A friend described Sedona, Arizona to me as a place with red rocks and a “new agey” culture. And that is exactly what we found, from Red Rock State Park to the several “Crystal Vortex” shops in the tourist area. We spent an afternoon hiking at Red Rock State Park before camping at Dead Horse Ranch State Park for several days, after which we spent an afternoon doing the tourist thing in Sedona. We had lunch at a Mexican place, complete with prickly pear margarita and a southwestern take on the Long Island ice tea, then we walked through the numerous shops. Most shops were what you would expect in a tourist area, jewelry, t-shirts, Native American crafts and the like. There was also a shop that sold high-end geological treasures, including complete fossil skeletons and a geode bigger than me. But the psychic shops are the real treasure. We walked into one where I browsed at the stones for sale and overheard that the shop employs a “fourth generation psychic!”
Red Rock State Park is a 286 acre nature preserve with a great educational center and several miles of hiking trails. The trail system connects with Cononino National Forest trails to allow for an even longer hike.
Our final stop in Sedona was Slide Rock State Park, where we planned to try out the namesake natural water slide, never mind that it was the middle of February. The weather was actually similar to when we visited Sliding Rock in North Carolina; upper 70’s in the air, water temperatures that feel like snowmelt. We scoped out the swim area before eating lunch, trying to determine exactly where we should slide, but we didn’t see anyone else crazy enough to jump in the cold water. After lunch we headed to the water determined to enter. We encountered a couple drying off on their way out; we asked about where the slide and they pointed where they got in. As they walked off, the man recommended sliding twice, because the second time is more fun. We took his advice, and he was right. The first time we were too shocked by the cold and unsure what was going to happen to really enjoy it. The second time was still cold, but knowing what to expect it was easier to relax and enjoy it. We only slid about 30 of the 80 feet long natural rock slide; it was too cold to stay in any longer! (Actually, we didn’t realize the full route until after we dried off and walked up the trail on the cliff to see the slide from above). One other man crazy enough to jump into the icy water slid between our two runs, but he wouldn’t hear the advice to try a second time. We had quite an audience, including a man who took photos of us on his iPhone to show us. He tried to send them to me, but I had a hard time remembering my phone number (it’s been months since I’ve had to state it!) and I may have given him the wrong one.