January 18, 2018

Dreaming of Sedona Sunshine

rocks 1

If you only have one day or a few hours to explore Sedona, Arizona, it won't be enough. But do it anyway: The memories will warm your soul on a cold winter's day.

rocks 2

Red Rock Country is visually stunning and other-worldy. Apparently the rocks are red because of the area's hematite (iron oxide) that stained the sandstone. The rock formations were formed over millions of years, through water flows, erosion, wind, and other forces, and they're always changing.

Comescu House

There's a story behind this sprawling estate surrounded by picturesque rock formations. Some think it's fabulous, while others consider it an eyesore.

chapel
By Matthew P. Del Buono (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Wikimedia Commons contributors, "File:Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ.jpg," Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.phptitle=File:Chapel_of_the_Holy_Cross,_Sedona,_AZ.jpg&oldid=123792338 (accessed January 14, 2018).

When we were in Sedona, we spent a good portion of the day at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. You can see photos of the inside of the church here. It's on the National Register of Historic Places.

I didn't take any photos of the church, but I snapped several of the surrounding landscape, plants, wildlife, and the more modest features of the property.

angel statue

This little angel statue is part of a garden display, along the trail leading up to the chapel. It's very peaceful.

red yucca

One of the featured plants: a Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora).

St. Francis fountain

I love this St. Francis fountain--a calming presence, surrounded by plants and moving water.

fountain

Other fountains and simple structures decorate the area adjacent to the chapel.

potted flowers

Large planters are filled with colorful annuals.

I also noticed other plants in the more naturalized areas of the property:

silverleaf nightshade

Silverleaf Nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) is a North American native--from North Carolina and Florida, through the central Midwest and west to the Pacific states.

opuntias and yuccas

These Opuntias and Yuccas form an attractive border near the parking lot.

opuntias

Large Opuntia cactuses are common in the Sedona area.

vegetation

They grow in cracks and crevices with grasses along the ridges and indentations of the rock formations.

little cactus

It's incredible how opportunistic little cactuses can be--putting down roots in very shallow indentations in the rock.

Gambel's quail

A Gambel's quail poses for candids.

lizards

Lizards scurry to and fro.

cactus border

The path up to the chapel features an impressive stand of cactuses.

cholla cactus

Cholla cactuses (Cylindropuntia spp.) in flower are dramatic.

Many of the local famous Sedona rock formations are visible from the Chapel of the Holy Cross, but the angles are different than the traditional views more commonly photographed.

bell rock
Bell Rock

chimney 1

You can see the strata of rock along many of the ridges.

chimney 2

These look like chimneys to me.

chimney 3

The color of the rock is striking and changeable, depending on the sun's angle at various points in the day.

cathedral rock
Cathedral Rock

Ah, Sedona, I remember you well. Until we meet again...

54 comments:

  1. Great photos, Beth! I visited Sedona something on the order of 2 decades ago but I still remember those vivid red rocks. I regret that it was a day trip and I never got a chance to fully explore the area (and that I've no photos of my own!).

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    1. Thank you, Kris! There are several places in the U.S. that I've absolutely loved but only had a short time to explore. It's frustrating, because there also are so many places I haven't seen yet--including overseas destinations. So many destinations, so little time.

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  2. What an awesome experience! I love your photos!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! It's a great destination. I think you mentioned on FB you haven't been there yet. You'd love it!

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  3. Great photos, Beth! Such a magical place. These images bring me back there!

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I agree: It's a magical, unique place. I have a feeling I would like the climate, too. Memories of warmer places help abate the sting of winter a bit, don't they? ;-)

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  4. Warmed the cockles of my heart with this post - against the magnificent red rock backdrop the fountains gain extra charm. It is not east to 'relate' as readily to cacti as with most plants but you have shown standing alone as a feature or mixed with grasses they become rather desirable - maybe even necessary as our gardens become drier.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual visit to Sedona, Laura. If you ever travel to the U.S., the Southwest would be worth a visit. Well, there are so many places, but the west is so iconic and unique. Yes, to the cacti and the grasses! They are beautiful in their appropriate settings.

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  5. We like going to AZ during winter to bird. Your warm photos has transported me back to some beautiful sights even tho I haven't actually been to Sedona we have been close. I love the rock formations and the lichen and lizards. Fun to see.

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    1. Yes, that would be fun to do a winter birding trip to Arizona! We were there in mid-summer, and actually Sedona was still pretty comfortable. I love the rock formations. They're so dramatic, it's hard to believe they're real. So many awesome things to see--in the U.S. and elsewhere!

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  6. One of the most beautiful places in this country! My daughter and son-in-law took me to Sedona the first time I flew out to visit them, probably 9 or 10 years ago. Your photos brought back so many memories--I remember visiting the chapel and looking down on that mansion. We haven't been back to Arizona since my daughter moved to Texas, but I've been trying to convince my husband we need to go back one winter!

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    1. It is special, isn't it, Rose?! That mansion is strange, but fascinating in that setting. Yes, I agree with you that a trip to Sedona in winter would be nice, although I think their winter weather is a little cooler than that of Phoenix.

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  7. Those photos do make me feel toasty - I'm not kidding! I've never been to a desert environment - your photos are awe inspiring. I have a feeling that I will be overwhelmed by the beauty and vastness once I eventually get out there.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret! Oh yeah--the west and southwest are incredible! It's like where you and I live are "cute" locations, and the west and southwest are awesome on such a grand scale. I suppose people out there take it for granted. You'll love it when you take a vacation to the area!

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  8. What a treat! Just before our trip to Sedona later this month! Thank you, Beth!
    We were married in Sedona, and this is one of our favorite places to travel. There is something special about that area, its atmosphere, its energy. I always feel so good there.

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    1. Oh, that's great! I'm jealous, Tatyana! Married in Sedona, too--nice! I'd like to see it at different times of the year. Summer was fabulous, but I have a feeling it's awesome in every season. Have a great trip!

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  9. Beautiful, Beth! I can almost feel that sunshine! Wishful thinking, no doubt.
    I adore quail. I've never seen one in real life though!

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    1. Thank you, Kylee. I'm feeling the sunshine, through memories, for sure! That little quail was very tame--such a cutie. :)

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  10. Gorgeous plants and rocks! thanks for posting.

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    1. Thanks, Hollis! I'm guessing you've been to Sedona and surroundings many times? And I'm sure you understand the geology of the area much better than I do. ;-)

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  11. How gorgeous!! I've always loved rock formations. I'm always amazed how much life one can find in such dry regions. What a wonderful trip.

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    1. It's awesome. You'd love it, Indie! Yes, it is amazing how much life survives in a dry, desert climate. These specialized plants and animals are fascinating.

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  12. A beautiful place. The landscape reminds me a little of Monument Valley in Utah. Love the Cholla Cactus.

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    1. Yeah, we drove near Monument Valley on our way out of Arizona toward the Four Corners area. We could see some of those formations in the distance. That entire region is so iconic. The Cholla cacti were awesome. I don't remember seeing them before. It's fun to see so many cactuses growing in their natural setting. Of course, we have Opuntias here, too, but not so many, and such large ones!

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  13. The red rock formations are stunning! I've never been to Sedona but they remind me of the rock formations I saw in Utah when I was a kid. The Gambel's quail is stunning too.

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    1. It was really fun to see that entire area. We drove near Monument Valley in Northern Arizona near the Utah border on our way out of the state toward the Four Corners area. I didn't get any photos during the drive, and I regret it. Such a unique part of the country!

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  14. I love those rugged rock formations, thank you so much Beth, for sharing pics of a place I would love to visit but probably won't. That red earth is similar to central Australia.

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    1. You're welcome. :) Yes, the red earth is reminiscent of pics I've seen of Central Australian rock and soil. You never know--maybe you'll find yourself in the Western U.S. sometime. I hope to travel to Australia someday!

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  15. The color of the rocks is amazing and beautiful for me. The vegetation with them is a lot and very nice for that climate. The fountain also impressed me. Regards and thank you for a careful comment with me.

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    1. Hi Giga: The rocks are incredible, and when you see them in person, they really tower, and the scenes stretch on and on into the distance. Very dramatic views in all directions!

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  16. I see beauty . . .
    Have never been . . .
    Need to!
    Just the thought of “millions of years ago” . . .
    Pulled me in . . .
    Thank you for this Beth . . .

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    1. It is gorgeous: If you ever travel out that way, make sure to check out Sedona! You are welcome. I know thinking about this warm place helped me warm up. ;-)

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  17. Very nice photos Beth. I have never been to Sedona but the stones remind me of Bryce Canyon.

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    1. Thanks, Alain. Sedona is wonderful! I visited Bryce Canyon with my parents and family way back. That part of the west is awesome, too!

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  18. It is beautiful, Beth. Other worldly to this Yankee. A good way to remember the warmth of summer!

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    1. Other worldly to Midwesterners, too. Yes, thinking about this warm day helps me cope with January cold. :)

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    1. Tammy: You'll have to check it out one of these days. It's an awe-inspiring place, for sure!

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  20. Gorgeous! Thanks for the informative links. I feel warmer already.

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    1. Thanks, Peter. You are welcome! I know: I needed a coping mechanism to help me get through January! ;-)

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  21. Building is interesting. Hard to marry manmade materials and natural wonders. Did you notice the effect of the Sedona vortex supposedly found at this site?

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    1. I think the mansion is out of place, although it is fascinating. The church was beautiful, but yeah--hard to combine the natural with the man-made. Sedona was beautiful and comfortable, but we were only there a few hours. I've heard about the vortices, but I didn't really notice a different feeling--other than the feeling I always get when visiting a beautiful natural site.

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  22. Definitely warming. But looking at that dramatic landscape, both the house and the church are inteusive to me.

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    1. Yes, I'd have to agree. Imagining the area without any buildings is much more pleasant and fabulous.

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  23. Fabulous, I almost expected to see smoke signals.

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    1. I'm sure they have appeared in the area in the past!

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  24. Perfect images for wintery January, thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Lula. You're welcome! I needed to warm up. ;-)

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  25. Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual trip. ;-) It is a stunningly beautiful setting!

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  26. I am used to gazing at a stained glass St Francis. The birds on the statue are delightful.

    I wonder why they decided to build a modern chapel in that setting?

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    1. It is interesting to see different takes on St. Francis. I enjoyed the birds, too. Regarding the chapel, from my limited research, that was the artist's take on how to create a chapel that would meld with the surrounding rock and be less obtrusive, whether one agrees with that or not. I have mixed feelings about it, although my "art" and architecture credentials are rather limited.

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  27. Spectacular photos you got there, both of landscapes and plants. I wonder if you've been to sights known as Energy Vortex, i just read that they are in Sedona. I also wonder how it feels like near those vortices.

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    1. Thanks. It's an iconic landscape out there, for sure. I've heard about the vortices in the Sedona area. We didn't spend much time there, so no I didn't notice anything other than the natural, dramatic beauty of the area. The city of Sedona is really nice, too.

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