I was up in Jerome last week taking in its historic restored buildings that are now artisan shops, eateries…a haunted hotel or two. At least that’s what the locals tell me. Makes for fun times during October. Halloween is probably their busiest time of the year. I once went to a Halloween Party like one of those ones you see on TV up there…hundreds of people, amazing costumes, and a night sky full of stars.
This time of year the weather is warm, but it is starting to cool down. It is so much fun to walk around. A lot of the bordellos from when this was an old copper mining town have been turned into shops now. The House of Joy is one of my favorites with its vintage inspired knick-knacks. We went to the fudge shop…which has awesome white caramel fudge, and then up to the Haunted Hamburger for margaritas.
They were not only refreshing but delicious…and we got to sit in the window where we took in the entire verde valley all the way to Sedona.
If you want to experience something truly amazing in Sedona, you must go on a helicopter ride over the red rocks. Some friends and I took the Arizona Helicopter Adventures Ancient Ruins Tour and it totally rocked our world. We were lucky enough to be on one of their new door less helicopters. This is great if you are a photographer, but may be a little intimidating if you are nervous about heights and stuff. I have no qualms or fears when it comes to this type of thing so it was all good for me. The friend I was flying with was a little nervous, but she said after about 3 minutes she completely forgot to be scared of anything because it was so beautiful. And It was. Chills of excitement and wonder followed me all through the flight.
I had never been on a helicopter before and felt lucky to be able to sit in the front next to the pilot and all of his little knobby thingies. Flying in a copter is so different from flying in an airplane. It really feels as though you are floating along like a bubble. A fast bubble…lol…It helped that the cockpit where I sat was clear and dome like. We all had to wear these cool ear headphone sets and could communicate with the pilot and my two friends by using a button on the floor that I hit with my foot.
When we took off we hit a little rain, but this didn’t slow us down. There was scatter clouds that day so the views were just out of this world. We were so high, above the tallest red rock formations, spires and cliffs. We flew back into Secret Mountain Wilderness and over Boynton Canyon. I have hiked Boynton…the experience from the air is completely different. I just felt so small in relation to the towering walls around us. I can say that I revisited that moment when I first came to Sedona. How then, I had rounded the corner on highway 179, having never been or knowing anything about Sedona, and nearly drove off the road as I was made aware of how tiny I was in the face of the natural beauty that is Sedona. That was the feeling I had. Of wow.
The tour we was on was 20 minutes long and included flying by ancient ruins. I would highly recommend this to anyone really wanting to see Sedona as it should be seen.
It’s my favorite time of year in Sedona. The time when the evening cloud cover as the sun sets makes us a gasp at the beauty that surrounds here in Sedona. Here are some of my favorite sunset shots for this mo
I found myself in a lava tube last week, and although lava implies heat, I would definitely recommend the tube as a way of getting out of it in the summer months. The lava tube just outside of Flagstaff, is about an hour and 15 minutes from Sedona, and maintains a temperature of 40 degrees year round. This cool temp is great for hiking and encourages you to keep moving or become chilled. Wear good hiking shoes with thick soles and long pants so your legs don’t get scratched up. I would also recommend a head lamp as it is pitch black in the tube. I did see some hikers carrying flashlights, but it is good to have your hands free for balance.
The entrance down into the cave is very rocky and can be a bit tricky. Take your time, I know I did. My hiking partner was more like a goat and showed no fear as he scrambled down like Golem from the “Lord of the Rings” movies, while I was sitting and scooting for parts of it. The entrance is the most difficult part of your climbing/hiking experience. The tube’s floor is uneven, but for the most part flat. There is water drip and condensation so there are some slippery wet spots so be careful.
What is amazing about this experience is finding those pockets of absolute silence and darkness. We would stop in a cavernous dome and turn our headlamps off and just listen to nothing. It is very rare now-a-days to hear silence and it was peaceful.
The tube will fork. If you go to the right the cave ceiling lowers to about 3 or 4 feet high. My goat friend was able to scramble under there, but I was not. I back tracked and went the opposite direction where these two tubes met up again. As we continued down the tube, the ceiling did lower again, but no so much that I couldn’t crouch through. We made it all the way to the end and sat down there for a while not seeing anyone for half an hour. What I found interesting was the parking lot was full when we got there, but the cave never seemed to be crowded. In fact, there were long periods of time where we didn’t see anyone.
What’s crazy is, now, 3 days later, my quads still hurt! I know I am not super in shape or anything, but I hit the gym a few times a week and am still sore. I had a blast and would recommend the tube to anyone wanting a cool hike in a new environment. Click here to see a video of me walking in the lava tube.
Directions and more pics to the lava tube can be found here.
Picture 1, is of the entrance before you go in.
Picture 2, is me in my stylish handlamp.
Picture 3, is my hiking partner, exiting the lava tube.
This is the summit at the top of Sugarloaf. I will post more videos as I take them for all of my hiking fans.