“It’s a good day for a hike.” Bryon got behind the wheel and we headed toward Sedona. Since we had to be back in town for business later in the day, it had to be nearby and/or quick. The West Fork Trail was perfect!
Sedona is known for its cluster of vortexes (vortices?), or sites of energy concentration. Those who come to Boynton Canyon may seek the Kachina Woman or the spires. Bryon and I were not so ambitious: we pointed to the red rocks in the distance and decided, “Let’s go that way.”
Even the ranger admitted that the name of the trail is somewhat of a misnomer: “They call it the Island Trail, but it’s shaped like a peninsula.”
It is possible to visit all of the pueblos in a day, but we made two trips so we didn’t feel rushed. This is an even better idea if you want to visit in the summer and have the time. Bryon suggests that, because the days are longer, visit some of them in the morning, spend lunch in Flagstaff, and come back in the afternoon when it’s a little cooler. (Keep in mind that the Visitors’ Center closes at 5:30 p.m.–at least during the winter–so plan accordingly.)
Armed with a national parks pass, we set off to see how far we could go. Arizonans looking for winter sport amusements were heading for Snowbowl or Wing Mountain. Bryon and I wanted only a break from the excitement of getting our older son moved into a larger apartment so his younger brother could join him and start college. After a few days of wrangling with the registrar’s office and the apartment manager, why not blow off some steam at the nearest volcano?
As we predicted, we had the place (almost) to ourselves, encountering two families with children and a Forest Service ranger making her rounds.
“Hey, let’s go to that town where that guy from that band who started a winery …”
If that doesn’t ring a bell with you either, don’t worry: we had to consult the Font of Knowledge (i.e. Google) for something more specific. All we had to do was program the Garmin, and we were ready to go.
We left most of the snow behind in Flagstaff and decided to recharge before hiking around the town.
The Flatiron Cafe had opened that day under new management. Thanks to Jen and Amy, we enjoyed two lovely cups of cappuccino and some fresh carrot and ginger soup.
Happily resuscitated, we headed back out to explore.
We found Nelly Bly, a shop that sells kaleidoscopes and art. Just think–over a hundred years ago, kaleidoscopes were considered cutting-edge home media.
The glowing reviews on Yelp (and other sites) had piqued my interest: “On my list of 1,000 Places to Eat Before You Die, this would be number one”; “Spectacular!”; “Authentic”. Such praises! Such pizza! Such a line!
The boys looked at us, and the decision was made: we opted for dinner, and the promise of culinary nirvana would have to wait for another day.
Six months later we came back for a second chance. This time there was no line in front of the restaurant (but it had been open less than an hour). We took the two seats open at the communal table, and understood part of the reason for that line: the place only seats two dozen at a time–tops.
The service was quick and friendly. The daily special, a white pizza with Brussels sprouts, red onions, and speck, arrived quickly.
Parts of this pizza were scorched so the toppings were not evenly baked. We also ordered a Margherita pizza, the classical Neapolitan combination of pomodoro sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil.
The crust was slightly less scorched. The tomato sauce was simple, unencumbered by herbs or garlic. I thought of the jars of stewed tomatoes we have at home and the loads of basil we gave away this summer. What all those people were lining up for was … home cooking.
We shall never cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.