Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona, 01/02/10

We started The New Year off by flying down to Arizona to meet Nicole’s dad and brother and go to a football game.  Since we had a little spare time, the three of us—brother excluded, as he was arriving later—drove up to Sedona for a day to sample the Red Rock Country.

The drive up to Sedona from Phoenix went quicker than expected; before long we’d picked up our $5 Red Rock Pass and a map and were parked below Cathedral Rock.  We hadn’t quite made it before sunrise, but the weather was pleasant and the skies were blue.

Cathedral Rock, trail.

Cathedral Rock, from near the trailhead.

The trail itself is short and—aside from the beginnings pictured above—steep.  Let’s call it 1.4 miles round-trip with a gain of about 600′, all on the way up, of course.  It’s actually somewhat scramble-y, requiring the use of hands several times.

Cathedral Rock, with balloon.

Balloon, rock, cairn.

A pair of hot air balloons floated above us, drifting leisurely but audibly between the sheer walls and spires that the trail would take us to.

Towards Sedona.

The view north, toward Sedona.

Views were excellent, coyotes were crying, and the sun shone in our eyes until we found ourselves in the shade of the rock itself.  It was a quick climb, but quite rewarding.  We reached the top, sat within the supposed energy vortex—though the cold I’d been battling did briefly relent—and enjoyed the morning.

End of the trail.

Within the vortex.

Before too long, we were back at the car, where other cars awaited our soon-to-be-vacated parking spot.  We saw only a few people on our way up, quite a few more on our way down, and missed the inevitable hundreds that were to come.  I recommend an early start!

HIkers on Cathedral's ledge.

Hikers on Cathedral's ledge.

After the hike, we drove around a bit and then did a bit of shopping and art-admiring.  Beautiful country, if you can stand the tourists.  I wasn’t a tourist, right?

First hike of the year!

Stats: 1.4 miles, ~600′ of elevation gain.

As always, a few more photos at Flickr.

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