After spending a couple of days in the Grand Canyon area, once again it was time to get back on the road. Our next destination: Sedona, Arizona. It was a fairly short drive from Cameron through the high plateaus to Flagstaff. At some 7000 feet this portion of the trip can be the most problematic, particularly in the winter. In fact one of the reasons we didn't make it to Grand Canyon last year is that there was something crazy like 7 feet of snow in Flagstaff!!! Eeek! Anyhoo no such problems this time around, as the ground was completely bare.
Approaching the mountains around Flagstaff.
With all the mileage we covered during our Sunny Raw Kitchen Tour we eventually decided to invest in a GPS to facilitate navigation. That gave me a huge break as it was my job to scout our routes. For the most part the GPS has been a real blessing, but there's been the odd time when it's gotten us into trouble. (You've probably heard the story of a woman who followed the device's directions into a lake! lol) I learned quickly that it's always a good idea to do a wee bit of 'homework' first and look up your itinerary on a map, so as to have a 'second opinion'. Anyhoo when we left Flagstaff that afternoon, we made the mistake of blindly following what we've nicknamed 'The Voice' onto highway 17 instead of taking the 89A which is the scenic route (boo hoo). Not only that but it caused us to drive past Sedona altogether, roughly a 20 mile detour. Ah well... Live and learn, eh?
The rocks surrounding Sedona in the distance.
Going with the flow we decided to head straight to our campground, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, in Cottonwood. We got ourselves a nice and quiet spot on their small Quail Loop. It was our first time setting up the tent in what seemed like ages and both Don and I welcomed the break of continuity. We've been staying in people's homes ever since we left Canada at the end of November. While that's been awesome we also love 'roughing it' and being close to Nature. We try to camp at parks as much as possible so that we can hike at will; it's soooo nice to have trails right in 'your backyard' so to speak! Yay!
Miss DaPuss seemed happy to be back in this familiar surrounding. After all, it was her home for several months last winter.
Once we were all set up we went for a walk along the Verde River (which incidentally you can't see in this photo.)
Don in our outdoor kitchen.
I'm amazed at the major difference in temperatures in the desert. While during the day it is mostly sunny and quite warm (I finally was able to take off my winter layers! Yippee!), at night we had to bundle up as it went below freezing a couple of times. Thank goodness for our electric heater!
These next photos were taken on a different trail around a nearby mesa.
Sedona Here We Come
Our day trip to Sedona last year was one of the big highlights of our travels for me. I was thrilled to finally get a chance to explore more of the town's astounding surroundings; yet another great wonder of Nature with its strangely shaped red, pink and white rock formations. And so the morning after our arrival at Dead Horse Park we drove the some 15 miles from Cottonwood to Sedona.
The mountains as we approached Sedona from the west.
Some shots taken as we were driving around the area.
We picked up a map of the various trails at the Visitors Center before we could come up with a 'plan'. Hum, which hike to do; there are so many to choose from! We opted for the Bell Trail Hike which begins near Oak Creek Village, as it had been recommended to us. We didn't realize that we had to walk along a different trail for several miles before arriving at the Bell trailhead. Lovely scenery just the same!
Since the Bell Trail would be a much bigger project than we were prepared for we decided to turn onto Llama Trail and walk along it for a while.
Kyky is so funny; he's always super excited whenever we turn around to head back. Every once in a while he stops and stares at us with this look on his face saying: "Come on guys, hurry up!"
After such a nice walk our plan was to drive up the 89A to catch up on some of the scenery that we missed, then go out for dinner at ChocolaTree; a raw restaurant/chocolate factory in Sedona. Once again we were reminded of how very fragile any plans are. The van wouldn't start. Oh noooooooo! We'd gotten her out of the garage less than 10 days before! Interestingly all of the troubles we've been having had to do with starting. This time nothing happened at all when Don turned the key. He called AAA and, not being located near any street, had a heck of a time trying to describe where we were. While we waited for the tow truck he kept trying to start it. Lo and behold, after about 10 times it worked!!! Woo hoo! We gladly made our way back to town although we were both perplexed by this new development. What now? Every time we'd stop the van we'd have to wonder whether it would start again? We decided to trust and went for dinner anyways.
Coming up next... Our experience at ChocolaTree!