tldr; vaccine and vortex.
We spent our first night after leaving Escalante at Lone Rock Campground on Lake Powell, a popular spot for vanlifers, RVers, and other travelers. We enjoyed some leftover pizza and watched the sun set over the lake.
We were looking forward to turning in early and spending a restful Monday working from the beach the next day. However, our bumpy drives the week before finally started to take their toll and we realized we were having some electrical issues with our house batteries. We quickly headed to Auto Zone in nearby Page, Arizona to grab a few things just before they closed for the night. Luckily, we were able to get what we needed, connected the batteries back together, and got our system back up and running without too much stress.
The next day we enjoyed our first taste of summer, working from the hot beach off of Lake Powell. I even took a mid-day dip in the freezing cold water to cool off. After our day at the beach, we headed to Flagstaff to spend the week working and exploring Northern Arizona. The cooler weather, pine tree forests, and grassy parks of Flagstaff were a nice shift from the arid desert of much of Utah.
We worked from a few parks in town and climbed at some local bouldering spots after work. We explored Buffalo Park, a huge park with a flat two-mile running loop where pros and regular folk alike come to walk or run after work. We also visited Wheeler Park, a smaller city park with bright green grass right next to downtown Flagstaff. I went on a run one afternoon at another park, Thorpe Park, while Choi kicked around the soccer ball. We also checked out an amazing climbing area called Priest Draw. We had a blast playing around on the big overhanging roof problems.
We showered at Planet Fitness, used Walmart’s bathrooms, and took advantage of the quiet, free parking at a Cracker Barrel (along with a dozen or more other RVs, vans, and campers). It was a relatively quiet and restful week in Flagstaff suburbia.
Besides climbing and exploring in the afternoons, we were also excited to get a Covid vaccine during our week in Flagstaff. They had a large supply of vaccines so we signed up for a slot and were vaccinated the next day. It was a really well-organized, smooth process, and we had a great view of a forest as we got our jabs.
A few people had warned us that we might experience some minor fatigue or cold symptoms from the vaccine. Choi luckily didn’t experience anything. I, on the other hand, got hit pretty hard. As we drove up from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon the evening after getting our shots, I shivered under my layers of clothes and was incredibly fatigued from a half mile walk to the Grand Canyon edge. We snapped a couple of dark selfies and Choi drove us just south of the park to some BLM land for the night.
The next morning I felt a bit more energetic, so we headed back up to the Grand Canyon. We watched the sun rise up over the canyon and walked along the rim. We also got to see lots of elk wandering near the path and the roads. We enjoyed our restful morning at the Grand Canyon and headed back to Flagstaff for the afternoon. We sat outside on a restaurant patio, ate some delicious paninis, and streamed a soccer game Choi was excited about. After lunch, I felt back to my usual self so we headed back to Priest Draw to get in one last climbing session in Flagstaff.
After one more evening in the Cracker Barrel lot, we said goodbye to Flagstaff and embarked on what turned out to be a mega day. We first drove from Flagstaff to Sedona, a spot that Brant and Candice had highly recommended to us. On our drive, we stopped off at Harding Spring, a spring-fed water mill in a forest where we filled our water tank. We also stopped at West Fork trailhead for a beautiful, mostly flat, 6 mile hike along a creek. We got to do some water crossings and saw lots of beautiful trees and budding flowers.
After our hike, we drove into downtown Sedona, a cute, touristy town with an amazing backdrop of reddish-pink rock formations rising up on all sides. The town was full of all kinds of people; desert hippies looking for vortexes, instagram influencers looking for the perfect picture, and outdoorsy adventurers looking for fun hikes.
We joined the throngs of tourists and drove out to Chapel on the Hill, a cozy chapel with an amazing view. After Chapel on the Hill, we hit another popular viewpoint, Bell Rock. Bell Rock is a formation known as a powerful vortex. We didn’t know anything about vortexes prior to our visit but Sedona is apparently full of them. Maybe it was the wonderful views, maybe the endorphins from our hikes, or maybe it really was the vortexes, but we definitely left our trip to Sedona feeling energized and refreshed.
We felt so energized in fact, that we hit the road after our already big day of 8+ miles of hiking and headed first to Phoenix for a hot shower, and then all the way to Joshua Tree, where we would spend the next week climbing hard and fueling ourselves almost exclusively on curry pizza.
Flagstaff, we love your pine trees, your many parks, and your proximity to incredible places like the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Along We Go!