America Day 5 – Jerome, Sedona, and a bushwalk

What could possibly surpass the Canyon? Well, today came very close. Lovely drive south passing Sedona to get to a little mining town called Jerome, perched up on the side of a mountain, more evidence that the Americans are like South Island Kiwi’s, anywhere they want a road they will find a way to build it!

Coming down off the Arizona Divide it gets rapidly warmer, and there are mountains surrounding you on all sides

First stop is the large house built by the mine’s owner with a well set up museum inside, then further up into the town itself… which turns out to be clogged with visitors. Of course, it’s Saturday!

Clinging to its mountain! The miners eventually drilled a horizontal tunnel out from the bottom of the mine to get the ore out (mainly copper but some silver and gold also) which must have been easier than getting it down that mountain trail! Note the J in the side f the hill – on the plains it’s a water tower with the town’s name on it.

View from Jerome. So high up! and a jolly nice cement plant too……

So I wind my way back down and head to Sedona, which I see before I arrive as the rocks turn red! It’s an awe inspiring sight.

First sight of the red rocks surrounding Sedona. The closer you get, the more amazing the landscape becomes, and it has a powerful effect.

Sedona. It’s a popular place with “Preppers” – people getting ready for Armageddon by building homes back into the rock and supplied with survival stuff, also New Ager’s everywhere, lots of crystals and fortune tellers. Massive amounts of building and development in the area, it’s a sizeable place, very clean and well cared for, lots of money here. I’m guessing it would have been heavenly back in the seventies when hippies started arriving. I do a loop drive around Red Rock Canyon, again, expensive designer homes tucked back on bush blocks everywhere… but I did see a coyote!

Accidentally took most rock pictures in black and white! Idiot!

Fine red dust everywhere, beautiful colours, serenity, and dangerous wild animals

Lunch was delicious at the Wildflower Bread Company ( all very Californian for Arizona), made better by meeting the lovely Diane Stormberg, local real estate agent and singer/comedienne. We had a good old chat over lunch, it was Diane who explained all the Prepper stuff to me, and also talked about the place being what’s called a vortex in the States, an energy focus, which certainly struck a chord with me, it has an amazing feel once you get away from all the modern buildings in the town.

Seriously, the Native Americans had it good before the white men got here… and no wonder they are such spiritual people, you need to find an explanation for the majesty that surrounds you. Theory developed while driving – Australia is such an ancient continent it’s had a lot of it’s raw edges rubbed smooth, and the native Aboriginals had settled into a groove that worked and needed to develop no further. Here, geology is so raw, naked, and thrusting, it gets more complicated, you need a more complex belief structure to deal with it. OK, I’m rambling but it did really affect me. Hippie.

Crossing a dry creek bed… before I saw the bear warning!

Oak Creek – runs through Sedona, beautiful autumn foliage around.

I head back to Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon and it is truly splendid, a long winding climb back up onto the Arizona Divide through wooded valleys, the odd fisherman coming up from the sparkling creek, camp sites with fires lit already.  Once again impressed at road building skills once I reach the pass at the top! Early night after disappointing Chinese for dinner, very bland and westernised – I’m doing some serious miles tomorrow.

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