First trip of 2022! It went great! We flew into Phoenix, went to Sedona, and then spent a few more days in Phoenix. We loved our time in Phoenix, Sedona was a bit screwy.
We try to be gone the last week of January / first week week of February because it’s sooooo cold in Minnesota. One year, we missed -30F with 30MPH winds and 6-10inches of snow. So far, we’ve never regretted being gone from Minnesota during that particular part of winter.
We chose Phoenix and Sedona because of the hiking and the weather – we knew Phoenix would be starting spring so snow / cold weather wouldn’t be a concern and the flowers would be starting. The weather was perfect and the air was filled with the intoxicating aroma of flowers and nature coming out of dormancy. We were pleasantly surprised by all the activities Phoenix had to offer – we found tons of fun thing to do every day, including some fantastic hiking in the city limits, AND we went to Organ Stop Pizza. One of the coolest restaurants around – a giant organ paired with someone decent pizza is a strangely good combination. The gems we found pleasant in the areas around Phoenix and flagstaff were surprising – Saguaro National Park, the multitude of National Monuments (Sunset Crater, Tuzigoot, Montazuma’s Well, and so on) the Musical Instrument Museum, the Railroad Museum and a few really neat restaurants. They were all great for very different reasons. We didn’t have high expectations for Saguaro because… it’s a desert and it’s cactus; not really the pinnacle of beauty. Saguaro turned out to be REALLY cool to see and hike through a cactus forest! There was something eerily beautiful and calm about the entire hike and experience. The rest of the places we mostly found to be fun places to stop for a few hours and learn or do something new that we can’t do in Minnesota.
The area we picked to stay in the Phoenix metro was pretty well to do. We didn’t pick the area for that reason, we picked it because it had a Hampton Inn next to stuff we wanted to do. It was pretty wild seeing Bentlys, Mclarens, and some other vehicles I’ve never seen before cruising down the road to their many multi-million dollar homes. One park we visited in this area was filled with kids and what we thought were families; closer inspection revealed we were surrounded by nannies watching after other people’s kids.
Now, on to Sedona. The hiking was decent but we wouldn’t go back, and, knowing what we know, we’d never have gone. Sedona was a like a wayyyy crappier version of Spain. We had fairly high expectations since the area is known as a hiking mecca and a tourist destination. We had a chance to hike every day and hike through a multitude of different scenery. The hikes were pretty decent! Unfortunately, Sedona itself is a fairly strange place filled with crystal shops, rather loud people / things, and tons of people – even in the off season. It was difficult to find parking spots on the more popular trails or enjoy nature since we couldn’t seem to get away from humanity’s sounds and sites. One of the more beautiful hikes involved seeing an absolutely spectacular sunrise but the entire experience was diminished by the sound of a contractor driving foundation piling at 7AM across the valley. There were a handful of hikes and experiences on the trail that will be memorable but the proverbial Sedona juice was not worth the squeeze.
We returned to some pretty cold weather and missed Arizona immediately. Once again, we picked a fabulous time to be gone.
Enjoy the photos!