Fun day in Sedona

I wake up to the alarm clock at 4am, get dressed and drive to the hiking trail, about half an hour from the camping spot. It’s still dark and quiet outside. Also in the town of Sedona everything is quiet. When I get close to the trail’s end, there is a big sign saying that the parking lot is full. I doubt that’s true at 4.30am in the morning and indeed it’s still empty. There are just a few other cars. It’s nice and chilly outside and the first light is appearing at the horizon.
I’m glad that I had set an alarm clock, because it seems that I am here just at the right time. Not taking a risk to miss sunrise at the viewing point, I hike quite fast and even run a few parts of it. It turns out I had time enough, because when I’m at the viewing point, it’s still about 20 minutes until the sun comes above the mountains. The place is called Devil’s bridge and it’s an arch of red rocks that’s often seen on social media, quite a popular place. Fortunately here are only a few people here this early. A friendly couple and a girl from Phoenix. We take turns taking pictures of each other on the bridge and I realize that it’s very rare that we have this place for ourselves. I heard from other people that normally you have to wait in line and that it can be challenging to get a picture of yourself here without other people on it. We have the place for ourselves and walk around and sit on different rocks for pictures.
After about half an hour or so, the couple and girl start to hike back down and I decide to join them. We have fun conversations about traveling and the national parks. I love this part of hiking when you meet other friendly people. We walk together until our paths separate again, because we parked at different trail ends. As I’m walking the last part alone, I feel how it’s getting hotter now. Around 8am I arrive back at the parking lot. Where it was 18° Celsius / 64° Fahrenheit when I left, it’s already 28°C / 82°F now and it’s forecasted to get much hotter today. The parking lot is completely packed now and people are fighting for the free spots of leaving cars while I enjoy my breakfast with a beautiful view of the red rocks. This was a perfect morning, I am very happy that I was there so early when it was still cool and quiet. I plan to stick to my 4am mornings as much as I can. Because it’s the 1st of the month, I need to do some work for my business as I usually do the admin at the start of the month. So, I drive to a Starbucks where it’s nice and cool inside with the AC on. As I talk with the barista, she tells me that the government actually sent out a heat warning for this weekend, so I’ll take it slow today and probably stay inside for the hottest part of the day. While working, I realize how I’m totally not missing it. That’s a bit of a strange experience for me, because normally I love my work. When I shortly text with a friend back home about my day, she says that I probably really needed the break and I think that might be true. Back home I love my focussed and driven lifestyle, but here I also enjoying the freedom of not having to do anything.
After I’ve finished my work and updating of the blog, it’s lunch time and very conveniently there is an Italian restaurant right next door. So far I’m still doing quite well with eating healthy here in America. I get a nice lasagna for lunch and wonder what to do with the rest of the day. I’d like to stay in Sedona for another day and find a nice local coffee place where I sit down for some reading and writing time. It’s a hot day, but in the shade on the terrace of the coffee place it’s nice to be outside. After relaxing there for a while I remember there is another thing I’d really like to do here in Sedona, visit the Sliding Rock State Park. It’s a small river that runs over some very smooth rocks covered with algae, making a natural water slide. Last year when I was in Sedona I also wanted to go here, but it was so busy that you had to wait in line for an hour or so and I ended up not going there. Today I have all the time and so I don’t mind waiting in line in my cool car while it’s hot outside. The waiting isn’t so long today, because it’s already halfway in the afternoon. I park my car, put on my swim shorts and apply a good layer of sun screen. There are many people at the river, but it’s not too crowded. The slide is a lot of fun and I go down it multiple times. There is also a place where you can jump in the water from a high rock, I think about 3 meter / 9 feet above the water, very exciting. I have a lot of fun and stay until the park closes. When I’m back at the car I discover that I totally ripped my swimming shorts at the rocks and I’m glad that I had put on an old pair. I don’t mind it, because I had a lot of fun here. I drive back to town, get an ice cream and head back to the campsite. I fill up my car so I have gas enough to keep the car running in the evening, which is quite essential to have the AC on while it’s still 37 degrees Celsius / 98 degrees Fahrenheit in the evening. Today was a perfect vacation day.

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