Sedona – Spiritual Day

Yesterday we rode the wild jeep – on this, our last day in Sedona, we surf the spiritual waves.

We start the morning at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, framed around a huge crucifix built into the red rocks in 1956.  Beautiful views, inside and out, with the cross embedded in floor-to-ceiling wall of windows. The sanctuary is small, peaceful. Ironically, part of the view is filled with a massively ostentatious mansion/estate across Chapel Rd., complete with landscaped waterfall. It might be Satan’s house, plunked there to mock the church-goers. Or is the owner trying to squeeze through the eye of a needle by living near the chapel?

On to the final hike – a steep trail of switchbacks creeping back & forth up the side of Doe Mesa, until we reach the huge flat top to enjoy the views around all sides. But unlike Mt. Caribou in ME where the summit is solid rock above treeline, the top of Doe Mesa is a desert garden – cactus, yucca, trees, grasses, with some open rocky areas. And at the perimeter, a vertigo-inducing drop but beautiful vistas. We attempted to circumnavigate the top, and walked, and walked, and walked. Hmmm… now where was that trailhead back down? No marked trails on the mesa, no visible cairns, the two tiny sign posts we saw on the way up are nowhere in sight. Turns out the mesa is even bigger than we realized, as we spend about an extra hour trying to find the way down. Once we keep walking further past where we thought the trail should be, then we finally spot a cairn even further ahead. Whew! Important safety tip – use the Find My Car app on the smartphone to set the position of a location I want to find easily. We’ve renamed the place D’oh! Mesa! Hiked back down pretty easily and gratefully (prayerfully?).

So off we went to the Amitabha Stupa, a Buddhist shrine up near Thunder Mountain for meditation, peace, and the views. It’s a sacred site, and feels it.

And finally, we get to Crescent Moon Park, which has the trail to the opposite side of Oak Creek which we saw on our Cathedral Rock hike on day 1. Past the old wooden water wheel, and a small irrigation dam, the trail opens to a wide area of flat red rock along the creek – the beginning of the Vortex area. The views alone, the colors, the sound of the rushing creek – it does all pulse with energy. And we start seeing cairns, more and more cairns, as we continue down the trail towards the Creek – they call it “Buddha Beach.” Cairns on every surface – on the ground, the leaves, tree branches, in the water. Eerie, spooky – almost like the final scene in Hitchcock’s The Birds, as we step carefully, quietly, between the cairns crowded together, trying not to disturb them. Then we found a small spot near the water, and built our cairn with rocks we’d been gathering on our different hikes. There’s now a Halpern Family Cairn on Buddha Beach at the Oak Creek Vortex, enjoying the views.

Sunset. Dinner – fantastic – at Elote. Then a quick spin back to the Chapel, to see it lit from inside at night.

“Can you feel the spirit, now….”

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