Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sedona and Trip Planning

When researching an area we're going to I like to scroll through Google Images for an advance look and to help with planning for things to see while there.  When researching Sedona, AZ you'll get lots of beautiful red rock formations and if you are an outdoorsy person they'll entice you to them.  The pictures posted are from the Internet except the one from downtown Sedona which I took.
When I saw pictures of "The Wave" it was at the top of my list of things to see.  I'd love to hike out through this beautiful striped red rock formation!  Beyond it's beauty and the desire to experience it I didn't put any indepth research into it assuming it was a tourist attraction and easily accessible.  I have since learned that "The Wave" is located near the Arizona-Utah border around 204 miles north of Sedona in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area! It is a 3 mile trek through open desert with a rise in altitude of 350 feet.  Round trip is a minimum of 6 miles and people are advised to be prepared for harsh desert conditions which include fierce winds, blowing sand, little shade, and temperatures that typically can exceed 100 degrees in the summer!  Marked trails and water are not provided! The Wave is located by GPS. Getting lost has been deadly for some!  Only 20 permits are issued daily.  Ten of the twenty permits are obtained through applying a minimum of four months in advance! There is a daily lottery for the other 10 passes which are good for the next day.  There are guided tours out of the communities of Kanab and Page for hikers with permits. This beautiful formation is a serious undertaking not to be taken lightly! We'll pass for now!  
The Navajo Bridge is located 152 miles north of Sedona on Highway 89A in a desolate location.  One bridge was built in 1927, but was deemed inadequate by 1995 due to its width and load bearing capacity.  It has since been turned into a foot bridge.  A matching bridge was built that can handle today's truck traffic.  The bridge is 834 feet long and is 467 feet above the river.  We'll catch the crossing when we are closer to it.       
While staying in Flagstaff, we decided to make a day trip down to Sedona which is just 30 miles away.  The drive down the two lane winding mountain road 89A was a treat with just our truck, but we both quickly realized that it wasn't a road we would have wanted to be traveling on with the camper in tow.  Our original intent for the area was to stay in Sedona a couple of months.  We learned almost immediately upon entering town what a mistake that would have been for us.  The streets were narrow and congested with traffic. The town itself literally had tourist shops on top of tourist shops and was tightly pushed together.  Everything seemed to be done in the natural red of the area.  I love red, but there is a point where it becomes too much!  Roy and I quickly realized we could get our fill of being in town in a couple of hours!  Thank goodness for our policy of not making reservations ahead for r.v. parks!  Even with our intention of returning another day for a closer look we didn't! 
Slide Rock State Park is located 7 miles north of Sedona on 89A. You'll want to watch the park's website to be sure the waterway is open, as it may be closed due to local fires!  A waterway being closed due to fires isn't something a person would typically think of, but is what kept us from being able to enjoy the slide.  The waterway was closed all of September while we were in Flagstaff! You may want to strategically plan to be at the park during a weekday, as the park will close to further visitors on a day when the parking lot reaches maximum capacity!  We will catch the park on another trip into the area now that we know how to plan!
Devil's Bridge is located about 7 miles south of Sedona on Highway 179.  I thought hiking up to it would be great although I doubted that I could make myself walk across it!  I also didn't really take Roy and my fitness levels into consideration either.  I think the spirit was willing, but we really don't physically want to! That's something to think about in your planning.  Planning out the details of the location and trail ahead of time would definitely be an encouragement!  There is a 2 wheel drive parking area that is 1.9 mile hike to the bridge or a 4 wheel drive access that is only a .8 mile hike. Keep in mind doubling the distance for the hike back and do we really want to use our camper tow vehicle to go down 4 wheel drive roads!  The first half of the trail is said to be fairly flat, but then turns into a steep 300 feet in elevation trek!  We'll pass!
Bell Rock is located about 7 miles south of Sedona.  It can be seen from town which makes one question the need to hike to it!  Bell Rock is considered a magnetic vortex hot spot.  The trail is a gentle flat walk of a mile to the base of Bell Rock and then will climb half way up.  Don't forget to double your walk to the base and back to the parking lot to 2 miles!  That's enough for me and you have to carry your own water, as none is provided along the trail.  Be sure to pay close attention to the trail markers that are said to be a bit confusing, as there is a trail that makes a 5 mile loop around Courthouse Butte and Spaceship Rock!  Remember you have to make sure you have enough water and don't get lost!!!  We're good with the view from town!

Cathedral Rock is 4 miles south of Sedona and is said to have the strongest magnetic vortexes in Sedona!  It is a 1.5 mile round trip walk with the first half of the trail being quite steep.  The path gains 600 feet in elevation, so it is a little more strenuous than its short distance suggests!  It's said that fewer than half that start the trek make it to the end!  The trail leads to the base of the sheer sided butte giving spectacular views all around.  We hope this overview of some of Arizona's popular natural attractions gives you a jump start to your planning.  Although our trip to the Sedona area didn't turn out quite like we imagined we enjoyed our look around!