While Sedona is known for its spectacular colors, I felt this black and white rendition of Sedona’s Chapel of the Holy Cross emphasized the dramatic look of the church in its natural setting.
Peggy and I have seen numerous beautiful churches in our wandering around the world over the years, but few have matched the simple beauty of the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Arizona. Rarely do buildings reflect the areas where they are built so dramatically. (I would place the Greek Orthodox churches on the island of Santorini in such a category.)
Another perspective on the Chapel of the Holy Cross, this time emphasizing its colorful surroundings. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
Inside, looking out.
Surrounding rock formations are also impressive, as they are throughout Sedona. This one is appropriately known as the Madonna and Child. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
A distant shot of the Madonna and Child (in the center).
We found this cactus on the road going up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
A local rancher from Sedona, Marguerite Staude, commissioned the church. Inspired by the Empire State Building, she had originally wanted to build the church in Hungary. When World War II aborted her plans, she decided to build the church in her hometown. Barry Goldwater helped Staude obtain a special land use permit to build the church on national forest land. It cost $350,000, took 18 months to build, and was completed in 1956. The American Institute of Architects gave the church its Award of Honor in 1957.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
While I understand the importance of churches in people’s faith, I tend to agree with John Muir in terms of my own spiritual path. A quiet walk in the woods has always made me feel at peace with myself. Seen from this perspective, Boynton Canyon in Sedona is good for the soul.
It’s also a great place to hang out with friends— and a camera.
One of many of the views Peggy and I, along with our friends, Ken and Leslie Lake, enjoyed on our walk up Boynton Canyon.
A close up of the same knob as a black and white photo. Note the various patterns in the rock.
The wilderness sign warned people they might find a bear wandering around in the canyon. While most people might find this worrisome, I was looking forward to seeing one. No such luck.
Another dramatic rock formation. I liked the light and dark contrast.
The contrast is even more powerful from a black and white perspective. Check out the halo of light on top.
Always on the lookout for faces, I named this open-mouthed fellow, Scream. Maybe he had seen the bear.
At one point, the sun reflected off the canyon wall like it was glowing with life. This is the natural color as we saw it.I had never seen anything like it. No wonder the New Agers think of Boynton Canyon with awe. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
At several points along Boynton Canyon, we saw where Native Americans had once built cliff dwellings. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
This formation seemed to be grinning at me. Or maybe it was hungry. I know, I know… I have an overactive imagination.
This rock formation looked like an ancient fortress. I wonder if the Native Americans ever used it at such? On another note, a number of early Westerns were filmed in the Sedona area.
Found this horse in downtown Sedona.
A final photo from Boynton Canyon.
Old friends. Ken and I have been hanging out causing mischief for close to 40 years. Peggy’s sister, Jane Hagedorn, and I hired Ken in 1977 when we were co-executive directors of the American Lung Association in Sacramento. Jane wanted him for his degree in public health education. I wanted him because he had just bicycled across America and I needed his expertise for the long distance Bike Trek program I had created.
NEXT BLOG: It is time to check out some Native American rock art in the Sedona area and visit a very old ‘well.’