May long weekends have always been special for me. Every year, its a reunion trip, either with family or friends. Hanging out and chilling with my favorite people make these trips more memorable and a lot of fun! In May 2014, we travelled to Sedona, Arizona for a family reunion. Sedona was planned almost three months in advance and some of us were meeting each other after almost two years and so this four day weekend promised a lot of excitement.
Our plans were almost hijacked by the wildfire that ravaged Arizona, this past summer. Our trip was almost cancelled, but on calling the visitor center, we were informed that the fire was moving up north and it was safe to visit Sedona.We decided to get on the plane and if needed, move the party to Scottsdale or Phoenix.
Sedona is a beautiful place to be in, its got pretty scenery, red rocks all around, lots of hikes, spas and spiritual retreats and vortices. I find the concept of vortices very interesting.Because of the fire and the heavy smoke in the air, we were advised not to be deep breathing out in the open. That spiritual/mystical experience has to wait for next time.
Something about this picture makes me looove it.
We rented a huge 6 bedroom house a couple of miles from downtown Sedona.The view from the house was spectaular.
The Terrible Sedona Fire.
Day 1, we started the day at around 10am with the Bell Rock hike. Its a pretty short hike. We spotted Butte Rock from a distance. After our hike, we had lunch at a super restaurant named “Red Rock Cafe”. Its very close to Bell Rock. They had delicious burgers and sandwiches. The Red Rock Patty Melt and the Best Burgers were extremely delicious. We rested in the afternoon and left to do some local sight seeing again.We visited Chapel Rock but couldn’t go inside since they close at 6. From what I have heard, you should not miss it. Next we attempted to take a lot of groupies with the Chapel in the background , however the structure may or may show up due to the sheer number of people in our groupies.We decided to visit this place again at a later date.
Panaromic View of the Hike with the rocks.
Next stop was Airport Rock, from where you can view the entire Sedona valley. We saw some spectacular views of the setting sun and a beautiful palate of red to brown colors. We could also see the smoke from the fire, which was just behind one of those mountains.It is extremely sad to see such destruction .
The view from Airport Rock!
The smoke in the background.
I love these panaromic shots.
That night we had dinner at Thai Spices Restaurant .I would definitely recommend this restaurant since they had fast service and great food.Both the Tom yum and Tom kha soups exceeded expectations and their red curry and fried rice were authentic in taste, but the panang curry not so much.It missed something essential and was bland to taste and that sentiment echoed around the table..I was a little disappointed , since panang curry is my fav item. That night we played card games (Notrump) and finally slept at 3.
The next morning we had a reservation for 10 am at Pink jeep tours.I would highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Sedona. They drive you in to the jungle, over the rocks and trail roads .Was an interesting experience. We visited Submarine rock and Chicken point and then we drove down Devils Stairs.The kids enjoyed this “bumpy bumpy ” ride the most.Our driver/guide told us that Submarine Rock is almost the size of four football fields. It looked so small from a distance, and that’s when I realised how flawed human perception can be! (Food for thought! :P)
Submarine Rock from a distance.
After the pink jeep tour, we went to a mexican restaurant for lunch.This restaurant is located in a small area called Tlaquepaque meaning “best of everything”. This internationally renowned town is a beautiful place with a couple of cafes and restaurants and boutique shops .It had a very mexican and old town feeling and was very calming compared to the morning’s jumble bumble tour.We walked around, took in the authentic and serene atmosphere and returned home after lunch. That evening we relaxed at home , ordered some pizzas and was time for flipcup and beer pong .That night ended with us playing taboo and poker and scrabble.
Devil’s Bridge!!!! No trip to Sedona is complete without this.
At this point, the kids were not very happy since we hadn’t entered the pool yet. Next day morning was time to enjoy the pool. We ended up chilling on floats and in the jacuzzi/hot tub and the boys played water volleyball. After lunch and a short nap later, we started our hike to Devil’s Bridge. It was really close to our house and I would have regretted missing this one. It was 6 miles round trip from where we parked and the view is simply breathtaking.The view at the top was extremely gratifying, totally worth it. It is the largest sandstone arch in Sedona. As you ascend, you come across clearings with view of the Sedona valley, beautiful colored sandstone mountains. This hike is definitely ranked first in all the hikes I have done. Offers excellent views, and not very tough. We saw the sun set on our way down again, and it was a superb sight. We wanted to explore around a little but, but it was getting dark and we had not carried flashlights. We ended up gorging on taco bell that night and again, it was time for flip cup and beer pong. It was our last night togather and we already started making plans for our next reunion trip.
On our downward trek from Devil’s Bridge
On day 4, we had to checkout by 11 so we packed up and left , and went to visit the Palatki ruins.However, we were unaware of the reservation policy and so we were unable to see it. We then had lunch and left for Phoenix.We visited the Montezuma Castle on the way. This castle may have a lot of historic importance, but was pretty disappointing in person.I wouldn’t insist on visiting it. We finally arrived at the airport at 6pm, returned our rentals and boarded our respective flights. I would definitely like to visit Sedona again, sometime in the near future! I loved this place .
Photo Disclaimer: All these pictures have been shot by the entire group and I do not take credit for all of them.