The Real Thunder Mountain and The Deep End

We've hiked in Idyllwild, Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and at home in San Diego but Sedona was the first time I've ever felt like I was risking my life.  In Kauai, I worried about potentially getting lost because it was so rugged, but in Sedona there the concern was that if I mess up, I could really get hurt.  Hiking Cathedral Rock is probably the closest I will ever get to actual rock climbing, because I don't see myself doing that ever.  I'm way to scared to hang from a rock by a rope, but I will hike one.  It didn't take long to see how this hike was going to be.  We were barely getting started and already there was a giant rock sitting where I thought a trail was supposed to be.  

We were lucky enough to have some cloud cover that day, but it was hot.  Upper 80's.  I was already out of breath with a steady trickle of sweat rolling down my back just 20 minutes in.  I was enjoying the challenge and then we saw this deep crevice with a pretty steep incline.  That's when I got a little bit nervous.  I let MJ go first, and then started up carefully placing my feet and hands in whatever rock divots that felt sturdy enough to bear my weight.  I didn't even want to think about how we would get down.  There really wasn't a lot of margin for error.  If I lost my balance or grip I wouldn't die, but it would definitely be a nasty fall that I didn't want to take and that was the case at several points along the way.  Cathedral Rock is short, but it is steep.  It only took us about 50 minutes to get to the top with several stops along the way to check out the view.  It is only 1.5 miles round trip, but there is a 600 foot elevation change along the way.

We stopped for ice cream in town after that, all sweaty and gross, and since we obviously didn't get enough exercise on the first hike we did a second one.

Thunder Mountain
I was expecting Airport Loop to be short and sweet, but it was a long sweaty booby trapped trail of cactus and rocky road almost the whole way.  And I'm not talking about ice cream.  It was so late in the day that we had the whole trail to ourselves and only saw one other set of hikers.  Our guide pointed out Thunder Mountain on the jeep tour but we had an even better view of it from here.  I'm talking about the real Thunder Mountain.  The very same one the ride in Disneyland is named after.  I thought that was so cool, to be able to see it in person.  There wasn't a whole lot of incline or decline on this hike but it was still challenging.  It took us 1 1/2 hours of steady walking with no breaks to finish and then we checked the map at the trail head and found out it was 3.3 miles.
Needless to say, we were beat after that.   We picked up Filet Mignon the day before, so MJ threw those on the grill and we had us a nice meal of steak and 'taters on our patio.
Our only appointment on our last day was the Spa and dinner reservations.  We spent the morning at our favorite 21+ pool, where I had a serious break through.  I always talk about how I can't swim, so it was a really big deal that for the first time ever in my life I jumped into the deep end.  I've always been terrified of not being able to touch the bottom, but after much coaxing and practicing I finally did it.  I think it really helped that we had the entire pool to ourselves so I didn't have to worry about anyone staring at the grown ass woman who is afraid to jump into the pool.  I did not sink to the bottom like a stone.  I came to the top, swam towards the shallow end and then flipped over on my back and floated--which is also a newish move that I am mastering.  I may not ever be able to save my life in an ocean, but it is a big accomplishment for me to be able to get around in a pool without fear of the water so I was super excited.  I did it twice and I have both jumps on video for posterity.  This pic is a screen cap of it.

A photo posted by Cece (@mahoganydrive) on

Later on, we stopped at the Javelina Leap Vineyard & Winery and did one tasting flight each.  MJ was not impressed, but I do not discriminate against wine in any way and it was all good to me.  I almost booked a winery tour, but I didn't want to commit and I'm so glad I didn't. I did not want to over schedule our trip and it turns out we needed a nap after just the one.  Since Sedona is all about relaxing and rejuvenation we could not leave without going to a spa.  We got amazing massages for our tired muscles at New Day Spa and then went to dinner at El Rincon in the Tlaquepaque Shopping center.

We have had a lot of really great vacations, but I have to say Sedona was one of my favorites.  I fell in love with the town and it felt so good being there together.  I liked that we didn't have too much to do.  I loved our little condo and the relaxing and casual vibe of the whole place.  Sedona is my kind of town.  Half the people run around in Uptown Sedona wearing gym clothes and I shouldn't have even bothered to bring make-up because I didn't use any of it.  I loved the warm nights and that we didn't have to get on a long flight to get there.

Simply put, I loved Sedona.  It's a really special place and I definitely want to go back.

Sedona:  Rough Rider


Food, Booze, & Baggage said...

Sounds like an awesome trip!! Two hikes in one day, you guys were getting it!! The picture of Thunder Mountain is awesome!! Congrats on conquering a fear and jumping in!!

Faith said...

You make me want to do this! I'm not much of a hiker but for those views I can make an exception! Jumping into the deep end part of the pool when you can't swim is HUGE!

Jessica said...

I bet ice cream was a great treat after all of that. Gorgeous photos!

Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

Dee said...

I see you both got a really good work out and that mountain was pretty amazing. I loved the view from the top, too. I have to say, you guys always look so great together and it looks like you both had a wonderful time .. :)

Pegster said...

Wow, your pics look amazing. Check you out swimming and jumping in the water.

Girl you are in such good shape I couldn't help but drool over your abs particularly in that picture where you are coming down. You go girl.

Treasure Tromp said...

ah, gorgeous! I would LOVE to go hiking around there!

Jhan said...

My heart sank while looking at those pictures of you and hubs climbing the rocks. I guess the view payoff was worth it. Kudos to you for conquering your fears and trying something new.