Arizon's Red Rock Country
Arizona's Red Rock Country is everything its name claims to be. It is a surreal place, where nature's colour scheme has gone wild, exuberantly vibrant, a bit like a Fauve painting with its bold brush-strokes of intense colour. Almost as if paint has been squeezed directly from the tubes onto the canvas of an Arizona landscape painting. Shades of red, blue, dark green....
Monumental red buttes and spires, as if finger-moulded in soft reddish clay, prod the metallic-blue sky, trying to push it up a bit higher or make holes in it. Dark green pines and scrub, silver aspens, spiky cactus, sandstone rock formations with suggestive names like Bell Rock or Cathedral Rock, mountains, canyons and creeks, and a network of trails criss-crossing wide open horizons.... these are the natural elements of this unique area. Western films have been filmed here so it isn't surprising if some of the scenes look uncannily familiar. And like a powerful magnet with its stunning backdrop of red monoliths and blue sky, the town of Sedona draws artists and other visitors from all over in search of relaxation, emotional wellness, spiritual retreats, energy vortices, as well as outdoor pursuits.
A friend of mine in Mexico City had been adamant. "You have to go there. You won't be disappointed, I promise you!" She was right. Actually, if she hadn't enlightened us, we would have missed Sedona completely, been totally unaware of its existence. We had no idea as we drove along the main road linking Phoenix to Flagstaff, on our way to the Grand Canyon a couple of days earlier, that just beyond the dark green swathe of the Coconino National Forest lay a red rock wonderland. In fact, even as we ambled along Highway 179 towards Sedona, I began to wonder if she'd got the place wrong. No red rocks in sight.
There was nothing to prepare us for the visual impact which hit us shortly after we passed a sign saying "Red Rock Country". At first it looked like the hills had wounds in their sides, open red gashes. Then whole mountains, stained red, appeared. That's when the "oohs" and "aahhs" began. Even before we had seen the buttes up close, we fell in love with a spectacular photograph at the Red Rock Ranger Station and walked out with it under our arm. Then came the "Oh my goodness, look at that!", "Incredible!", "That must be Bell Rock" and other such commentaries which gradually filled the car as the red rocks began to fill the view at the windows. It was certainly well worth the drive from Phoenix. We drank spring water from Sedona to accompany our lunch sitting outside in the hot sun. Our shoes turned dusty red from our walk. We wandered around Sedona, crossing the clear splashing river. I half expected the water to be red too. Everywhere we looked, red rocks met blue skies.
Entering Red Rock Country
Red gashes in the side of the mountain
View from the Red Rock Ranger Station
Driving into Sedona
Orange-red rock walls
Some of the rocks look like they've been moulded in soft red clay
Sedona is surrounded by red rocks
Local architecture blending in
Looking towards Cathedral Rock from a small hill
Going for a walk
Bright red soil
Cathedral Rock behind
Red rocks underfoot
A shady seat
Blue skies and bare trees
Looking down towards Sedona
Rock spires behind houses
Red rocks and trees
A New Age centre
Looking down at the river
Houses blending into the landscape
View through the windscreen
Empty road ahead
A last view of Red Rock Country
Bright yellow aspen foliage
A feast for our eyes and soul. Thank you, Laura!