Pat has been on a kick to visit with the family now that vacations are a thing again and travel feels “safer” we planned a trip to Sedona for the Thanksgiving holiday. Middle of the country is easier for everyone to get to so Arizona was appropriate. Pat was here about 12 years ago and remembered how beautiful it was and wanted to go back. She found an eclectic house that was big enough for us all in West Sedona.
We all came at different times and some to different airports. The Calizon’s flew into Las Vegas and drove four hours. I decided on direct flights to Phoenix and flew in on Tuesday. The east coast gang flew in on Monday to Phoenix and spent the night in town. My flight arrived early in the afternoon but I was in no hurry to get to Sedona. I ran a few errands before getting on the road. I was lucky to pull over to the Sunset Point Rest Area north of Phoenix. I didn’t see the sun actually set just what it did with the sky before it finally got dark. The colors were amazing. The rest of the drive to Sedona was at night.
Since I arrived in time for dinner the east coast crew and I went out and caught up. Matt found Los Rosales Mexican Food a simple but good food right outside the neighborhood. The Calizon’s didn’t arrive till almost 11pm but we stayed up to greet them before heading to bed. The way sleeping arrangements worked out I had a detached cottage all to myself which was nice. The bed was amazing and there was no heat so at night it would get chilly. I just threw another blanket on the bed and loved it. Those five nights were some good sleep.
The next morning I brushed my teeth and headed to the main house. When I walked outside for the first time during the day I saw the mountain near by and was astonished by what I saw. The red and white colors in the early morning light looked beautiful. The temps where in the low 50’s with the most amazing blue skies and not a cloud in sight. Just wow.
A full day in Sedona before Thanksgiving. First stop was Airport Mesa right behind the house. It has an overlook of the west side and you get some elevation so you can see more mountains from here. Next was the downtown for some shopping. I did a little walking around but spent most of my time sitting in a parking lot looking at the mountains. Just couldn’t get over the natural beauty of the area. Last stop was the grocery store for last minute provisions. I was not leaving the house on Thursday.
Thanksgiving was pretty low key all things considering. We spent a bunch of time trying to get the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV but couldn’t do it. Dinner was prime rib and we can do that in our sleep. I made some dinner rolls and helped prep but mostly just relaxed. It was a beautiful day so we spent a lot of time outside playing corn hole, yard jenga, and talking.
Friday everyone went back to downtown for more shopping. The Friday after Thanksgiving I go outside and refuse to shop. I found a hike to the summit of Bear Mountain. It’s only 2.5 miles but it’s a 2000’ elevation change. It took me two and a half hours with many stops but I made it. The summit is at 6400’ so I know some of my difficulty was the elevation and lower oxygen levels.
The summit was busy but I found a secluded place to sit facing west. At the summit it was cool but with clear blue skies the sun kept me warm. The look across the valley was just amazing. There was a huge mountain range across from me and I could see the west part of Sedona. The Airport Mesa from here looked so tiny. I could also see Cottonwood and the town of Jerome on the mountain side.
I spent two hours up here. Most of that time was writing letters to people but also just taking it all in. I couldn’t get over the view and colors of the surrounding area. Behind me was Humphreys Peak which appeared to have some snow on it. To the west was a huge valley and a mountain range on the other side. It was an absolutely clear blue sky without a single cloud all day. It was great. It was at times not as peaceful as I would have liked. Mostly vehicles driving in the valley. The exhaust would reverberate for miles. Still absolutely gorgeous sitting there writing and thinking about life.
If I could only have been there for sunset. That would have blown my mind but we had a family dinner at The Cowboy Club in downtown that I couldn’t miss. It took me two hours to get down, 30 minutes to the house and then 30 minutes to shower and clean up. It was 6pm and traffic was a bitch but we made it on time for dinner. A wonderful meal together that no one had to cook. We feasted on apps, main course and some pretty amazing peach cobbler. Anything you cook in cast iron is bound to be delicious.
Saturday was another split day. Pat, Matt and Annie took a Pink Jeep tour to the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. The rest of us headed to the largest ghost town in America, Jerome. Didn’t realize it at the time but this was the town I saw on the hillside from the top of Bear Mountain.
First stop was the Gold King Mine. This is an abandoned gold mine, the entrance is marked and blocked off. An interesting place for sure with lot of old things. There are small buildings with collections of various goods to represent the late 19th century mining town. A majority of the material is not from Jerome itself but collected from across the country. Lots of heavy equipment as well. One lady was saying in the recent past there was an annual steam engine festival that would fill the lower parking lot. They also have the most friendly cat who hangs out in the gift shop.
There is a really good museum at the Jerome State Historic Park which dives deep into the local history of the town. At its peak it had 15,000 people and now it’s around 400-500. Millions of ounces of copper, gold, silver and other precious minerals have been pulled from the ground underneath. The museum has some of the equipment used to mine the copper. Including how the town grew to prominence by the Douglas family making it into a company town.
The town was having an Christmas festival that day so we found a place to park and explored the city. High school bands where playing in the park so I took an opportunity to listen. Later I walked around. Eventually we all met at Vaqueros Grill and Cantina for some apps. Bobby found a really good vinyl shop in town, Puscifer the Store. They had recent Record Store Day and Black Friday vinyl which was cool. Didn’t find the Dee Gee’s which was disappointing.
The next day everyone was headed for home. I was headed to Phoenix for one more night of vacation. That morning before I left I hiked Broken Arrow Trail to Chicken Point Lookout. A short 1.5 mile out and back. There are numerous additional paths to take from the main parking lot which is nice. When I go back I want to stop by Submarine Rock and do the High on the Hog Trail which goes over some nice formations.
Short hike to the lookout but I took my time. Even ran across a couple of dear which was shocking to us both. The lookout is also the end of an off road trail. It is public access but used mostly by the tour company Pink Jeep. I got a good view and then headed up the mountain some to get away and relax. From here I had a really nice view of the surrounding mountains. I kicked off my shoes and got a bunch of writing done. It was a beautiful day to be outside.
I could have spent way more time here hiking the various trails but I needed to get down to Phoenix for the night. Its only a few hours so by late afternoon I was checked into the hotel. I dropped the car off that night and took Valley Metro back downtown. It was a beautiful night in the city so I took the opportunity to just walk around. The sun set while I was at the airport and really cooled things off. On my walk I stumbled across Trapp Haus BBQ. I had a craving for ribs so got a half rack and large container of beans and headed back to the hotel. I thought about hitting up The Nash for a night of jazz but I really just wanted to eat, relax, and watch a movie. So I did.
Monday was just a travel day so I had plenty of time to relax in the morning. Unfortunately while at the airport I put down my vinyl album and left it there. I hope whomever picked it up is enjoying it. The search has begun for a replacement. That night once I got back to Portland I went to Mox Boarding House to have dinner with a friend. It was the perfect end to the day and the entire trip.
Sedona and the surrounding area is absolutely beautiful. While there it was blue skies with decent temps in the sun the entire time. Thanksgiving with the family was a good time. We all had some quality time together but managed to do our own exploring and adventuring. The hikes for me were certainly two of the highlights of the trip. We already started talking about next year so we will see what happens.