"So, what's your dog's name?" I asked the shop clerk innocently. The pooch was perched on a counter-top sitting ever-so-mellow despite the flow of foot traffic through the showroom. No barking. No slobbering. Cool dog.
Between trail runs, Collette and I had ducked into a shop in Sedona, Arizona, home to southwest-flavored New Age funkiness. Trail maps of the Sedona area have energy vortices marked, showing where you can go to meditate or chant. No problem. Positive influences are a good thing, even if they're not universally understood.
The aforementioned shop was full of trinkets, figurines adorned with fairy wings, and other paraphernalia far, far removed from transfer cases and trail runs. The dog's name? "It's Miss Happy Joyful Fairy Angel's Wings," beamed the shopkeeper. "Cool," I replied, resisting the urge to ask how a so-named dog might be called to dinner. It was clearly time to get to a trail.
Set in the epicenter of northern Arizona, Sedona is surrounded by spectacular red rock cliffs, pinyon-juniper scrubland, and stands of majestic pines. Little surprise then, that people would be drawn there in search of respite and renewal. Some chant and meditate. We shift into 4-low.
There was no need to go far. Several trails surround the town and we picked Broken Arrow: tame enough to hone your skills on, yet tricky enough to induce carnage and rollovers if you don't pay attention.
Over a weekend, we sampled a few of the area's trails, picked our way through a chilly cave, and visited a sliding jail. One trip is far from enough. If you go once, you'll go again. Keep an open mind: along with the spectacular scenery you might just encounter some New Age chanting, and a dog or two with an unusual name.
We stayed in nearby Flagstaff...
We stayed in nearby Flagstaff and drove into Sedona via Oak Creek Canyon. It's a beautiful drive from start to finish.
Oak Creek Canyon can get crowded....
Oak Creek Canyon can get crowded. When we visited in the summer of '08, there was construction on Sedona's main thoroughfare which backed up traffic for a couple of miles.
Teal arches? Believe it! The...
Teal arches? Believe it! The city of Sedona is adamant about keeping up appearances.
Lava River Cave is near Flagstaff....
Lava River Cave is near Flagstaff. The mouth of the cave is in a crater: Not what you'd expect in a pine forest. Lava River Cave is a lava tube, and it's not hard to imagine the glowing lava flowing through the arch-roofed tube. It's chilly inside all year. Bring a jacket and a flashlight.