Sedona & Scottsdale, Arizona
A beautiful, albeit quick, weekend trip to the scorching desert with girlfriends IT and JF. There’s no one else I would’ve wanted to hike in 120 degree weather with!
It’s super important for me to maintain my own life outside of “married life” – and not out of necessity (long distance or something similar), but because I actively make time to do so. To that end this trip across the country for a few days was completely worth it, and, surprisingly, quite relaxing (and romantic!) We’ve made a pact to do a girls trip at least once a year (Austin, TX was our last trip together in Nov 2017), and we’re already planning for our next one.
While Phoenix & Scottsdale were burning up in late July, Sedona is in Northern Arizona and was quite cooler because it’s in a valley. We flew in on Friday morning from our respective cities, and with the time difference from the east coast were able to set out on our adventure by 10 AM. We picked up a car from Phoenix Airport – cars are much cheaper now that we’re all 25! – stopped by In-and-Out immediately for some lunch & shakes, and embarked on our drive to Sedona. Unfortunately, while the drive was only supposed to be 1.5-2 hours, we hit some really rough traffic on the way since there’s only one road between Sedona & Phoenix, and didn’t get to our first stop until around 4 PM.
In the summer, monsoons are frequent. We hit one right as we left Montezuma Castle National Monument – admission was $20, quite pricey for how small the “park” is, but a quick stop in support of the U.S. National Parks System nevertheless – and the sky opened up right as we entered Sedona. I wasn’t able to capture how beautiful the skies and the crazy red rocks were on camera – I’d seen pictures of the Red Rocks and wasn’t impressed, but trust me – they are beautiful and majestic and awe-inspiring in person.
Sedona is a relaxation/spa town, and with that comes more pricey lodging. We stayed at the Poco Diablo resort, which was right in town. We realized the next few days that all of Sedona is on one road, and became familiar with driving around extremely quickly. Of course, the highlights of our days were the hikes, taken in the morning while it was relatively cool. We completed Cathedral Rock the first morning and Devil’s Bridge the second. Cathedral Rock, although a short hike, was very steep, and there was a wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end. Devil’s Bridge was much longer, especially as you have to park 1.2 miles away from the actual trailhead if you don’t have high clearance on your vehicle, and the trek in the desert in the middle of the day was quite grueling. But, the bridge is pretty cool, and we even witnessed a proposal!
The rest of our time was spent lounging around our pool, going to a day spa – Sedona’s New Day Spa, highly recommend, and eating meals, although everything in the town closes quite early and we were pretty exhausted by the end of each night. We also visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross and the art galleries.
Our last 1.5 days were spent in Scottsdale, where we were able to afford a 4 star hotel for only $110 a night. Scottsdale had so many more bars than Sedona – apparently it’s quite the popping place when it’s not so hot! We had a great happy hour at Geisha, explored the town a bit, and enjoyed our hotel pool.
JF left earlier than IT and I did, and since we were taking red-eye flights we were able to squeeze in a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden before our flights. Although admission was pricey, the garden was beautiful – especially when another monsoon started to roll in!
We ended our trip right where we started – back at PHX airport. Just a note that the American Airlines terminal has much better options for food than the United/etc terminals – in case you want to grab a bite to eat before your flight, like IT and I did.