The Incredible Red Rock Country of Sedona— and a Chapel… Part 1

Sedona west

The town of Sedona (center photo) is surrounded by striking scenery. I took this picture from near the airport looking west.


It’s time again for the Wednesday Photo Essay. Today and next Wednesday, I will be featuring Sedona, Arizona.


I still remember the first time I followed Oak Creek Canyon down from Flagstaff, Arizona to Sedona. I had been up backpacking down in the Grand Canyon in 1986 and the side trip was something of an afterthought. I’d seen photos of the area’s striking red rocks and knew of the town’s New Age reputation. There were supposedly vortexes found there, psychic hot-spots that UFOs liked to visit. How could I resist? On the other hand, how could it possibly match my experience in the Canyon? Would I be disappointed?

The answer is a firm no; the detour was different— but very worthwhile.

I’ve been back several times since. The beauty of the red rocks calls to me and I find the New Age character of its inhabitants both interesting and amusing. I read recently that there are 176 New Age-oriented businesses in Sedona. I doubt that any other community in the world can claim such a concentration. The Age of Aquarius is alive and well!

Sitting on a vortex in Sedona, Arizona

Ommm. Here I am, sitting on a red rock vortex point below the Sedona airport practicing my meditation technique and waiting for a UFO. A heretofore unnoticed aura is wrapped around my head. Grin. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

My last visit was three years ago when Peggy and I visited for a week in November along with our friends Ken and Leslie Lake. The pictures from this and next week’s Wednesday photo essays are from that trip. Today’s will be mainly from the east side of town. Next week I will post photos from the west side including a hike up Boynton Canyon. Enjoy.

Chapel of the Holy Cross

One of Sedona’s most famous sites is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

I decided that the chapel and its surroundings would do well as a black and white photo.

Chapel of Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona photo taken by Curtis Mekemson

Another perspective.

Twin rocks in Sedona, Arizona

These striking rocks are located east of the chapel. We took several photos. This one was by Peggy. I think this pair is known as the Two Nuns.

Twin rocks in Sedona, AZ

I added a tree for contrast.

Sedona Cactus

Peggy caught this cactus just down from the chapel.

Cactus and twin rocks in Sedona

And I took a photo of its companion with the Nuns!

Twin rocks in Sedona

Several other towers were located above the Nuns…

Sedona red rock column

Including this beauty. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Sedona, Arizona

The view south wasn’t bad either!

Sedona Arizona rock

Bell Rock in Sedona

Most of the prominent rock formations around Sedona have been named. I’ll close today with Bell Rock. Be sure to check in next Wednesday for more of the red rocks of Sedona as we journey east of the town to the area featured at the top of this post.


FRIDAY’S POST: My sister Nancy Jo is attacked by the Graveyard Ghost. A very scary tale.

MONDAY’S POST: A trip through the Grand Canyon by raft on the Colorado River.

WEDNESDAY’S POST: We return to Sedona for more gorgeous red rocks.




43 thoughts on “The Incredible Red Rock Country of Sedona— and a Chapel… Part 1

  1. I stayed in Flagstaff one time when visiting a factory that manufactured refuse trucks. On a day off we drove to Grand Canyon and I remember how red the rocks were along the way. Sadly, although I have lots of pictures of Heil trucks I didn’t take many of the rocks!

  2. Love your Buddha impression! I’ve wanted to go to Sedona since a friend came back with pictures sometime in the 70s. Somehow never made it. Wish I had back then before it got too posh or popular. That tends to ruin the experience for me. Looking forward to the rest of the visit.

  3. They are indeed some beautiful photographs, Curt. Around 1987 some New Age Entrepreneurs sold tickets in anticipation of the beautiful Bell opening… and a spaceship being liberated and out and off it would fly. Lots…I mean lots of tickets were sold, many gathered and waited, but alas it was a no go, and telling the story remains a favorite to anyone who was not holding a cancelled ticket stub.
    My best to You and Peggy- JoHanna

  4. That is an interesting blog you wrote! Mind if you stop by my blog and review it?
    The Photos are beautiful. Sedona is indeed beautiful

  5. We’d love to visit Sedona again — oh, those red rocks. But somehow we missed the chapel in the rocks. (Oh, darn. Another excuse to go back!) And I love how you shared it in black and white also. The architecture and simplicity of the cross seems even more interesting embedded in the rocks.

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