Sedona is a unique place, when we visited several years ago we really loved the look of and the new-agey feel of the place. Sedona offers luminous shamanic healing, detoxification, past life regression, spirit guide readings, spiritual hypnosis, to balance your aura and chakra system, reactivate your meridian lines and energy points, access your subconscious blocks, and a host of other metaphysical and spiritual services. What’s not to like?
But Hector and I opted for a cost-free option; hiking to some of the vortexes. What exactly is a vortex?
According to the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, the scientific definition is “an area of enhanced energy flow” which is either “flowing upward out of the earth” or “flowing inward toward the earth”. The New Age community defines the vortexes as “energy centers” with “remarkable spiritual powers”.
The term was first used to describe Sedona’s four popular meditation sites – Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon. This energy “resonates within a person,” and may offer “spiritual awareness as well as healing experiences”.
A few years ago while hiking to the Cathedral Rock vortex, located by Oak Creek at a place called Buddha Beach, Hector definitely felt the energy. Which is funny, because he is definitely the more skeptical of the two of us.
This time I was intent on visiting several vortexes. And we started by going to Cathedral Rock / Buddha Beach once again. On the way there, literally in Oak Creek, there is an amazing view of Cathedral Rock that Hector wanted to photograph.
This meant wading through extremely cold water twice, which the intrepid photographer did. To quote some folks picnicking nearby, “hard core”. As for me, after crossing over one pretty shallow place, I decided to dry out my hiking shoes while sitting across from the rocks where Hector was taking photographs.
After some photography, we walked over to Buddha Beach to once again see the largest number of cairns we’ve ever seen in our lives. There were tons of cairns on the ground but more daring folks built cairns on tree branches and other less stable areas. You must see it to believe it.
In between vortex hiking, we stopped in at the Chapel of the Holy Cross, set in (literally) the Mystic Hills. Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a sculptress, student of Frank Lloyd Wright, philanthropist and devout Catholic conceived the idea of the church, which was originally going to be built above the Danube River in Budapest. Because of World War II, she had to give up on those plans.
Years later, after falling in love with Sedona, she re-focused on building the church here. It was completed in 1956 and less than a year later received the American Institute of Architects National Award for religious structures in 1956.
The exterior is striking, looking like it was carved into two rocks, with a large cross as its prominent feature. The interior is very simple, but looks out onto beautiful Sedona. The church welcomes travelers from all faiths.
Moving on to more vortexes. Next we headed to Boynton Canyon. It was a fairly easy hike, and we took Angel along. Once near the vortex, you begin to see cairns that people have assembled. And as we walked to the site, Hector once again had a very strong reaction. Me: nada. Angel: nada. Oh, well.
Then we hiked on Airport Mesa. This was a relatively flat hike with a short climb at the end. Here the vortex energy is supposed to be around the entire trail. I felt a little bit of an energy surge. Hector: nada, Angel: a little.
The last vortex we visited was Bell Rock, which is supposed to have very strong upflow energy. We again had Angel with us, so we hiked around the bottom of the rock, because the climb to the top is very steep. But the vortex is supposed to be felt throughout the rock. This time – Hector: nada, Me: nada, Angel: well she walked over four miles, which for her age and after two ACL surgeries is pretty great.
But later that day we went on another hike, this time, not to a vortex, but to a very cool place called Devil’s Bridge. We’d hiked over four miles around Bell Rock that morning, and took a midday break. We started our second hike quite late, around 4, but it was supposed to be a short, though rather steep, hike.
But we hadn’t read enough about the trail and it turned out that the last portion of the road to the trailhead only allowed high clearance vehicles. So we had to walk about a mile to the trailhead. It was getting pretty late, but now I got a surge of energy and started climbing the trail pretty effortlessly. At the top, there are a few short but steep climbs, and after two of these, I realized it was 5 p.m.
Hector was wisely saying we should turn around and not risk a tricky descent in the dark. Even though I had one headlamp, I agreed with him. So we headed back down while the sun was going down and reached the main road before dark.
Walking down the road at dusk was actually very cool, there was no one else around, we were surrounded by forest and it was really quiet. And our eyes adapted to the darkness slowly, so I didn’t have to use my headlamp until the very end.
Sometimes it’s just about the journey and not the destination.