Places I’ve Been – Sedona Part III

I made a mistake. I should have finished writing about my Sedona trip before my cousin left. I feel kind of “blah” now that she’s gone, and I forgot how quickly memories fade as you get older! A dear friend of mine, Cathi, would be telling me to be thankful for the time we had together, the trip we made and the wonderful things we got to see and share together. Cathi is a very special person who inspires me every day so I’m going to channel her as I write this.

Oak Creek When we left Fay Canyon, it was about 1:30 in the afternoon. We planned on driving up to Airport Mesa to take pictures of the sunset, and since we had time to kill we decided to stop by our favorite spot. Red Rock State Park, Crescent Moon Ranch, Red Rock Crossing – they are all basically in the same geographical area. We spent an entire day there last time we visited Sedona. The trail is an easy, magical stroll along the shores of Oak Creek. The longer I’ve lived in the desert, the more fascinated I’ve become with water. I love everything about it: the fresh smell, the sound as it trickles over rocks, the way the sunlight glistens off it. Whether it’s the gentle motion of a stream or the powerful rush of ocean waves, I immediately become its hostage.

Red Rock High School We made the drive a little further west and took the Upper Red Rock Loop past Sedona High School. I can’t imagine going to school in such a beautiful place! I think I’d have a hard time concentrating and be caught gazing out the windows all the time. The short drive to the park along the winding road provides some breathtaking views of the surrounding rocks, but there aren’t many places to pull over for photos. When you get to the park, the entrance fee is $8.00 but well worth it. There are picnic tables and restrooms – luxuries many hiking areas don’t have. I’m not sure of the direction there, but as you face the creek you can go left on a trail that runs close to the water and towards Cathedral Rock or follow the trail on the right along the creek to one of the most photographed places in Arizona, Red Rock Crossing. The last time we visited here, we went a little ways in both directions. I’m beginning to think we’re a couple of quitters as I recount how many times we don’t finish a trail when we start it. In reality, there is just so much to do and see that we try to fit as much in as we can. Someday we are going to have to either just concentrate on one thing or spend more than a day in the area. And maybe shop.

Cathedral Rock We were directed to the end of the parking lot at the picnic area. I think it was the last open spot. As soon as you step out of your vehicle you are facing one of the most beautiful photo opportunities you’ll ever see as Cathedral Rock looms in the distance framed by giant oak trees. There used to be an apple orchard here in the early 1900’s, and the water wheel that was used to bring the irrigated water to the apples has been restored. We debated which way to go because we knew we wouldn’t be able to spend more than a couple of hours there. We hadn’t eaten all day so we wanted to grab some lunch before we went to Airport Mesa. We decided to hike toward Cathedral Rock and explore more of the trail than we did last time.

One of my favorite spots!
We played along the creek like we did last time. You can wander along the other side if you want to try and tightrope walk across some of the logs that span the creek, but we weren’t feeling that adventurous today. Last time we did that, and it was about 7 months after my cousin’s back surgery. We considered it a small triumph then. We hung out along the flat rocks where we had seen someone performing a healing ritual last time. This is where we stopped before and turned around to hike the other way to Red Rock Crossing. There’s another favorite spot of mine here where you can sit on the rocks and look downstream at a few mild rapids rushing towards you, all against the backdrop of Cathedral Rock.

Cathedral Rock, like Bell Rock, is one of the four main energy vortexes in Sedona. It is said that the energy vortex here strengthens the feminine side. The Feminine Side can be viewed as being on a scale that has goodness at the high end, and the opposite, which is badness or evil, at the low end. In contrast to the masculine side, which strengthens the ability to stand up for your own rights, the feminine side strengthens the ability to allow others their rights and not interfere with those rights. The energy at this vortex strengthens the things you normally think of as feminine, such as kindness, compassion, patience, and the ability to let others need you and depend on you. And it strengthens the ability to anticipate the impact of your actions before you act, which is what considerateness is all about.* Bell Rock, where we visited earlier in the day, is said to strengthen all three sides: the Masculine, Feminine and Balance. 
Stacked stones at Buddha Beach

Cousin makes our stack of stones
Shortly we came upon Buddha Beach. Here the trail changes to a sandy beach along the creek and there are hundreds – maybe even thousands - of stones stacked in a zen-like fashion. It is said the energy from the vortex is so strong that it keeps the stacks from falling over. Kathy made a little stack for us along the creek, across from the mass of cairns on the other side of the trail.
We asked some returning hikers if the trail crossed the creek anywhere here. They told us we had pretty much reached the end so we turned around to head back to the car. We’d walked a lot today. Our feet were hurting, and we were hungry…


1 Response
  1. Cathi Says:

    Hey you don't ever need to channel me, you are the best and an awesome writer, if I might add...:)

    I am green with envy about your adventures with cousin - especially this one...what a beautiful area, I would love to go there someday!

    I love you! XXOO

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