Day 2 – Camp Verde to Sedona

Montezuma castle

Today was a little more laidback than yesterday but it didn’t start out perfectly, or did it?

They have a continental breakfast here at the motel which consists of bad coffee, no hot water for tea, toast, bagels and sugared cereals in little plastic bowls. Hmmm, time for MacDonald’s.

Big Mac’s is about 2 miles up the hill from where we are so off we go. There has been some road work done since we were last here and the turnoffs have changed.

Missing the turnoff we took the next road which was a highway heading back towards Phoenix but… there was a turnoff that said Camp Verde, so we took that but then proceeded to keep going a little too far around the curve and ended back up on the highway toward Phoenix. ????

This is the start of a hill that climbs up to 4000 ft and then next junction is 22 miles. So much for breakfast.

Then… after going about 5 miles Rob spots one of those turnarounds that says, “no entrance” and “do not use” and as he always follows instructions, we did a quick U-turn and headed back to breakfast.

Last night we had picked up maps and flyers for all the places to see around here but forgot them all in the motel, so again we were driving blind. Seems to be a theme with us.

But we knew we wanted to go to Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well and there are some petroglyphs that Rob wanted to see again.

Finding our way to Montezuma Castle it was as enjoyable as the first time we had been and I took a bunch of pictures, but you can probably see more on the website I’ve linked to.

Montezuma castle

There were hundreds of white-crowned sparrows there that apparently have only just arrived for the winter but not a lot of other birds.

While I was checking out the cliff swallows nests (they have migrated for the year) I saw a bird going from nest to nest as if checking them out. I took some distant pictures and when I got home and downloaded them I saw it was a phoebe flycatcher hawking bugs.

cliff swallows nests

Say's Phoebe

There also was a bridled titmouse on one of the sycamore trees. Love the trees. They look like they have camo cloth wrapped around a trunk.


While I took pictures of birds, Rob chatted with everyone in the park including a man who was playing the flute. Lovely music.

We bought one of his tapes and have been playing it in the car.

Finding out that the petroglyphs would only be open on Friday-Monday, we headed for Montezuma Well and did a walk around.

My catch of the day was a little rock wren and way down in the well were American wigeons and one lonely little coot.

rock wren

The well was on a major trading route long before the Spanish arrived and there are cliff dwellings in the walls above the well.

Walking down a set of stairs or a few sets of stairs we went down to the outlet and the water is fresh, clean and clear.

They were doing some repairs on the aqueduct that has been there for many hundreds of years so they had diverted the water to a nearby stream.

It was amazing to see the network of ditches to take the water to irrigate the fields and lands beyond the well.

We saw lizards on the paths and the biggest crickets you’ve ever seen. Huge.


Stopping at their picnic area we went for a lovely walk (just short of a mile) around what use to be a farm that ran down to a stream.

Lots of bird (mainly white-crowned sparrows) and we saw javelina tracks and possible racoons. Not sure about the racoons as they looked bigger than the ones we have at home.

Rob even found a small gourd about the size of a baseball that had dried from a squash looking plant. Very cool.

It was nice getting out for a walk into the wilderness for a while.

Leaving there we went onto to Sedona which has changed a little in the ensuing years. What was once a hippies paradise is now a yuppies goldmine.

bell rock sedona

Everywhere are sidewalks, landscaping and roundabouts.

The stores like “the whole food market” now carries a wine and beer section and has a juice and wine bar, pizza by the slice and sushi. Last time I was here it was more like a health food store than an uptown market.

I guess they are changing with the clientele that they now have.

We did get a smoothie and a piece of pizza for lunch and even though we wanted a map we bypassed the information centres of which there were 3 of.

Why you ask? Because last time we were in one in Sedona they tried to sell us a helicopter ride and a timeshare and we decided we could do without the map.

Heading out through Oak Creek Canyon on the road to Flagstaff we wanted to go see our favourite shop called Garlands.

They have the most wonderful carvings and fetishes there and I got another bear for my collection.

On the way back we stopped at a trailhead to looks over the cliff into the water below. Rob went to the edge of the fence so I could get a picture of him and there were a lady and her husband, nearby.

It turned out she was wanting to take a picture of her husband and walk right in front of Rob so he invited her to come and have her picture taken with him. LOL

Startled the heck out of her and she declined. I don’t think she will forget it for a while though.

Heading back to Camp Verde we stopped at a store to pick up a few things we had forgotten and got back around 6:30.

Quiet night. I’ve been trying to get the internet working and Rob’s been watching TV.

Ate leftovers for dinner and off to bed.

Catch ya tomorrow.


  1. I remember that area well. I love Arizona, There a Verde Valley railroad that takes you out into the desert and back not far from there. It goes all through the canyons, past eagle nests and through pristine wilderness. I have some very happy memories from there. I used to go 4 wheeling out in the desert on my own around Sedona. One time I was 40 miles from anywhere and realized that nobody knew I was there, nobody knew where I had gone and I had this awesome feeling of peace. I love the Camo pattern on the trees there. Let me know what kind of three that is later. Great photos as usual.


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