loved the pics too! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun!!

    Love,
    Emu

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  4. OHMYGOSH jealous. That is just beautiful. You are so pretty.

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