Travel & Food

Sedona Rocks!

Now that you’ve slogged through the megillah about my energy vortex experience, let’s review the rest of my trip to Sedona. Expect more photos and less logorrhea this time.

Scenic Rim and Schnebly Hill Road

Pioneers T.C. and Sedona Schnebly moved to this area in Arizona in the late 1890s. The area was growing rapidly, so they petitioned the U.S. Postmaster General to open a post office, proposing the names Oak Creek Crossing and Schnebly Station. They were both rejected as being too long — the preference at the time was for one-word names.

Fortunately, they settled on Sedona, not Schnebly, as the name for the post office. As a consolation prize, the road from Sedona to Flagstaff was named Schnebly Hill Road. It’s a bumpy ride — it wasn’t long before I felt nauseated.

I think my photos are of the Mogollon Rim, but don’t quote me on that.

BTW, if you’re headed to Sedona, I highly recommend Pink Adventure Tours.

Merry-Go-Round Rock
Merry-Go-Round Rock as seen from Schnebly Hill Road
Dave at the Outer Rim
The Outer Rim is outta sight!
Outer Rim with moon in the sky
(In Obi-Wan Kenobi voice) That’s no moon. That’s a space station.

Broken Arrow Trail

Broken Arrow Trail is like Schnebly Hill Road: bumpy and beautiful. Our driver navigated the rocky terrain with aplomb, but I still got jostled around plenty.

Dave leaning against a pink Jeep on the Broken Arrow Trail
Come on Barbie, let’s go Jeeping! Don’t let the Peptol Bismol paint job fool you — this vehicle is rough and rugged.
Red rocks looming over the pink Jeep.
The pink Jeep looks like a Matchbox car next to the rock formations.
Dave leaning against a juniper tree.
Rockin’ around the juniper tree.
Broken Arrow Trail panorama
The view from the Broken Arrow Trail.
Dave gives a thumbs-up on the Broken Arrow Trail
(In Fonzie voice) Aaayyyyy!
Broken Arrow Trail
(in Willie Nelson voice)
On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And these Barbie Jeeps make me think of Ken
In Sedona, the off-road trails are as steep as the hotel prices.
Here’s another Jeep descending the same trail.

Sunset at Upper Red Rock Loop Road Overlook

Stunning. I did get a few photos, but most of the time, I set down my phone so I could mute my inner dialogue and be fully present for the experience.

Sunset from Upper Red Rock Loop Road
I’m facing east. As the sun sinks, shadows spread out before me and begin crawling toward the rocks in the distance.
Close-up of a formation seen from the Upper Red Rock Loop Road Overlook.
This rock formation looks like a manmade structure with imposing columns and a great golden dome — like a grand French Baroque palace or a fancy Taco Bell.
Dave at sunset in Sedona
A quick sunset selfie before I dash to the car and crank up the heat because the temperature is now about 35°F and falling.

Sunrise From Somewhere That Is Close to, But Not, the Airport Mesa Overlook

You’d have to be a complete idiot not to find the Airport Mesa Overlook, which is clearly marked and has everything you’d expect to see at a site for tourists: a huge parking lot, paved walkways, outdoor exhibits, coin-operated telescopes, yappy families, and so on.

Fortunately, being a complete idiot sometimes pays off. I parked nowhere near the overlook, lucked upon a rocky trail, followed it for about 25 minutes, and found a secluded spot to watch the sunrise in solitude.

I’m still not sure how I ended up there. Was it the happy accident of a man who got too little sleep, was in a cold, dark, and unfamiliar place, and failed to make sense of the directions on his phone? Or was he drawn in by mysterious vortex energy?

(Of course, it was an accident. However, if I look at the geotags on my photos, it appears that I had stumbled my way into the Airport Mesa Vortex. Cue the Twilight Zone music.)

Sedona sunrise seen from somewhere near the Airport Mesa overlook
As the sun rises, the shadow seems to melt off the tallest peak in the distance. The photos don’t capture how the peak is glowing, as if the reds, golds, and browns are lit from within.

Sunrise in Sonoma
Sunlight continues to trickle down the peak but hasn’t yet hit the town below.
Sunrise in Sonoma, as seen with a wide-angle lens
As the sun continues to rise, the sky becomes bluer and the clouds become whiter.
Dave somewhere in or near the Mesa Airport Vortex
Not a bad way to spend a morning.
A sign that says to close the gate to keep deer off the runway.
One of the many clues that I was, in fact, nowhere near the tourist-friendly official overlook area.

Concerning that last photo, I should point out that my painstaking research (i.e., a cursory scan of Google search results) indicates that deer are quite good at jumping over fences but really bad at reading signs.


What, I’m not allowed a special treat while on vacation?

Donut at coffee at Sedonuts
The place was called Sedonuts. Of course I had to stop in!
Deve eating a donut
This Red Rock Velvet donut didn’t last long. Also highly recommended: the Vortex (a massive cinnamon roll topped with pecans) and the Red Rock Oreo (a red velvet donut topped with crushed Oreos).