Sedona: Red Rock State Park and Cathedral Rock

18 06 2018

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Ruth Ann, Tully and I managed to get through the traffic south of town, to reach Red Rock State Park. At this time, about mid-day, it was cloudy. Still, the mesas were very beautiful. And if one looked close, the struggle of life in the desert was there for all to see. Our shoes padded through dry, soft dirt. The flora around was very dry, and lots of it had protection like needles or prickers. Evolution created plants specialized to take advantage of whatever rain comes.

Many plants are succulents, evolved to hold onto and store water. And it’s true, the rocks there are red. Or, orange-red.

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And where the rocks are eroded in such a way to capture water for any length of time, even way up on a mesa, oases of life have been created. Life finds a way. On these little places where water stayed on a bit longer, plants that normally grow elsewhere created a miniature ecosystem for themselves!

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Great picture with Ruth Ann. Up above you can see life has taken advantage of every place water has collected.

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I’m holding a nice tumbleweed!

After having our fill at Red Rock, we journeyed further to find Sedona’s famous Cathedral Rock. Using our GPS was of limited use. We kind of futzed around down where we knew it was to be, and eventually found a park and trailhead. During our walk, I kept watch on the sky, and I noticed an upcoming clearing was pending. We waited for it to happen, and it paid off!

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I suck at selfies but this one worked! The sun breaks through!

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On our way out it continued to clear and the red rocks glowed brightly!

 

And what would a day be without a great picture of Ruth Ann!

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So, our day down at Red Rock State Park and Cathedral Rock was a good one! For Tully and I, it was going to be back to Albuquerque. On the way we’d visit the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and Meteorite Crater.

 

 

 





Sedona, Arizona: Reuniting with Friends

17 06 2018

Our next destination was Sedona. I’d been there back in 2003 with my girlfriend Tonya. We stayed out in Jerome, about 25 minutes away. I remembered hiking the Oak Creek Canyon section, and spending a few hours by the river looking at Cathedral Rock.

Sedona’s big draw is its beautiful red rock canyons and rock formations. This time we’d be doing some hiking but I’d also meet up with some friends I’d not seen in ages. My friend Ruth Ann, who’d moved to Arizona from Portland and I hadn’t seen in 9 years would meet us. And my high school friend Kim Kroeger Miles lives in Sedona. I had not seen her since the mid 1980’s! We all had a cookout at Kim’s house, which is surrounded by the red rocks. I was a little nervous seeing people I hadn’t seen in so long! So much history has gone on since last we met. Children, marriages, near-death experiences, travel, and triumphs.

 

It turned out to be a lot of fun. Kim made a unique Caesar Salad, whipped up some burgers for the grill, and created an amazing dessert made with some of the fruit from her orchard. So good to visit!

The following day Ruth Ann, Tully and I set out to get outside to see some of Sedona’s outdoor attractions. What I discovered is that Sedona is an international magnet for tourists, so much so that it might not be possible to visit on a budget. And its roads are jammed with tourist buses and cars. The main road just cannot handle all that traffic! And while beautiful, every trail we visited charged a fee, from $5 to $20! It was so busy the Oak Creek trail was “sold out.” I imagine locals know other less busy trails to get out on.

The first park we visited was Slide Rock State Park. It was open, and not busy. We learned it really doesn’t have trails, just a swimming area and picnic area on the river. It would be busy in warmer weather!

Next, we decided to visit Red Rock State Park and Cathedral Rock. We’d be driving through downtown Sedona to get there. Wow, what a traffic jam! On the single-lane on the other side of the road, it was bumper to bumper for a couple of miles. Lucky for us, our side wasn’t so bad. I’ll cover those parks in the next post!