If you've read my last travel entry on our visit to Arizona, you'll know that my kids and I spent a few days with my mom and stepdad. We started off our trip at the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. For our second outdoor excursion, my parents wanted to take us to see the Red Rock formations in Sedona. The drive was about 3 hours away and my kids weren't really too thrilled.
Along the way, we made sure to visit a couple rest stops for bathroom breaks, drinks, food, etc. About halfway through our drive, we ended up stopping to get some fresh air, restrooms, and - the kids' favorite - hit up the vending machines.
Although it was just a rest stop, the boys were loving the views as well, taking selfies or photos of the landscape to post on their social medias. If it's one thing I love that I've passed on to them, it's their love of travel and taking in new sights. Many of their peers - especially in this day and age - don't care for stuff like that.
Once we got back on the road, the kids started to notice there were less cactus and more trees that looked like, well, actual trees. The higher the elevation, the less cactus due to weather conditions.
Red Rock State Park
Coming up on the entrance of this popular hiking area with bike trails, we were welcomed with a few formations. The formation pictured below is the Courthouse Butte (pronounced byoot, NOT butt. LOL).
Seeing these in photos don't do its beauty justice, you'd have to be there. These rock formations were once at sea level and formed by the water and surrounding winds.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
One of Sedona's popular landmarks is the majestic Chapel of the Holy Cross. We drove about 20 more minutes to this popular site and parked, then walked up to the entrance.
Walking up, there were views of homes sporadically spread throughout the area with more rock formations in the background. Every way you'd turn, you could see these landscapes. It's a little surreal, actually...it felt like you walked into a spread seen in the National Geographic.
Getting to the actual chapel, you'd find many tourists taking photos or going in to light a few candles and say their prayers. Downstairs, there's a souvenir shop of religious items - my eldest son bought his grandmother and I our early Christmas presents, in fact - a dainty choker gold necklace with a small cross pendant. Very "me" but definitely not my mom's style. HAHA
Apparently, it seems there may be actual mass that takes place in this tiny chapel. The presiding pastor is listed on a plaque right outside the chapel doors.
Inside the chapel, you will find two columns of pews where you could sit and reflect. Much of the interior is built with predominantly natural materials to coincide with its natural surroundings. Everything is well-maintained to welcome daily visitors.
Coconino National Forest
We had lunch at a nearby restaurant in a town about 10 minutes away from the chapel. Since we had to drive a few hours back to Phoenix, we decided to head back before it got dark. Going through the Coconino Forest, there was a viewing point right next to the bridge we had to cross and decided to do one last stop.
Since my mom was a bit tired, she decided to stay in the car. Ava stayed behind because she thought it was too dangerous. My stepdad, boys, and I decided to do the steep hike down. Normally, I probably would have stayed behind but I had my sneakers on. The views from at the base of the bridge did not disappoint...
If only we had more time, we would have visited Slide Rock - a popular attraction that people go to wade in the flowing waters. Unfortunately, we had a late start in the morning. Still, this is definitely an excuse to come back - this time, with my husband. Hopefully, we're able to make another trip out in the next few months.
~ XOXO, Mari