My new year started off great! I took an adventurous trip to the beautiful and scenic state of Arizona. This was not my typical January getaway. It so much better and totally worth it. I got my desert sunshine, dry heat, crisp mountain air and a little snow blast all within a few hours difference. Wait until you read more.
Arizona is the only place I’ve visited where you experience all four seasons in one day. Starting in Phoenix, we landed the morning of January 13, 2018. Coming from Atlanta in the middle of winter, we were in sweaters and jackets expecting winter. My girlfriends, Gabby and Meiling joined me on this outdoor getaway. We picked up our rental car, loaded up the SUV with our camping gears and headed out for Sedona. Phoenix was hot and dry for a January morning. I typically dress in layers because I get hot easily. I stripped down to a tank top and tights after we stopped for lunch. As we head north, those layers started to pile on. The temperature was dropping fast.
Sedona was 2 hours north of Phoenix and 30 degrees cooler. We arrived at the Manzanita Campground to set up camp. By nightfall, the temperature was 40 degrees.
Let me tell you about my first night in Sedona. The cold didn’t bother me. I was prepared and having camped mostly in the winter, I welcomed the cold. When I say the night sky in Sedona was absolutely breath taking, believe me! The sky lighted up like an elegant black sequin dress on New Year’s Eve. It was beyond beautiful. I marveled at the bejeweled sky like reality of the universe just hit me. There were billions of stars out there! I know that is true but seeing it was beyond anything I was ever told. The second night, we added stargazing to our itinerary. That night, I captured my first shot of the Milky Way at Doe Mountain. It was a sight I will never forget.
We did a total of 3 hikes during the three days in Sedona. The scenic hikes like Devil’s Bridge and Boynton Trail were iconic and rewarding. I couldn’t get enough of the majestic canyons staring back at me from at every corner of the hike. I even flirted with the idea of a vortex hot spot at Boynton Canyon. The change in energy from one spot to the next was an interesting experience.
We went north to Page, Arizona on the fourth day. Page is an industrial town on the border of Arizona and Utah in the Navajo Territory. It was the home of the iconic Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. The temperatures during the day was in the 40’s. Winter in Northern Arizona was no joke. Again, dress in layers.
If you are a photographer and want to capture the mesmerizing photos inside Antelope Canyon then it’s totally worth it to book a 2-hour photography tour for $100 a person. The tour gives you priority over the general public when photographing the various chambers in the canyon. People are everywhere and the space is tight. You only have so long to capture the light in the canyon. People will photo-bombing your money shot, especially the older guy carrying the ipad for a camera. Bring rain covers for your camera because the fine dust in the canyon will amazingly get inside your lens.
Apache Junction, Arizona
The next leg of the trip was Lost Dutchman State Park at Superstition Mountain. It was one hour east of Phoenix. On this side of the desert, the temps were 80 degrees during the day and 50 degrees at night. I felt like I was in the Wild Wild West. Lost Dutchman was in the city of Apache Junction. The town was founded during the gold rush. The surrounding landscape was well preserved including the iconic 500 plus year old cacti scattered across the desert. There was a ghost town for tourist and a challenging hike up the the famous Siphon Trail. I didn’t finish the trail but I got some good sunset view of the Arizona desert a third of the way up. And when you’re in the Wild Wild West, you have to go horseback riding.
This trip changed me in many ways. I appreciated nature more. This is how I want to take my vacations. Mother Nature is powerful. Respect the elements and be ready for it. The magnificent landscape was beyond anything man could every build. We are too frail to create such wonders and too careless to preserve what is left. This world is so grand yet so small. When you look up into the dark and lonely sky of Sedona, you see the entire universe out there. It makes you wonder how significant we really are.
Here is a quick highlight of my trip in under a minute. I hope you enjoy it. Get outside. Nature is calling!