The question Morgan and I are continuously being asked on our trip is "Where is your favourite place this far?". At the beginning we didn't have a hard time answering this question. The stand out was New Orleans in our minds until we came to Austin and then it become harder to choose and then, there was Sedona! Each place is so completely different that any comparison would not be fair but as far as landscape goes, thus far Sedona takes the cake! It just about left us speechless when we drove into Sedona and become engulfed by red rock mountains.
I am getting ahead of myself though, as our first stop in Sedona was actually a little place called Verde Valley, which is about half an hour drive from Sedona. We stayed at a secluded campground there set up beside the peaceful Verde River and surrounded by naked, golden trees. We picked a site next to the river so we could listen to the water running past. Morgan bought a fishing rod and was excited to try it out for the first time.
We took a short walk down to the river and scouted for a nice spot to fish. The river was very rocky and the rushing currents were creating white water is some spots. Of course not content with being anywhere near the camp entrance we had to trek deep into the river bed and through some very muddy ground. I was in my bikini, denim skirt, haviana thongs and book in hand ready to laze beside the river and sunbake whilst Morgan fished. It was quite a sight when 5 minutes into the lovely river walk I was knee deep in slushy mud. Morgan was in hysterics watching me trying to negotiate my way through the mud, fetching my thongs out from deep mud holes and literally getting 'stuck in the mud’. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind when we set off.
However we did find a great little spot by the river and that’s where we stayed for a few hours. I read my book and Morgs fished.
Unfortunately the fish weren’t biting so we came home empty handed. It was nice just being in the outdoors though, away from everything with nothing but the rocky mountains, gentle running river and peace and quite.
One thing we are beginning to notice here is the effect the elevation has on the weather conditions as we move from place to place. Just yesterday we stopped at Monument Park, Arizona to make some lunch and it started to snow. It was the most amazing sight. ] I heard the sound of heavy droplets on the van and looked outside with much delight to find, fine flakes of snow falling. I raced outside and did a wee snow dance! Morgan has seen snow many of times where he grew up but for me, it’s always so damn exciting seeing snow flakes.
After settling into the new campground Morgs and I took a drive into Sedona for the first time and as I said previously it was just breathtaking. I couldn’t find the words then to describe the sight and I’m afraid the words still escape me today. It’s dry mountainous land with patches of green grass, shrubs and plentiful cactus of different varieties. The mountains grow from the red earth to mass proportions and vary in sizes and colours. The mountains appear to be painted in sections of varying shades from deep reds, oranges and pale hues of yellow. Everywhere you look these gorgeous, earthy coloured mountains surround you and it’s an impressive sight.
We went to the visitors center and signed up for a Pink Jeep tour which took us on an off road 4x4 tour into the high dessert terrain. The tour guide Mike was fantastic and did his best to share as much info with us about Sedona and pointed out some great rock formations, cactus variations and did his best to scare us by taking us down some steep rocky mountain sides. Traveling with us on the tour was 4 Canadians and they were the funniest bunch of people. One of the men had such a dry sense of humour and continuously made jokes from the back seat. The tour guide Mike called him out on his sarcastic tones and jokes and his wife laughed and asked Mike “Guess what he does for a profession?”. The guide guessed right straight away when he replied “Let me guess, a lawyer!”. We had a great laugh with this lot.
They were all loud, witty, quirky and just up for fun. The guide was having trouble getting a word in edge wise. The tour concluded after 3 hours and we headed back to the campground. It was a great introduction to Sedona.
We spent a bit of time wondering around Sedona over the next couple of days. The town is little but very beautiful, clean and looks incredible surrounded by these big mountains. Its looks as if someone picked up the town and just plopped it in the middle of the rolling mountains. There were plenty of shops, restaurants and ice cream bars around. There was one shop that had the most bizarre things inside and out. What drew us in were the piles
and piles of skulls and antlers for sale out the front of the shop. Inside it got even more interesting with every type of mammal, rodent, animal, skins, bones, teeth and anything you could possibly think of and more on display. It seemed like the place that witch doctors would come to collect the ingredients for their magic potions.
We saw Badger feet, turtle shells, snake skin, stuffed animals, skunk tails, bamboo flutes, bison horn caps, bear rugs, fur coats, alligator skulls, cactus spines, bear claws, turkey wings and coyote feet to name just a few. Disturbed yet? I was!!!
The guide suggested trying a prickly pear margarita whilst we were in Sedona so we wasted no time doing that. Prickly Pear is a type of cactus. The flower part of the cactus is used to make the prickly pear syrup and it produces a gorgeous pink colour and tastes very sweet, like a mix between strawberry and grapes. It was a lovely margarita.
Our final day in Sedona was an adventurous one. Morgan spotted a buggy hire place on the side of the rode in town and suggested we hire one and do our own little off road adventure in the Sedona Valley.
So we hired a little two seater dirt buggy which was brand new. The owners of the hire company had just started up the business and bought all new equipment. We were the first ones to be driving this buggy. We set off on the highway to the off road trail that was suggested by the company and that’s where the fun part began. It was just the two of us tarring it up on the dirt roads and stopping occasionally to check out a great view, big rocky formations or to take a few pictures.
We packed a sandwich and snacks and when we were deep in the desert we stopped for lunch by the side of the dirt road. There was no one in sight. Just the two of us and the open desert, which was fantastic, until we went to start the buggy up again. The worst thing that could happen, a flat battery! We would have called for help but there is no reception in the middle of the desert. Morgan tried and tried unsuccessfully to re-start the buggy but it wouldn’t budge. At one stage it started for a few minutes raising our hopes up and then just as we jumped in and were ready to go it died again.
We sat and allowed thirty minutes to pass and tried again and music to our ears, it started! We were off again, hooting through to outback, through galleys, over boulders and skidding around the corners.
I was filming us flying through the red rock up a climbing path when I heard the motor cut out. We slowed right down and then began to roll back down the path to a dead stop. Not again! This time there was no starting the buggy back up again. So we waited and we waited for someone to drive past. Luckily after not too long a 4wd with three men stopped to help us. They were Algerian and Moroccan and spoke both English and French. They had a battery pack on them and got the buggy started up for us but just a quickly as the buggy would start it would stop again. Every time we got excited and jumped back into the buggy it would splutter to a stop again. So left we no other choice we jumped in the back of the 4wd and got a lift back to the main entrance with them. There was only one seat available to sit in, so poor Morgan had to have me on his lap for the entire ride back which was about 20mins. Being such a rocky road it created such a bumpy ride and every rock we would go over I would hit my head on the roof and Morgans legs would be squashed more and more. We were crippled over by the time we arrived at the entrance. Luckily word had got back to the entrance that we had broken down and the owner was on the way.
He arrived and gave us a quad bike to ride back on. He was so apologetic and told us we would get all our money back and to take our time going back to the office. So off we went again on the same trail but this time on a quad bike. What an adventure! I know there must be a good joke to come out of this experience. “Have you heard the joke about the Australian, Moroccan, Algerian and French man who all wound up in the desert together?” :)