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  • Deborah Kade

Sedona, Arizona



Michael and I spent my birthday weekend in Sedona. I don't "handle my birthdays very well" so he already knows he has to get me out of town and doing something.

This year, he decided on Sedona. Sedona is an Arizona desert town near Flagstaff that’s surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas and art galleries. Sedona's main attraction is its array of red sandstone formations. The formations seem to glow in brilliant reds and oranges when they are illuminated by the rising or setting sun.

Sedona was named after Sedona Arabella Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of Theodore Carlton Schnebly, the city's first postmaster, whom was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness. Her mother, Amanda Miller, claimed to have made the name up because "it sounded pretty". Yes, it does sound pretty.

I bought myself my first pair of dangling earrings. They are out of copper and remind me of the rocks in Sedona. At my age, I need to start doing something different and out of character.

Besides having a delicious molasses salt crust prime rib meal and prickly pear cactus margarita at the Cowboy Club Grille and Spirits, I loved taking pictures at Cathedral Rock and the Chapel of the Holy Cross.

Cathedral Rock lies at the edge of a group of isolated red buttes on the south side of Sedona, about five miles from the main line of sandstone cliffs to the north, and together with Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock on the far side of AZ 179, is one of the most photographed formations in the area, due in part to the easy access from the highway. Most other scenic locations need a bit more driving to reach, on side roads, followed by a longer hike.

I took most of my pictures from Red Rock Crossing. Red Rock Crossing is a scenic former ford across Oak Creek. Most of the crossing is included in the Coconino National Forest's Crescent Moon Ranch recreation area.


Chapel of the Holy Cross was another place to take pictures. The visitor's guide had this to say about the chapel.

"More than half a century after its construction, the Chapel of the Holy Cross continues to be a place of wonder, spiritual renewal, and sublime vistas for all who come to Sedona.

This spiritual citadel on a hill is one of the "must see" sights of Sedona. One of Sedona's earliest landmarks is also one of its most endearing — the Chapel of the Holy Cross, where people of all denominations come to offer their prayers, supplications, and praises--and to marvel at the building's distinctive architecture and the panoramic vistas from its site.

Even after half a century, the chapel has a contemporary, almost out-of-time look, a sculptural feel, and a surreal effect as it juts out of two red mounds on a spur of rock that is 200 feet above the ground.

The chapel's most prominent feature is a cross that seems to have been wedged into the rock by some devout pilgrim, who later built a chapel around it. It is an unforgettable sight from all angles. Looking at it directly, it seems the rocks parted to embrace the structure. From the side, it looks like it was dropped into place; from above, it resembles a diving board or runway where one might leap towards spirit.

Inside, the chapel is intimate and unadorned. On the periphery, benches hug the angular walls. In the center, two rows of pews--seven on each side--provide a place to pray or rest. The feeling in the chapel is uplifting. Wherever one sits, the eye is drawn to the cross in the center and to the floor-to-ceiling windows behind it, which provide a magnificent backdrop.

Apart from two tapestries on the wall, the only color in the chapel are the ruby-red flickering candles, a brilliant display of devotion."

It was a fantastic way to spend my birthday!!!


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