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Sedona rocks in long light

Speedy and I went up to Sedona last week to visit friends who have moved there from the same Connecticut town where we used to live. As it happened we arrived on the evening of the full moon, and not just any full moon: THE full moon that would enjoy a total eclipse in the middle of that night (I stumbled outside to see it, but didn’t even attempt a photo. It was a luscious rusty blood color).

Sedona is famous as a site of many ‘vortexes’ (in Sedona they use that word for the plural, rather than the expected ‘vortices’).  There are plenty of people who believe that the earth’s energy comes together in a particularly strong way at a vortex and that standing in that energy field is benficial. John and Micki’s Metaphysical Site explains it all better than I can. Being something of a non-believer, I was surprised when we went to Bell Rock (whence the picture above was taken), one of the four primary vortexes of Sedona, to find that my scalp got all prickley. Power of suggestion? Or a different kind of power?? Who knows! Anyway, it was great fun to be there at sunset to admire the views and do some people-watching.

This handsome couple had just tied the knot:

newly weds fixed

 

I can’t think of a lovelier setting for a wedding, can you? Let’s hope that all the good energy will imbue their life together with great happiness. I wonder who they are.

The famous ‘red rocks’ of Sedona become even redder in the long evening light. Here are a few other shots from Bell Rock at sunset:

Bell Rock at sunset-003 Sedona in long light-002sedona rocks in long light-002

What a difference a couple of hours’ drive makes. Apache Junction must be almost a month ahead of Sedona in terms of spring-time blooms. Lupine, for instance, which grows wild on the side of the highway – down here it’s already come and gone. We took a hike through Oak Creek Canyon during our visit – on the way up the trail the lupine was still in bud. By the time we came down a couple of hours later a few hardy plants had opened their flowers.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon lupin

Other plants were just beginning to unfurl their leaves and here and there the little violets were poking up through the leafy carpet.

2hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon violets

I had not heard of Oak Creek Canyon before, and didn’t realize it was one of the most visited sites in Arizona. But just a few hours spent there makes it clear why – it is stunning. At the very start of our walk we came upon the ruins of Mayhew Lodge, sitting in the midst of an ancient apple orchard (and it’s apple blossom time).

apple blossoms on hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon Mayhew LodgeThe lodge burned down in 1980 leaving stone arches, foundations and paving, all of it picturesque. (Almost like being back amidst ruins in Italy. But not quite.)

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon little window

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon Mayhew Lodge-001

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon Jim and EdieThe chicken coop somehow escaped total destruction. What lucky chickens once lived here!

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon Mayhew Lodge chicken coop-001The canyon, carved out by eons of wind and by Oak Creek, is beautiful. Hiking up it one crosses and recrosses the creek numerous times, and always there is a cathedral of rocks around you.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon rock hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon-012

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon agave in rock-001

This rock reminded me so much of an ostrich:

v ostrich rock

 

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon still stream

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon-007

A lot of the fun of a hike like this for me is looking for birds and insects to take pictures of. I’m not very good at it, but it is a challenge I really enjoy. We saw a lot of lovely little butterflies,

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon butterfly-002

 

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon little butterfly-002

and two interesting wasps. The first is a very large and nasty one, the tarantula hawk wasp, a solitary wasp with an extremely nasty and painful sting. The females like to hunt tarantulas – hence the name.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon killer waspAt the other end of the size spectrum is the tiny, wingless red velvet ant. She’s not really an ant, she’s a wasp, and because she doesn’t have wings we know she’s a she. She also has an unpleasant sting, as hot as it looks like it would be.hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon red velvet ant-002

Sweeter by far were the two birds we were actually able to see. The woods were alive with birdsong, but with so many trees and so many other people about it was really hard to get a bead on one. We were delighted to see the petit and colorful painted redstart, evidently not a rare bird in the canyons, but one we certainly don’t see in our Sonoran Desert.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon painted redstart

The other bird we could see and identify is the stellar jay. He has a very dark, almost black head, and a bright blue body – just what a jay should have. This one, though, instead of having the raucous cawing shout that we normally associate with jays, had a melodious and throaty song, almost a warble – a real pleasure to listen to.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon stellar jay-006

 

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon stellar jay-002

Because I had to stop every two minutes to take a hundred photos we really didn’t advance terribly far up the canyon. We did make it to an enormous rock that had come tumbling down from the cliff face above. What a noise that must have made when it landed.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon spanning big rockAll this strolling along taking pictures was hungry work. Chef Jim, pictured above, had a delicious dinner planned for us, but it required a bit of time and work. So having admired the large rock (one of us even brave enough to climb it) we turned around and headed back to the good food and company in Sedona, and to the magic of a full moon night.

hike with Elly, Fritz, Jim Oak Canyon big rock-001

 

full moon-004 nearly full moon-006

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