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Up on Top of Cathedral Rock

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cathedral Rock is another vortex site in Sedona, Arizona. People say that the junipers grow in a spiral at vortex sites. They were spiraling like mad here.

I was attuned to the crazy spiralling vortex energy, but probably too excited by the prospect of climbing Cathedral Rock to fully feel it coming up through my feet the way it did at Red Rock Crossing.

These trees amaze me, the way they seem to be able to sprout living needles out of what looks like dry driftwood.

This one was situated so as to be a handhold for a steep bit of trail. 

I marveled at its smoothness, at the human hand grease that had waxed it to a fine patina.

The summit grew ever nearer. Well, "summit" is a negotiable thing. I am not the sort of person who would consider the heads of these hoodoos a "summit." For me, the summit was the first saddle in between them. High enough for Zick, you betcha. Not a crampon/piton gal.

The view got pretty dizzying in a very short time. 

It was a most rewarding climb.

Russell had told me about a mystery plant they'd seen that looked like an evergreen with tiny needles, but with white five-petaled flowers.

My first thought was that it looked like a potentilla, or a rose, with those five petals, that puff of yellow anthers.

Looking more closely, I found a seedhead that clinched its membership in the rose family. These plumy seeds are reminiscent of prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), also, surprisingly, a rose family member. 
I was unsurprised to find the "flowering evergreen" in a quick online search. Cliff Rose, Cowania mexicana.
I'd see it growing all over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon the next day!

Cowania mexicana seedhead

See the similarity? 

Prairie Smoke, Geum triflorum
Near Chase Lake, North Dakota. This photo makes me weep. 

Plant Taxonomy at Harvard taught by Carroll Williams is without a doubt the most useful course I ever took. I recall someone telling me that, while exhorting me to take the course, and I was a believer after about two classes. Plant taxonomy is not only fun to learn, it's surpassingly useful for the rest of your life.

We had been passed on the way up by a very fit older German gentleman in little shorts who said he climbs it most days. Well, that would explain his speed and thighs. He got up to the saddle  well ahead of us (see what I mean by its being high enough for me?) The view went on forever. Wow.

When Russell and I got there (Barbara was nursing a healing knee down below), this man was seated and in deep conversation with a woman with long gray hair whom he'd apparently met on the climb. He was saying something about a race of people from another planet who have been here before and will return in 2060. She said, "Oh, cool. Wow. Huh. I may not be around then."

Ya think? I started to chuckle silently, trying not to snort. I tried to imagine a conversation like that happening in Ohio, and failed.

I also tried to imagine myself climbing out on this ledge like these young people (see the red shirt?) with their selfie stick. Failed at that, too. We Ohioans are neither very imaginative nor tolerant of great heights. Speaking strictly for myself. 

But I sure enjoyed climbing Cathedral Rock with Barbara and Russell. I mean to do it again someday soon.

Thanks to my sweet friend Maria C. for the tips on where to go and what to do in Sedona!


Since you seemed to be at the same level as the young people on the ledge, I would have easily assumed you, too, were on a similar ledge. Beautiful photos as usual!

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