Category Archives: Experiences

Red Rock Sliding Fun

IMG_8973On my friend and my second day in Sedona Arizona we woke up early so that we could spend the morning at Slide Rock State Park. We were super excited to jump from rocks and ride nature made water slides. We hoped to get there early and miss the crowd that we had noticed the day before. It was a 45 minute wait to get into the park when we passed that day.

We got there so early that there was no wait at all. We pulled into the park and paid our $30, more than usual due to the fact that we went on Memorial Day weekend. It was even raining, but we wouldn’t let that stop us from having fun. We decided to take some time to explore the area before heading down to the area where people swim, jump from rocks, and ride the slides.

We took our time walking out to the rock slide area and found some old tourist cabins built in 1933, the Pendley homestead house built in 1927, the Rock Slide Market which was closed that morning, a black apple orchard, a bunch of old farming equipment, and the apple packing shed built in 1932. In 1907, on a fishing trip to the area Frank Pendley decided to try to claim rights to the land. It had been unclaimed due to the difficulty in diverting the water from the creek in the area. By 1910 Pendley was able to established squatter rights to the area as he had figured out a way to build an irrigation ditch. He built a cabin on the land as well and filed for ownership under the Homestead Act. The original cabin was torn down in 1927 and replaced by a new homestead with running water that you see there today.

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The homestead and farm gained electricity in 1948 and a telephone in 1950. In 1984 the farm closed and was sold only a year later to the Arizona Parkland Foundation. The State of Arizona then purchased the farm. In 1987 it was opened to the public as Slide Rock State Park.

It didn’t take long for us to explore all the history and reach the slide area. It was still quite early, rainy, and pretty cold out when we did and we were nowhere near ready to get in the water. We walked a little further past the apple packing shed and found a hike that ran above the creek overlooking the main attraction to the park, the rock slides. It was called Cliff Top Trail.

The trail was a dirt path that was not that long, but gave the most beautiful views of the park. We also found cactus flowers, a small orchard, and several cliff overlooks. As we walked we reached a point where the path started to become steep and very narrow. We decided to turn back due to the rain which had made the rocks super slippery.

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As we headed back the rain started to clear up. We headed down into the rock slide area and explored a bit more.  First to the south to see the underside of the bridge and where cliff divers jump into the cold water below. Then to the north to scout out our own jumps and rides through the park. It was absolutely beautiful. It started to get hot and we couldn’t take it anymore. We headed back to the car to get changed and set to have some ultimate water fun.

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Cliff jumps were first on our list so we lined up behind  some boys and waited our turn. Then, we jumped in. The water was so cold it was a shock to your body which made climbing up the rocks on the opposite side to get out more difficult than it needed to be. By the third jump you fall into a rhythm and know exactly how and where to place your legs to help you get out.

Next on our list was the rock slide. Once again we lined up behind some children and waited our turn. They were having so much fun, sometimes stopping and allowing the others to crash into them. We waited for them to clear out and then rode down the slide. The water pushed you so hard you barely had to do anything to help yourself along. Occasionally a little guidance through a longer stretch, but that was it. It was so much fun. Up and down and sometimes almost turning around. We went twice and then the water started to feel too cold to continue to stay in.

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Rock Slide State Park is a great place to enjoy a nice sunny summer day. The history, the trail, and the water park are all in unity with an amazingly spectacular outdoor outing. Go spend the morning there sliding and jumping down the rocks, then have a picnic at one of their many tables and end then afternoon with more water shenanigans. Children and adults, who are like big kids, will be entertained and will love coming back to this place time and time again. I know I did. And I will be sure to go back soon.

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Spooky Orbs at Jerome Ghost Town

© Caroline Foley

About 45 minutes west of Sedona is the largest Ghost Town in America, Jerome. With a population of only 450 people now and over 15,000 at it’s peak in the 1920’s, it was a copper mining community sitting above the largest copper mine in Arizona and one of the fourth largest cities in the Arizona Territory also known as the wickedest town in the west. Between 1894 and 1899 it suffered four disastrous fires destroying large sections of the town. Much of what you see there today has been rebuilt and restored since then and more buildings are planned for restoration.

While in Sedona, my friend and I realized that there really isn’t much to do at night time. I had noticed a groupon for Haunted Ghost Tours in Jerome and since we were so close we decided to drive over and check it out. We found one of the few places that do it and signed up for a tour at 8:00pm. We made a quick detour to get dinner at a local restaurant, Grapes, and then headed to Ghost Town Tours to meet up with our guide, Scott, received our EMF “Ghost Meters,”and to get started on our tour.

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Our tour consisted of my friend and I and a small family with 3 children ages 6 to 15. They seemed just as excited to get started as we did. We turned our phones to airplane mode, readied our cameras, and headed out to our first stop right outside the store. I can’t remember the story, but I took my first picture and after looking at it later that night realized that it was the first picture with orbs in it. Wow, orbs in the first picture! Amazing!

We walked the short trek to the original town jail that has been sliding down the mountain and used to be located about 4 streets up. This is where we were told the first story I actually remember. A cute love story about a boy and girl from different walks of life. There are often sightings of the boy through the jail window as there was a fire and he didn’t make it out alive. We didn’t see anything or get any readings so we continued through the town.

We stopped at the old copper mining machine which was three times the size of the piece of machinery we saw. Scott told us about the town’s records and how many people died but only a few were buried at the graveyard. “Where did the rest of the bodies go?” he asked us. We can only assume that many were burned in the machine and made into the walls of the town. Surprisingly, there has never been a reading at this machinery on any of the tours and we were no different that night.

We continued on and the next stop was the theater, where the eagle fell off the building and someone on a trip was pushed down the stairs. Next to that is the Hotel Conner that had two fires neither which killed Mr. Conner and where men say that they feel uneasy staying in the room closest to the theater. We still didn’t get any readings so we continued on.

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We headed to the church where Scott lives and on the way he told us about the three hospitals in town. Since medical care back then was not what we have today, when people got hurt in the mines and it was serious without any hope of healing, the person would get 10 days to live and say goodbye to their family. It was the least the town could do to honor them and their time spent working in the mines. Today, it is said that after sundown within the hospital halls screams and moans of pain can be heard. Carts are still pushed down the corridors with doors opening and closing. There is so spiritual activity it is too much for any grown man to handle and stay the night.

We arrived at the church, but didn’t get any readings outside. We went inside and Scott told us about the priest that still walks the halls and how he doesn’t like it when people visit. Still no readings so we headed out to the back where psychics have said that there is a body buried, but no readings. Sometimes they didn’t have or couldn’t afford headstones so they would plant trees instead.

We continued on and Scott seemed kind of stumped. This was the first tour that he had gotten this far and hadn’t gotten a single reading along the way. We stopped again and he talked about the saloon fire. I suggested that we go over and check it out. He agreed and we headed that way. Something had drawn me to it earlier that evening and I was hoping there was something still there. We came to the front, but no readings. One of the kids started beeping and it was just the electrical meter, but as we walked away and held our meters we started beeping. It was crazy. Soon we were beeping everywhere, high, low, left, right, even out near the street away from the building. My hunch had paid off and Scott seemed super surprised. He had never heard of anyone receiving any readings there. Maybe hearing some cries of a woman looking for her child or a baby crying, but never any readings. We had found something new. I took multiple pictures all around the area and into the saloon and found orbs in many of them. The one at the backside of the building had the most. It was insane how much activity was there.

We continued to the edge of the town where the mexicans lived further down the mountain. Jerome was very segregated and the white people didn’t even count the mexican or blacks into their town population so who really knows how many people lived there. We got a few readings at this corner as they are in the process of restoring some of the buildings.

We finished our tour through the “Cribs District” in a back alley where all the buildings were are part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row.” With both brothels and bordellos were in this area and there was lots of fighting. The police officers were often just hired help to make sure things didn’t get out of hand. We didn’t get any readings here, but did hear another story about one of the bordello’s window girls dating both the mayor’s son and chief of police’s son. I won’t give away how that ended, but you can probably guess.

The Ghost Adventure Tour was so much fun. I would recommend everyone checking it out. There’s so much history in this little town and I plan on going back for sure. I know Halloween is far away, but if you plan on checking out this town as an additional Halloween scare this year you would be best to do it soon as haunted hotel rooms are booking up and ghost tours are close to being full already.

© Caroline Foley
© Caroline Foley