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Sedona; Mariposa; Soldier’s Pass Trail; A Really Big Sinkhole; Desert Flora; Cucina Rustica; Blowing Beer

Our last day in Sedona was memorable. We started with a great lunch at Lisa Dahl’s Pisa Lisa. Here is My Lovely Bride delicately sampling the Bufalino pizza…

After lunch, Lisa took us to see her new restaurant, Mariposa, under construction at one of the most scenic locations in all of Sedona. The site’s landowners, Michael and Kathie Stevenson, just happened to be there with their family, so we got to hear all about the long road getting city approval for this huge enterprise.

Fueled up, we then went on a three hour hike on three connecting trails, up to Soldiers Pass, along Brins Mesa, and across Cibola Pass back to the trailhead. The scenery was fabulous, typical spectacular Sedona red rock.

Folks back in Florida know about sinkholes, right? Well, this one could swallow up most of a city block. The big hunk of rock at upper left is about the size of a small house! This spot is a popular day hike destination, being only a quarter mile from the trailhead. After leaving the sinkhole, we didn’t see another hiker for the duration of our hike. It was nice having the trail to ourselves.

Suzanne enjoyed this hike as much as I did; she bathed in the spiritual energy here in Sedona’s backcountry while I was again moved by its unique natural beauty.

We came across several of these very tall desert cactus with yellow and orange flowers.The height certainly keeps the blossoms away from deer.

The grey branches of these dead manzanita bushes made a beautiful contrast to the green and red background colors of the desert landscape.

The maroon bark of this tree caught Suzanne’s eye. We encountered only a handful of trees like this on our hike.

The sky and clouds above the trees provided an ethereal contrast to the often stark landscape.

This prickly pear reflects a typical quality of desert flora (and some people) – a beautiful flower protected by razor-sharp spines. Caress at your peril…

After a shower to wash off desert sand and dust, we headed to the nearby village of Oak Creek for dinner. Sunset found us alongside this spectacular butte halfway to our destination, but we had to stop for a photo op.

Cucina Rustica was our destination, where we enjoyed a special gourmet Italian meal with owner Lisa Dahl, Scott Yates, and Lisa’s lovely mother Dorothy. (Unfortunately, the photo of all five of us didn’t come out, due to a problem with my pocket camera – I had dropped it on a rock on our hike, and it failed at a most inopportune moment). Thank you, Lisa, Dorothy and Scott, for an unforgettable evening. By the way, Scott is an incredibly talented photographer; he treated us to an exhibition of his amazing work from a recent trip to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile which he and Lisa made to lay the foundation for the cuisine Lisa will create at Mariposa, her new restaurant.

Finally, I will faithfully relate the following story as it occurred, leaving out the location to protect the guilty parties… We had departed Sedona enroute Zion National Park, but due to the stress of driving in high crosswinds, had parked at an Elk’s lodge about halfway for the night. We rarely go inside the lounges, but decided to thank our hosts by having a drink with the members. One couple who may have been at the bar for some time was very chatty, but Suzanne was taken aback when the lady referred to her husband twice as “You Dumbass!” Fortunately, he laughed it off. The next night while enjoying pizza and beer in the coach, I jokingly made a somewhat sarcastic remark about something My Darling had done earlier in the day.  She replied without missing a beat, “If you don’t watch it, I’m going to shove this pizza in your face, you Dumbass!”  Hearing these foreign words from my sweet, kind, and considerate (but now very red-faced) wife caused the sip of cold Corona I was savoring to almost come out of my nose.  Travelling is supposed to be educational, but this is not what I had in mind for My Lovely Bride.

1 Comment

  • Anonymous
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 4:08 am

    Great pics and it is such as spectacular and inspiring area! Love the dumbass story too… Brad


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