Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Sedona & Beautiful California

by Kathy 20. April 2012 16:25

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Sedona’s Red Rock Country

About 4 million people are drawn to Sedona, Arizona each year. Many come to experience the stunning red rock formations, such as Cathedral Rock:

Bell Rock:

Rabbit Ears:

Snoopy Rock:

Courthouse Butte:

And here is white-tipped Wilson Mountain (on the left), next to Schnebly Hill:

Sedona is also known as a place for spiritual rejuvenation and artistic inspiration. The small downtown area had at least several public sculptures on each block.

This girl was outside a shop that offered home-made ice-cream:

“The Dance” by artist James Muir:

Some whimsical creations outside the “Life is Good” store:

An amusing scene with a sculpted girl taking a photo of a cowboy painting the landscape:

And of course there were quite a few romanticized figures of Native Americans. Here is one example:

During our travels, we have found that some cities like to have a painted “theme” sculpture—e.g., bison in Custer, South Dakota; giant hearts in San Francisco; and moose in Talkeetna, Alaska. In Sedona, the theme was the javalina, a piglike mammal found throughout southern and central Arizona. Genevieve collects pigs (the nonbreathing kind), and she searched out the javalina sculptures.

“Mamacita de las Flores” by artist Susan Kliewer:

“Have-Aloha” by artista Andrea Smith:

And “Hairalina” by artist Liam Herbert:

Downtown Sedona also had two separate groups of outdoor musical instruments, which Sebastian used to project his harmony out into the world:

Although Sedona offers a variety of high-end luxury resorts and spas, we were on the opposite end of the budget spectrum with our $15/night camping spot in lovely Oak Creek Canyon.

Getting to the campground, we followed the road along Oak Creek, north of town. Looking back toward Sedona, from a bridge crossing the creek:

And looking forward into Oak Creek Canyon:

The canyon had beautifully layered cliff walls:

Our campground was nestled in the pines along Oak Creek, and offered quiet solitude from the Spring Break crowds in town:

One of the exciting features of Sedona—indeed, a major enticement for our family—was the abundance of single track mountain bike trails. We spent 3 glorious days here riding some awesome trails.

We started with some intermediate/advanced trails--a 15-mile series called the “Long Loop,” leading from Dry Creek Road. For those familiar with these trails, our route was Lizard Head—Chuck Wagon—Long Canyon Road—Long Canyon Trail—Deadman’s Pass—Aerie—Cockscomb—Rupp—Gardner—Two Fence.

Here are Genevieve and Sebastian, starting out on Lizard Head Trail:

Portions of these trails have recently received new signs, making them easy to follow . . .

. . . except for the first couple of miles, where the trail had been diverted and no longer matched our handy-dandy (but apparently inaccurate) trail map. A bit of retracing our steps (and some head-scratching), and we stayed on track for the most part.

Genevieve and Sebastian love single track as much as Ben and I—must be genetic! There is something about a thin ribbon of dirt that puts a big smile on each of our faces:

Portions of the trail were open, with some loose step-ups:

We had to watch out for the spine-covered cacti on the side of the trail (I think we all had to pluck some spines out of our bodies at some point during this ride).

Connecting with Long Canyon Trail:

We could not have asked for a more perfect day.

Here is Sebastian dropping down a rocky section of Deadman’s Pass:

More gorgeous scenery:

Genevieve, starting down the Aerie Trail:

Sebastian practiced his balancing act during a water break:

The trail eventually climbed part way up Doe Mesa, the small mountain behind Genevieve below:

Winding upwards on Doe Mesa:

The view:

Looking up at the top of Doe Mesa:

Continuing onward, past more cactus:

Our trail eventually wound past a rock formation known as the Cockscomb:


Our last bit of fluid smoothness before reaching Rupp Trail:

Rupp Trail and the first part of Gardner were old jeep roads with up and down sections completely covered in a sea of loose rocks. We all got to practice our hike-a-bike technique. A lot.

We decided to take a “short cut” (you know, one of those shorter lines on the map that seems like a good choice at the start), and practiced more of our hike-a-bike skills on Two Fence Trail. During a riding portion, we happened upon this critter:

He didn’t want to budge. We didn’t want him to get run over by other bikers, so I took a long stick and gently lifted his tail to encourage him to move. He took some convincing but finally slithered off into the bushes.

For our second ride, we chose a more mellow set of trails that wove around Bell Rock and Courthouse Mesa. For those who want trail names, we rode Big Park Loop, the Single Track ByPass, single track around Little Bell, and part of Bell Rock Pathway.

Ben had to pump up his tire first—we think a cactus spine from yesterday was causing a slow leak.

Genevieve, waiting, with Courthouse Mesa in the distance:

Bell Rock and Courthouse Mesa sit next to each other. In front, there are some looping single track trails that are just pure fun.

Pausing on the side of Courthouse Butte:

Heading toward Bell Rock:

Closer to Bell Rock:

We dropped down into the Single Track ByPass (steeper and rockier than it looks, and a lot more fun going downhill than uphill—we did the trail both ways):

We also took a single track trail that disappeared once it reached the slick rock portions on the side of a smaller hill called Baby Bell. We had to skirt the edge of some narrow ledges, with drop-offs (don't look down!), and sail across to the other side. Then we dropped down to the main trail:

One thing that amazed me was the amount of plant life that was growing on top of the red rocks.

Here is a closer look at Bell Rock, with its many plants:

This brilliant patch of cacti was growing on the western side:

For our final ride in Sedona, we selected a 10-mile set of intermediate/advanced trails called Carroll Canyon Loops, with a series of up-and-down hills and some slick rock thrown in for good measure. (Our route was Ridge Trail—Secret SlickRock—Chavez Ranch Road—Secret SlickRock again—Ramshead Trail—Old Post Trail.)

Ridge Trail had some fun drops and climbs. Here is Sebastian dropping down before pedaling back up some rocky steps:

More photos from Ridge Trail:

On the Secret SlickRock trail, Genevieve spied a heart-shaped cactus, to her right in the photo below:

Then we entered a wide expanse of slickrock, which overlooked Crescent Moon Park and the distant Cathedral Rock:

The path back might appear to be dirt and rocks with some scrubby bushes:

But if you look real close, you will find some beautiful little surprises:

Bicycles proved to be a grand way to explore different regions of Sedona, allowing us to cover a lot of territory and feel an intimate connection with the land.

Some people say that Sedona is one of the most beautiful places in the world. They might just be right.

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Map of Our Journeys

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Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves


   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Yasuní National Park


   Baja California
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Marietas Islands
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotitlán del Valle

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.

Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin