On the recommendation of several people we drove to the nearby town of Jerome, AZ. Jerome is a former mining town located up higher on a nearby mountain at just over 5000 feet. While the marketing websites we read rather breathlessly described the town as a “photographers paradise” and “Americas largest ghost town” I didn’t find much to point the camera at. You could see the historic buildings, but they were junked up with modern additions to support the town’s new life as a artistic community with many art galleries, restaurants, rock shops and gift shops. If you are from West Michigan, it felt a lot like Saugatuck, just without the boats and less well-kept.
We explored a bit, but not being much into shopping or eating out we headed a bit down the road to the Audrey Headframe Park where they have placed a glass platform on top of a 1900 foot deep mine shaft. Miranda stepped on and casually gazed down, while Data had a bit of an issue with the depth and scooted across rather quickly. Another cool feature at this park is a generator that provided power to Jerome, much of Yavapai County and a portion of Phoenix from 1916 to 2004. That’s 88 years of service! A man could be born 10 years after the rig went into service, come of age at 18 and take a job maintaining the generator, have a 47 year long career, retire at 65, die at 75 and the generator would still be plugging away for 3 years. Amazing! I wish I could think that I was building things with that sort of lifespan.
We skipped the nearby State Park due to it having an entrance fee, and also because MsBoyink wasn’t handling the altitude well.
After lunch & naps back home, we drove into Sedona. Our first stop was at the downtown visitors center to get maps of the local hikes and National Forest visitors center. While the red rocks are breathtaking, downtown Sedona is unfortunately another over-developed and touristy area with a multitude of operators pitching Jeep, bike, horse, and helicopter tours. The whole area was flooded with people (families on Easter break from school), cars, tour buses, and RV’s. We drove out of town to the National Forest and were amazed at the miles-long backup of traffic heading the other way back into downtown. After a visit to the National Forest Nature center (much less busy) we did a short hike leading off from one of the scenic overlooks/turnouts. At that point the day was getting late so we headed back home.
The natural aspects of this area are beautiful - we can see why it’s a popular area to visit. We’d love to spend more time here but would need to figure out when it’s less busy. I don’t know how we are going to handle summer when the rest of the world is also vacationing - we’ve been spoiled with quiet parks and attractions!