I had heard of a magical place in the Arizona desert where the harmony of the earth provided a serenity to all those who entered it’s red canyon valley. After six months of pandemic isolation, I felt in need of such a place. Sedona, Arizona is a seven hour drive from Los Angeles, or a 2 hour drive from Phoenix. As I drove into the canyon, I was literally breathless looking up at the towering red sandstone formations lined with green junipers and desert prickly pear cacti. It’s said that Sedona sits in a vortex, a swirling force of energy created by the existence of electromagnetic fields. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I thought, “Bring it on!” The four best known Sedona spiritual vortexes are Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon. I decided to stay in the middle of Boynton Canyon at Enchantment Resort. I was told that often the land will be magnificently beautiful wherever there is a vortex and that as proof of the swirling energy, trees may show twisting trunks and branches, spiraling in the energy field as they grow. I found this example right outside my room. The temperature was 98 degrees and I was ready to be magnetized.
On my first day, I signed up for a private photographic tour of Sedona’s vortexes with renowned desert photographer, Larry Lindahl. He was able to help me gain access to his secret shooting locations away from the crowds. I learned about his preferred landscape style of crouching low, placing foliage in the foreground and using the various levels to draw the eye towards the mountains in the background. He has a passion for extreme close up shots of cacti too, and I tried to experiment with that as well….it’s a fine line between photographing and getting a stinger in your hand! I didn’t have the guts to tell Larry I was allergic to the dust on the ground, so as the three hour lesson went on and I spent more time “hugging” the dirt, I started coughing, wheezing, and sneezing. I think the photos were worth it!
At Enchantment Resort, they offer spiritual classes inside the Boynton Canyon vortex. The one that interested me was Qi Gong. It is a form of meditation, coordinating slow-flowing movement with deep rhythmic breathing and a calm state of mind. People practice throughout China and worldwide for recreation, exercise, relaxation, preventive medicine and self-healing. My instructor explained that everyone has an energy field of 3 feet around them. We practiced moving this field of energy around and absorbing more of it from the earth. When we were finished doing this (60 minutes later), we walked through a labyrinth to release negative energy and regain positive energy. Did it work? I’m not sure….
Part of the Enchantment Resort is the Mi Amo Spa. The Spa offers traditional therapies as well as spiritual treatments, such as The Native American “Soul Seeker,” (A master therapist provides techniques to help support a heightened awareness, a new perspective, or reconnection with your inner self. The techniques used may include guided imagery, energy soul journeying, emotional release and breath work), or “The Inner Quest,” (Reflective of Native American ceremony and ritual, this treatment utilizes elements sacred to Native Americans. The four directions are honored, sweet grass is burned and The Circle of Life Blanket is used to create the warmth of a sweat lodge and to honor tribal elders.) I opted for the “The Reiki Healing,” (This process opens a spiritual door through which powerful, higher-frequency Reiki energies are able to flow. The Reiki Healing Attunement can start a cleansing process that affects the physical body as well as the mind and emotions. Toxins that have been stored in the body may be released along with feelings and thought patterns that are no longer useful.) My healing session was very relaxing and I felt ready to drop away negative energy and step forward afterwards.
Dinner at Enchantments’s premier restaurant, Che Ah Chi (the Apache name for Boynton Canyon), alone is worth the trip. I would rate the view as “top five in my world travels.” The cuisine is modern American with Native American influence. There were four of us dining and we had some hits (the Oak Creek beer-brined chicken with rainbow lentils and crispy rice, the vine cherry tomato/melon salad with goat cheese, the salt-rock seared lamb loin with mint, peas and sorrel) and some misses (the pork loin with corn custard, the lavender dessert). As we settled in on our main courses and the moon rose over the limestone cliffs, we were speechless!
A trip through downtown/uptown Sedona is a bit touristy, yet in between the junky clothing and souvenir shops, are hidden nougats worth exploring. El Dorado, in the Hyatt Pinon Pointe Shops, has interesting turquoise and silver jewelry authentic to the local Native American nations. http://www.eldoradosedona.com Native Jewelry of Sedona features jewelry from tribes all over the southwest. http://www.nativejewelrygallery.com For fans of popcorn, Sedona’s Popcorn Emporium, at 299 N. State Route 89A, sells just about every kind one can imagine. Scott opted for the combination of caramel popcorn mixed with cheddar cheese popcorn. A tasty dinner in town can be had at The Vault. Their BBQ ribs are top notch, and come with a fine view as well. I had the best tamale of my life at a small family-run hole-in-the-wall called Tamaliza Cafe. Their specialty is the Tamale Supreme for $13.50. Pick your tamale from vegan/poblano peppers & corn, vegetarian, pork in guajillo sauce, beef/onions in guajillo sauce, chicken with tomatillo or chicken with mole. The tamale is topped with a salad consisting of black beans, raw spinach, cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, and home-made radish relish. Heaven in a single entree.
As far as hiking goes, my allergy to dust usually keeps me off the trails. My friend, Heather, swears by the west fork #108 trail which runs along a seven mile road in Oak Creek Canyon adjacent to a flowing river. It’s rated one of the top ten hiking trails in the USA. Scott decided to rent an ATV and go off-roading through the desert one morning before the temperatures hit 100 degrees. He had a blast and was happily covered in dust when he returned to dive into our balcony pool with his clothes on.
Sedona’s elevation is 4,350′. This seems to be the perfect elevation to slow down your functioning so that you feel really chill and calm, but not too high in elevation that you feel the effects of altitude sickness. For me, it made me sleep extremely well. Maybe it was the vortex, or the heat, or the blackout curtains, or the fact that I didn’t watch the news for a week….but I sure felt serenity in Sedona. Now I just need to figure out how to keep that going when I return home.