Saturday, April 27, 2013

exploring north of phoenix -- flagstaff, sedona, & montezuma's castle

i’m from the east coast, so i’m still getting used to living out west. on the east coast, there are more people and those people are all living in close proximity to one another. if i want to go from washington dc to philadelpha, it’s a 3 hours drive. dc to new york city is 5 hours. things are close together. this is not the case out west. states are bigger and things are further apart. so it’s not surprising that we haven’t really explored much more of arizona than tucson. especially north of phoenix.

phoenix is two hours away and we try to go there as infrequently as possible. it’s a big city with a lot of traffic, and though there are definitely nice places to eat at, hike, or tube down, we are quite content in tucson. but we’ve heard great things about flagstaff and have been meaning to check it out for a while. so when rcg found out that rebelution was playing at the orpheum theatre in flagstaff we decided to make the trip up. 

flagstaff is a small town of ~65,000 people located in the mountains, about an hour and a half north of phoenix. it’s a college town with an overabundance of subaru cars. it’s chilly, even at the end of march, because it sits at 6,900 feet. the people are friendly and outdoorsy and the restaurants serve delicious food. 


we spent our morning at priest draw, a veritable bouldering playground. priest draw is located at the end of a dirt road in the coconino national forest and it is a favorite bouldering spot for climbers. we got there early and walked around, trying our hand at climbing the many large rocks that litter the dry riverbed. we didn’t have a crash pad, so we just played around, doing easy climbs and spotting one another. but now that rcg has bought a crash pad i can see us returning to flagstaff and priest draw again in the near future. if you’re interesting in checking out priest draw get there early; at about 11am the area becomes overpopulated with climbers, and while there are plenty of rocks to climb you will most likely have to share the more popular climbs. 


in the evening we went to see a concert at the orpheum theatre and it’s an awesome concert venue. there’s a bar and both a seating area and a large dance floor. and the acoustics are great. if you get a chance to see a concert here, please take that opportunity; you won’t regret it. 

the opening act: hot rain




on our way down to tucson from flagstaff we decided to head off the main highway, I-17, and take a back road through sedona. sedona is known for its red sandstone formations and vortexes. sedona’s vortexes, spots that are supposed to have special healing properties, have made sedona a favorite location for artists and healers, and the red rocks have made it a popular spot for outdoorsy people. we didn’t stop, except at a rest stop to snap a few pictures, but the red rock formations were spectacular. we’re hoping to return to camp and hike in this area when it gets a little warmer. 




shortly after getting back onto I-17, we turned off again to go to montezuma’s castle, one of north america’s best preserved cliff dwellings. montezuma’s castle is similar to the casa grande ruins: it’s $5 to walk around, there isn’t a whole lot to see, as you can’t go up into the ruins, and it is a mystery as to why these cliff dwellings were abandoned. but it was nice to get out of the car, walk around, and see a little bit of arizona’s history. 

what other cool things in arizona should we explore?

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