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Arizona in Leiu of Canada Part 1: Sedona + Aliens

In 2021 I had planned and mapped out an extensive backpacking trip to the Canadian Rockies for September of 2022. We're talking backcountry trekking to some of the best scenery, wildlife, and solitude to boot! Fast forward to February of 2022 when I completely tore my achilles tendon in the first game of my winter volleyball league. And just like that, I was out of commission for months and months.

Around April, when I was finally healed enough to start PT, I asked my physical therapist if she thought my trip and hike was feasible. She said that while she thought I'd be able to go on day hikes, my muscle stamina and strength in my achilles and calf muscle would most likely not be ready for a 5 day, 60 mile backpacking trip. So I could have gone to Banff and Jasper, drove and done day hikes, that was not the trip I planned or wanted to have.

So I cancelled that trip and ruminated on another- I owed it to myself, didn't I? After months and months of resting on the couch, not being able to hike or even walk my dog for the better part of a year, I deserved some adventure still. Monument Valley had been on my radar for years, and has kept popping up into my life in some way or another of the most recent ones. I have never been to Arizona, either (MV is technically in Utah on Navajo lands), so I figured why not have a completely different solo adventure of my own right here in the ol US of A. I did some research and decided my route: Sedona -> Flagstaff -> Monument Valley -> Horseshoe Bend->The Grand Canyon (South Rim). The trip would be 7 days and I'd only spend 2 nights in one place, Sedona.

As far as travel goes, no irritating hiccups or cancelled flights. I had a brief panic attack when I couldn't find my checked bag (gate-checked, but it had all my camera gear) until I realized I was at the wrong carousel. I received an upgraded rental car (a freaking 2023 Ford Expedition) since they didn't have any more of the modest Jetta I had rented, and I was on the road from Phoenix to Sedona, my first stop. I may a quick detour to Dicks Sporting Goods to find some mace. As a women, you can never be too careful (that and I listen to a ton of true crime- MFM-) and it's worth the $12 to have it on hand. When I couldn't find it, I asked a sale associate who told me it was in the women's running section. Now, if that isn't messed up! Somewhere down the line they had a meeting, and it was decided that a lot of women get attacked while running, so why not put the mace where women buy their running gear? IT'S MISSING THE WHOLE DAMN POINT! But that is a post for another day.

Sedona was a dream in itself. The entire town in nestled into these incredible impressive red rock formations (and I'm so sorry I don't know more about geology). Every way you look in an incredible view, and there are so many hikes of all different lengths and difficulties just a short drive away (or even in town). I was really interested to learn more of the "vortexes" and their spiritual draw. I am absolutely a spiritual person and can get "out there", but this trip was more geared towards photography and having the uninterrupted freedom to go where I wanted and when I wanted without worry about a travel buddy being left behind. Next time, I'd love to spend more time in the healing realm of this special place, and really give in to all the spiritual magic that this place holds. And even if you don't believe in that sort of thing, you can definitely appreciate how special and beautiful this place is.