Sedona, Montezuma Castle, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater

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What a lovely and exhausting day. It began at 5am, when I managed to pull myself out of bed (running on 5 hours of sleep), motivated by potential sunrise photos. We took Dry Creek Road to Aerie vista and got there around 5:45am. Sunset was supposed to be at 6:04am. The rocks around us didn’t get fully lit until about 7 or 7:30am. It was lovely to be up before the sunrise because barely anyone is on the roads. We had our best photos from the side of the road looking down at the canyons. If we had more time in the Sedona area we would have hiked around there, but there is never enough time!

After breakfast at the hotel and cleaning up there, we stopped by the scenic overlook along Airport Drive. This vista may be my favorite spot in Sedona. You get a 360 degree view of the red rocks all around. Next time I’m there, I’ll have to go there for sunrise and/or sunset.

We headed south along highway 179 south, which goes right through red rock country. So beautiful. More hikes were tempting me, but no time… Stopped at the visitor center just past Bell Rock. It was a nice place.

Montezuma Castle was our next stop. The surrounding trees kept it nice and cool. The place once inhabited 35 people of the Sinagua tribe. There are 5 different floors/levels too. If I were a Native American in the early 1000’s, I would have loved to live there. The ruin is built into lake beds that are 3 to 6 million years old, of the Verde formation.

We stopped in Flagstaff to refuel. And moved on to more Sinagua ruins at Wupatki National Monument. Box Canyon dwellings and Lomaki Pueblo were our first stops. These were followed by Nalakihu Pueblo and Citadel Pueblo. Then onto Wupatki Pueblo, which seemed to be more of a focal point for multiple different tribes and cultures. Really remarkable.

Onto Sunset Crater, which is a cinder cone that is around 900 years old. It is one of the youngest (if not, the youngest) feature in Arizona. The Lava Flow Trail was fun and educational.

We left Sunset Crater NM at about 6:30pm and drove on to Holbrook, where we are staying. We ate at Mesa restaurant which provided decent Italian food. Next door was a gift shop, where I got a nice piece of petrified wood for $3 that they fetched out of their backyard. And I got to get a hint of life in Holbrook by talking to the couple.

Now, I must PASS OUT.

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