(Note: if you want to see larger versions of the photos, just click on them!)
En Route – Santa Fe to Sedona: On Sunday, we woke up early and began the long trip from Santa Fe to Sedona, Arizona. Along the way, we stopped at two spectacular spots. The first was the Painted Desert in the badlands of Arizona. The term badland refers to a highly eroded landscape that can change rapidly with every rainfall and the topography can be found all over the world, from North Dakota to Pakistan. This particular stretch of badlands lies across the Grand Canyon National Park and the Petrified National Forest. The Painted Desert is an endless expanse of multi-colored sandstone forged by ancient waters in an inland basin. It was a slightly intimidating scene standing over the brightly colored and scorched hills that seemed to go on forever, especially in the 100-degree heat! So we decided to skip taking a hike in this area and continued on.
We were not on the highway long before we started seeing signs to “Meteor Crater”. As the name implies, this was a meteor crater, given the singular title because it is the oldest and best-preserved meteor crater in the world. So how could we not stop? It is almost a mile wide and two and a half miles around:
We stopped briefly in Flagstaff, AZ for lunch, which is a cool alternative mountain and college town with lots of good coffee spots and outdoors stores. It is somewhat of a base camp for the Grand Canyon with lots of travelers from all over bunking down in the town’s hostels.
Sedona, AZ: We arrived at the Sky Ranch Lodge in Sedona just in time for sunset. The rustic and low-key lodge sits on top of a mesa (a flat-topped mountain) overlooking the town and surrounding valley. It has its own “sunset deck”, which is arguably the best place to watch the sunset in all of Sedona:
Located in Red Rock County, Sedona is a beautiful area made up of crimson sandstone mesas, spiny rock formations and clear rivers. It has also become somewhat of a “new age destination” with its supposed vortexes. According to believers, a vortex is an area that radiates the earth’s power and gives energy to those who walk near them. Unfortunately, this magical energy did not transfer over to Dicken’s golf game when he played at one of the local Sedona courses (sorry, Dicken). We spent the next two days hiking, biking, swimming and watching the sunsets and sunrises from the top of the mesas.
It was hard a place to leave, though we do have the Grand Canyon to look forward to…