Sedona: First Two Days

Just like last January, we decided to warm up a little in the middle of winter with a visit somewhere warm. This time we chose Sedona.

We flew into Phoenix and had plans to meet a friend of Yen’s for late lunch. So we wandered around Scottsdale a little. It appears to be nothing but art galleries with a bunch of statues out front from what I saw.

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This looks like a statue, but it’s actually a guy all dressed up and painted. He did an excellent job of scaring the bejeezus out of people who sat down next to him to have their photos taken with the “statue.”

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I meant to buy a little painted coyote as my souvenir but never got around to it. I think the lesson is you have to buy something as soon as you see it instead of waiting.

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I did buy myself a new hat, however. My beloved pink one fell in the Charles River and drowned one windy day. This one is a fairly reasonable replacement (same company), but we discovered the brim isn’t quite as big. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m standing in a farmer’s market. Yen sampled some hot sauces. The guy selling them tried hard to get him to start mild and work his way up. He refused and went right for the ghost chili. He declared it, “Sort of hot.”

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Two big, serious noggins.

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Here’s where we had lunch: Valley Ho! Adorably retro.

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Here I am with Yen’s friend Alex and his beautiful wife, Sunny. Alex and Yen went to MIT together and hadn’t seen each other in something like 15 years. I loved all of the embarrassing stories Alex had stored away and brought out just for me. Poor Yen.

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With lunch finished, we got on the road. It was in the low 80s when we left Phoenix, and we enjoyed the scrubby desert and sun.

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When we got into Sedona, we took a little detour before checking in. Below are some mule deer we saw at Red Rock State Park.

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And here’s the view heading toward Sedona. We got used to enjoying that every morning when we woke up.

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The next morning – after a nice long sleep – we set out in search of breakfast. We found a cute little place called Wildflower. It looks an awful lot like a Panera, but it’s much better (and nicer service).

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Lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote! Yes, I know I look tired. That’s why we needed a vacation!

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And then, naturally, a walk. Look how blue the sky is!

Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

For our first hike, we chose the Jim Thompson Trail. It leads to Wilson Canyon, which led Yen to keep calling it the Jim Wilson Trail. I suppose Jim wouldn’t mind. Behind me is Steamboat Rock, which we would walk toward and then parallel for a few hours.

Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

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Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

I think this might be one of the Arizona Cypress trees. They only grow here and in (oddly) Mongolia.

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Here I am next to a very ambitious agave plant.

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Doesn’t the soil look positively Martian?

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Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

Just taking a little break. In the shade, of course. It wasn’t hot (see my jacket?), but the sun was pretty brutal.

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I’m not sure why this one is black and white. I think maybe it’s an export mistake and Yen will send me a replacement. Anyway, you can see the canyon and bridge below us.

Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

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Jim Thompson Trail, Sedona

I like this rock. To me it looks like three pesky birds, and a man yelling at them to shut up. But I do have a rather active imagination.

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After the Thompson Trail (and some lunch) was finished, we decided to drive south of town for some different landscape. This time we tackled Courthouse Butte Loop. Jenny, we totally went behind a butte.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Here’s Bell Rock, which you get as sort of a bonus when you circle Courthouse Butte. I read somewhere that in the 1980s, people decided there was a UFO inside Bell Rock and anxiously waited for it to emerge. It never happened of course. It’s just a nice place to climb.

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Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

There’s Courthouse Butte. This walk turned out to be our favorite on the whole trip.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

It was just so wide open and with such sweeping views. Every time you came around a corner, there was something new to see. And not much foot traffic. I think we probably passed five other couples (or single hikers).

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

It’s hard to see, but I’m actually standing next to some ice.

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Here’s a little Scrub Jay we met along the way.

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Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Taking five again. I did that a lot on this trip.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

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We really liked this rock. I think I pleased Yen by saying it reminded me of Jabba’s palace.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

You’re going to see that we really liked this particular formation. I named it Foo Foo Rock.

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Here I am showing Yen the photo he needs to take next.

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And now Foo Foo Rock is giving Yen bunny ears. I just couldn’t resist. You can’t possibly say you’d have done differently.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

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Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

A little HDR. It was asking for it.

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This is the far side of the butte. Way less traffic over here. Mostly locals walking their dogs. One of them, a brindle about 40 pounds, was off leash. I came around the corner and had a second panic when I thought he was a coyote.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

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Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Here’s the moon. It was full while we were there, so we never did get to see a lot of stars.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Check out these two photos below – they really show the difference HDR makes.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

We took advantage of the light by photographing each other, then hopped in the car for some much needed dinner. Day Three coming soon.

Courthouse Butte Trail, Sedona

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