When I'm traveling I always try to plan a short hike or extended walk.
I started doing this when I began going to Italy and quickly realized that walking was a way of life for most Italians.
An after dinner urban passeggiata is a European ritual and a weekend walk-about in the countryside with your family or friends an anticipated pleasure.
When traveling, an extended walk or hike is a low impact way to get up close and personal with your surroundings and always seems to make the trip more meaningful.
Although a recent trip to the American Southwest might seem to have little in common with a trip to Italy the red rocks, canyons and undulating hills of the Sonoran desert minus the cactus reminded me of Tuscany’s Crete Senesi. The panoramic views and spectacular rock formations in and around Sedona are as impressive and as breathtaking as the Tuscan desert.
Native Americans consider the Red Rocks of Sedona a sacred site. Although a continent and ocean apart, I felt many of the same feelings standing among the crimson sandstone cliffs that I felt among the spires and mosaics of Italy’s great cathedrals.
After an early morning espresso I decided to take an Italian-inspired hike on the Coffee Pot Trail, to the base of Coffee Pot Rock (yes, it really does look like the spout of a coffee pot).
The trail description for this 2.4 mile round trip hike is marked easy, meaning there is little change in elevation. But remember you are in the red rock country of northern Arizona so be prepared for loose rocks, stepping-stones and hiking across ridges and gullies. Also be prepared for the stunning beauty of a sandstone suite of colors created by the facets of red rocks against the bluest of skies.
Note: Look for cairns (carefully arranged piles of stones) that mark the trail and bring sunscreen, a hat, water and a charged cell phone.
Even though this trail is in site of residential houses, it is part of a wilderness area and you need to be prepared even for a short day hike. Also the trail head is a little difficult to find as it is in a residential area.