We’ve spent May in Arizona, just outside Sedona in a town called Cottonwood. There are schools of thought about the mystical powers in the mountains around Sedona. I don’t usually buy into that woo-woo stuff, but I’ll tell you what, something is going on with us! Dave and I have a beautiful relationship but we seem to really ‘like each other’ more these days. Don’t quite know what to attribute to that, so we’ll blame it on the vortex! Our next stop is Vegas, and what goes on there, stays there! Maybe I’ll not be able to tell you about our adventures in sin-city!
We have had a amazing time here. If you have never visited this area, put it on your bucket list. Our first experience was to watch a flock of 1,800 sheep ford the river below the RV resort. There were five donkeys, four dogs and five ranch hands to move these sheep to Williams, AZ, a ten day trip by foot. We met the ranch-owners who were gracious in answering all our questions and allowing us to observe this old tradition. Only three ranchers still move their herd to higher ground for the summer. Sheep really do follow a bell. First the donkeys forded the river but the sheep weren’t buying it. One was lassoed, and finally the entire herd followed that bell and began to cross the foot-deep water.
I was touched by one sheep who’d fallen, and the ranch hand who stood beside him so he wouldn’t get trampled. I was worred that they’d have to put him down, but every so often, the shepherd would lovingly reach down and rub the sheep’s head. When there were only about 20 or so left to ford, the worker put his hands underneath the sheep, helped him to stand and off he went to join the others and cross the river. It was one of the most touching things I have ever witnessed, reminded me of the parable of the Good Shepherd from the bible. What a great way to start our time here in Arizona!
We wanted to do a jeep tour of the canyons as well as a helicopter ride. We sat through a long, drawn out time-share presentation to get a great discount on the jeep ride, and I bit the bullet on the cost of the helicopter.
The jeep tour took place at sunset, which was great. We smartly donned heavy, snuggly sweatshirts and as the sun sunk over the Western mountains, the other riders were lusting over our warm garb! The two hour trip was rugged to say the least, as we bounced over a very rocky path to view great mountain peaks and lovely canyons. We laughed a lot together and met some nice people too.
I have always wanted to fly in a helicopter. It’s not cheap, but I’ve been blessed with some good business lately, and enjoyed paying for us both to take the 30 minute flight. The helicopter didn’t have any doors, which didn’t bother me when we set out, but shortly after going airborne, I questioned my logic here. The helicopter banked to the left as we took off and I became acutely aware of nothing between me and the ground, several hundred feet down, but that little seat belt, and nothing to hold onto!
After a few moments of panic, I relaxed and thought if this was the day I’d meet my maker, what a better way to go than doing something I always dreamed about! Then I must have snapped over 100 pictures of some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never been to the Sedona area, put it on your bucket list; it’s not too be missed.
Another day, we took the back roads to the Grand Canyon. We’ve been there before, but wanted to enjoy the journey, as well as the destination. The ride from Sedona to Flagstaff was take-your-breath-away gorgeous, as we traveled through the mountains, snaking our way upwards on the winding two-lane highway. There is a mountain near Flagstaff that still had some pockets of snow – but not nearly as much as when we passed it two weeks ago on our way here.
The Grand Canyon was packed with the start of Memorial Day weekend. It was fun to hear foreign languages from all over the world, see young families and old retirees like us, taking in the majestic view. I offered to be the photographer several times and a few folks even reciprocated, so we have a few shots of Dave and me together. We’re also having fun, learning to snap shots of ourselves with the cell phone and posting them on Facebook.
We also took a day-trip to Jerome, an old mining town. The ride there was amazing, as we climbed to about 6,000’ elevation. It’s a tourist trap, but Dave and I love that kind of place. We meandered through the myriad of shops, galleries and had lunch at a restaurant which featured “Haunted Hamburgers.” I opted to follow my vegetarian food plan but Dave feasted on his ghostly sandwich, loaded with God only knows what. I hope it didn’t come back to haunt him later with indigestion!
One of the things we love as we meander across the country, is attending Catholic Mass at different churches. We have gone to Immaculate Conception Church in Cottonwood for all three Sundays we’ve been here. The first visit touched my heart so much that we wanted to return, rather than look around for other churches.
There is an old priest who can barely walk, uses a cane but was assisted by the younger pastor; who held the older priest’s hand as the processed to the altar. It was one of the most touching things I’ve ever seen. You could feel the affection between these two men for one another, the older accepting his frailty and the need for help and the younger lovingly holding his hand as a parent would for his small child.
Taking pictures of people at the Grand Canyon, witnessing the camaraderie between the two priests, these are the spiritual moment of my life that I don’t want to miss. It’s hard to explain, but I love the soft feeling in my heart when something touches me emotionally. We’ll be here in Sedona until Friday. Today we’re going to visit a chapel in the mountains that we’ve seen from the air and want to visit. There’s a few more small towns that we want to check out, so there may be one more blog from Arizona before heading to Nevada. Happy trails to us!