Armed with maps from the Sedona visitor center and the forest service welcome center, we set out to explore red rock country. We were not alone. We joined bus loads of Japanese tourists and cars with license plates from all over the US. Spring break is here. There were lots of spots on the main drag to park and hike, but some were full and we had to move on. Just as well. How many photos of red rocks does a couple need?
Once we headed up a challenging 4-wheel drive dirt road, we left most of the cars behind, but the road was full of pink jeeps giving tours of the same great scenery we were seeing for free, as long as our car made it back in one piece. We averaged between 2 - 9mph as we eased over large boulders, but the road was wide enough for two cars and not nearly as terrifying as some of the drives we took in Utah last winter. We passed many trail heads and were amazed to find hikers at the top of some of the highest buttes. It was hard to imagine how they got up there. The sandstone seems too soft for traditional rock climbing techniques, so there must have been enough boulders to hang on to until they reached the top.
We saw lots of great red rocks, green vegetation and bright blue skies today, but only scratched the surface according to all those maps we've picked up. The car is coated with bright red dust, but there's no reason to head to the car wash until we're done with all the scenic drives here.