Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Left Our Hearts in Sedona

I know I said I would not be back to the internet until tomorrow, but change of plans :) Read below to find out why I am back in Sedona!

We woke up yesterday morning and got ready to say goodbye to Sedona. We loved Sedona and our beautiful hotel, so neither of us was quite ready to say goodbye. We decided to take one last hike up to Cathedral Rock because we heard it was relatively quick but offered some nice views. We received some info from the front desk and headed off to our hike.

Turns out our information (which we received from two different people) was a little off and we ended up on a dirt road and a pretty long hike.

Pretty soon in we ran into Oak Creek which was beautiful to see. We also realized pretty quickly that this was not going to be the less than a mile hike, but we figured we'd continue anyways. Don't worry, we had water!

Finally, about an hour or so in we found the hike we had originally planned for and we started up to Cathedral Rock. This was definitely the hardest part of the hike and it involved using our hands a fair amount. It was worth it though, the views from the top were gorgeous and as usual, no pictures do it justice. Around 2 hours later we returned to our car and we were starving! We hit up a small Japanese place for lunch. I ordered a Chicken and Rice bowl. The rice and sauce was good but the chicken was dark meat, which I am not a fan of.

Don't worry though, I found a Dairy Queen randomly in the middle of no where and that more than made up for the chicken :)

Finally we truly left Sedona and headed up to the Grand Canyon. It's about a 2 and a half hour drive, and you can tell by the GPS below that it requires a bit of concentration:

Like the trip up to Sedona from Phoenix, there were some views to keep us entertained.

Though I have to say I was less than thrilled to see snow, even if it was pretty. When we arrived at the Grand Canyon a little before dinner time we were less than thrilled to say several FEET of snow on the ground, and much much colder temperature than we left in Sedona.

Our hotel was called "Bright Angel Lodge" and was literally RIGHT next to the Grand Canyon. We didn't pay the extra for a "rim view" but we could walk about 3 steps outside and see the Grand Canyon. However, Eric and I were seriously spoiled by Sedona. Don't get me wrong, the Grand Canyon views were amazing. You can't see something like that and not just stare at it for a few minutes without thinking about anything else. However, Sedona was breathtaking too- and warmer. Plus, our "hotel room" was really small. We were semi-expecting that since lodging inside Grand Canyon National Park is not known for being luxurious. Frankly, Eric and I are not known for being luxurious and after going around Europe for 5 weeks I think it's safe to say we've seen some small hotel rooms (in Venice Eric could not walk into the room without ducking). However, there was something claustrophobic about our Bright Angel Lodge room and we both sort of freaked out.

We immediately headed for the Bright Angel Restaurant to eat dinner and escape the room. I finally went Mexican and ordered my first Chicken Fajitas ever.

They were the most amazing things ever and I have been SERIOUSLY missing out by thinking I didn't like any Mexican food. I especially loved the fact that I got to put whatever I wanted on my soft tortilla so I mixed in some chicken, guac, salsa, spanish rice and black beans. Amazing. I want more. Now.

During our amazing dinner Eric and I decided that we were going to come back to Sedona. That's right, we just decided on the spot that we did not need two nights in the Grand Canyon and we DID need another night in Sedona. We did some detective work on the trusty Blackberry (how did I exist before Blackberry?) and were able to cancel our second night at Bright Angel and book another night in Sedona at our same hotel. Guess what? We didn't lose a single cent doing this! Apparently Bright Angel does not mind at all if you check out early and didn't charge us at all! We even managed to score a cheaper room at our Sedona hotel with a similarly beautiful view. We justified the whole ridiculousness in our own heads because today is Eric's birthday and he can't be in a cold place and small room on his birthday!

Oh, but don't worry- we didn't just turn around and miss the entire Grand Canyon. We spent the better part of today exploring the Canyon before we returned to Sedona.

We started with a short walk down the rim right near our hotel...

Then, we drove down a road called "Desert View Drive" and hit up a bunch of scenic viewpoints along the way. Our first stop was at Grandview point. By far our favorite stop was called Lipan. It had Canyon views on 3 sides and even a peak at the Colorado River. Eric enjoyed throwing snow balls into the canyon to see how far they would go. Yes, he is a five year old but it was actually FASCINATING how deceiving distance is when you are looking at something that big. Places we thought he would hit easily he would not even come close to. It really gave us a sense of how big the Grand Canyon really is...

Our last stop was at Desert View, which is where the watchtower is...

Yeah, it was under construction which is slightly less cool. But the inside was filled with awesome Native American artwork and stories.

Plus, we got to climb to the top for some final views of the Grand Canyon.

After this stop we left the Grand Canyon National Park through the east entrance and headed back to Sedona. We are now relaxing in our hotel room for a few minutes before we go out for Eric's birthday dinner. We made reservations at an Italian restaurant that we were both bumming that we missed out on the first time.

Next stop Phoenix. Temperature = Mid 70s. Yay!!!

I hope everyone is having a great week. Remember it's Hump Day! (terrible news for me, but good news for anyone with a normal work week).

Have you ever changed travel plans mid vacation?

Have you ever seen something that was so big you couldn't possibly grasp it?


  1. ah going to the Grand Canyon is on my bucket list.. It's so vast and gorgeous! thanks for the pictures, my love <3

  2. wow all the pictures look so amazing, what a great vacay!

  3. It's so crazy to see snow there!!!

    You know, I wish I could change travel plans mid-way through a trip but I'm way too in love with having a set schedule to do that... I'll work on it though :)

  4. I really can't believe that you've never had faijitas before but I am sooo glad you tried them. :) And they look super good. I am a HUUUUUGE fan of Mexican food. I could eat it every single day. :)

  5. Jealous jealous jealous. Looks like you are having so much fun! :D

  6. I LOVE Sadona - my husband I took a trip to Phoenix several years ago and while there we decided to take a drive up to the Grand Canyon for the day. The lady at the hotel told us that on our way back we should take a little detour and check out Sedona. We left early and about midmorning we decided that we really didn't want to stay at Grand Canyon and headed back. We took the road towards Sedona and was completely blown away! We now go there everytime we take a trip to Phoenix. It is one of our favorite little vacation spots.

  7. Sounds like you are having a great trip! Happy birthday to Eric! Fajitas are great...glad you discovered that. In comparison to most Mexican dishes they are pretty healthy and you can choose what you want to add, so you are customize them to your likes and keep them healthy! We miss Mexican food so much! It is just not the same here!

  8. One word: Beautiful. Two words: I'm jealous!

  9. What an amazing trip this is, Kelly! I didn't realize you guys would be traveling all around Arizona, which is just so neat. I would love to do this with Nick, kind of like "The Amazing Race" but not traveling the world... I have been to Arizona a few time, but as I thin I told you before, I've never actually done any hiking or site seeing, which I sort of regret. I have to get back there! The Grand Canyon is especially something I need to see, live. It's pretty cool that you found a DQ! Too bad for the dark chicken, I'm sure the DQ was better anyway :) Keep having a blast!

  10. so happy you've had a change of heart with the mexican food! :) Ah, yes -I love AZ and the beautiful views!

  11. Wow, Sedona looks so beautiful! I've always wanted to go there! Great pictures. And I love fajitas, yours look delicious!

  12. We felt the exact same way - while it was cool to see the Grand Canyon, I would not go back again but would spend more time in Sedona for sure. Enjoy Phoenix...we did.

  13. Sounds like you made the right choice! Awesome that you were able to make the switcheroo without penalties.

    And happy Birthday to Eric!

  14. glad it all worked out! enjoy the rest of your trip :) going anywhere fun in phoenix??

  15. Awesome! My husband and I actually did that on our honeymoon. We started out in Maui and then went to Kona (on the big island) and decided we wanted to go back to we did! :)

  16. Glad you were able to get up to the Grand Canyon, even if you cut it short... nice job on the change in travel plans!

  17. SO RANDOM that there is snow there! There's not even any snow in Kamloops!!!!

    I'm glad you guys decided to go back to Sedona. You obviously liked it there and this is YOUR vacation so you should do what makes you happy. ESPECIALLY since it's Erics birthday :)

  18. Glad you decided to go back to Sedona - reading your tweets and blogs it seems like you have been having a great time.

    Jealous of your trip - never been to Arizona but it looks gorgeous!

  19. I think it's great that you changed your plans & went back to Sedona! I have never done that, but it's pretty much because I have never had the flexibility to do that! Sounds like an amazing trip!! I pretty much go to Phx every year but have never gone to Sedona - I'll have to check it out next time I go down there for a visit!

  20. i love it. :) the pics are gorrrrgeous. you will just have to go back to the grand canyon in the summer... when there's no snow! you get enough of that back home.

    thank goodness for DQ!