Author Topic: Sedona, AZ  (Read 17804 times)

Offline az

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2013, 07:54:55 AM »
Is there any interest in a trip report for my three day trip to Phoenix/Sedona/Grand Canyon?
+100
one of the coolest trips i ever took!!

Offline Achas Veachas

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2013, 08:21:05 AM »
Wow! Amazing TR!

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2013, 10:54:43 AM »
Awesome TR and amazing pictures! Looking forward to part 2.

No such thing as a too long trip report ;)

Thanks everyone for the feedback. It gives me a push to continue.

These things are harder to write than they look. Makes me appreciate all of Dan's reports.
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #18 on: April 16, 2013, 10:56:06 AM »
I was in Sedona GC and Scottsdale this past winter too, but my trip was a little different...

Hope it was for happy reasons...
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline AJK

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #19 on: April 16, 2013, 11:52:00 AM »
These things are harder to write than they look.

+100
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Offline Mutty

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #20 on: April 16, 2013, 12:19:58 PM »
Just WOW! Thanks.
“You see things; you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?”

Offline E-MAN

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2013, 04:51:48 PM »

Offline Dan

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2013, 04:59:07 PM »
Well done so far!
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Achas Veachas

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2013, 05:05:06 PM »

Offline Mordy2

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2013, 05:28:23 PM »

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2013, 12:21:27 PM »
Thanks everyone!

Ok, Part II :

Things got pretty interesting on our last day. 

We decided to hike up bell rock which if I recall correctly is considered to be the main vortex. One elderly gentleman we met on the trail explained it as follows:

The reason the rock is red is because of the 2% iron in the rock that oxidizes (i.e. rusts) when exposed to the elements. Since there is iron everywhere, people believe it creates an electromagnetic force and at the center it causes a vortex that has unusual properties and can heal people of their diseases and so on.

As you can see from this photo, the mesa is kind of shaped like a bell:



 


Where the sides slope up but at a certain point the cliff becomes sheer. We made it to the bottom of the cliff and were enjoying the amazing view:




Then we figured we'd start heading back down. That's when we met Mark. Mark had Lupus, a disease which he says totally went away when he came to Sedona. He says he is a prisoner in Sedona. He informed us that he'd be happy to take us to the top of bell rock and show us the view.

Apparently one side of the bell opens up  and instead of sheer cliffs there is slightly less sheer cliffs. It looked terrifying to me, there was absolutely nothing to hold onto for much of the way requiring one to balance on a steep sloping cliff. If you slipped it was a long roll/fall down with nothing to break the fall. Death would probably result.

But Mark insisted that he was there to help. He knows the place like the back of his hand. Seriously he showed us every handhold and foothold. At one point he told us to walk past a huge beehive halfway up the cliff. "Don't swat the bees. If one stings you they'll all come after you." I don't know how I did it because I. hate. bees.



The crevice and path to the top

Well, Mark guided us right to the top where there are a bunch of  platforms to climb onto. My legs were shaking and my knees felt weak. We had no climbing gear and I had never rock climbed before. If one handhold in the rock had broken off in my hand or my foot slipped I don't think I'd be here to write this report. The rock there is sandstone and it  can crumble in your hand.


Halfway up

The top is not flat. It consists of a bunch of different size platforms with crevices everywhere and higher platforms to climb. To get to one area of the top you need to take a 'leap of faith' to jump from one platform to the other. Do it right because it's a long fall. On the platform is a metal box screwed to the rock with pens and notebooks for people to leave their thoughts.


Top of the Rock


raised platform on one side. One slip and hundreds of feet of free fall. Also note the white rock at the top and the white layer of rock in the mesas in the distance. Same height.

By the way there is no way to get to the very pinnacle of bell rock which is a platform that's raised high in the center of the top.

The views from the top were incredible although a bit hard to appreciate with my stomach churning and unable to stop thinking about the trip down. On the way up I had watched a girl who was going down slip and be caught in the nick of time by the guy she was with. 

Going down was easier in a way but also scarier because you have to walk down a steep slope with nothing to hold onto. You absolutely need really good grippy hiking shoes for this although some crackpot was doing it barefoot.



Going down - Mark is the one with the cowboy hat

On our way down we came to smooth drop in the stone that was almost vertical and about twenty feet high. Mark told us to straighten one leg and squat on the other one and just slide down the rock using the heel of our squatting foot to slow the fall. This is making me queasy just remembering it. I remember sliding down the rock and wondering what would happen if my heel lost its grip for a moment. There was absolutely nothing to grab onto except smooth red rock.

I thought Mark might ask for money for taking us to the top but he didn't and really protested when I offered him $20. I made him take it partly because I really appreciated what a great comforting guide he was and partly because I was so happy to be alive. Right before we took leave of him, we bumped into a group of young girls and Mark happily volunteered to take them to the top.

At this point we decided that we had 'done' Sedona and it was time to leave   We stopped at a supermarket to grab some food for the drive back to Phoenix and got in the car to leave.

A word about Sedona's supermarkets. They are gorgeous and there is of course plenty of food that even a Cholov Yisroelnik like me could eat. You just have to keep an open mind. Fruit, vegetables, naked smoothie drinks, chips, bagels etc. they even had a nice section of Hertzog wines. Sedona is an expensive place to live and the stores represent that.

Our next stop was to see Montezuma's Castle National Monument. This is a tiny park where you can see the adobe style apartment building built into the cliff about 1000 years ago. This is impressive until you realize that 2400 years ago they were building the second Temple in Jerusalem and the Colosseum in Rome.


Montezuma's Castle - you cannot go up there

The park may be small but it is very well maintained and beautiful with white beech trees (I think) all over and a river nearby. The fee is $5 for adults.

When I went to the grand canyon the lady selling me my ticket ($25 and included parking) asked if i was planning on visiting any other national parks. I said no but I'm pretty sure if I had said yes I could have gotten a pass and visited this park for free. Oh well, you live and learn. Both park tickets are valid for 7 days.

Montezuma's Castle is located on an Indian reservation - I think Navajo. The reservation was weird and looked very run down and littered (The park itself was spotless). There was a small kitschy casino nearby. Apparently the only person who benefits from these casinos is the chief. The others remain just as hopelessly poor. From what I understand, American Indians are just about the most dysfunctional groups of people in the U.S. with lots of domestic abuse, alcoholism and general uselessness.

We left the park after a short while. The drive back to Phoenix was uneventful and beautiful. The road to Phoenix slopes down and when you get to about 3500 feet above sea level the cacti appear suddenly. They are very big and tall and are everywhere.


Saguaro Cacti

Phoenix city is the sixth largest city in America which is pretty astounding to me because I got the feeling (from my few hours there) that if I ever needed to run away from the law it would be the perfect place to hide. Dusty dreary and bleak just like the old desert towns that you read about. I expected to see a sheriff or two on horseback.

Apparently Phoenix was hit really hard in 2008 and it shows. When driving from the inside out you come to a point where the communities of beautiful homes are just blacked out. No lights and no activity. And they stretch for miles and miles like some kind of high tech ghost town. Driving past them was very depressing . Tens of thousands of brand new homes just sitting there vacant. Modern glass office buildings, empty, with torn 'Space Available' signs dangling listlessly over the side.

After stopping at CVS to pick up some vanilla reload cards, we showered at our friends and headed for the airport. My seat in first (1A) while comfortable did not allow me to sleep one iota better than in economy. I don't know how others do it, they plop into their seat, put on an eye mask and just fall asleep until the plane lands. It takes me 45 minutes to find a comfortable position at which time I'm just beginning to realize I need to pee. Oh well, that's life.

Overall this trip was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.

Here are two pictures I took with my iPhone's Panarama feature:


View from Cathedral Rock


The Grand Canyon



Here are some things I learned:

1. No need to go crazy with kosher food. If you are traveling in the U.S. there is no need to base an itinerary off the local kosher restaurant situation. Buy almond milk and cereal, fruits and veggies. Also granola bars, tuna fish and mayo, fruit smoothies... there is a ton you can eat and if you eat choliv stam you are home free. No need to worry about packing vacuum sealed cholent and kishka.

2. Fancy things are not needed for a good trip. While our hotel was nice, we spent very little time there, rented a basic car and ate plain food from local supermarkets. I've got nothing against eating in nice restaurants and renting luxury cars but when it comes right down to it they aren't needed to have a great time.

3. Vacations in America are easier. People speak the language and you don't need to worry about foreign exchange fees. People drive on the same side of the road too. And of course the culture is the best in the world.


4. People are really nice out west - true story.

5. Every mountain has it's 'Mark'. Mark was awesome.


6. There are amazing places right here in America. Really, there are so many places just in Arizona that I didn't get to see:


•   Slot canyons
•   Coyote Buttes - you need to win a park lottery three months in advance to see this place.
•   Actually going into the GC
•   Painted desert
•   Saguaro National Park
•   Petrified Forest
•   San Francisco volcanic valley
•   Lake Powell
•   Canyon de Chelly
•   List goes on and on... Right into Utah!

Amazingly I found this video on YouTube by a guy who went up with Mark. In it he takes the 'Leap of Faith'!



Hope you enjoyed reading. Until next time, my upcoming trip to Alaska for a week in July..
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 12:58:33 PM by yehuda S »
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline Achas Veachas

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2013, 12:35:07 PM »
Amazing! Awesome TR and Awesomer pictures :)
Thanks for taking the time.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2013, 12:44:14 PM »
 Awesome!  Don't know how you did the bell hike. I'm  terrified just thinking about it.
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Offline Mordy2

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2013, 06:03:44 PM »
Amazing, detailed trip report! Thanks for all the info and awesome pics!

Offline Achas Veachas

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2013, 06:11:57 PM »
BTW I loved the way you finished it off, Tachlis.