I’ve been an hour away from Sedona for three days, while recuperating from a throat infection. I chose not to come here while I rested, because I wanted my energy to be good when I arrived. I’ve been looking forward to this, like a first date, apparently! How can I show up to meet Sedona, drooling and running a temperature? For whatever reason, I wanted to be my best self.
I don’t even know why I was so excited. I knew nothing about Sedona before this week, save two things: there were Red Rocks, and there were Vortexes. Really, that’s only 1.5 things, because a Vortex could have been an energy drink for all I knew! But all along this journey, people have randomly said to me, “You must go to Sedona!”
I glanced at Trip Advisor briefly last night and gleaned the following: Sedona is a New Age mecca attracting people from around the world seeking spiritual experiences. The Vortexes are believed to be geographical areas in which the earth’s energy is particularly strong and active. Some believe this energy causes trees to grow in twisted spirals, and others report seeing auras here. Yogis, meditators, Reiki practitioners and other energy healers flock here and many stay to open private practices and studios. Psychic are abundant, and if I wish to see a UFO while in town, I can do that too. Guaranteed sightings! (Of course I am!)
I also determined there are no days this week calling for below freezing temperatures! (Yay! Today I actually wore shorts and a t-shirt!)
The talk of “vortexes” per se is relatively new (since the 60’s) but there’s no question this has been a special area for thousands of years. A number of Native American tribes and cultural groups have called this area home for many generations, including the Anasazi, Sinagua, Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai and the Apache. There are numerous ruins and ceremonial grounds to visit. This area is in the Verde Valley, and many of the original inhabitants became farmers after generations as hunters and gatherers. Mostly because there was lots of water and fertile land here. (Thank you Google)
I often don’t remember this kind of information, but I try. Writing it down helps, but it’s slippery stuff. I’m more of a sensory sort of student, remembering how things felt, smelled or looked. Sometimes I’ll remember what song was playing when I saw something I really liked. Or what I was eating when I heard something that made me cry. Memories often get paired like that. Still, I like to work at remembering some of the details or history of a place more conscientiously.
Our first stop today was Montezuma’s Castle. It’s got nothing to do with Montezuma and is not a castle, but it was pretty darn cool. It used to be village of the Sinagua people, almost 1000 years ago, and is five stories high, with 60 rooms, built into a cliff. And get this, it is believed to have been built by the women of that tribe!
I discovered my first Arizonan Sycamore tree at the castle, and fell in love with this beautiful tree. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s bark is smooth and all shades of grey and it looks like it was painted by Monet!
There was a man playing a wooden flute at the visitor centre; his music could be heard floating in the air, adding a beautiful atmosphere to the walk around the site. I was happy Pippa was welcome to come too. Sometimes National Parks don’t welcome dogs.
I could have lived quite happily in this castle, I bet. A high perch, a view of Beaver Creek, lots of gardens to tend to and plants to learn about. I bet in the heat of the summer it was also very cool inside.
From the castle, we meandered down the road to Montezuma’s Well. I spent a couple of hours here, walking all of the trails and talking with both Rangers who were on site.This was a deeply spiritual site for a number of peoples, and many ceremonies were held here. There were also dwellings built into the cliff-sides.
To this day, native folks come here to harvest medicinal herbs or do immersion ceremonies in the deep water. No one knows how deep the well is, and there are no fish, only leeches. But not blood sucking ones, just shrimp-eating, and they only live in depths greater than 25 feet. Those are the kinds of details that stick with me.
Signs of spring were everywhere. The little irrigation river babbled. People whispered. It’s that sort of place.
When I eventually reached Sedona, I stopped at a cafe to look at my maps. I had a general sense where I was camping (for free) but for fun, I asked the fellow working where he would choose. He gave a location away from all the people who would be at that location for a Mountain Bike race. It was also closer to the red rocks.
That’s all I needed to hear, and now I’m happily here.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t drawn to stop in the town of Sedona today; I just drove right on through. It’s funny, how all the “charming” things I used to enjoy (all the little speciality shops etc) just don’t interest me as much anymore. Plus, it was pretty busy. I’m sure I will spend time exploring town at some point, and I will enjoy it, but not before I take in some of this breath-taking scenery, fresh air and a hike tomorrow. I have a vortex or two to meet!
Oh, I did stop at a thrift store to donate my purse (which I never use) and ended up buying a woven rug for times I might want one outside. The Quartzsite desert took my other one! I rather like what the splash of colour does for my bedroom! It also doubles as a heavy blanket or a protector for the bed when it’s not busy being a rug.
I did little in the way of van “chores” today, having taken care of most things while I was at the motel. I just arrived, made a simple dinner of tortillas with peanut butter, apples, granola and cinnamon and went for a nice long walk with Pippa as the sun set.
I feel a peaceful, deep sleep coming on, but I’d say Sedona and I got on pretty well for a first date. I’m definitely interested in a second 🙂