January 3, 2016

Arizona in Two Days: The Red Rocks of Sedona

I know I did not do myself and Arizona justice by only having 2 full days to explore this beautiful state, but it definitely is enough to fall in love with it. The Grand Canyon State is a little under 6 hours from New York City by plane, less if you’re coming from the West Coast therefore making it a great long weekend getaway.IMG_1187

I took a flight out to Phoenix, AZ and arrived at night time. This is my first “official” road trip so I really did not know how to do it properly. Considering I only have 2 full days, it became a challenge to try to hit all the great places while overcoming the fear of missing other good ones too. After doing some research, I finally got to map out the spots I really wanted to see and I am glad to say that they did not disappoint. With the rental car that I picked up from the airport, I set forth on the road trip that started in Phoenix, and will be ending in Las Vegas. IMG_8076

The first destination is the city of Sedona, a 2.5 hour drive outside of Phoenix. Sedona has a lot more to offer but since my time is limited, I had to choose my points of interest wisely. I was on the road at 5:30 AM with the intention of arriving at Sedona by sunrise. I wanted to hike the trail that leads up to Cathedral Rock just when the sun is rising, because I think all sunrises are beautiful and I want to see it happen during my climb up. There is a parking lot at the beginning of the trail, and the $5 fee is good for 24 hours at any Red Rock Pass Sites. Cathedral Rock is a steep sandstone formation with a summit elevation of more than 4,900 ft and a 360 degree view of Sedona when you reach the top.IMG_8088IMG_1117IMG_0920The Cathedral Rock Trail might be too strenuous for beginners because of its steepness. The trail also requires climbing over rocks in all shapes and sizes that can become dangerous for being unstable. The desert weather is also something to think about, as it can go to extremes and change drastically in a short period of time. I started the hike at the below freezing temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and took at least 2 hours from beginning to end, but only because I had to stop so many times to take in the views that left me lost for words for its natural beauty. Cathedral Rock is known for its spiritual energy vortex that radiates from the Earth itself. People from around the globe come to Sedona for the metaphysical powers that can be felt and take one on a spiritual journey just by being there and one with nature.IMG_0824 IMG_0784IMG_0855IMG_8321IMG_1039IMG_9267IMG_8187IMG_8261The next place to visit is the largest natural stone arch in Sedona called Devil’s Bridge which is at least 25 minutes away from Cathedral Rock. The drive towards Devil’s Bridge will take visitors on the very scenic Highway 179, where views of large red rock formations that popularized Sedona can be observed. The hike to Devil’s Bridge begins at the site’s main parking lot with the distance of at least one mile each way. The end of the trail leads you to the stone bridge, where a lot of tourists are queueing to have their photos taken on it.IMG_8305 IMG_1239 IMG_1211 IMG_1267IMG_1283 IMG_8344IMG_8358IMG_1404 Spending the day in Sedona was really fun, and I got a taste of what it has to offer. It was unfortunate to leave Sedona right away, but decided it is best to spend the night in Page, AZ where I will be doing the next series of my sightseeing the following day. This way, I avoid doing the 3+ hour drive early in the morning, and will be driving at night time instead. This proved to be a wise decision, because the highway going from Sedona to Page is one of the best places in the world to go stargazing. The lack of city lights, the non-presence of other cars and the vast emptiness that surrounds the one and only highway completes the perfect recipe for the darkest of nights. I saw a sign for a service road right off the highway and drove to it for a chance to park the car and observe the sky by sticking my body out the window. To my utter amazement, I saw the Milky Way so vivid and bright with my own naked eyes. Even its faintest, tiniest stars can be seen spanning across the massive night sky, a view I have never seen in my life before and something that will be in my mind forever. It was a view that can put even the most arrogant, egotistic person in his humble place, a view that proved once more that we are all insignificant in comparison to the rest of the Universe.IMG_8524 IMG_1478

Photo credits: @flyg1o (Instagram)

Related posts: The Navajo Nation: Lower Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.”

-Jim Whittaker

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