Showing posts with label arizona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arizona. Show all posts

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Hiking Boynton Canyon Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

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Before my first trip to Sedona, Arizona in January, I had never heard of a vortex beyond when I'd read in science books. I received a crash course in the New Age Movement and learned that a vortex is an area of concentrated energy. Many people search out these vortexes for spiritual renewal. I have to admit, it sounded a little hokey to me but after hiking the Boynton Canyon Trail to one of the vortexes and witnessing the sun setting across the way, I felt something within that left me in awe.

Getting There

To get to the Boynton Trail, take 89A toward Cottonwood and go about 3.25 miles. Turn right on Dry Creek Road and go 3 miles until the "T" in the road. Make a left hand turn at the T and follow to the next T. At this T make a right hand turn and go about a tenth of a mile. We missed this second T and ended up at the Enchantment Resort and had to turn around. Once we found the parking lot, the trail was marked and easy to find. 

The hike to the vortex is relatively easy. There is very little elevation change and it is only about one mile round trip to the vortex. For those who want a little more hiking, the Boynton Canyon Trail is 3 miles one way and connects to Deadman Pass Trail, Boynton Vista Trail and Long Canyon Trail. Unfortunately, we ended up with a bad weather day and didn't get to do the longer hike. My sister and  I did get a chance meditate for a while on the vortex. As I pondered, I couldn't help but wonder what made the Sedona vortexes so spiritual for those who sought them.

As we stood up to leave, the sun hit the tops of many of the surrounding peaks in what looked like a touch of heaven. It was breathtaking and truly spiritually enlightening. I couldn't help but think it was more than a coincidence. I left with an answer as to what makes Sedona such a special place.

I can't wait to return to Sedona again. I'm sure it will be nearly impossible to repeat the experience of having the sun light the peaks and just the right moment but I'm already convinced that the New Age Movement and vortexes aren't as hokey as I first thought.

Throw on your trail shoes and bring plenty of water and check out Sedona.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hiking Bell Rock In Sedona, Arizona

To many, hiking to Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona is a chance for spiritual renewal and energy. For those unfamiliar with the New Age movement, Bell Rock is one of the vortexes that surround the Sedona area. I had never heard of a vortex before arriving in Sedona, By the time I left, I learned that many consider a vortex an area of concentrated energy rising from the earth. Whether or not you believe in the metaphysical, there is no denying that these vortexes possess a beauty that can't be denied.

The hike to Bell Rock is well marked and relatively easy to climb. To go directly to Bell Rock, stay left when the Bell Rock Pathway intercepts with the Courthouse Butte Loop. Cairns mark the easiest way to the halfway point of Bell Rock which is about as high as you can safely climb. However, even without following the cairns, it's easy to find a path.

Halfway up, there are a few spots to relax and feel the energy. The views of the surrounding areas are amazing.


After we hiked up Bell Rock, we did the 4.5 mile Courthouse Butte Loop which circles Bell Rock. Though some guides rate the trail easy to moderate, I thought it was easy. The most difficult part was the climb to Bell Rock but even that wasn't bad.

Getting there

South of Sedona take Highway 89A to the Y at Highway 179. Take Highway 179 south about 6.4 miles. Parking lot is on the left just before Bell Rock Boulevard and the trailhead is on the north end of the parking lot. Be prepared to pay a small daily fee at the kiosk in the parking lot.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona

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Epic generational selfie at Desert Botanical Gardens

Recently, I traveled to Mesa, Arizona with my daughter to visit my sweet grandmother. I wanted to take her on what may be her last outdoor adventures. At 94 years old, I'm not sure how much longer she'll be around and the more memories I can build now, the more treasures I'll have to remember  when she's gone.

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix was our first adventure of the weekend For those who love learning about the local flora, this is the place. We got to see a dazzling array of cacti, amazing agave plants, and even found some flowers in bloom. I was surprised at how big some of the Cardon and Saguaro cacti can get.

 I didn't expect to see colors like purple on the cactus plant below.

The Botanical Gardens are set up in five loop trails and each has a different emphasis. The Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail introduced us to how people of the past lived in the desert. We even got to go inside a hut and escape the heat for a moment. The Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail gave us a glimpse of the vibrant colors found in the desert.

The entrance fee is $22 per person with student and senior discounts we were able to utilize. We were only able to stay about three hours before my sweet grandmother was worn out so it seemed a little bit expensive. In the end it was worth it just to see Grandma happy to be outside. 
While there is a restaurant on the premise, the cost was more than we wanted to pay for lunch. We found the Patio Cafe, a less expensive option, with window ordering and pickup. I don't know if it was just a bad day for the employee who helped us but she was really grumpy and impatient with us. If I were to ever go back, I wouldn't eat there again and would not recommend it. The food wasn't much better than the service. 

We enjoyed the rest on the patio while we ate and we made a new friend. He enjoyed the food crumbs more than we did. We tried not to feed up but he literally tried to take a piece of food right from my grandmother's hand. He's pretty cute, don't you think? 
It turned out to be a great day and I'm glad we discovered a new place. My grandmother has lived in the Phoenix are for twelve years and has always wanted to see the Desert Botanical Garden. It was fun to take her there for her first time.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ride 'Em Segway: Scottsdale Segway Tours

 Discovering Scottsdale, Arizona on a Segway.

I have traveled to Phoenix, Arizona area many times to visit my grandparents. My most recent trip was this last November with my sister. Though I love visiting my grandparents, their age and health does not permit them to venture very far from home. 

It dawned on me on my last trip that I've never seen Old Town Scottsdale, though I have always wanted to. While in the hotel lobby, I found a brochure for a two hour Segway Tour. Perfect! A fun way to see Old Town without taking too much time away from our grandparents.

 Though I've been on a Segway before, my sister had not. At Scottsdale Segway Tours, they spent an ample amount of time in the parking lot making sure we knew how to operate the Segway. It's actually easy to learn. The slight lean to turn reminded me of downhill skiing and since we're both skiiers we caught on quickly.

 We'd like to think we were pros, but we never did get a job offer. I've stopped waiting for the phone to ring.
 After our training session, we followed our guides through the Scottsdale Civic Center. Vendors were setting up for an event. After posing for photos in front of the fountain, we had a chance to see Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture. Scottsdale takes pride in promoting the arts and it is evident everywhere.

We worked our way toward the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. At the bridge, is an amazing sun dial (not pictured). I was glad I had the tour guides to show us how it worked. If I had walked to the bridge alone, I would have had no idea how they worked or what they were.

Near the bridge is the famous Goldwater Bell by Paolo Soleri. Even if we act silly, we were in awe of the incredible talent of this great wind chime artist. I love discovering artists I have never heard of.

 Segways are great fun, even if the only time you get your heart rate up is if someone walks in front of you and you forget how to stop. Luckily, we didn't run over anybody.

The tour wouldn't be complete without a ride through Main Street where the sculptures reminded us that Arizona is part of the "wild west." Lots of restaurants and shops await for those who want to explore more of Old Town after the tour. Our tour guides did an excellent job narrating as we rode and made sure to stop at all of the highlights. They even took lots of pictures for us so we could keep our hands on the handlebars.

Jack Knife by Ed Mell

 Not only was the tour amazing, we couldn't ask for better weather. Blue skies and warm weather is not something we see where we're from. Thanks Scottsdale Segway Tours for a great time.

**Not a sponsored post.**