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Sedona, Arizona

It's time again to hit the road and find my simple happiness living in and with nature. Unfortunately, the severity of the weather ahead of me is rocking my boat. I hoped the Sedona weather would warm by the end of February. I am in constant debate with myself. Do I stay in the comfort of a home and wait for this cold front to pass me, or do I go with it? My bigger question is whether I let discomfort, fear, and uncertainty take over. Honestly, I don't know what the correct answer is. There is no way for me to know what will be tomorrow. But as I put those words into my journal, I know this is another step in building faith in myself and my request to live open with fear. Gina's invitation to stay longer is very tempting.

All I can do is hope for the weather to change and have faith in myself and the universe that I will find a solution. I am working on changing my old thinking and the constant worrying. I know it will take time. You can't take 55 years and change it overnight. I am learning to be kind to myself, but I am my worst enemy.

Just as I approach Sedona, the road bends and I have a clear view of the stunning Sedona scenery. I have only two hours to enjoy a hike. So Bell Rock it is! When I get to the foothills of Bell Rock, I want to climb up, but as I go further up, I don't feel comfortable being a mountain goat by myself.

I have a camping site for tonight at Manzanita campground up north on Rt. 89A. What a stunning drive! I am going up in elevation, but I didn't expect to get a snow-covered camping site. It is a small campground with very few amenities, but wow! What a beautiful place! There is a creek just behind my spot, and the sound is so comforting, even though it's bitter cold. I keep a crack in my window, so I can hear it as I fall asleep. Luckily, I'm not the only crazy one camping in this weather and my neighbors lend me a shovel so I can clean some paths.

I feel rich sitting around the fire with Gloria and Doug. Their openness to spirituality provided me with another opportunity for helpful life lessons. They invited me for a sunrise hike the following day, which meant waking up early.

It's a gray cloudy morning, not the best condition for sunrise, but being so early on the trail is a gift. I am back at Bell Rock. Hiking with Gloria and Doug gives me the comfort of being a mountain goat this time. We climb high that I feel at eye level with my surroundings. It lets me feel an equal part of this magical place; what an amazing feeling!

Gloria and Doug invite me to stop at their house for a comfy bed and a hot shower. I don't know my route to San Diego from Joshua Tree NP yet, but it would be nice to spend time with them again.

My next hike is the Huckaby trail off Schnebly Hill Rd. This area provides a different feel from Sedona's usual layered red rock. Here the rock formations are more golden. The mix of the red rocks with the gold takes my breath away.

Getting up so early, skipping my morning coffee, and hiking over seven miles puts me exhausted at midday and contributes to my mental fallout. I fall back to old habits and let my brain spin in circles of worrying about my future. All the logic in the world tells me to let go, telling me I am hurting only myself with this dance. Obviously, I have much more work to do on how to live in the moment. What is remarkable about life is that tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, and a new chance to look at life in my usual optimistic way.

I planned to find a place to boondock, but it would not be a smart idea with the rain and snow predicted for the next two days. I drive away from Sedona to Cottonwood and get a cabin for the next two nights at Dead Horse State Park (who thought that was a good name?).

Rainy days allow me to sit at a library and catch up on my journal. Writing helps me see myself from a kinder angle. Letting my feelings and emotions go through my fingers as I type away is uplifting. I left the library smiling, running between the raindrops to my car.

I woke up to a cold white morning. My little cabin is a blessing. Camping in my car in those conditions is torture I am trying to avoid. But wow, what a magical beauty it brings! I am hopping into my car and heading to Sedona. I want to hike, thinking most people will avoid this weather. That was a big mistake on my part. Sedona got hit pretty badly with heavy snow, and twice, my heart sank, fearing my car would get stuck in the snow. I snap two pictures and head back to hike around my campground.

How beautiful Sedona is when the skies are blue, and a white layer rests on the red rocks. I take my time driving in this magical place, taking it all into my memory as a souvenir. Today I am hiking the Boynton Canyon trail. This time it's me, Claudia and Robert, a lovely couple from CA.

They are heading to the subway. Robert showed me a beautiful picture of the subway, so I followed in their footsteps. The sun is melting the snow, and we are walking in mud and water. No matter how much I'm trying to avoid getting wet, there is no way out of it. My boots are soaked. When we got to the subway, I saw the challenge and the risk, and I decided my safety is more important than taking a photo shoot. We say our goodbyes, and I get another invitation for a comfy bed and a hot shower if I pass through their town in California.

As I experience Sedona through my hikes, absorbing all this beauty, I sense that each rock formation competes for its beauty and uniqueness. Each has layers and layers of colors and texture, recording time, history, and wonder.

I have a half day today for fun, then time to get groceries. Tomorrow is a laundry day and a driving day. I drive the historic Rt 89A to Jerome. What a lovely little town with an interesting history. I enter many shops, but one is a must! Nellie Bly is the biggest kaleidoscope store in the world. The incredible kaleidoscope art, with colors, shapes, and light, is mesmerizing.

Many people have visited Sedona for the rest; what are you waiting for?

I am excited! My next destination is Zion National Park. Part of my excitement is the opportunity to hike again with Betty. If you remember, I met Betty back in October at Smoky National Park.

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