Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 7: Sedona. Cathedral Rock, Oak Creek Canyon, Yarn, Bowie Knife & a Space Ship

We started our seventh day with a wonderful breakfast in Oak Creek Canyon at Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market. It was filled with friendly locals instead of's not in the main part of town. Then we purchased our $5 local pass for parking at any of the trailheads at the Visitor's Center and headed to Cathedral Rock. The views were stupendous! It was only marred by the Pink Jeep Tours, which drive tourists up onto the rocks and deliberately say and do things to make them scream and squeal. There were bicyclists too. We helped one lost cyclist find his way to the double black diamond challenging trail above.

After we came down from the hike, we headed to Oak Creek Brewery for a wonderful lunch and craft beer. We had an outside table and it was wonderful!

Then we headed to a yarn store where I bought locally dyed yarn and the yarn dyer's own designed vest pattern for the yarn. Great souvenir.

Had to visit the "energy vortex" at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, where years ago Mitch was ordered by staff to NOT play a Native American style flute outside on the grounds.

Mitch tried to show me the sunset from the Sedona airport, but it was PACKED with sunset watchers and we immediately drove away. We were directed by a woman in a cowboy hat and skirt who was wearing a pistol and a Bowie knife on her back.

Heading out of town, we stopped at Bell Rock (last photo on this post). Supposedly, there is a space ship under the Bell Rock (on the right) and one day, the ship will turn on, split the rock in two, and shoot off into space. It's also a Sedona energy vortex.

It was a wonderful day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 6: Montezuma Well & Castle, Wine Tastings, Sedona

 On day 6, we said goodbye to Flagstaff after seeing the house where Mitch used to live. The bend in the fence where he slid into it with his vehicle one winter is still there after 15 years. We headed down towards Sedona and on the way we saw amazing ruins at Montezuma Well, where there are cliff dwellings around a spring-fed lake that maintains a constant water level. The water is full of endemic leeches and water scorpions. The lake feeds out through cracks in the side of the canyon (crater?) that it's in, and you can still see the trenches that the inhabitants dug on the other side to direct the water. Next we saw Montezuma's Castle, a large cliff dwelling that you can no longer go into. Driving towards Sedona, we stopped in Cottonwood for wine tastings at Alcantara Winery where we sat on an outside patio with cats overlooking a valley and saw their terraced vineyards, and at Arizona Stronghold which was a tasting room in the town of Cottonwood.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 5: Aspens & Remembrance

 On this day, we visited Sunset Crater, a dormant volcano, and saw a cinder field with many flowers and views of the aspens on the mountains in the distance. The air was crisp and clean and smelled of evergreens. We drove down a forest road until our sedan was stopped by a washout. Then we went up Humphrey's Peak towards the Snowbowl ski area and hiked some trails around Aspen Corner. The aspens were glorious! It was quite chilly up there, it's around 9,000 feet. That night I took photos of Mitch at two places where he used to play music gigs when he lived in Flagstaff, the Monte Vista hotel lounge and the Weatherford Hotel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 4: Meteor Crater, Petrified Forest, Turquoise Room

This day was Mitch's birthday! We went to Meteor Crater which was very interesting, and learned the history of the crater, the people who studied it, and how science advanced due to their work. We touched an actual piece of the meteor and saw a test capsule.
At Homolovi State Park, we saw a ruin on a mesa with potsherds on the ground from when the Puebloans lived there.
Then we went to the Petrified Forest, which was wonderful! The petrified wood looks like agate. It formed when the area was a swamp. Trees that fell were moved into piles by water and covered with mud and volcanic ash. The water dissolved the silica in the ash and that seeped into the tree cells and petrified them.  They sunk even deeper in the mud. Later, geologic upheaval pushed the trees to the surface, which is why they are in pieces. It's fascinating. We had a good hike there and drove at dusk through the Painted Desert.
Hot and sweaty, we still braved our way into the Turquoise Room which is a restaurant in La Posada hotel in Wislow with a James Beard award winning chef. There, we had piki bread, a Hopi specialty that the restaurant purchases from one woman. It's made from blue cornmeal and thickened with ashes from burning bean plants. The thin batter is cooked on a stone. It was light like phyllo dough (without the butter) and brittle. It came with tepary bean hummus. Traditionally, piki bread is served with a tepary bean soup. We finished off the meal with a birthday double chocolate soufflĂ©.
In Winslow, it was fun to see the Wigwam Motel and a second hotel with a neon sign that reads: "Sleeping on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. TV, tubs, showers, refrigeration."