Red Rock in Sedona, AZ

Two nights in Sedona, Arizona, was perfect for relaxing and soaking in the scenery. The main drag in downtown Sedona definitely caters to tourists, with a fairly wide gap between very high-end jewelry, art and clothing boutiques and the typical tourist-kitsch stores. Our primary focus was enjoyment of the fresh air, sunshine and breathtaking scenery, of which there was plenty. We drove up to the Sedona-Oak Creek Airport, which sits on a bluff above the town. Off of Airport Road, we stopped at the overlook and hiked over toward an area where several trails converge, called the Vortex. From the trail you can see a spectacular view of the mountain ridges surrounding Sedona. Unfortunately, we waited until the day of our departure to go to the Sedona Visitors’ Center, where we picked up info on the airport trails. Next time, our first stop will be at the Visitors’ Center to get maps and information about the area so we can avoid the more touristy areas and concentrate on hiking and sightseeing.

The website of the Arizona Geological Survey provides detailed, but understandable, information about the geology of the Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon area of Arizona. The red rock that makes up most of the mountains in the area was once part of a vast saltwater ocean that covered what is now the southern U.S. The AZGS Guide to the Geology of the Sedona & Oak Creek area, states that the red and orange color of the rock cliffs, deposited between 370 and210 million years ago, “is due to minute quantities of iron oxide. As the rocks were being deposited, groundwater carrying dissolved iron slowly percolated through the accumulating sediments. In time, each grain of sand, silt, or clay became coated with a film of iron that oxidized (just as an iron tool rusts), imparting red and orange hues to the cliffs of today’s landscape.” The Guide continues by explaining that the “Coconino Sandstone (270 to 265 million years old, late Permian time) forms the tall, nearly vertical cream-colored cliffs above the Supai Group. Deposited as massive sand dunes, similar to those found in the great sand seas of the Sahara and Saudi Arabia, this sandstone represents an arid,inland environment far removed from the sea.”

Slide Rock State Park offers a beautiful backdrop for hiking, relaxing, and if you are brave (or foolish) enough to venture into the frigid water, some splashing and sliding around in the shallow stream.

A pathway up the hill from our lodging, just south of the downtown area on AZ Hwy 179, offered a lovely view of the surrounding red rock formation for which Sedona is famous.

We took a 2-hour adventure into the hills north and west of downtown Sedona with Pink Jeep Tours. The guide/driver was well informed about the local history, ecology and geology. It was a very pleasant mixture of being able to chat with our friends, watch the scenery and learn about the area from our guide. We traveled on paved and dirt roads into the back county, and stopped several times to get out and walk around to take in our lovely surroundings.

Bob and Anita with me and Harry – a photo break during our Pink Jeeps tour. “Rabbit Rock” – so named by the locals for the apparent tall ears and pointed nose – peeks out just over Harry’s left ear.

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