Sarah So and Patrick Chiang | Grand Circle Day1-Sedona

Grand Circle Day1-Sedona

March 15, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

(Chinese version at the bottom)

What is Grand Circle
This trip has a name, Grand Circle, meaning an area covering Arizona, Utah, and Colorado, that has the most concentration of national parks that showcase geological wonders of the earth. The most famous national park here is Grand Canyon. This time I spent two weeks in 8 national parks and 3 Indian Reserves.

Getting There
From Phoenix head north on I-17 to Sedona. Sedona is a resort town. Reddish sandstone buttes surround the town. New Age believers say there are energy vortex here that can boost your energy. Many resorts and spas can be found here. There are many art galleries. This is also a popular place for retirees. 

Montezuma Castle
Before we arrive at Sedona, we stopped by the Montezuma Castle National Monument. A small ruin situated in the middle of a vertical cliff. Tucked into the cliff about a hundred feet above the valley floor. The cave dwelling was built about 800 years ago. It was abandoned for hundreds of years. Several years ago people are still allowed to go up to the ruin. But due to eroded trail and vandalism, they don't allow people to go up there any more. Most people who come here are passionate about nature, environmentally friendly, and observe the carry in carry out rule for national parks.  

National Park Annual Pass and National Park Passport
At the park entrance we bought the annual pass for $80. Good for one passenger car unlimited entry to all national parks for a year. It can be used by two people. This is much cheaper than paying separate entry fees. We also bought a national park passport as souvenir for $10. We can get it stamped at every national park visitor center. 

At Sedona we went to a Mexican restaurant Xcara for lunch. Back in 2004 we were at the same restaurant. From the second floor balcony seats, we can see the red rock mountains in a distance. This is a wonderful place to start our journey. We ordered hamburger and shrimp salad tacos. This is still a big town so there is still some seafood even though we are already in the desert area. From here on further into the remote desert wilderness, there won't be much seafood. 

Protect Yourself in Hot Dry Desert Weather
The weather here is very dry. We need to drink a lot of water, use the strongest sun block lotion. In big cities there are heavy air pollution, the sky is always dull gray. But here, the sky is clear and blue. You can see as far as the horizon. Even the UV rays that bound off the desert sand is still very strong. If you don't use sun-block lotion for a few hours, your skin would get sun-burn. Although it is hot, but not humid. This is still spring, so the weather is around 70-80F during the day. 

Red Rock State Park Loop Road 
Once we fed ourselves, we drove up the Red Rock State Park Loop Road. There are no prominent signs, only a few pullout viewpoints for taking photos. On one of the larger pullout, we can see the town below us surrounded by red rock sandstone buttes.  

Airport Mesa Road
Further up we go onto the Airport Mesa Road. There is a parking lot on top of the hill. This is where a small airport is located. There are some coin operated telescopes from which we can view Sedona and the mountains around us. The sun is now setting low. We still have a short drive to the hotel tonight. On the way we need to pass a treacherous hairpin mountain roadway, like those in Initial D. So it is best we get there before dark. Tomorrow we also have a long journey to go, so we head towards our hotel at Flagstaff.

***Chinese Version***

What is Grand Circle
這個旅程有個名字,Grand Circle,意思是美國西南方三個州,亞利桑那州,猶他州,科羅拉多州,集中了最多的國家公園,最奇特的地貌,當中最有名的就是大峽谷,今㳄兩星期我去了八個國家公園,兩個印第安人保護區,非常充實。

Getting There
從Phoenix出發向北,上州際公路I-17 North,兩小時後第一站Sedona,一個休閒鎮,四週有紅石山,風景如畫,山谷之中傳說有某些地方可增強人的能量,New Age人士愛到這裏度假,有不少resort, spa, 有賣藝術品的店,亦有部分人來退休長住。

Montezuma Castle
到鎮上之前順路有個小景點,Montezuma Castle National Monument, 山崖之上在直上直下的峭壁約百尺高有個山洞,山洞之中有八百年前土人所建築的石居,早已廢棄,聽說好幾年之前還可走上去,不過現在鈄路危險,公園為了防止遊人破壞,已經不准人上去,到這些地方遊覧的人多數熱愛大自然,支持環保,所以破壞者不多,但長年累月要保全依然很難,還要依賴訪客自律。

National Park Annual Pass and National Park Passport
在這個訪客中心買了國家公園Annual Pass門票,一年內任用,可二人共用,盛惠八十美元,比每個公園分開買票每次二十平得多,再買一個紀念冊national park passport可以在每個國家公園的訪客站蓋上印章,紀念冊只需十美元。

Protect Yourself in Hot Dry Desert Weather

Red Rock State Park Loop Road 
吃飽了正式去玩,駛上Red Rock State Park Loop Road, 這𥚃沒有什麼正式路牌指標,有幾個地方可以停下拍照,這條路在小山上,可以望見小鎮在山谷中被紅石山圍繞,

Airport Mesa Road
再走高些上Airport Mesa Road, 上面有個停車塲有幾個入硬幣望遠鏡可遠眺山景,這時太陽開始西斜,還有一段路才到今晚酒店,要經過一段很㞳峭的髮夾彎道,好似頭文字那種,最好天黑之前越過那段路,而且明天車程很長,早點回酒店睡吧。


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