I had been wanting to visit Sedona, AZ for several years. I had been extremely busy at work this year and desperately needed a break, so I booked this trip in the last minute. I am very glad that I did! It felt so good not staring at a computer monitor for 10+ hours a day. This was a relaxing and active (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) 4-day weekend for me.
This was my first view of Sedona as I descended into Oak Creek Canyon. It was such a beautiful drive turning onto Highway 89A from I-17 by Flagstaff. I had to stop on the side and take in the view.
This is the view from my hotel room!
After settling in, I headed out to Airport Mesa for a little hike and to catch the sunset.
Sunset in Sedona.
After watching the sun go down, I drove up a little further to have dinner at the Mesa Grill, which is right by the landing strip of Sedona Airport. The view was gorgeous but the food was so-so.
The next morning, I went to see one of the biggest attractions in Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This chapel is built right into the red rock. It's architecturally stunning.
I lingered around the chapel area taking in the breathtaking view of the red rocks and the valley.
There were people tossing coins onto the rock by the chapel. Not for good luck, but to see if you've got the skill to make your coin stay in the creases of the rocks.
Next, I went to see the Cathedral Rock, another famous landmark in Sedona. On my hike to the rock, I noticed that the ants in Sedona were HUGE! Look at the size of this little guy!
Standing at the base of Cathedral Rock. Magnificent!
Looking at the Twin Nuns and Mother and the Child Rock by the Chapel of Holy Cross from the Cathedral Rock.
I didn't climb the Cathedral Rock because it's pretty steep. I was by myself and didn't want to get injured. Instead, I hiked a little bit along the Templeton Trail.
The view at the base of the Cathedral Rock was amazing.
After visiting the Cathedral Rock, I continued to drive down Highway 179. I decided to hike the "Little Horse Trail" to "Chicken Point." The hike was 2.7 miles one-way. Here's looking at the Courthouse Rock and the famous Bell Rock on the trail.
Looking at the Twin Nun Rock on the trail.
This rock looked like a sitting guerrilla to me, what do you think?
Looking at the Chapel of the Holy Cross on the trail.
The trail took me to the base of the Twin Nun Rock. I noticed there were people standing on top of this rock and was wondering how they got up there?!
Looking at the Twin Nun Rock from its base.
More cool rock formation behind the Twin Nun Rock.
Looking at the Cathedral Rock in the distance from the base of Twin Nun Rock.
I realized that the rock where people were standing on was "Chicken Point!" I got up there and saw this Pink Jeep Tour group. Those were the people that I saw earlier standing on the rock. When I saw them, I said, "So you guys came up the easy way, huh?" One guy said to me, "Where did you come from?!" because I was not with their group and just appeared out of nowhere. The tour guide laughed and said, "Did you come up the Little Horse Trail?" I said yes, and the guy asked, "How long did it take you to come up here?" I told him it was a 2.7-mile hike and it took me about an hour. His jaw dropped. This other lady asked me, "Are you by yourself?" I said, "Yup!" And she was amazed. Before the group took off, I asked the tour guide to take a photo of me since there would be no one else up there when they leave. Here I was, I conquered the Little Horse Trail!
After the group left, I was there all by myself underneath the big rocks on this platform. I wanted to go to the far end of the plateau but the gust wind was very strong. The wind was so fierce that I had to sit down and hold down to my hat because I felt like I was going to be blown away. It was such a great moment listening to the wind, the silence, and melting into nature.
There's this cool cube rock on the side of the trail.
Here's looking at the Bell Rock on my way down. No, there was no UFO that day. :) (Bell Rock supposedly is a very active UFO area.)
After a day of hikes, I was famished. I booked a reservation at one of the highly reviewed restaurant called Dahl & Di Luca. This turned out to be an excellent decision. The ambiance was great with live music on weekends. I requested to sit outside on the patio.
I tried their Amorita, which was amaretto sour margarita...a blend of two of my favorite drinks! It was yummy!
The manager was really nice, he sprinkled some rose petals on my table. :)
For the appetizer, I tried their stuffed mushrooms and they were superb. For entree, I went for their signature dish, Pollo al Rosmarino. It was phenomenal! The ingredients were fresh, and all the flavors blended very well. It was a great party in my mouth!
The next morning, I ventured out to Boynton Canyon to hike some more (and to burn off the 3-course dinner I had at Dahl & Di Luca, including a slice of tiramisu that I devoured all by myself). This was a 3-mile hike each way.
More beautiful rock formation.
The second rock looks like a face, doesn't it?
Two miles into the canyon, I saw this woman standing on a dead tree trunk. They hiked all the way in here for a photo shoot?! Crazy!
The end of the trail led to a dead-end in the canyon with a forest nestled in between (where the trail was). It was quite spectacular.
I chitchatted with a few people up there. On my way down, I noticed the people I was talking with were standing around just about 0.5 mile into our journey back. It turned out that this woman lost footing on a rock while going down and sprained her ankle badly. It was bruised and swollen. One of the passersby was a doctor. I told them I had ibuprofen with me, so he told her to take some. Thereafter, we all took turns carrying her down to the resort at the end of the trail. I had never walked so fast on a trail in my life before! Needless to say, it was quite a workout for everyone helping out.
After Boynton Canyon, I went to the Red Rock State Park. My legs were pretty sore already from all the hiking so I asked for the easiest trail here. This woman told me to go on the Smoke Trail, where it trekked along the Oak Creek. It was a nice change of pace from before.
On the Smoke Trail, you can see pictographs and petroglyphs left by the Indians high up on a cliff. I zoomed my camera all the way in and captured the cool carvings on the rock.
That evening, I had dinner at Rene at Tlaquepaque. This little area is full of shops of arts and crafts, but I didn't get a chance to visit during my stay because I was busy hiking and sightseeing. Next time, I guess. :)
I sat in a little courtyard and it was nice and relaxing. I had their French onion soup which was pretty good. For the main course, I went for their seared Antelope Tenderloin. They were delicious! There was absolutely no gaminess that is typical of venison. I just wished the pieces were a little bigger.
For dessert, I indulged in their passion fruit panna cotta with berry jam on top. It was yummy!
I tried going to Red Rock Crossing, the most picturesque place in Sedona on Sunday, but it was packed being the long weekend. I decided to head out there Monday morning before I went home, and it turned out to be a great idea because the crowd was gone. I first hiked toward Buddha Beach and came by this red rock platform by the Oak Creek looking at the Cathedral Rock. It was such a beautiful spot.
I stood by the creek admiring the scene. Being that it was early in the morning, there was hardly anybody around. I was pretty much alone most of the time.
I spent a few minutes here praying out loud and also sang a worship song:
Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.
Now every time I sing this song at church, I will forever remember that moment and that view. Can you see how happy I was?! :)
People stack up rocks here at Buddha Beach.
Afterward, I went on another trail to Red Rock Crossing. This is such a serene place. I sat by the creek taking it all in. It was so relaxing that I didn't want to leave.
This is my favorite place in Sedona.
The water was nice and cool.
This place is called Red Rock Crossing because of these. Get it? :)
On my way home, I stopped by Phoenix to visit my good friend Bianca and her adorable 4-year old son, Xander. We had a great time catching up.
This was a great destination for a much needed break. Sedona really is a world of its own. I would like to come back and explore more trails and breathtaking views very soon.
See the entire photo album here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157630021323554/