Day 11 – Tuesday 26 July 2016

Triple treat - Devil’s Kitchen, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock

The magnificence ahead

I was up at 6.10 with the alarm. Hassan had asked me last night if I would like to go for a walk in the morning to Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole. Indeed I would. I have been thinking over the past few days about phenomenology and its use particularly in other disciplines apart from art and how I might use it whilst here in the US to observe the stuff that I am seeking, which is to discover tensions and disturbances in landscape, and then how I might visualise these? So the thought of a sinkhole immediately was exciting as a sinkhole suggests to me the earth (a landscape) in quite a mode of tension/disturbance.

Mother nature's drawing in sedimentary line Coffee Pot Rock The 'grand piano' rock that fell about 30 years ago into Devil's Kitchen sinkhole The Devil's Kitchen sinkhole

Anyway, I was out the door at 7, Hassan was waiting. We walked a little way from the house and we were in the bush and on Javalina track, heading towards Jordan track leading to the start of Soldiers Pass track where the sinkhole is located. It was a beautiful walk in, the sun was up in the blue sky, the heat of the day wasn’t at its fullness yet, there was hardly anyone around, and the surrounding red rock mountains looked great as usual. After about an hour of walking we were at the sinkhole, and it’s a big one, apparently the biggest in Sedona. It was formed in 1890 and about 30 years ago a further big chunk of rock, known as the grand piano, fell into it making it even wider. It was vast, like a huge big gash in the landscape. We were able to walk around most of it and I took many photos.

A gash in the land that is Devil's Kitchen sinkhole

A short distance further up Soldiers Pass track was a spot where there are 7 little pools of water each a little lower down the rock face than the next. We sat quietly beside them and ate green apples in the shadow of Coffee Pot Rock, after which we turned around and commenced the trek back. Whilst walking I felt like I how I had a few days ago when coming back from Devil’s Bridge, tired, excited, hungry and energised. We were back at home, after a slightly different walk back in, where an excellent baked breakfast with a chilled fruit smoothie was awaiting us. I ate more than normal perhaps the walk had taken a good amount of my energy. We chatted for a little while before I went back into the casita and prepared to do either walks to; Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock or under Midgley Bridge to Oak Creek, or perhaps I could even fit two of them today. I decided on Bell Rock to start with. It was 11.30 and probably close to the hottest part of the day and I had read that the loop track around the rock is only 30 minutes.

The 7 pools, well 3-4 out of 7. The summit of Bell Rock Courthouse Butte from Bell Rock The summit of Bell Rock

It was about a 15-minute drive from the casita to Bell Rock, I purchased my national forest day pass put it on the dash and commenced the hike. It was an easy hike, at the end there was the choice to climb the summit or turn around and go back, so of course I decided to climb, which steadily became more and more difficult as it went on but I did eventually make my way about as far as I could physically climb, without assistance of proper climbing gear, nearly the top. The views were astonishing, Bell Rock is one of the five vortexes in Sedona, but again, like Airport Mesa, I felt no energy surges of any kind. Although the views to Courthouse Butte, the Chapel of the Holy Cross and to the numerous many other surrounding mountains was excellent and made for much excitement. There weren’t too many people climbing Bell Rock today, some would only go a little of the way and only 4 others, and myself, went as far as the top section. I probably counted about 20 people all up on the rock with numerous others trekking and mountain biking past. I stayed up the top for about half an hour. It was very hot by now. I had about a quarter of a litre of water left so I made the trek back down as I did have another bottle in the car that I would soon be needing. The last thing I would want here is to be short of water.

The summit of Bell Rock

The descent was easy, the water was drunk, and soon I was on the road again. I figured I needed more water and perhaps some dinner for this evening so I drove into West Sedona to Whole Foods, which I had heard had a large selection of very good take away meals. Sure enough they did, so I bought some dinner and stocked up on water. I dropped my supplies back into the casita, except the water, waited about an hour until the day had cooled down a little and was out the door again for trek number three for the day.

From the summit of Bell Rock looking out towards Sedona and beyond Looming above, Cathedral Rock Beautiful bolbous rock formations on Cathedral Rock The tall thin phallic spire in the middle section of Cathedral rock

The time was about 3.45 and I was making the 15-minute drive south down 179, turing right into the aptly named Back O’ Beyond Road to the base of Cathedral Rock. From the carpark of the walk, the summit of Cathedral Rock was visible, looming all the way up there above in the sky. The walk, of about mile in length, is categorised as difficult. The first section was easy, but the final half was strenuous, at times having to be on all fours scrambling up the rock face (over the duration of my visit there was even a 3-4 people who were running it, madness.) I really enjoyed the climb particularly as once I was at the top it was truly astonishing. Now I know I have used that word a lot in this blog to describe the landscape here, so I ask you all to downgrade all of my previous usages of it because in this instance it truly was astonishing as well as all sorts of other superlatives. Anyway, like Bell Rock and Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock is a known vortex, however this time yes the energy was certainly there for me. This may sound weird but I was totally energised by my time at the peak of Cathedral. Strangely I felt love, awesomeness and energy with nature. I really felt deeply energised. It was quite liberating and rejuvenating. Perhaps it was the conditions, late afternoon, big day of hiking already, the views, etc., I don’t know but I do know that as soon as I neared the carpark following the descent I felt the energy dissipate. Anyway, it took about 40 minutes to climb it. I spent about an hour at the top, and discovered a number of excellent side paths with beautifully strange wondrous rock formations to explore, one particularly place in the middle where I was surrounded by tall vertical phallic columns of red rock and views stretching as far as the eye can see was really something. I sat against the rock in a natural fit as if my body had formed a part of it and I felt like I could have stayed there forever. Is this a disturbance of landscape that I have been seeking? A disturbance in the mind, of energy and love, it was very strange indeed. I took many photographs, and absorbed as much of it in as possible. The climb down felt much easier than the climb up, I felt like I was floating my way down a little, that I was being guided by a friend.

Lovely late afternoon shadow's from the peak of Cathedral Rock

Soon I was back in the casita, eating down my Whole Foods dinner and thinking through the day that was. The Health app on my phone told me that I had taken over 20,000 steps, 122 flights were climbed with a walking distance of over 14 km. I drank more than 4 litres of water and only peed once. I took over 600 photographs, and 4 time-lapse videos, and I finally felt a vortex. An excellent day was had.

The top sections of Cathedral Rock More phallic spires on Cathedral Rock Crazy rock formations... I just love it. The summit of Cathedral Rock

After dinner I watched the conclusion of Gone Girl, and I must say that I thought it got better in the second half. The ending, in particular, I was quite intrigued by. I know of quite a few people who have seen it and I had received many mixed reviews. And from my paused point of watching last night I was thinking today that it might be a bit of a clichéd ending but no the ending kind of threw me a little, which is always a good thing. I still think what’s-his-face lead actor Affleck was pretty annoying, but he gets what he deserves I guess. 7 out of 10 on the Edgar scale.