Sedona was not a planned trip. In fact, all credit for my visit to Oak Creek Canyon must go to my sister, and hiking companion for the day, Larissa.
The original plan was to visit Sunset Crater (read the post and check out photos here) and then continue on to the nearby Wupatki National Park, approximately 40 minutes further north. But as with most spontaneous trips, the day didn’t turn out quite as expected.
Between the late start and unexpected traffic, there was no way to squeeze in a trip to the ruins before I needed to return my borrowed car to its owner. It didn’t help that the owner sent me a text asking me to arrive an hour earlier than the original plan.
I have to admit I was in a pretty irritable mood as I made my way back to Phoenix, trying to figure out how my double National Park day trip was beginning to seem more like an excessive drive and semi waste of the day.
It was my sister that suggested stopping in Sedona on the way back. We might not be able to make it further north, but she remembered visiting Oak Creek Canyon and wouldn’t that be a nice day to wrap the day?
I was mostly humoring her when I decided to stop, but when we entered Sedona and made our way to Oak Creek Canyon, I have to say it quickly earned a position at the top of my list of scenic drives, and I’ve had my fair share of windshield time ( Did I mention I used to be in field sales?).
Imagine trying to hold on to any type of irritation when you’re making your way through a winding mountain road with views like this:
And then you realize the road continues to loop around and around the mountains and that the drive only gets better.
So when you finally get to the bottom, you drive to the top and do it all over again.
But first, you pull off to the side of the road and take a moment to look up at the canyon and get a different perspective. One that’s just as lovely and makes you think there just might be something to the rumors of magic in Sedona.
So you snap a quick photo for the memory and forge your way back across the potentially snake ridden grass and back to the road where you parked your car. Your sister takes one last look before you head back up to the top of the canyon and you snap a photo to capture the moment.
Up at the top, you get tired of waiting for a “scenic turn off.” You’ve been driving and driving and haven’t seen one, so you and your sister decide to make your own. You pull over, scale some rocks, cross a prairie and perch on some rocks on the edge of the mountain and just soak in the view.
You do a little birding.
And then you make your way back across the prairie and the scratchy grass and return to your car. You drive for two minutes and realize the scenic turnout (and paved path–no rock scaling necessary) was just around the corner and no Robert-frosting had been necessary. Oh well.
You attempt to make your way home and your GPS directs you through back roads and you begin to wonder if you’ll actually make it back to Phoenix.
Then you arrive at this tiny bridge and your sister declares it looks exactly like a troll bridge from a story. You pull up and notice you aren’t alone in thinking this bridge could only be home to a troll, someone else has marked it as such before you arrived.
It’s the perfect way to exit the day’s adventure and your final day in Phoenix.
Just imagine, a beautiful drive, great company, and a perfectly imperfect vaction day.
Now stop imagining, and start planning your trip to Sedona.
It’s worth it. I hear there are vortexes too.
I’m currently living and working in Washington D.C, but the next few post will be focusing on my ” #funemployment” adventures before my recent move. Check back next Wednesday for stories and photos from the Carlsbad Caverns.