Following up our Retailer Tour prequel set in Southern Arizona, we've finally begun the proper tour and set off to the North - Prescott and Sedona specifically. It feels great knowing that our next six months will be spent visiting amazing health food stores, natural lifestyle boutiques, and co-ops, all while camping at amazing places in-between.
We sped through Prescott to make sure we could grab a camp spot in Sedona (they fill up quick on weekends, especially the free ones), but not before checking out Cosmetics Without Synthetics, the new physical manifestation of longstanding online natural body product boutique 'allnaturalcosmetics.com'. They've got a small selection of what they carry online, but it's only the best of the best. Tons of hard-to-find products including some great imports from New Zealand and Australia.
Next was One Root Tea & Herbothecary, a super unique place that's half herbal medicine clinic (including Chinese herbalism) and half super-selective health food store and buyers' club. They've got bulk herbs and spices, kombucha, some of the best teas you're likely to find this side of the Pacific, and lots of locally made tinctures and body care products!
Getting to our first camp spot was a bit of a challenge for the Prius. We almost turned around before remembering that we've taken it on crazier roads than this. With a little bit of patience and some decent driving skills, we made it down a steep incline and along a rocky, unpaved road to a secluded set of clearings along Oak Creek (GPS: 34.797164, -111.887006).
The first 8 spots were taken, mostly by what seemed like regulars. We'd read there were only about 10 sites total, so the possibility of us having to hunt for a spot someplace else was becoming very real.
Thankfully, we found the first available clearing right before being confronted with the fattest rock of the drive and a section of road that was more rock than dirt. This would definitely be the end of our drive for the day.
That night we met some unexpectedly strong storms. In Arizona, the craziest storms usually come at the end of summer, not the beginning, but rain was a nice treat coming from Phoenix where it had been over 110 the previous week, and the whole experience was a great way to inaugurate our journey and break in the new tent.
The section of Oak Creek by our campground was fairly narrow, and lined with dense foliage. It feels like a desert oasis, with a noticeable temperature drop and increased humidity immediately surrounding it.
Creeks, rivers, and the like are an absolute blessing for on-the-road clean up – assuming you're using natural, biodegradable products, like Simply by Nature's. Simple things like brushing your teeth and washing your face become a hassle when there's no running water, which is most of the time when you're camping, so finding campgrounds near clean water (it doesn't have to be perfect) make a huge difference for a traveler's hygiene.
Flooding is always a risk when camping near bodies of water, so make sure you pitch tent on high enough ground that, barring an utter deluge, you'll be safe if it rains heavily.
Heading into Sedona is always stunning. Huge red rock cliffs everywhere you look, it's almost painful how beautiful everything is. And it's not just a few select viewpoints, it's seriously everywhere you look. This is what you see while you're at the Sedona Dog Park (which is amazing).
They've got an awesome organic juice bar on the west side of town now, Local Juicery, where you can choose from a wide selection of raw vegan treats, cold-pressed raw juices, and smoothies - and they're all organic! The staff is all super friendly, and it's right next to a yoga studio. Score.
Sedona mainstay Rinzai's Natural Market has been the place to go for decades, and is still the best option for high-quality supplements and body care products, especially from small, independent producers. You'll find stuff here that you will have a hard time finding anywhere else.
Heading north past Sedona proper, Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market is a fun surprise, especially if you stop in not knowing what to expect. It looks like your usual roadside mini-market, but they've got organic sourdough baked fresh daily, tons of other gluten-free or vegan baked goods, kombucha on tap, an extensive selection of craft beers, and a little shelf of local salves and such.
Plus, they're right across the street from the Oak Creek that most people are more familiar with:
On this side of Sedona, Oak Creek is a lot wider, has clearer water, is full of boulders and little rapids, and is popular for tubing. It's also really cold, but it's great because it's still pretty hot even farther north in Arizona. When you're at Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market, this is literally right across the street. Just shimmy down the banks with the aid of some convenient tree roots, and you're there.
Our next destination is another town famous for its big red rocks. It's in Utah, and it's got one of the best co-ops in the country. If you can't figure out where we're talking about, or even if you can, come back soon to read our next post from our Retailer Tour.