With Monument Valley out of the way, and the trip to the Grand Canyon now cancelled, my schedule for the rest of my time in Flagstaff was left pretty open.
Lounging around with Tanner and Andreas for the majority of the day, we found ourselves binge watching season one of Arrested Development. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched it after the sour taste that season four left in my mouth. It’s a shame that such a good show could take such a turn for the worse.
It’s not that season four is spectacularly bad or anything, its just incredibly disappointing after how good seasons one to three are.
But as much as I love the show, watching it all day would have proven difficult, as I was itching for something to do.
Fortunately, Marianna and Peter offered Andreas, Tanner and myself a trip to Sedona to climb one of the buttes, Bell Rock.
Stetson on, we set off. The drive seemed kind of long with three of us squeezed in the back, but the views were pretty impressive. Rolling hills, forests as far as you could see, storm clouds flashing in the distance; a definite change for everything I’ve experienced in America so far.
When we got there, the various buttes stuck out across the valley, kind of like a greener Monument Valley. With Tanner confident of the direction up, we started the ascent. The first part had a few small difficulties, but for the most part was pretty simple.
If you check the picture above, the ‘easy’ part was the sloping areas, as we headed up the left side, which Tanner would tell me midway through was the hardest trail we could have chosen.
We then realised we had been climbing up the wrong side, which would explain the levels of difficulty we encountered.
Pete, Andreas and Marianna held back, but me and Tanner soldiered on. Grasping on to the side of the rock, we shimmied ourselves round to the right trail, as I desperately tried not to think about falling off.
Back on track, we explored a few of the routes, before tackling the top portion; a lot of which was near vertical rock climbing. Up until now, I’ve found my rather affordable walking boots a pretty handy accessory, but faced with a rather large drop mere inches away, I became very aware of how little grip they had.
Fortunately, I came to the realisation that I was more concerned about losing my hat to the wind, the thing I had been searching for my whole trip.
In a way, this turned out to be a rather positive thing, as although it meant I stupidly gave one hand the duty of holding onto my hat as I continued the climb, it took away my fear of falling as I had something much more important to think about.
I also began to ponder how Indiana Jones manages to keep his hat throughout four films, because I had a lot of difficulty.
Rejoined by Andreas, we finally reached the top and were rewarded with even more spectacular views of Sedona and the various rock formations spread around us. With helicopters flying past at the same height, if not slightly lower than us, I felt on top of the world, and pretty proud that I had pushed past my old fear of falling in favour of sights such as these.
And after returning to the hostel and watching Arrested Development we found further rewards in the form of a crate of beer, as we struggled to find a fourth member to play beer bowling. We failed, and ended up playing beer pong for a few hours, but it was still pretty fun.
Unfortunately, now all I can think about is how in a few days I’ll be back in Britain and broke as hell.
It’s all been worth it, but I’d give anything to be able to keep going, travelling and meeting new people for the rest of my days.
I plan on winning the lottery pretty soon though, so I probably shouldn’t complain. Plus my friend Corrie has made me an offer that if I make it to Minnesota, I can get a green card marriage with his sister in exchange for a Nandos and some Strongbow. Seems fair.