Ascending Cathedral Rock in Sedona

I awake refreshed at 8am. The dining room table downstairs is my office for an hour, Thunder Mountain is the backdrop.

Breakfast on the patio at Heartline Cafe is lovely. I have the poached eggs on crab cakes with a red pepper bernaise. We pick up a little something for the trail across the street at ChocolaTree, AliSun indulges in a raw bee pollen cacao treat.

We stop at the Chamber, pick up a Vortex Map. Yes, that’s a thing and it is in great demand. AliSun feels the call of Sedona, exhorts us onward to Cathedral Rock.

We begin to climb, I hit a place where vertigo ripples through my body. AliSun continues upward, reaches a ledge, gives me a double thumbs-up, continues on out of sight. Twenty minutes pass. She needs water and her camera, I think, and begin to climb.

Upward, across vast red terraces. Up red trails cut into the rock, the Cathedral looms above, the sun bright but not hot.

In the distance, clouds roll across the desert plains, while homes tuck into the foothills below the epic Sedona landscape.

I ascend and reach the crest. Wind howls through the pass. I can see south for twenty miles or more. AliSun greets me, so pleased I pushed onward, happy too to have water in one hand, her camera in the other. Like Yosemite, Cathedral Rock is imminently photogenic.

We make our way down, stop briefly at Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is far more accessible to the less adventurous visitors.

Dinner is at Elote Cafe. We arrive at 4:10. There is a party of eighteen ahead of us, over eighty people queue behind us by the time the doors open a few minutes before 5pm.

To simply call it Mexican food is to do Elote a disservice. It is outrageously good, from the roasted beet salad with poblanos and toasted pumpkin seeds to the green corn tamales in tomatillo to the vegetable chile relleno. Holy crap, was that meal great.

After dinner, we stop first at Center for the New Age, where every psychic needs merely a first name. Then an art opening at Bearcloud’s Gallery, whose work touched AliSun deeply. She buys a book, has the artist sign it.

Back home, I duck downstairs with my laptop, get a little work done, watch UCLA’s season come to an inglorious conclusion.

Bruins aside, our first full day in Sedona is a wonderful opening to our southwest adventure.

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