Owing to bad weather, we nearly crossed Chinle and its principal attraction, Canyon de Chelly, off our itinerary. Yet we knew from the prior research that we would miss out on some breathtaking scenery and, grudgingly proceeded towards the blackening horizon.
We were rewarded for our obstinacy, for within half-an-hour upon our arrival the skies bore no trace of the earlier storm, and the only obstacle between us and heaps of beautiful landscapes was the mud smeared over the walkways leading to the vista points.
Certain spots overlooked gorgeous views in practically every direction, which prompted me to make a few panoramic shots.
An astute observer can discern very peculiar features in the distance.
The vegetation is scarce and is concentrated more near certain brinks and canyon floors than others.
I had long known about Flagstaff from various sources, including the Route 66 song and our friend’s account of his earlier life in Arizona. I had also known that it was a ski resort, which, given that we were traveling way outside the ski season, may have been the reason the town appeared to us so small and quiet.
We had but a couple of specific places to see: the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany,
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel,
and the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, whose only real attraction (at least as far as the looks go) is the following building:
The rest of the time was spent loitering about downtown:
I imagine that the streets get a lot more crowded once snow blankets those mountain slopes around the city.
If someone asks me for the best place to visit in Arizona besides the Grand Canyon, I will straightaway recommend Sedona. The heart of Red Rock Country, Sedona is an all-round getaway destination, with a great deal of quality entertainment, from hiking to mountaineering to shopping and art-seeing.
Although I assume few people would venture to settle in the middle of semi-rural Arizona, contemplating the views on the outskirts of Sedona surely makes one jealous, even if for a short while.
So I can largely understand the ten thousand folks that did choose to live amongst this beauty.
It is obvious that the prosperity of Sedona chiefly depends on the steady flow of tourists, whose recreational needs, I must say, are fully met there, for there is no shortage of hotels and restaurants in the area. Similarly to Las Vegas, there is but a few main streets in Sedona, yet one cannot possibly complain about their presentability and tidiness. Aesthetic façades, quaint sculptures, and ingenious decorations further imbue the ambience of a high-class resort.
Of all these niceties, however, one place stands out tremendously—Tlaquepaque, an “arts and crafts village,” as they define themselves.
Galleries, cafés, shops, restaurants, workshops, and, perhaps, acres of scenic squares and alleys, enclosed by ivy-covered walls.
Although I have not spent much time in Southern Europe to opine authoritatively on the matter, Tlaquepaque seems to give off a positively Mediterranean vibe.
A trip to Sedona would be incomplete without a hike into the Red Rock Country, home to some of the world’s most magnificent red-sandstone formations.
Trails vary from brisk to drawn-out, from effortless to extremely challenging. People adjust accordingly: some walk while others run; some explore the mountains by climbing while others prefer to bike (which is actually not as insane as it sounds).
Here is where we bid farewell to Sedona, and with it to the entire state of Arizona. Yet we cannot help but look forward to our future comeback, hopefully with much more time and money on our hands.
Traditional state map: