I was awakened by Larry nudging me at 5:30, asking of I really wanted to go see the sunrise. What the Hell, I was awake now. We made some coffee and headed to Mather Point. It was quite chilly, I was glad I'd packed the longjohns and arctic fleece. The sun emerged from the clouds, to the sound track of many clicking cameras. We watched as the sun gradually brightened points to the East, bringing out the canyon's pinks, russets and whites. We'd been joking that every time we go to the Grand Canyon the clouds show up.
We returned to the room and rousted Evan, then headed to Bright Angel for some lousy coffee and a stale pastry. We wanted to go on a Ranger program focusing on fossils, so hung out waiting for it to start. As we were watching the Japanese tourists taking photos with passing strangers, I noticed a woman staring at us. I smiled at her, and she came over and asked in a strong southern accent "Are you from New York?" I said no, from Boston. "Well, I can always tell you East Coasters. You just have that look about y'all." I restrained myself from commenting that I'd thought all southerners had gracious manners and telling Larry to whip out the tallis and yarmulke. Instead I cheerily told her it's great we don't all look alike, isn't it.
Anyway, Ranger Ted showed up for the Fossil Walk. Like all good teachers, he started off with questions, and gradually led us to the fossil beds along the trail as the discussion continued about the geologic history of the canyon. We had a sheet of illustrations of the common fossils found in the area, and one by one, found the various specimens. We really enjoyed this, it's quite cool to notice what you usually walk right over.
We did some of the outer Rim walk, and then headed back to the room to pack up.
The drive to Sedona was uneventful. We entered the top of Oak Creek Canyon, and pulled off to go to the Vista Overlook, where Indian artisans sell their jewelry. Woohoo, first shopping opportunity! Evan rolled his eyes so hard I'm surprised they didn't fall out. I bought a simple bracelet and a beautiful necklace of unpolished turquoise and lapis, at very good prices.
Then the lovely drive through the Canyon, with red rocks looming up through the forest. There are many nice homes alongside the creek, and this looks like a great place for a rental. We stopped at one of the state trailheads, and bought a Red Rock Pass from a machine. You need one of these to park at trailheads in the area, and it's $5 per day.We were getting hungry by now,and I had a recommendation for a Mexican place in South Sedona called El Belote. Which may mean "so off the beaten path no one can find it." Instead we found ourselves in a restaurant called Maria's, where we had a forgettable lunch. Oh, Sedona seems to still be changing around all the bad intersections so they're even more unworkable traffic circles. Trust this Boston driver, traffic circles are a very bad idea. But hey, they seem to be employing a lot of construction workers, so some folks are happy.
We braved the traffic Hell of downtown Sedona again, and found the Day's Inn so we could dump our luggage. We headed out for a short hike, to Fay Canyon. It's really something to be driving along strip malls with stores selling everything from pool supplies to crystals and Aura Photography, with the huge red, pink, and white rocks looming overhead. Fay Canyon was a beautiful hike, about 2 1/2 miles through a narrrow canyon following a dry stream bed. At the end is a huge pile of rocks, and if you climb over this, you face an even bigger pile of rocks you can climb up to ge tup to the canyon hillside. It was a very rough climb, and needless to say, I sent Larry and Evan up ahead of me at the point my Lizard Brain began screaming "too steep! " Beautiful views down.
We still had time before sunset, so we drove up Airport Mesa to the overlook, and then found parking at the trailhead on the Mesa. We circled around half of the Mesa, which is one of the vortex points the Sedona Crazies have come up with to sell crystals and such. As if on cue, a gentleman wearing pajamas climbed up the hill and began some bad drumming, to the amusement of the hikers.
Since we had gained an hour between Utah and Arizona, we drove over to the southern edge of town for some hiking which would not involve my primitive brain urging me to drop to the ground and whimper at the sight of a cliff edge. There's a nice long trail around Bell Rock, with lovely views and a gentler terrain.
I had seen good reviews for Elote Cafe, so we headed over and put our names on the waiting list. Which was for an hour at 7 on a Tuesday night. We looked over guidebooks and talked about Santa Fe plans while we waited. The food was excellent, based on Mexican ingredients and techniques, but with a contemporary twist. We shared an appetizer of elote, roasted corn with chile and cheese that was terrific. Oh, my margarita was pretty darn good as well. I had a lovely chile relleno stuffed with goat cheese, Evan had smoked chicken enchiladas, and Larry a Chile-stewed pork. All very fresh tasting and delicious.