Prelude to Phoenix onto Flagstaff
This post is about the 6 days between Phoenix onto Flagstaff and the adventures on the way. Let me remind you, it had been very hot, and made venturing out of the air-condition comfort very challenging. I guess that’s my only excuse for not going and getting to Taliesin West sooner. While I was in Phoenix; my host Alyssa had invited her friends from California and I to go camping.
I had two reasons to stop in Phoenix, the former was to collect deliveries. The latter was to visit another Frank Lloyd Wright project: Taliesin West. I had made excuses most days for why I was not going to go. It finally came to the day I was leaving, and still had not been.
I packed all my things said goodbye to Alyssa and her home and rode to Taliesin West. For some unknown reason, I was the only person under the age of 70 doing the tour, I also seemed to be the only person with a camera that wasn’t a mobile phone. :/
I had agreed with Alyssa and company that we’d meet at a camping spot after I finished doing my Frank Lloyd Wright tour. I managed to make it to the same place as them about the same time, however things got a little twisted as the camp spot was closed due to forest fires. We headed north onto the Mogollon Rim, there we found ourselves heading to Knoll Lake. We got ourselves a dispersed camp spot, with nobody nearby to bother us, and happily made our home there for the following nights.
We had a wireless speaker and we took turns to play music, it was great to hear how similar our tastes in music was! The peace of the forest with these good people was such a great thing to be had!
After the weekend was over, I said goodbye to my wonderful new friends and headed off alone north-west towards Sedona it was a brief ride. I had been told that I must go, frankly there wasn’t much about it to like for me. It was a very pretty landscape, but seemed overly exploited for wealthy yoga culture folk. Eco-bling everywhere!
I hesitated where to camp or to move on and explore the next day… I found on freecampsites.net there was a spot up a trail 10 miles away from me. Little did I know; this was a carefully groomed “EXTREME HARDCORE!” trail for weekend warriors to ruin the all terrain vehicles on. It was a gruelling 10 miles up a steep hill overtaking slow-moving vehicles. However, the view was outstanding, the place was totally quiet, and for some obscure reason depending on the wind direction I was getting phone reception.
The following morning, I had to brave the same silly road down to get breakfast, it wasn’t ideal! I had heard from a friend that in Sedona was a Buddhist temple called Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. If I had someone to enjoy it with me, I may have stayed longer.
The distance from Sedona to Flagstaff I believe is about 29 miles, and it’s a windy road. Frankly, it compares to an average country road in England or anywhere in Europe; but to the USA, it’s a “ride” you have to go on (the over-hype killed it for me). It basically was bumper-to-bumper with slow-moving vacationing people in their RVs tackling bends like they were doing ultra stunts in the Fast and the Furious… although the harsh reality was 15 miles an hour teeth grinding speeds.
I got to Flagstaff and found myself a hostel, I was delighted to meet people and converse again. Seemed like people were coming in and going out all the time but everyone seemed friendly. I got talking to the staff who were talking about climbing and they told me there was a rock gym nearby. I went to the rock gym and then ended up becoming friends with the shop clerk after buying some climbing shoes and some chalk. He he told me about local areas to go climbing at Turkey Tanks and ended up telling me about MountainProject.com and the rest was history… the following day I went to where he had said and spent whatever time I had at the hostel near a computer checking out the website: I had my next couple of months in the US figured out!
It was great to find a remote free open air, un-populated climbing area. I obviously didn’t want any injuries or to push myself too much; given I was alone in the middle of nowhere so I kept the heights relatively low and stayed traversing. Remember, it was hot and the rock was dark, I had to calculate my arrival time and how long I could spend before losing my fingers to the heat.
The time I spent there I got talking to various people about what routes to hike in the Grand Canyon, which is where I was heading to next!