Sunday, April 17, 2016

Red Rocks Everywhere

What a day! We were in the cab by 5 a.m., got on the plane for Phoenix, and drove off in the rental car in Phoenix around 8 a.m. Arizona time. As we drove up I-17 and then through the Verde River Valley, every turn in the road was another incredible vista of red rocks! Since the condo was ready when we arrived, we settled in quickly, and headed down the road to Red Rock State Park.
As amateur rock hounds, we quickly purchased a book on the geology of this area, although I haven't had time to read it much yet. How did the rocks get so red? They are sandstone with hematite (iron) that is actually rusting! Then there are layers of limestone and some volcanic rocks.

We are in Arizona for the Verde Valley Bird Festival later this week, so I'll be making a list of all the birds we see whether with that group or on our own. It was great to start the week with the sweet little Anna's Hummingbird, which I expected to find,...
...and loads of White Crowned Sparrows, which I did not expect to find here. Turkey Vultures escorted us all the way along the Interstate, joined by the Ravens which are more common than Crows here.
Blackfoot Daisy

Scarlet Globemallow
 We brought the Western birds field guide, but don't have a field guide for western wildflowers. My philosophy is to take a photo and look it up later. Found a nice website on the wildflowers of just this area, so I think we'll be in luck.
 Red Rock State Park is just outside the town of Sedona and we'll probably be there several times during our stay. Went on an archeology hike today, and a birding walk another day, along with a moonlight hike one evening.
Oak Creek
 Normally, you expect Arizona to be a desert, but there is lots of water around here. Oak Creek starts in a steep canyon north of town, and flows all year.

Thank heavens there are pull off areas on the roads. Everyone wants to stop for photos as they turn the curves! Fitbit says we walked 14,473 steps today, or 5.84 miles. No wonder my feet hurt tonight...


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