Arizona – Sedona (May 2013)

And finally I’ve got round to writing about the last part of our trip to Arizona back in May 2013…

We drove from the Grand Canyon knowing we only had a couple of days of holiday left.  We were already talking about what adventures and things we’d like to see on our next holiday.  The Big One had just mentioned that she’d really like to see a volcano when we started noticing what looked like lava rocks at the side of the road.  Low and behold, we saw this:

Sunset Crater Volcano

Sunset Crater Volcano

Sunset Crater Volcano last erupted around 1000 years ago, sending lava shooting 260 metres into the sky.  It destroyed the homes of the native people and traditional names for the crater all seem to be related to burning or burnt land, so it obviously did a huge amount of damage.  In certain lights, the top of the crater is very red, like a sunset, hence its name.

Touching lava rock

Touching lava rock

From there, we continued to Slide Rock State Park – a natural water park, with rocks and mini waterfalls for sliding down.  It was very busy but great fun.

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Finally, we arrived in Sedona and found our way to the very beautiful and tranquil Enchantment Resort in the middle of red rock country.  We had looked for somewhere to stay to break up our journey from the Grand Canyon to the airport and my Lovely Husband had stumbled across this place and it was amazing.

Views from Enchantment Resort

Views from Enchantment Resort

The views were stunning and the resort itself is built very sympathetically so that it doesn’t interrupt the views at all, nestled into the valley and built in similar colours to the surrounding rocks.  The Grand Canyon was awe-inspiring but this place was beautiful.

The first thing we did was have a swim as it was very hot and dry.  The swimming pool was overlooked by the magnificent rock cliffs:

Enchantment Resort swimming pool

Enchantment Resort swimming pool

Everything about this place was excellent: the food, the rooms, the service, the facilities (it has an excellent spa).  The most wonderful thing was the instant relaxation.  It was very hot but as it was much drier heat than the humidity we are used to in Houston, it was much easier to deal with.

Despite the temptation to lie around not doing much, we did leave the resort once during our time there – to go out on a Pink Jeep Tour to a 700 year old Sinaguan cliff dwelling (click here to see where we went).  It was amazing to understand more about the desert and the people who lived here.  The guide was very knowledgeable and really brought the history to life, as well as telling us all about the pictures drawn on the walls by the people of that time and the plants we passed as we walked through the desert.  His father had owned a ranch that was used by Hollywood to shoot a lot of the Westerns during the 1930s-60s (see here for a list).  It was only when Hollywood started coming did electricity get brought to the valley.  Most houses in the valley away from the town have their own generators and need water and fuel brought in via tanker.

Through the desert

Trek through the desert

The dwellings were well hidden in the cliffs and what a great place to have your home – the minute we got within the shadow of the cliffs, the temperature dropped from unbearably hot, to a nice liveable temperature.

Well hidden cliff dwellings

Well hidden cliff dwellings

There were several drawings, some of which were like prayers for a good harvest (the people were farmers), fertility and good health.

Sinaguan cliff drawings

Sinaguan cliff drawings

Although the dwellings have not been repaired and some of it has fallen down, it is still possible to see where the houses were, what the rooms would have been like, where water was collected, fires for warmth and cooking would have been and even see a stone sofa!

Inside one of the dwellings

Inside one of the dwellings

What the dwellings would have looked like

What the dwellings would have looked like

The guide was great and he also made the jeep ride fun over the bumpy track – providing lots of bumps which made the girls giggle madly!

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It was a truly lovely place to spend time and we would love to go back for much longer next time…

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