We took one last fond close-up at the Grand Canyon
and then drove east, pleased to discover that the road spooned along the Canyon for miles, giving us many memorable last looks. Finally we began to wind south and then east on Rt. 64, back into the windswept winter high desert of Arizona.
Our ultimate destination was Sedona, but the CE hankered to make a side trip to Cameron Trading Post, an unexpectedly bustling commercial enterprise that pops up on the bleak horizon at the edge of a Navajo reservation. Was it worth the nearly 60-mile drive to see it? Well, it’s one of those eye-of-the-beholder things. One building houses the largest trinket shop I’ve ever seen yet we somehow emerged empty-handed. A smaller building is a gallery that showcases some of the finer things for which the Navajo are known: textiles, baskets, kachina dolls and jewelry. No bargains to be found, but some beautiful things there. I had my eye on a gorgeous turquoise bolo tie, but alas, left it behind. Too bad, as a return trip is unlikely.
Onward we drove to Flagstaff and then picked our way through 89-A South which would be our approach to Sedona. The first note of alarm was sounded when we saw recently posted “Road Closed” signs. The epic snowstorm earlier in the week had apparently wreaked some havoc. We forged ahead, wondering if we would be turned back.
It wasn’t long before we deeply wished to turn back! A friend I’d told about our upcoming trip had murmured that we should “be careful on the switchbacks” and wow was she right! If you want the mountains, you also get the mountain roads.
Picking our way down Oak Creek Canyon was a little bit harrowing and a lot jaw-clenching. Good thing we weren’t doing it in the dark! Finally we neared our quarry…
I’d heard so much about Sedona through the years. A must-see destination, according to every travel resource. Yet as we limped into the east approach of the town, finally exhaling from our dicey drive, I was decidedly underwhelmed. Lots of traffic, lots of tourists, lots of t-shirt shops. Yikes!
Well, I thought, good thing we picked a place to stay that was fifteen minutes west of town. Enchantment Resort is the very antidote to t-shirt shops. A little jangled from the drive and the deflating first look at Sedona, our first view of the resort grounds was the expanse of deep terra cotta hued casitas and a small herd of mule deer drinking from the creek beside the road.
The lobby is lovely and oh so Southwest:
Likewise our junior suite:
The one downside for this old lady with the bad back: everything at Enchantment is built into a hill. Walking from our room up to the lobby and restaurants was a no-go. Fortunately, a fleet of golf carts is continually dispatched to ferry guests back and forth. Problem solved!
And what a location! The resort backs up to spectacular Boynton Canyon and even has its own walk-in entrance to the trail.
Road-weary and still a bit rattled from those witchy switchbacks, we golf-carted up to the informal but excellent Tii Gavo restaurant and kicked back, reveling in the view, a margarita and a few tacos.
What a stunning place to stay! T-shirt shops aside, we became instant fans of Sedona.