Author Topic: Sedona, AZ  (Read 15725 times)

Offline yehuda S

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Sedona, AZ
« on: April 15, 2013, 10:19:39 AM »
Is there any interest in a trip report for my three day trip to Phoenix/Sedona/Grand Canyon?
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline E-MAN

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 10:31:56 AM »
Is there any interest in a trip report for my three day trip to Phoenix/Sedona/Grand Canyon?
Always interest in a TR!  8)

Offline Mutty

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2013, 10:33:01 AM »
Hope you took the pink jeep tour!
“You see things; you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?”

Offline sky121

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2013, 10:39:48 AM »
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2013, 10:50:12 AM »
Is there any interest in a trip report for my three day trip to Phoenix/Sedona/Grand Canyon?

Please!! would really like to read it.

Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2013, 11:26:25 AM »
+10

I'll do it!

I just didn't think all you travel gurus were interested in something right here in the good 'ol USA.
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Offline sky121

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2013, 11:40:11 AM »
I'll do it!

I just didn't think all you travel gurus were interested in something right here in the good 'ol USA.

Travel gurus know that there are amazing trips to be had anywhere and everywhere. And the USA is filled with many beautiful and fun places to visit.
"Not all who wander are lost"

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2013, 09:55:33 PM »
Travel gurus know that there are amazing trips to be had anywhere and everywhere. And the USA is filled with many beautiful and fun places to visit.

+1, and not all travel gurus have the ability/chance to go somewhere 'exotic' every time.
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Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2013, 09:58:40 PM »
+1, and not all travel gurus have the ability/chance to go somewhere 'exotic' every time.

I doubt there are many places in the world as exotic as Sedona. The place is spectacular.
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2013, 09:59:10 PM »
Also, the TR should probably be posted here, methinks.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 10:02:28 PM by Something Fishy »
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Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2013, 10:01:29 PM »
I doubt there are many places in the world as exotic as Sedona. The place is spectacular.

Quite true.

But when I said exotic I was thinking Thailand, the Maldives, etc. not just exotic scenery.
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Offline yehuda S

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2013, 01:47:28 AM »
Since I started here I'll post it here. If anyone wants to I guess you can move it. If it's too long please let me know.


I'd been technically planning this trip for years as sort of a get away with a friend/ escape to nature from the daily grind and find myself a bit.
This would be my first semi-major trip somewhere without my wife since we got engaged.

I'd been thinking about Zion national park but when I broached the idea to my brother-in-law I said 'Phoenix' to give him a general idea of the vicinity and he booked his nonrefundable ticket so fast we were kind of stuck. I think it worked out well though because the weather in March is quite cold in Utah.

We decided to go the week after Purim, departing early on Sunday March 3 and arriving back early Wednesday morning taking the red eye the night before. We were coming from different places and meeting in PHX.

Sedona was his idea. Truthfully the name barely meant anything to me. I'd heard it floated around in the past and I barely researched it before going. I'm glad about that because I was in for a very nice surprise.

I booked my flight using UA points direct from JFK to PHX economy there and first for the return. I figured that I may be able to sleep a bit in  first and since I'd be going to work directly from the airport I needed as much sleep as I can get.

We met up in PHX and rented our car, declining to take the Ferrari that Hertz offered for $2000 a day and instead opting for the slightly more modest Mazda 6.

As a city Phoenix was totally unimpressive to me, at least the Jewish residential parts that I saw. The city is flat and extremely dry, although there is some beautiful mountain scenery surrounding the city. The homes are low and it seemed like there were gentlemen’s clubs everywhere.

We had brunch at Manhattan Pizza and Subs. It was totally empty on this Sunday morning and the tuna salad and pizza was surprisingly good.

We stopped at a friend’s house and strapped on our hiking shoes and camelbacks.
Our first stop was to hike Squaw peak (also known by it’s official name Piestewa Peak). The Summit Trail (elevation gain = 1,190 feet in 1.2 miles [thanks Wikipedia] ) is much harder than it looks, because as you reach the summit of each hill you can see another taller one behind it. In any case, I made it very close to the top before I came to the realization that drinking all that water might not have been a great idea. Up on the mountain there is absolutely no privacy. Everyone above you can see right down and the people below you can see right up. Apparently, there are rattlesnakes just off the path so that kind of limited my options. Anyway I scooted down and I can’t say I regretted that decision very much because I think I saw all there was to see: a big kind of dreary smog filled valley. I hope this doesn’t sound too negative; maybe it’s because it was a cloudy day. Mostly I recall the city being a grayish sandy color. One cool thing was the orange trees which were all over, and the huge saguaro cactus.



We had supper at our friends and then left to Sedona. The trip there is about 1 ½ hours and we got there well after sunset. The road in to Sedona is an official All American Highway and it’s easy to see why although I didn't get to see it until the next day. We had a room booked at the Amara Hotel and Spa which ended up costing $110/night on Priceline. I believe it was $300/night on the hotel website. Our stay there was great, I highly recommend it although be sure to get a room with a view. The rooms were beautiful and spotless although the bathroom looked a bit dated and the tub was tiny. They had a nice Starbucks spread around the coffee machine and that’s always nice. We observed hotel staff giving others the ‘timeshare schmooze’ but we didn't get one, Thank G-d.




Our hotel room windows looked out at snoopy rock (the lower formation).

The next morning I woke up and peeked out the window. Basically, nothing can really prepare you for this place in my opinion. Sedona is Gorgeous. All the pictures don’t do it a speck of justice (Well maybe some of mine do ;) ). Everywhere you look there are huge towering mesas of bright red rock. Bizarre formations with names like “Snoopy” (-actually looks like snoopy) “Bell Rock” “The courthouse”. At the bottom there is bright green vegetation but about halfway up the rock formations become sheer cliffs and the sun at different angles turns the rock into breathtaking, dazzling works of art. These ‘mountains’ are everywhere and the feeling that you get is like being on the surface of mars except with plants.   


Taken at the Information Center on the All American Highway.

You can clearly see the different layers in the mountains (technically mesas or buttes), some are light red, some dark red and some white. Every mesa has the stripes on the exact same level so it’s easy to see why the theory is that it used to be the bottom of a prehistoric ocean.
The city is very touristy and we avoided that whole aspect. It is built in a very clever way though, so if you are out hiking up one of the mesas the city blends in very well and can’t really be seen.


Bell Rock just behind Ace Hardware

My bro-in-Law had been to the Grand Canyon twice before and wasn’t really interested in going again. I had never been and figured if I came this far I’d better go see it. I drove up through Oak Creek Canyon, a stunning peaceful meandering drive up towards the GC. There was no cell coverage there but there were lots of bed and breakfasts. Coming out of the canyon it was a very direct trip up north and took me 2 ½ hours including bathroom/souvenir pit stops.   


On the road into Oak Creek Canyon

One thing about Arizona is the climate. I was lucky to get to the GC when it was about 50 degrees in mid-afternoon. But that was a warm day and there was still snow on the ground. The week before it had been colder there than in New Jersey while Phoenix was in the upper 70s. Inside the canyon it is over 20 degrees hotter than at the rim. The cold was the reason I almost didn’t go.

I am very hesitant to post my pictures of the Grand Canyon. (I think I’ll find the best online picture taken from where I stood. The pictures I took look a bit washed out from the bright sun.) For those who have been there, you know what I mean, and for those who haven’t, this is one situation where the picture seriously minimizes the sheer amazingness of the place. I’d seen pictures before I went and never felt very moved by them but seeing it in person was a very different experience.

You walk through a forest following the small crowd and then suddenly the floor disappears. My jaw dropped and if my brain was able to talk it would have said something like “AAAAAHHOOOOHHHHUUUUUNNHHH!!!” Anyway, that’s what the people around me said when they saw it. The canyon is over 6000 feet (over a mile) deep, up to 18 miles wide and 277 miles long. There is an utter silence that hangs over the entire canyon. You cannot see anything moving. No birds, animals, planes, nothing. Due to its depth and width you can see for miles and miles. I can’t think of anything else on earth that humans can observe with a perspective for its size.
What I thought was the whole thing just looks so fake! I would not have been surprised if someone had peeled the view away and it was just a picture on a screen.


View from Mather Point on the south rim. Photo Credit. Design and Creation Credit: HaShem

If you stare at one gap in the cliffs at the center, you can just make out a short stretch of the Colorado River a mile below. That’s approximately five times the height of the empire state observation deck.


The Colorado River. I took this one

After gawking for a bit more than an hour I decided it was time to go. I still had lots of stuff to do in Sedona and as they say “G-d created the Grand Canyon, but He lives in Sedona” a testimony on the beauty of Sedona. I’ll just say that the GC is something you must see in your life. I bet it’s just about the most amazing sight in the world and if you think I’m wrong you’ve probably never been there.

Along the way home I got a bit lost which I’m not complaining about because I got drive down a bit of historic Route 66, something I’d been hoping to do.



I made it back to Sedona, this time driving up the Red Rock Scenic Byway, picked up my BIL, and together we headed to hike up Cathedral Rock. If you do some research you’ll find out about the four ‘vortexes’ in Sedona that has people coming from all over to heal them or connect to nature or just to smoke pot. Sedona is very welcoming to pot heads and spiritual seekers. Anyway, Cathedral Rock is one of the four vortexes and we started the hike about an hour or so before sunset.


Cathedral Rock

Here are some views from up top:




You can see how the city blends into the scenery
The hiking there can get very steep and it’s worth investing in a quality pair of hiking shoes. At times the trail leads up vertical clefts in the rock and may not be recommended for those with a fear of heights or people who are out of shape.
At the top there are a few narrow ‘saddles’ that sit between the giant stone fingers and when you get to the top you can see the view from both sides. Here is the other side:






The Saddle looking towards the side we came up from.


Stone fingers

We davened mincha up there, and then went down and back to our hotel where we finished the day by eating a supper of shrink-wrapped turkey drumstick and prepared salads, and then soaked in the outdoor hot tub under the stars before going to bed.

The next day was to be our last in Arizona. We got up pretty early and headed out.

To be continued...
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 01:58:02 AM by yehuda S »
Work is what you do between vacations.

Offline Something Fishy

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2013, 02:07:12 AM »

Awesome TR and amazing pictures! Looking forward to part 2.

Since I started here I'll post it here. If anyone wants to I guess you can move it. If it's too long please let me know.

No such thing as a too long trip report ;)
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Offline Yaalili

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2013, 07:08:31 AM »
Awesome TR and amazing pictures! Looking forward to part 2.

+1, thanks!

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Re: Sedona, AZ
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2013, 07:31:26 AM »
Great write up so far!

I was in Sedona GC and Scottsdale this past winter too, but my trip was a little different...