PAINTED DESERT VIEW
A short drive from Sedona this weekend offered a spectacular opportunity to take in the wonder of Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. Eleven of us fit comfortably in a Ford Transit Van and headed out early Sunday morning. We followed 89A through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff before turning east along Interstate 40 that closely follows the “Mother Road”, US Route 66. Then, a short hour and a half later we found ourselves at the north entrance to the Park. Our first stop inside the park offered spectacular views of the Painted Desert from Tawa Point. Our party hiked the short 1/2 mile trail to the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark. Scents of desert Sage filled the air. When we arrived, we found the hotel to be a delightful, well preserved structure.
Known in years gone by to house the likes of Gable and other famous actors. From there, we enjoyed the monsoon soaked desert which glowed with amazing rich earthen color. Due to the approaching noon hour, the youngsters enjoyed an ice cream cone from the well stocked, old fashioned soda fountain downstairs and enjoyed the views on the back porch. Further to the ease, we could see the afternoon thunderheads spooling up for an afternoon shower. The helpful National Park Rangers attending us told stories of visits from famous actors and policy makers from 50 years ago.
After a delightful morning consuming the desert air we were off to the south toward the Petrified Forest. We looped around blue mesa spur stopping at a scenic road side pullout. Then, we took a few pictures and jumped back into the car heading for the Agate Bridge. The Agate Bridge in one of the more noteworthy specimens in the park. Due to it’s size and length, it’s quite the crowd pleaser.
Our next stop brought us to the Crystal Forest. We enjoyed a long peaceful hike around the 0.8 mile loop talking and taking in the arid beauty. Finally, we stopped at the south entrance to the park, aptly named the Rainbow Forest Museum before turning back toward Sedona.
LA POSADA INN AND GARDENS
Finally, our return to Sedona paused around dinner time in the lazy town of Winslow. Probably known best for it’s “flat bed Ford” line in the hit song “Take it Easy” by the Eagles, Winslow is also home to La Posada. The railroad stop inspired by Fred Harvey for the BNSF opened in 1930. Designed by Architect Mary Elizabeth Colter, the hotel has been restored to it’s original glory. The restaurant offers a satisfying array of fish and wild game. The host offered us a short tour of the hotel in hopes that we’d return one day soon to stay for a day or two.
Content with food and fun, we turned back to the Interstate, returning to Sedona well after the sun set in the west.