David and I love to travel, so near the end of the first trimester once the initial excitement had subsided we knew one of the main things we wanted to plan was our babymoon – the last travel/getaway for just the two of us. We did a lot of looking and considered some beach locations like Mexico, but we ultimately decided we would be happy with some light hiking. As much as I want to be, we are just NOT good at sitting on the beach. I guess we are too high strung? Anyway, we love the mountains and desert for hiking, and decided the desert would be a bit gentler hiking and be cool enough in the spring. After some research we settled on Sedona, a location we had always been curious about but never had a real reason to go. We booked a vacation rental (a timeshare that was rented out on a site like VRBO) since we really wanted a heated pool to enjoy after hikes and a small kitchenette to cook meals. We also chose a 5-day duration, so that we had 2 days where we traveled half the day and 3 full days to relax. It was just right.
Sedona is two hours from Phoenix, so we opted to fly into Phoenix and drive up. Not an exciting drive, but an easy one. When we got to Phoenix, we stopped in Tempe at Desert Garden Cafe for some delicious vegetarian food. My strategy in new cities tends to be searching yelp for vegetarian restaurants. It’s always proven to be a great way to find delicious and fresh lunches!
David munching on a lentil curry wrap and some type of fruit iced-tea
On the way up to Sedona we also took a short stop around 1.5 hours for Montezuma’s Castle, some Native American ruins. Only a short detour and interesting way to break up the drive. Anyone else dislike long car rides like me? Not a huge road trip fan here.
On to Sedona – we checked into our condo and the front desk kindly gave us a recommendation of a short hike nearby called Chimney Rock. I really enjoyed this in-city hike that was just a mile from where we stayed – and I always think in-city hikes are just cool.
We stopped by the grocery store, but weren’t in the mood to cook that night after a long day of travel, and pizza is always a good post-hike choice, so we ate at Picasso’s Pizza. It was pretty good and had some delish veggie sides (kale salad for me of course!).
Day 2 was a Friday so we wanted to get one of the more popular Sedona hikes done before the weekend. After a hearty breakfast of turkey bacon, eggs, oatmeal and fruit (hey, we’re on vacation!), we drove up to Boynton Canyon which was a box canyon hike but also had a Vortex – a so-called spiritual site with energy.
The trailhead was easy enough to find (note – you need a parking pass for most trailheads in the area). We had planned on the Boynton Canyon trail for 5 miles with a side trek to the Boynton Vista (vortex), but we turned right too early and ended up on Deadman Pass. It wasn’t a bad mistake, however, because Deadman Pass was not at all crowded and had some beautiful views.
After a mile we realized we were on the wrong trail, and turned back then headed to the Vortex. The vortex had a bit of upward climbing but was not bad at all. I can’t say I felt any energy (David enjoyed joking about it the whole time), but there were certainly beautiful views.
Next we headed into Boynton Canyon, but it took about a mile to get past the Enchantment Resort and Spa, which was a bit annoying. When I hike, I prefer to be away. We got a bit farther in and saw another pregnant couple who said it would be two more miles until views. So we opted to eat our sandwiches then turn back. I told David ~3 hours of hiking was good enough for me + baby! Despite it being a fairly easy/moderate hike, I know I get more fatigued and wanted to be fresh for the following days. We returned to the hotel and enjoyed a dip in the pool before cooking dinner (chicken baked with salsa + corn and salad). Our vacation rental (timeshare) was also doing s’mores so we gladly partook in that!
Day 3 was my birthday so I was allowed to choose whatever I wanted to do. I knew it was a bit ambitious, but I found a hike that was a bit more secluded and a 5 mile loop called Soldier’s Pass to Brins Mesa. After another good breakfast of homemade French toast, we set out and were the first in the trailhead parking lot. I loved the feeling of being alone on the trail. It almost felt like we had camped out and were starting off early that day. Almost.
The hike had a bit more elevation than I expected. Whoops. We made it to the top though and the views were outstanding. Definitely worth it! I could tell I was getting tired, but of course it was around the half way point, so we just kept going.
I was getting so many fun pregnancy comments from other hikers – “you’re my hero, hiking pregnant!”, “three hikers”, and more. I took a lot of care to use my poles and take lots of breaks as needed. The main difference, other than feeling like I’m at altitude all the time with my breathing, was my lower back feeling sore more easily.
We made it down to the Jordan Trailhead, but I knew that while I could go on, I probably shouldn’t. There was only 1 mile to go, but it was a pass with more elevation. It was one of those “I could push through this, but need to listen to my body”. So David was my hero and hiked back to the other trailhead – unfortunately the trail wasn’t well marked and he ended up hike/running and additional mile before getting back to the car and driving around! He is a good Dad already taking care of his family :)
Back at the condo it was time for another dip in the pool then a special birthday dinner. I even had my first mocktail. David enjoyed a couple Passion Fruit margaritas, they sounded pretty delicious. And we grabbed a carrot cake cupcake to share on the way home to top it off. Pretty much a perfect birthday celebration.
On our last full day I asked David if we could take it easier on the hikes and just do some sightseeing. We made a list and hit up: Church of the Cross, the Airport Vortex, adn the Buddha site. We were feeling very spiritually educated by the end of the morning! For lunch, we brought our packed sandwiches to Slick Rock State Park just north of Sedona. It was a beautiful apple orchard from long ago and had a natural waterslide that David of course had to try! He SO needs a little boy to play with.
On the last evening we grilled some steaks and relaxed a bit before our travels the next day. My overall impression of Sedona was that it was both upscale and eclectic (so many spiritual/psychic places!), but a bit more built up than we had expected. But we really enjoyed the vacation all the same. Grateful for this one last trip with just the two of us, soon to be three!