When we got back from our Sedona trip I uploaded the photos onto my computer, excited to relive our little getaway through my snapshots. But I’ll be honest. I was a little disappointed and frustrated. The photos do not do Sedona or the Grand Canyon justice. These places were just so big and so beautiful that, even with a pretty decent camera and pretty decent camera skills, I just felt like I didn’t really capture them at all. I look at the photos and they seem flat, the colors not as vibrant. I wish I would have taken more. Maybe I should have read up a bit on how to be a better landscape photographer before going. Rented a wide angle lens.
But then I realized something. I lived it. When I close my eyes I can see the beauty of this place, I can smell the pines, I can hear the creek and feel it’s cold water on my feet, I can remember the sunsets and how the light changes on the rocks in a matter of seconds, I can bring back that overwhelming feeling of being so small next to the giant Grand Canyon….all in the company of my husband.
So I’ll go through these pictures to have a documentation of our trip, but the real pictures are ones that can’t be shared or put on a blog. They are the ones I’ll just have to close my eyes to remember.
Here is my somewhat random and lengthy photo synopsis of our trip…
Our first day there….did not take any photos with my big camera. I wish I would have captured the changing terrain from brown Phoenix to green and red Sedona, or snapped a few of the red rocks and the purple clouds as the sun set outside our restaurant that we ate at that night. But alas, I did not. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
We hiked Red Rock Crossing the first day. There was a section along the creek where people had stacked rocks. They were everywhere.
I was in love with the beautiful light and shadows.
And there were stunning views everywhere.
We crossed the creek to head up the trail to Cathedral Rock. The water was cold, but refreshing after hiking in the sun all day.
We hiked and hiked and hiked some more, up switchbacks and around corners until we reached a dead end to our trail, and this was our view….
We realized that we had taken a wrong turn on our hike (whoops) and were supposed to meet up with the Cathedral Rock trail, but instead kept going up, thus reaching the dead end. So to meet up with the trail we were supposed to be on, the one pictured below….
….we would have had to go back down a ways, and then go back up, and then go up that. So yeah. We decided we had a good enough view from where we were and just headed back.
That night before supper we went up to the airport mesa to view the sunset. Or rather, the sun on the rocks as the sun set. I had to smile at all the tourists taking photos of the sunset while us smart tourists were instead, watching the sun on the rocks. There is something amazing that happens as the sun sets in red rock country. The color of the rocks changes before your eyes. It was gorgeous.
See what I mean?
As were the clouds….
And can I just say a word about the stars at night there? AMAZING. Like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The next day after breakfast we headed to the Grand Canyon. First we drove up Oak Creek Canyon, a steep and winding road that brings you along the creek and up the canyon. We were in a convertible. It was awesome. (I just did not look down as we were on the edge of the canyon going up the switchbacks.) To give you some perspective on how big this canyon is…. See that tiny black thing with the yellow line in the middle of the photo below?
Look hard. See it? That’s the road.
Here are the switchbacks… (note the tiny blue car on the right hand side)
So that was a fun drive.
Next, we headed up to the Grand Canyon via Flagstaff and a few points of interest including Sunset Crater (a volcano in Arizona, who knew?) and Wupatki National Monument. But the highlight of this drive were the beautiful views of the Painted Dessert that we could see in the distance. The photo below is just sad because the real life view was incredible.
We finally arrived to the Grand Canyon with our picnic lunch and walked to the rim to see it for the first time.
This was our first look…
I really don’t have any words to describe it. It’s just one of those bucket list items you have to see for yourself.
We went into the Desert View Watchtower for even more incredible views after eating our yummy sandwiches.
We made multiple stops along the rim and just took it all in.
And I freaked out whenever Darin got too close to the edge. He laughed at me. (What is up with me and heights? I’ve gotten increasingly scared of them in my old age.)
Looking like I’m on top of the world. Secretly freaking out.
At one of the stops we hiked down at bit into the Canyon. There was this lovely spot in the photo below where people were taking photos. Some crazy people were even climbing out onto that other rock (crazy people who want to die). While standing there admiring the views, a European man asked me to take a photo of him and his wife on the rock. He had a very nice Canon with a manual focus 14mm lens. Apparently he had seen the camera around my neck and thought I might be a good choice to ask? I snapped a few photos (and was envious of his wide angle lens) and then asked him to return the favor. I only wanted one good photo of Darin and I on our little getaway and he took three (two pictured below). I asked the right person.
As you might notice my butt is sticking out in that above photo and my left foot looks as if I might take off at any moment. It’s because I was secretly freaking out about being up on that rock and I was secretly thinking “hurry up and take the photo, hurry up and take the photo, I need to get back behind a barrier of some kind before I trip and fall into the Grand Canyon”.
Then my husband decided to push my heights anxiety to my limits and invited me to sit down on THE EDGE OF THE GRAND CANYON. The only reason I agreed to it was because there was a little rocky flat area about 20 feet below our feet that jetted out before the dramatic drop into the canyon. So I figured if I would fall I would land on that rocky flat part first. I lasted about five minutes before having to stand back up.
I love the below photo because it really puts into perspective how enormous the Grand Canyon is. Look at all those tiny little people next to the massive Canyon. Our God is so big.
Hi shadow Darin and Stacey!
I asked one more tourist to take a photo of us before we left (he wasn’t quite as excited about it as European Canon guy). Notice the nice safe guardrail behind us. Not freaking out.
On the way back to Sedona we drove through the San Francisco Peaks at dusk. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it was beautiful. I didn’t take any photos. This is one of those times during the trip where I’m kicking myself for not stopping by the side of the road as the light was making it’s way through a magical forrest of pines and aspen at 8,000 feet.
We stayed at a charming Bed and Breakfast while in Sedona. We had never stayed at a B&B before, but I’m so glad we did. The hosts were delightful and helped with where to hike and eat and shop. The room was lovely with a huge deck and a two person hot tub. And the breakfasts were yummy. They even had snacks every afternoon which were a welcome treat after mornings of hiking.
And this was the view we woke up to every morning…
The time change made it hard for us to sleep in, so we were wide awake before 7:00 enjoying coffee here…
On our last full day in Sedona we decided to be true tourists and do the ultra touristy thing that tourists do while visiting: the Pink Jeep Tour. It was quite the ride and we had a blast.
Here is a view from one of the stops atop a bluff from that ride….
Our guide was awesome, funny, and full of information regarding the geology and history of Sedona. A native of Santa Cruz, he has since lived at the Grand Canyon leading guided tours and now Sedona, where he has worked for the hot air balloons, guided walking tours, and now the Pink Jeeps. Quite the life he gets to lead!
Here he is Darin showing off…
Just kidding. But Darin can totally do that.
It was a great way to see more of Sedona that would have been challenging to get to by foot. And I’m pretty sure my abs got a good work out with the way my seat belt was holding me in place, which was a bonus.
After a great lunch we headed to The Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built into the red rocks in Sedona. It was beautiful to sit inside, say a prayer, light a candle, and thank God for this amazing creation He has allowed us to enjoy. One of our favorite spots.
Before supper that night at our favorite restaurant that we enjoyed several times while in Sedona, we wanted to watch the sun on the rocks at sunset one last time. We found a look out area that gave us great views of Courthouse Butte and Cathedral Rock and then just watched God do His thing. These pictures pale in comparison to the real thing, but watch as the sun goes further down in the sky, behind some clouds, and then back out….all according to the rocks. It was gorgeous.
Our last morning came way too soon and it was time for one last breakfast with our hosts. That morning we sat across from a retired couple who had four grown girls and were on a several week trip, flying into Phoenix and making their way to San Francisco to visit one of their daughters. It was so fun to hear them talk about their kids and then give us advice on the short time we have with them, but emphasized the importance of taking the time to get away without them, too. They were so kind and genuine and obviously such wonderful parents and it was such a nice way to spend our last morning.
It was a much needed vacation for us and one I’ll never forget. I know I said it in the previous post, but I realize how blessed we are to be able to do this and I don’t take it for granted. I loved every minute with Darin in this beautiful place and I can’t wait to go there again.