Saturday, July 18, 2015


I haven’t had an excuse to come up to Sedona over the years – until now. Visiting friends in Phoenix for the weekend had me wondering how I could make that plane trip all the way down to Arizona go a little farther – so why not extend my stay with a couple nights up in the vortex laden, tourist crowded hamlet of Sedona?

I didn’t do any research, I didn’t plan out any hikes or spots that I wanted to go – but I did spend time finding a bed and breakfast that seemed perfect for me. (More about that in a minute). And so I left the 106 degree weather in Phoenix, headed north on I-17 and found myself about an hour later getting peekaboo views of stunning red rock formations, plateaus and spires.  This girl gets pretty teary eyed when I see red rock. I love it. I love the high desert as it climbs into hills that suddenly split open to reveal the jeweled tones of the earth.

Sedona is – shopping, restaurants, hotels and pink hummers taking the hot (it is still close to 100 degrees in town) tourists god only knows where for a nice bundle of cash. Yes, some galleries and shops offer lovely merchandise while other shops offer every piece of shtick you can imagine. Yes, there are some great restaurants and even a Whole Foods market for those of us who want to find our almond milk and organic cheese. Yes, you can find any kind of accommodations that you might want for your visit. 

For myself, I found what I think is the cutest little Bed and Breakfast that I have ever stayed in – Canyon Wren Cabins. I had everything I could possibly want for a couple days of unplugged bliss up here along Oak Creek. I think Slide Rock is less than a mile away and I can walk across the street and down a trail to my own quiet corner of creek side contemplation. The Honeysuckle Cabin is delightfully perfect for my retreat. No TV, wifi, or internet. Spotty cell service.


My only complaint about Sedona is all about the Oak Creek recreational area. While there are a few trailheads with their own gated parking areas - that don't open until 9am, parking on the shoulders of the highway is either prohibited or unavailable. When its going to hit 100 degrees, I'd really like to get on the trail early. Not happening. Other trailheads are poorly marked with limited parking.

I ended up walking to the closest trailhead to Canyon Wren which happened to be the Sterling Pass Trail. It's a 1100 ft. gain in the first mile that takes you up to the saddle of the pass and then down into gorgeous canyon country.

I spent some time chatting with a merchant, a lovely woman who had lived in Sedona for twenty years, and she warned me about the traffic in Oak Creek Canyon. Being off season meant that I could make the ten minute drive to my bed and breakfast pretty easy but try to get into town after noon in May and it might take over an hour. And still traffic snarls in the roundabouts most days that I was there.

Restaurants are everywhere and while for the most part I stuck to eating on my porch with the hummingbirds (5 different varieties) - I had an amazing burrito at Javalina's Cantina. Grilled Chicken with vegetables. The marinade on the meat was incredible and I sweet talked my waiter into finding out the recipe. It was that good. If you know me, you know that I rarely sweet talk anyone.

Sedona feels like an upscale version of Moab - drawing the same crowds for 4x4 tour adventures without quite so many touring buses. There aren't -yet- the same amount of outfitters and potentially the market for that kind of thing will stay smaller due to the scale of what there is to see in Sedona vs. Moab's National Parks. 

I would come back through - mainly to stop by the Canyon Wren for Mike's sinful brownies and Milena's stories in the bird laden garden. I think I found my kind of energy vortex. 

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