Denise Goldberg's blog

Sunday, March 23, 2014

heading north

After our visit with butterflies this morning we jumped on the highway heading north. It was one of those drives where Denise wanted to stop to soak in the landscape but we were driving on an interstate highway (I-17) so we couldn't stop. I thought she did really well fighting the urge to pull over!

We did a bit of climbing (in the car). Phoenix is at 1117 feet if elevation and Sedona is at 4500 feet. We jumped up by following some pretty steep sections on I-17. At the start of one of the steep uphills there was a sign on the road suggesting that drivers turn the air conditioning in their cars off. Oh, and the speed limit changed in that section - it was only 65 miles per hour instead of what appears to be the normal 75. Most cars were moving slower than 65 mph on the steep parts. When we arrived at the top of that first long uphill there were bright yellow flowers covering the flatter parts of the land, in front of taller mountains. That was really pretty; that's when I understood why Denise wanted to stop to capture pictures.

Not too long after we jumped off of the highway we stopped at the visitor center in the Coconino National Forest. It turns out that we didn't need to pay for a pass to the trails since Denise has a National Parks Pass and that is good for National Forests too. She picked up a funny plastic hangtag with a place where she could slot her pass so we can park in the fee required parking lots. We chatted with one of the people working there, getting lots of information on where we should wander.

Our first wandering spot took us down Verde Valley School Road. The road started paved then changed to dirt. We left the car in a lot a little before the road ended, then walked (Denise walked, I bounced!) down to Oak Creek. That's where Denise took the photo of the tree - it's really nice to see trees wearing green leaves!

Next stop, Bell Rock Pathway... We walked again, enjoying the vistas, the emerging wildflowers, and the very red rocks. Beautiful!

--- Rover
green! on Oak Creek

red rocks of Sedona