We left the Petrified Forest with the intention of going straight to Sedona (I had been aching to finally get back there). To our surprise (and utter glee), our course turned out to be a little more exciting. An hour or so back on I40, and what do we see but a T-Rex dining on the side of the highway!! Not to mention several other species trying to hitchhike West. I wished James had been with me for this one.
Calming down from our near encounter with the Jurassic Period, I see a sign pointing me to Meteor Crater!! I didn't even realize it was in Arizona. It's approaching dusk, so I know we need to make haste to see this one. I follow the exits and head out into the middle of the desert, where we see that it is entirely gated. Apparently it is privately owned and they charge $15 a head to just look at it. Our budget doesn't particularly allow for this, considering gas prices and all, but what are the odds I'll get back to the middle of the desert, Arizona any time soon? I charge it on my credit card, and we're in. There is a definite cosmic energy lurking here still. It was pretty phenomenal and very difficult to grasp the fact that something so small could make this sort of impact. It was vast and beautiful. They had a chunk of the meteor on display as well.
We leave right as the sun is setting, back onto the highway. The view is absolutely gorgeous. We couldn't get a great shot of it (thanks to the semi-truck), but it made me realize what the song means by 'purple mountains majesty.'
We roll into Sedona around 8:30 (Arizona doesn't observe Daylight Savings, so it's pretty much pitch black). The highway from Flagstaff to Sedona is very mountainous and a little dangerous in the dark. Needless to say, I'd seen it before so I knew what the dark was hiding. Anyway, we walked around the streets of Sedona, had ice cream for dinner (yay!), and decided to find some maps of the area. We wanted to hike to the energy vortices the next morning. We found out that the cheapest motel room was not so cheap, so we drove south of Sedona into the desert lands, parked the car off some side road, and spent the next several hours marveling at the clearness of the night sky. There was no light pollution, and I was in heaven (or the heavens, literally). The arm of the Milky Way was incredibly clear, and I got lost in the beauty of the cosmos. It always boggles my mind to know that I am technically looking to the past by thousands or millions of light years. I regretted not having kept up with my knowledge of the stars. It inspired me to want to get back into astronomy again. Anyway, we slept in the car, waking up to the song of a pack of coyotes that sounded like they'd just made a kill. It was beautiful. The morning sunrise was the best surprise. I woke up to this:
It was around 5 a.m., and we decided to get an early start hiking because the desert heat is a little unbearable. We were off to Cathedral Rock. After a few too many wrong turns, and a really great view of some hot air balloons, we finally found the trail head, and up we went. One part was a little strenuous because it was just climbing up a rock face. It was all very peaceful and incredibly breathtaking. You could certainly sense the energy pulsating here. The hike takes you to the saddle between the 1,000 foot spires of the formation. Pretty impressive.
We were exhausted when we got down (the elevation rises 700 feet in a matter of .6 miles), but we wanted to do more, so we headed to the Bell Rock trail head. We made it to the top of that one (easy in comparison), realized how hot it was, and called it quits.
I snagged up some postcards, took a deep breath (I LOVE this area), and we were on the road again (sweat, dirt, and sunburn included). Northward bound, we hopped on highway 89 bound straight into Utah...
To Be Continued...