|Buckhorn and Garfias Mountains in the distant|
|Mojave Rattlesnake that greeted us at the start!|
|Wild burro's checking us out.|
|Some unique turns in the road.|
|Free range cattle in the valley|
|Large number of Saguaro cacti.|
|Look close and you can see the dirt road to the left.|
|The winding road keeps going.|
|Rock formations with lots of green.|
|View of Lake Pleasant in the distance.|
Talk about getting up in the sky as high as 5900 feet in elevation - with breathtaking scenery. This is exactly what we experienced as we set off on our trip to Sedona which took us through the mountain towns of Yarnell, Prescott, Jerome, Cottonwood and others before arriving at the red rock “playground”. Getting there was the challenge with lots of hairpin turns that those of us in RV’s don’t want to see and shouldn’t be on. Taking this route instead of the interstate is definitely a “no-no” for an RV of any size. Although, we did see a 45 ft. motorhome (with toad) thinking that they were absolutely crazy.
|From Congress we start climbing.|
|Leaving Prescott area for the vistas in the background.|
As you’re driving you enter the Prescott National Forest (1.25 million acres) which borders three other National Forests. At the lowest elevation you’ll see vegetation of the Sonoran Desert type but as you begin to climb higher, chaparral, pinion pine and Ponderosa pine pretty much take up the landscape of these majestic hills. We forge onward with Jeff at the wheel (is this white-knuckle driving?) and Kay trying to take some awesome photos.
|Just imagine miles of these Pinion Pine trees everywhere.|
|See the road below? We were there and climbing!|
|We definitely see a lot of green at this high elevation.|
|This car passed us (bad car!)|
|Starting the descent into Jerome, Arizona|
|Homes situated below the main town of Jerome|
|Outside of Cottonwood, we finally see the red rock.|
Our Sedona moment finally arrived after driving 110 miles (a little over 2 hours) when we see red rock in the distant. At an elevation of 4500 feet Sedona is split almost evenly between privately owned real estate and the Coconino National Forest. We stopped to get a map for suggestions of what to see with the Jeep and then decided to do a good hike and drive the Red Rock Scenic Loop Road before we started the trek back to Congress (via the Interstate, this time!)
|Magnificent Red Rock everywhere!|
|Parked near Airport Loop - ready to hike!|
The sweeping red rock vistas were breathtaking. Rock formations named after very worldly items such as Coffeepot, Cathedral, Sphinx and Snoopy (to name a few) is definitely in the eye of the beholder. Some of the rock formations we observed when we hiked the Airport Loop Trail (approx. 3.25 miles around). Taking photographs on the south side of this narrow trail was a little of a challenge due to the path being rocky. In some areas an added feature - steep drop offs! Yikes!!! We definitely agree that the challenge level was for the moderate hiker. All in all, we would highly recommend this hike for the beautiful vistas. You definitely feel small in this big picture.
|A view to the south on the trail.|
|Large Cypress trees along the edge.|
|A view of the rock to the north|
|We took turns following each other!|
|Path structures were rocky to smooth.|
|Leave it up to us to find flowers up here!|
As our stay at North Ranch comes to a close, we had to check out the home made pie at the Mercantile in Congress. Then, after we had our desert first, we decided to put in a take-out order for their nachos. Delicious!!!
|Pecan & Apple were eaten (sorry, no pictures!)|
|Jeff getting ready to devour the goodies!|
|(l-r) Steve (from WA), Rebecca (from CO) and Jeff|
We definitely will return at another time in our travels. We met new friends and have many good memories of this beautiful place in America!
Hugs to all ~ Kay & Jeff
Travel Update: We will be leaving North Ranch on 3/24 heading to the Lost Dutchman State Park outside of Apache Junction, Arizona. We have reservations at the SP and will enjoy meeting up with relatives who winter in Apache Junction. Our next adventure just could be Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeast Arizona. At an elevation of 5000-6000 ft it's still a little chilly! We have to start thinking about the trek home at some point, don’t we?