Thursday, February 14, 2008

Red Rocks

In time for Valentine's Day, a photo album from our romantic-ish joint bday trip to Sedona.

I had to be down in Phoenix for work, so I surprised Brian by flying him down to join me for the weekend and heading up to Sedona. Neither of us had been there before, so we were eager to check it out. Because we were there in January (the absolute nadir of the tourist season), the trails were relatively empty, there were restaurant reservations to be had, and (best of all for us), the lodgings were all offering deep, deep discounts. This allowed me to splurge a little (instead of a huge lot) on a wonderful luxury (and gourmet!) lodge. It was a great weekend full of relaxation and hiking and gorgeous views.

Typical street view. Except for mainstreet it's a surprisingly quiet, small, dumpy looking town, but all you have to do is look above the roofs for a great view.

The most important part of our room at the lodge: our own fireplace and comfy chairs where we relaxed and did a bunch of reading.

Comfy and fru-fru/schmancy bed. Funny story: Saturday night was the AFC divisional championships and we really wanted to watch the Patriots/Jaguars game. The only place we could see the tv was from the bed. Thus we found ourselves watching the good old traditional masculine American pasttime while lying in a four poster bed with gauze/lace drapes and sipping red wine. The utter incongruity of it kept making us giggle.

The jacuzzi tub in our room. We actually never used it because we were too busy enjoying our PRIVATE hot tub out on our deck and staring up at the stars. Yeah, we were roughing it.... (Happy birthday to us!!)

This lodge was also famous for having the only labyrinth in Sedona. From the website:

Almost hidden, the Lodge at Sedona's labyrinth offers its guests and the general public a unique on-site amenity. Constructed completely of local riverbed rocks, the labyrinth is classified as a " seven path classical labyrinth." a type represented in many indigenous cultures throughout the world. The design appears in Pima and Hopi Indian traditions in Arizona. The seven rings symbolize the seven sacred planets, the seven days of the week, the seven chakras of the body and the seven principles of the cosmos. The center of the labyrinth is often regarded as a place of meditation and prayer.

Brian and I had kind of pooh-poohed it, but since it was there, we thought we ought to check it out. Saturday morning we went for a walk before breakfast and entered the labyrinth. Now this is a labyrinth, not a maze. That means there's only one way in and out and it's not about finding the right way, but about following the path. I think we both felt a little uncomfortable/silly when we started walking through it. Were we supposed to be really serious? Should we be meditating? Did we look foolish? But an interesting thing happened as we walked back and forth along the curving and intertwining paths: we both got this strong feeling of calm and peace. When we met up in the middle we weren't quite sure what to say to each other. But we liked the experience enough that we made sure to give ourselves time to walk it again Sunday morning.

Typical pretty views....

The man. The fashion plate. My husband. (And more pretty views)

Dorothy, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.

Bell Rock, one of landmarks in Sedona. Many people climb it looking for the mystic energy vortices, but we were happy to do the loop walk around the bases of Bell Rock and Courthouse Rock (below -- not to be confused with Schoolhouse Rock). In addition to enjoying the weather and scenary we couldn't get over how reminiscent it was of walking around Uluru and Kata Tjuta in the middle of the Australian Outback. From the red clay under our feet to the deep red rock silhouetted against the blue sky, we felt transported back down under (we were just missing Jenny, Drew and the gang). At one point on the far side of Courthouse Rock it was perfectly silent and we just sat there and exulted in the peace of the wilderness.

Courthouse Rock

Enjoying the silence by Courthouse Rock

This beats the rain in Portland
(or snow in Minnesota!)

We had been mostly sticking to flat trails to take care of Brian's recently injured knee. However we had heard great things about the view from Cathedral Rock so we decided to check it out. It was supposed to be a pretty short trail; how bad could it be?? Yeah, well, it was pretty much straight up the rock. There was no trail as such, though there were some cairns to follow and mark the occasional carved steps. A lot of the time though we were just crawling up using our hands. Actually up wasn't so bad, it was down that proved to be more tricky. (Let's just say that butts were prominently involved). But the views were more than worth it.

Views from the top of Cathedral Rock

Enjoying the late afternoon light

One of the more well-known attractions in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross (background info at the link). While obviously churches are not really my thing, I have been to few religious places that have moved me more (even filled with tourists). It seems a much more spiritual than religious place and is all about the wonder and beauty of the world. We both thought it was beautiful (and very photogenic).

Sedona is also famous for its art. While we chose to maximize our time on the trails and so missed out on the gallery-hopping, I couldn't help grab these pics of some fantastic equine sculptures. Maybe Caroline can get something like these for the farm?

All in all it was a great birthday weekend. We only scratched the surface of all the walks, hikes, and activities in the area but we can definitely recommend it (at least in the slow tourist season).



SethG said...

And you're not going to answer the 'Who picked up the cactus?' question?

elpelso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elpelso said...

I was here last spring during our annual NBA pilgrimage, and remember the scenery very well. It's breathtaking how much beauty there is in nature, and all too often we never notice... Pity your birthdays aren't a few weeks later, I'll be in Phoenix again starting this Tuesday, part of this year's NBA trip...

Brian and Becca Davis said...

Oh yes, and the cactus picker-upper? That would, in fact, have been me.


You all probably guessed that though....