Saturday, May 7, 2011

Arizona - Sedona

Sedona is "Red Rock Country", home of the red sandstone formations, so beautiful that they really haveto be seen in person to fully appreciate.  Various rock formations are named for their perceived shapes, such as "Coffee Pot Rock" or "Snoopy".

Since this was the first overnight stop on our road trip enroute to the Grand Canyon, we splurged on a room with a spectacular balcony view.  However it did not compare to the view that this mansion had of the most famous rock formation in Sedona, named Cathedral Rocks.  There is even an observatory on the roof of the mansion.

Nestled up high in midst of the rocks of one formation, following Frank Lloyd Wright's principal of "Organic Architecture" is the Chapel of the Holy Cross Church.  The highlight of the chapel is a giant cross which, in the words of the designer of the church, "seems to impose itself through the very core of the structure".  From up there, you get beautiful panoramic views of the Sedona area.

Back down in the town, there were souvenir shops abound.  One common theme in many of the shops was the "Dirt Shirt", a Tshirt, dyed with Arizona red dirt.  As he bought one, Rich made the comment that there was no need to wash the shirt, since it was supposed to be dirty!

Our second souvenir find was a hand-crafted candle art store, where candles were being made on the premises.  Plain white candles were dipped in various layers of coloured wax and then designs were carved into it.  When the candle is lit, the glow of the flame makes the design pop while the background glimmers.

On our second day in Sedona, we went on the most amazing guided tour of the trails in the Red Rock State Park.  Two retired volunteer guides named Howard and Bob led the way, regaling us with their indepth knowledge of the trees and flowers, as well as and history of the area.  We raced from the car to get there just as the tour was about to start.  But as it turns out, we could have been much later and still caught up with the tour since they talked in such detail about every plant spotted along the way that it took almost half an hour to walk about 20 feet of the trail.

When we first arrived, we were worried since of the 10 members plus the 2 guides, we were the only ones without canes, hiking sticks or hiking boots.  Our concern grew when told that these tours lasted as long as the last participants wanted and could go up to 3-4 hours!  As it turns out, the others were over-geared as the trails were very gentle, and we didn't walk that far but because the guides talked so much, the tour indeed took 4 hours! 

One by one, the others trailed off until Rich and I were the "last men standing".  The guides showed us rock formations, described each plant we passed, explained how they survived in the desert and about native uses of many plants, petroglyphs, Oak Creek and much more.  We heard one story about how one huge Cottonwood tree drank over 500 gallons of water per day (in a desert!) and was used as a site of both weddings (because the V shared trunk symbolized union) and cattle wrestler hangings (because there were so many good outstretched limbs to string a rope from).

We learned that the horhound plant was used to make cough candy and were given a tasty sample, Soap Tree Yucca made walking sticks and the Juniper was used for gin.

 They took us to the "House of Apache Fires" and described the history of it and its owners, Jack and Helen Frye.  He was the owner of TWA airlines and she was formerly married to a Vanderbilt.  Having the guided commentaries made the hike so much more interesting and insightful.  We also got more beautiful views of Cathedral Rock and Three Sisters Rock.

1 comment:

  1. I recently went on a trip to Sedona and I also went into that candle shop but I forgot the name do you happen to remember it.