Monday, June 8, 2009

Hoofin' it and almost dying in Sedona

Sedona is known for being a spiritual vortex. It's a place of possibly unrivaled beauty, with its lush greenery and high pink, red and orange mountains. This place is like the Sophia Loren of landscapes. I mean, just hubba hubba, gorgeous. 

We, of course, caught nothing but rain throughout the arid southwest. As we neared a damp Sedona, we stopped off (again) at the park ranger welcome center. It was there that we met an elderly man with a crooked face. He instructed us to take a path down to the creek. He said, "it's not a marked trail, because it's technically in a flood zone." It was a half mile each way or maybe a half mile round trip, very short, beautiful, etc. So Chris, Jimmy and I headed down toward the trailhead. 

It was spectacular, even in the drizzling rain and light fog. After walking in a couple hundred feet though, it started to rain a little heavier and Chris turned back to the car. Jimmy and I forged ahead. Made it to the creek in only a few minutes, dawdling. I snapped a few pictures and as we turned to head back. Suddenly the skies opened and dumped upon us much rain. 

We decided to move quickly, following the path we came in on. In no more than 30 seconds, all of the trails turned to streams. Even the other trails that were leading to the one trail we came in on were starting to flood. 

I yelled to Jimmy, "do you know what a flash flood is?" 
He said, "I think it's when the creek floods." 

I think it's actually when the canyon fills with water and becomes a rushing, angry river.  

As Jimmy and I, wet as drowned persian cats, tried to navigate the rushing streams that were quickly joining forces and becoming a network of waterways, I seriously thought we might be totally, entirely, completely, absolutely fucked. 

I suggested we might stay close to the canyon wall, since we're both decent climbers and where we both could get above the water if a deluge came through with too much speed and force. But Jimmy found another trail which led us to a sort of clearing. It didn't look familiar, so he wanted to turn back, but all I saw was dry land. We followed it for a bit and found barbed wire fences and private property signs. At this point, we were 20 minutes out, lost in the rain and more than ready to risk being shot by a one toothed country person in order to avoid drowning. These houses are worth millions, so I was sure they'd at least let us use the phone before they shot us. 

It turned out there was a road and it led to our car, the most beautiful sight of the day. 

Once we made it in the vehicle, about 4 miles of dirt road dipped into rushing waterways, which we forded in order to eat in an overpriced restaurant and to change our clothes. 

Sedona is a city for wealthy people which I envisioned being filled with new age hippies, Birkenstocks and crystals. I think they had a Williams Sonoma there at a fancy adobe looking strip mall. Definitely, I saw a Gap. If I learned nothing else this trip, I learned that wealth will buy you the prettiest part of the state. 

I was pretty traumatized, and things managed to stay crappy because as we left town, our gas light went on, and though we were under 30 miles from Flagstaff, it was 30 miles of winding mountains at 15-30 miles an hour. The thing that most sucked was that the scenery bordering the highway was possibly the most spectacular I've ever witnessed or could imagine. The red mountains, half covered with pines and fog, resembled Middle Earth, or maybe they just looked like heaven on this earth. I thought my pictures could do justice. Couldn't. There were camp grounds along the highway. If I ever go back, I'd camp there, elevated and in the midst of the majestic mountains.

Above was our trail before the rain storm, and below was the trail after.
Middle Earth

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