I slept about 7 hours, getting up around 5:30am which felt like sleeping in given my most recent pattern, so was thrilled about that. Breakfast at the hotel started at 6am so I didn’t have to wait very long before going over. Good thing, too, because the coffee cartridges provided for the coffee maker didn’t fit! (I had them bring me the correct machine.)

Breakfast was completely unremarkable, but free so thereyago. I didn’t take photos since at that moment I was still contemplating not staying. Once I realized I could do the blog from my phone, I gave up on the idea of looking for something else because – ugh – everything about that just felt so tiresome and un-vacation-like. And, by the time I got home from my hike, their internet was working. (See, I tried to tell them it wasn’t my devices. Don’t get me started…)

While at breakfast I looked through the 10 Hikes book I bought the day before and made a plan for my day. I went back to my room, got the blog up in record time, and was out the door about 8:45am.

Me from the shoulders up with Courthouse Butte behind me
Courthouse Butte

That’s me playing with the selfie stick, Courthouse Butte in the background. This is midway-2/3 of the way through my hike. But I liked the way this photo turned out and Facebook has been putting the “first” photo of the blog in its thumbnail instead of the one I pick as “featured.” So I’ll just put the featured first!

Sign says Bell Rock Pathway, includes all the trails you can reach from here
This was the first hike in the book I bought, so figured it was as good a place to start as any.

The entrance to this patch of hikes is about 6 miles from where I’m staying. As I said in my first entry, this is not a walking place.

Full body shot of me, Bell Rock in the distance
A group of about six were standing on this spot as I was making my way, and they had their camera propped up on a rock on the ground, taking a timed shot so they could all be in it. I thought, why not?

My first timed photo! Not too bad. Notice the jacket and scarf. It was about 40 degrees when I got started. Those didn’t stay on too much longer.

Bell Rock on the left, Courthouse Butte on the right, hiking trail up the middle
A preview of the destinations pretty early on in the trail: Bell Rock on the left, Courthouse Butte on the right.
photo of a steep-ish trail, in rich red dirt, with Bell Rock at the top right partially hidden by trees, and the sun behind thin clouds top left
I love how rich the dirt looks, and the sun being muted by a light overcast.
Bell Rock
Rock plateau in the foreground, vista of big rocks in the background
This was taken from the base of Bell Rock looking back.
Full body shot of me with mountains in the background
More experimenting with the timed photo shoot. I think I like this!

This was essentially the same spot as the photo above it. The rocks featured on the far right in the one above it are now on the left.

Courthouse Butte in the background, sign in front says Munds Mountain Wilderness, Coconino National Forest

There were many hikes to do off of this trail, as you might have seen in the sign. I just did two: the Bell Rock Path, and the Courthouse Loop – which literally goes all around this big rock.

Because of the distance, two very small people standing atop a huge rock
I don’t know how they got up there and had no desire to find out.
the cairn in the foreground, hiking trail with some greenery behind it, mountains in the background
The rocks in the mesh wire is called a cairn.

Cairns mark the official trail so you can find your way. They were actually very helpful.

Courthouse Butte
Courthouse Butte

It was a good hike, pretty easy, beautiful scenery, not too many people, especially on the Loop. It took about 2.5 hours. When I checked my walking stats right after my phone said about 5 miles and 21 floors. I took a bunch more photos than this but after awhile they either all start to look alike, or I realize they in no way do the terrain justice, so just included a few.

I left about 11:45am. The lot was completely full and cars were waiting for others to pull out. I was very glad I’d gotten an early start.

Entrance to the restaurant from the parking lot

I was chatting with this family towards the end of the Loop – more the mother was chatting with me – and she made an unsolicited recommendation for lunch which I decided to follow. Mariposa’s is a “Latin-inspired” restaurant that sits on a hill in Sedona. I got there just about Noon.

photo looks through glass doors and window onto the patio. There's a Christmas Tree there, with the mountains in the background

This is the view from my table.

The waiter recommended yuca fries as a starter. Sure, why not? They were wonderful – lightly breaded French fries with s spicy mayo.

A really nice potato salad, with a burger. You know I can’t resist getting a burger in these higher-end joints, and they had several. This was called The Butterfly. It had manchego cheese, pepper bacon, guacamole, and that spicy mayo again. One of the tastiest and messiest burgers I’ve ever had.

The restaurant was on the most eastern edge of West Sedona, the area of tow that runs along SR89. My hotel is also on that road, about 3 miles west, so I made my way back. I first stopped at Namti to book another massage for that evening, then went to my room for a pit stop. I thought I’d pop in across the street and see about getting a psychic reading. I’m in a “why not” mood on this trip – just go with what’s around me.

Front of Crystal Magic

Crystal Magic is actually 2 stores next door to each other. The one yesterday is the retail. This one has some retail but is mostly where the energy work is done. The psychic I talked with the day before wasn’t there and it doesn’t look like our schedules will sync up for my trip. Michelle, who I had talked to Saturday and gave me the overview of the operation, was there and she was doing readings. However, she recommended I do something different: Giselle was doing chakra balancing on a table rigged up with crystals and sound. That’s Giselle in the center of the photo behind the counter (I took this photo on my way out.)

what looks like a massage table, but in a wooden frame with high posts like a tee pee on each end. There's a bar resting in the cross sections at the top, and lights hanging down from the bar. There's a new age tapesty on the wall in blues, greens, white and yellow

This was the room where Giselle worked. She assumed correctly that I knew something about chakras (which I do, courtesy of Caroline Myss). She used a crystal pendulum to do a reading and determined that my heart (4th) and third eye (6th) were blocked. This was sort of a pre-test, and is only snapshot of the moment, no indication of a permanent state.

I did a 30 minute session on the table. She played music which was coming up from underneath the table so you were surrounded by it. (Don’t ask me what it was but I liked it.) The crystals above me were flashing, each at their own pace. The time went by very fast. She said I was out, heard some snoring, and yet I felt I was fully conscious the whole time. Or at least it seemed to me. It wasn’t quite a dream state and I don’t remember what was going on in my head at the time, but it was pleasant. The only way I can describe it is out-of-body. I did feel relaxed, alert, and energized in a way that felt different. She did a reading again and determined that all of my chakras were clear. She said she will check in with me in a day or two and see how I’m doing. She said people react in different ways and she just likes to check, but not to be surprised if I get super sensitive to everything going on around me. Lovely :) We’ll see how that goes. 15 hours later as I write this I have no specific outcome to share. But it was an interesting experience and I would do it again.

She reminded me of Uptown, the neighborhood next to West Sedona which is really the center. I knew I wanted to check it out at some point but had no plan for it, and no specific plans for what to do next, so decided that was it. On my way I changed my mind and decided to try to get into a couple of other sites; I should have remembered my parking lesson from the morning. Both were ridiculously crowded with no parking so I made my way over to Uptown.

Uptown shops with mountains in the background

If you’re the kind of tourist that likes to shop, this is your stop. That’s not me, so a little goes a long way. It’s a cute area and there were fun shops and lots of places to eat – including a home made fudge shop that was packed. One thing I did notice is I was super irritated at the crowds and the lack of parking I was experiencing everywhere. It’s hard to tell if that was normal or heightened from my earlier experience! But it was an interesting exercise to manage that and just go with it.

But as you’ll see from the photos, it’s definitely picturesque. Quaint buildings amidst stunning surroundings. I’m glad I took a peak but have no need to return.

sculpture on the sidewalk of a man and woman dancing

A lovely sidewalk statue of a couple dancing – literally: it’s spinning.

Uptown street with shops on both sides, big rocks in the background

A bridge over a canyon just as you enter this area. There are plaques along the bridge the provide some Sedona history, nothing that was too interesting.

mountain rock vista from the bridge

But I took this from the bridge and like this photo a lot for some reason.

Very pink javelina statue

Javelinas are apparently a thing here, natural to this area, and there were several statues of them on the sidewalk. These are outside the Pink Jeep Tour company, which seems to be very popular here.

Uptown street lined with shops, mountains in the back

While not necessarily about this photo, the traffic this weekend has been pretty annoying. I imagine there are lots of day-trippers from Phoenix. Plus the massage therapist I had that evening said it’s also families of locals visiting for the holidays.

I had a 5pm massage, picked a different guy from the night before who was just as good. When asked about food recommendations, both of them had suggested a small Mexican place up SR89 about a mile.

outside of the restaurant, small, simple, with a lighted snowman and reindeer in front and christmas lights on the building
Tortas de Fuego

Tortas de Fuego was pretty small and didn’t have much parking. I ended up parking next door in the lot of a business that was closed for the evening.

inside of the restaurant showing ever table full

There are also some booths along the left of this photo, and that’s it. I was afraid I’d have to get it to-go, but a table opened up just in time.

photo of Mexican dinner
Cheese enchilada, ting flauta, beef taco

A cheese enchilada, tinga flauta, beef crispy taco. Tinga I hadn’t seen before – chipotle chicken. It was pretty good and hit the spot. (Still nothing quite like Tex-Mex though…)

This was amazing. Possibly better than the vanilla crème brulee I had last night. Possibly.

Dessert hadn’t occurred to me in a place like this but I was glad I did it. Warm churros with hot caramel inside, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Every bite was amazing.

Since I decided not to move, I’ve added below the photos that I took of the room the day I got here. It looks nicer than it is. None of the furniture is all that comfortable, including the bed. But it’s clean, relatively quiet (except you can hear every footstep of the people upstairs), in a great location and, like I said, the price was right. Now that there’s coffee and internet I got nothing left to complain about.

corner shot of living room, with small kitchen area to the left, door to bedroom open in the background
bed with nightstands and lamps in headboard, closet on the right
One of the small annoyances here is no real drawers!
Corner shot from the bedroom, looking into bathroom on the right and back into living area on the left
Overall it’s a nice size though and that works.

Today is Grand Canyon day! See you on the other side of that…

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