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Sedona Food Bank…and Red Rocks

October 4, 2013

Arizona – Friday, September 27

I woke up to a pretty day – the soggy rainy night had cleared up. I opened the curtains and was treated to a view of big red rock formations. It was fun to take Tula out first thing for a short walk right in town. Today I was planning to make a donation to the Sedona Food Bank, but then I read that they weren’t open on Fridays. I decided to call them anyway, and actually got a human being on the phone, and he told me someone would be there until about 11:30 this morning. When I asked if there was anything in particular that they might need, he told me ramen noodles and single serving containers of peanut butter for their backpack program. The grocery store was in a different part of Sedona, so I found that, and loaded up the cart. I bought all the boxes of Jif individual peanut butter servings, and then filled up the cart with beef and chicken ramen noodles. They’re not very expensive, so I had a lot of them, which prompted several comments from fellow shoppers! When I was in line to check out, the guy behind me said I must really like ramen noodles. I said they weren’t for me, and they were going to the local food bank. He immediately reached in his pocket and gave me 5 singles to give to them when I dropped the food off. No one has ever done that before (although people don’t typically know I’m buying groceries to donate!). It took a few minutes to load all the bags into my cart, and by then the guy behind me, James, was finished paying for the few things he got. When he got his change he added another $5 to the money he already gave to me, so the food bank will not only get my donation of food, but an extra $10 from James.

I found the food bank – they’re able to use the basement of the local Seventh-Day Adventist Church. One of the volunteers, Jessie, was in there sorting and organizing food and cleaning the place up. They pass out food to families on Wednesday mornings and Thursday evenings, and then volunteers come in on Friday to clean up, and put away some tables so that the church can use the space over the weekend. Yesterday they passed out food to about 50 families. Volunteers also go around to several of the local grocery stores to gather food from them, and that is also sorted, and if they get produce or something that won’t last until the next distribution, they take it to the senior citizen home, or some other group so that nothing goes to waste. And they also started a backpack program 3 years ago, and that seems to have been a success. Jessie was a sweet soul – she used to need food from the pantry, and now she’s giving back by volunteering there. I asked her about walking trails, and she had several suggestions, including a trail that starts right by the church parking lot. She was very kind, and I took her picture to add to the blog – with the pretty scenery behind her that she enjoys so much.

When I left the food pantry, I got Tula out of the van and we set off for a walk up into the mountains. The trail went uphill for a short distance (the church was already a good ways up the side of the mountain) and then it kind of followed the ridge, high above town, and I had good views of lots of red rock formations, and it was kind of cool to look way down at the town. We walked over a mile, and then we came to a road, and I wasn’t sure where the trail went from there. But there was a parking lot, and a lot of rocks, and the sign pointed the way up the rocks to an observation point. I wasn’t sure if Tula would be able to go up that trail on all the rocks, but she’s like a little mountain goat, and didn’t seem to have any trouble climbing up. The view from the top was beautiful – there are so many rock formations and I was way up high to see them. We made our way back down, and covered a little over 3 miles by the time we got back to the van. Then I drove over to a rock formation called Chimney Rock, and it looked very similar to the Chimney Rock in Nebraska.

I headed back to the motel, and since I hadn’t had much to eat yet today, I wandered along the street in town with all the shops and cafes, and ended up getting a pulled pork sandwich. It’s hard to resist barbecue! Then I stopped at the visitor center, and the guy there suggested another walk down by a creek. I had a little trouble finding the place he was talking about, but I ended up Red Rock Crossing, by a picnic area at Crescent Moon Ranch. I had to pay to park, but it was worth it. There was a mile long trail on my side of the creek by the picnic areas, but most of the trails were on the opposite side, and people cross the creek by stepping across 5 big boulders. I figured I’d have to walk Tula on the near side of the creek because I didn’t think she could do the stepping stones. But as it turned out, the stepping stones were all under water because of recent heavy rains, and people were just carefully wading across. So I decided to give it a try because I wanted to hike on the trail across the creek, so I put my phone back in the van, put my camera in a zip-loc bag, and Tula and I headed for the creek. The water was a little over knee-high, and I crossed where I had seen other people crossing. There wasn’t much of a current, and I took it slow so I wouldn’t slip on any rocks, and made it across the creek. At first Tula couldn’t quite figure out what I was doing, and stayed on the other bank, and I had to call her a couple times, and then she waded in and swam across. She ran in circles like a goofy puppy when she got out on my side. We enjoyed nearly a 5 mile hike – one of the most well-known rocks (and one of the most photographed) in the Sedona area is Cathedral Rock – it’s enormous and looms over the surrounding countryside; looking very much like a cathedral. As we followed our trail, we climbed up a bit and also passed some different kinds of cactus. Tula was able to be off-leash most of the day today, and she seemed to be thoroughly enjoying our hiking. It was very pleasant out – not hot at all, and I think that makes a difference for her. She was bounding along like she owned the place, and I ended up taking lots of pictures of her too! I finally turned around because the sun was beginning to set, and we made our way back to the creek. I got across again with no mishaps, and then Tula and I walked the mile trail by the picnic area so she could dry off a bit before getting back in the van. It was pretty dark by the time we finished. I passed an old building and an old mill with a water wheel – if I’d known it was there, I would have taken a better look at it before it got dark!

I drove back into town, and took another walk along the street, and ended up with some buffalo chili and prickly pear ice cream to take back to my cozy motel room. Tula conked out right away – we had covered a little over 9 1/2 miles today, and she walked most of it – up mountains, and on rocks, and swimming across a creek. What a dog!






































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