July 15, 2010

Exploring Arizona: The real Red Rock Country

We finally experienced Sedona, and it was amazing to say the least. Surrounded by the famous red rocks, tall trees, blue skies and bustling creek waters, there was always a beautiful view to behold.

The massive volume of touristy stuff surprised me, though. Part of Sedona is devoted to high-end shops, resorts and spiritual healing centers, while the other offers an abundance of recreational opportunities whether it be hiking, swimming or camping. Quite the opposite target groups, but I guess it works for the city.

We stayed away from the commercial traps, except to dine at Oak Creek Brewing Company. And if you're looking for good eats and even better beer, OCBC has them. It was a little pricey, but totally worth it. Their Belgium Wheat beer is tasty.

Saturday was spent setting up camp, hiking to Oak Creek for a swim, playing badminton, making smores and enjoying the company of our campsite "neighbors," including one who was from Seattle, but had since moved to Surprise. He had some great stories about going to Cougar football games in the late '70s.

The reason for our visit to Red Rock Country was to check out the well-known Slide Rock State Park. The park was full by Saturday afternoon when we arrived in Sedona, so we had to wait until Sunday, but it lived up to its billing. We spent about four hours at the park, enjoying the natural water chute, ledge jumping and a secluded swimming hole up a little ways from the slide. The not-so-fun-part: Those rocks earned their slippery namesake. I brought home some painful black and blue souvenirs on my arms and legs. Despite the bruises, it's definitely a place we can take family and friends when they visit.

The plan for our return trip is to hike to Cathedral Rock and hang out at Red Rock State Park. Maybe one day we'll see all the rock formations.

I can't wait to go back and experience more of what Sedona has to offer, expensive, stuffy resorts not included.

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