Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Could it be?  Is summer starting to retreat here in the desert?  I feel a spark of hope.  The last week or two, the temperatures have been slightly less like an oven.  Last week, our daily high rarely went over 100, and this week my trusty weather.com app is showing not one day reaching 100!  OK, a few of those days the high is 98 or 99, and everyday will reach the 90s, but I call this progress.  I am up extra early today, and it has been a drizzly morning.  Since it's only 72 degrees, I actually have the sliding glass door open, and get to feel some cool air.  The sound of cars driving on wet pavement is oddly comforting.

    K and I must be on a roll, because we went for another daytrip this weekend.  Sunday we drove up to Sedona, which has now made my list of "coolest places I've ever been".  The drive showed the diversity of the topography here in AZ.  Of course we started in desert, but it was a different landscape than the drive to Payson.  I noticed more green and trees than I expected.  We spied flat topped mesas in the distance.

We soon were on a plain, and I could swear this must be what Oklahoma or Kansas looks like.  So, I've never been to Oklahoma or Kansas, but that is what I imagine them to look like.

Can you imagine the buffalo?

  After that, as the car kept climbing in elevation, we were in a rocky, mountainous area with actual pines trees.  They were small, and not the kind I'm used to, but it was refreshing.  Finally, as we approached Sedona, I was about to complain that we hadn't seen any of the famous red rocks, when they suddenly came into view.
There they are!

Bell Rock

Cathedral Rock

I don't know the name of this one!

  The red rocks are breathtaking.  They are different than anything I've seen before, and yet I found a comfort in being so close to so many mountains.  Supposedly they have "energy vortexes" on and around the rocks that strengthen your inner being.  I don't know about vortexes, but I did feel energized and happy with this visit.  The red rocks, although completely different from anything I'm used to, also reminded me in a weird way of the mountains where I grew up in Anchorage.  Something about being so close to such tall mountains.  And the hippie vibe, with the vortexes, aura photographs and crystals, reminded me of my hometown of Eugene.  Combine that with all of the natural beauty, cooler temperatures, and spending a day with K, and I was a happy girl.

  We started out having lunch at a place called Ken's.  Since it was only 82 degrees, we could comfortably sit on the deck and have a view of the trees and famous red rocks.  I sipped on a prickly pear margarita.
Prickly Pear Margarita

The view while we had lunch on the deck

  After that, we went across the street to an "arts and craft village" called Tlaquepaque.  Yeah, I don't know how to pronounce it either.  Walking around here, we felt like we were in a movie version of a Mexican village.  Although we could tell it wasn't an authentic village - everything was too perfect - we still enjoyed the beautiful setting.  We wandered for awhile, through doorways and into courtyards, sitting by a fountain in the shade.  The artwork sold there wasn't really my style, although if you are into southwestern art it might be your thing.

 After spending some time there, we decided to visit uptown Sedona.  When we found a parking lot behind some of the buisinesses on the main street, it was like we had driven into a national park view point.  We were surrounded by the red rocks.

 We took a stroll up and down the street.  Although this area is obviously very touristy, and there are some aggressive tour guides trying to get you to pay them for their services, it is still beautiful and I'm glad we didn't miss it.  We have already decided that we would like to take a long weekend in Sedona to be able to experience more of what it has to offer.  I'm so glad that we went there, even for the day.  It is comforting to know that there are such beautiful and refreshing places within a few hours of our new home.
Rollie's Camera - since 1961!

Uptown Sedona

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