It's been a long hot day here in Sedona. I've eaten far too much (this goes for the whole trip - bar the canyon hike - and my body is crying out for vegetables. They're surprisingly hard to find here), but I've also hiked around 6 or 7 miles (9 - 11 kilometres. That sounds better) so it's not all bad.
I started out with a big breakfast, the norm nowadays, then despite me wanting to just relax, I hit the road out to Cathedral Rock, which is a really, really, really big rock. You can hike up it, so I thought I'd do that (I know I said I'd hike up the big hill from yesterday, but I thought I could either do just that, or I could do multiple things. I went for the multiple instead).
You have to buy a parking pass for the hike, so I do. Imagine my surprise and joy when I get my six dollars change in dollar coins! I get three gold and three silver. Dollar coins aren't very popular here, I'm not sure why, but I think they're great. Anyway, back to hike. It was steep, hot, sweaty and great fun.
The views from the top were fantastic, the perfect place to just sit and stare.
I seem to do a lot of that recently, but that's OK. I kind of wish I'd bought my book, instead I struggle to take a decent selfie to make into a postcard for my parents. The sun is in my eyes and in the end I just sort of give up. Sorry parents.
I head back down and get stuck for a while on the steep bit as I let people up before I go down. I'm nice like that, and you know, it's the right thing to do. Besides, I get to sit and stare while they huff and puff.
Once in the car, I decide to go for the Devil's Bridge hike. It's pretty hot by now, so I swing by a petrol - sorry - gas station and buy lots of fluids. I hike and hike and hike, and when I get to the top, I want to puke. There's a man walking across the bridge and acting like he's standing in the middle of a football pitch.
My knees go funny and my stomach wants to come out of my mouth. I turn around and pretend it's not happening.
Then I head over - facing my fear or something - but don't get all the way across. I'm fairly sure it'll fall down when I'm on the other side, and I'll have to live there. Great view, but crappy food.
I do the sitting and staring and then make my way down. Now it's really hot and I'm happy when I'm able to get back in the car. It's past one now and I'm hot and bothered.
I head back to the motel, lie on the bed and turn on the cold air. I turn on the telly, and Aliens is on. I'm reminded of that bit in Friends when Joey thinks Die Hard will be better when watched in London. I feel the same right now. It's somehow incredibly cosy to be on the bed, watching Aliens, with an overcast Sedona just outside my window. I drink a lot of water, eat some energy/protein bars left over from the Grand Canyon, and watch Sigourney say, "Get away from her you BITCH!" It's brilliant.
Once I've cooled down and seen the queen alien sucked into space, I decided to make my way to Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. A stupa is a big mound or hill thing that contains Buddhist relics.
This one has thousands of prayer scrolls and something else I've forgotten in it. It's very peaceful and pretty, and there's a huge ant hill close by. I watch the ants for quite a long time. They're crazy things. Crazy. I also meet some Gambel quails, which are quails, oddly enough, and very funny ones at that. They sound a bit like a cartoon quail, and just sort of run about making funny noises. They were very nice to watch while I thought about things.
After just under an hour, I move on. Next stop is the airport mesa which apparently is the best spot for the sunset. I arrive around an hour before the sun is due to set, find a stone and sit.
The sun very slowly moves down, and everyone else very quickly arrives. There's lots of cloud so it's not the spectacular show it can be, but it's still pretty fine.
I make a move before the world and his wife do, but somehow still manage to get caught by some random lonely dude in the car park. He has that lonely person skill of stringing sentences together without stopping so you just can't get away. I think I end up being quite rude and can hear him still talking to himself as I walk away. I drive off and sit paused at the T-junction. I hear a horn honk, once, then twice, and turn to the left to see what's going on. It's the loney dude honking at me and waving goodbye. I wave and then make my turn. So long.
I head to the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill as I hear they've got lots of beer and ribs, and it's my last night so I don't care. They have a tasting menu of 7 beers in 5 ounce glasses. I don't understand ounces, and seeing as I'm driving, I don't want to order 7 huge beers by accident. I ask the waitress how many ounces there are in a large beer, thinking I'd be OK if it were the equivalent of one beer. She says, "Well there are 35 ounces in a litre, and a beer is a pint, so..." I don't even know what to say to her, so just order one large beer. She looks a bit confused, but trust me, she wasn't as confused as I was.
The beer was good, the ribs weren't so great, but what can you do. I'm now watching Parks and Recreation, which is one of the best programmes ever, and sitting on my bed.
Tomorrow is the last day. I have to be in the airport at 5.30pm, so I've got almost a full day to get from here to there. I'll make a couple of stops on the way, and try to make the last day a good one. I'm sad to be going, I really am. I love this country, I love this state. It's so beautiful. But at home, I've got a beautiful wife, and although he's probably not that beautiful right now, my unborn son is also waiting for me. I hear he's getting quite active, so I'll have to get some of those kicks felt. It's so weird. Cool, but weird.
Right, I have to pack.