Thursday, July 24, 2014

Red Rocks

I need to apologize to Arizona. Last year, after touring Utah’s national parks, I remarked that Utah has the most incredible rocks in the country. Sorry Arizona, you have some pretty incredible rocks too.


Driving east and south from the north rim of the Grand Canyon you come to an area known as the Vermillion Cliffs.

According to the Bureau of Land Management’s web site: “This remote and unspoiled, 280,000-acre [National} Monument is a geologic treasure, containing a variety of diverse landscapes from the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. Elevations range from 3,100 to 7,100 feet.”


The colors of these desolate peaks are extraordinary. To an artist vermillion means a pigment of bright red. In nature, at least in this area of Arizona, the colors range from pink to a deep red, and pretty much every tint in-between.

DSC_0568 As is always the case with the soaring, magnificent landscapes of the west, photographs can’t do justice to the reality of these almost indescribable peaks and plateaus.



And then we got to the red rocks area in Sedona. The town is a bit greener, probably due to a slightly better water supply and higher elevation.



One of the cool things about this lovely community, and I don’t know if it’s by law or just because people here love the landscape, the exterior of most houses and commercial buildings in Sedona are painted to match the colors of the surrounding mountains.


The result is a town that fits it’s environment even better than Frank Lloyd Wright could imagine. The downside is that with so few colors being used in construction, and the style being one or two story adobe, a lot of buildings look very similar. We were looking for a Walgreens and when our GPS told us we had arrived, we couldn’t see the store until after we passed it.

After shopping at Walgreens we decided to drive north on US 89A to Flagstaff. Now, when we were looking for a campground in this area, the web site of one of the parks warned RVers to stay off 89A. We didn’t have the trailer in tow when we went up the road.


The warning had to do with a narrow winding road with switchbacks, falling rocks, mudslides and flash floods. If you look closely at this image you can see a few of the switchbacks. We didn’t run into any of the falling rocks, mudslides or flash floods.

By the way, Sedona, Flagstaff and our campground is at a higher elevation than Phoenix where the temperature hit 114 degrees today. We didn’t have to deal with that. The TV weather folks again said it will cool off to 105 tomorrow. I guess “cool” is a matter of perspective.


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