Oh Arizona, Just When I Thought We Didn't Get Along...
Our most recent post bemoaned the fact that we were over the sprawl of Phoenix and, so we thought, Arizona in general. Oh boy were we wrong. We were yet to experience what else the Grand Canyon State had to offer. We knew there was dramatic landscape to be enjoyed not far north of Phoenix but weren't quite ready for the fabulous awesomeness that is Sedona and the surrounding area. The scenery and the hiking are just spectacular. And a big old plus for us... cute little towns to spend some time in. At last an alternative to the endless strip mall blah blah of the greater Phoenix area.
We had some UPS packages to pick up in Prescott so we decide to visit the town and go for a bike ride while we were there. The town is very sweet, even though it's a bit touristy. I don't mind a bit of cowboy kitsch. There is a big square around the courthouse straight out of Back to the Future. One side of the square has Whiskey Row - a collection of dive bars and touristy saloons. We stopped for a bite and a brew at the Prescott Brewing Company too.
After lunch we drove to the outskirts of town and jumped on our bikes. We are not hard core cyclists, I prefer a flat and easy ride and the Iron King Trail fit the bill perfectly. It used to be a railroad but the city has replaced the tracks with a sandy rolling route that passes through some pretty spots. The scenery seems just like a film set and as we cycled through the rocky hills I couldn't help singing "She'll be coming round the mountain when she comes".
We decided to take the scenic route back to camp (of course) and headed over Highway 89A through the mountainside town of Jerome. The views were fabulous through this windy mountain pass.
The town of Cottonwood is also a real treat, we took a paddle down the Verde River starting at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Honestly there was not enough water in the creek, so we spent a lot of time trying to get over rocky riffles and getting marooned on sandy banks. Not the most fun we have had. But we made up for it by sharing a beer with our friends Dave and Shannon who were kind enough to pick us up a few miles down the river.
Their recommendation of R.I.O.T in Old Town Cottonwood was a perfect stop after our tortuous paddle.
Sedona itself is one of the most scenic towns I have ever visited. Uptown is over touristy and every bit of land in the Sedona area in general seems to be covered by a gated community or resort, but the scenery and hiking are to die for. This place is like hiking Disneyland and our next post will be all about our adventures here.
The best part of our stay is that we are boondocking in an incredible spot. We were just off the National Forest Road 525 part way between Cottonwood and Sedona. The views are wonderful and every morning we woke to the sun lighting up the beautiful red rocks all around us. It is so spectacular here that I am almost ready to accept that Arizona is a great state after all.