Sedona, Arizona

Bell Rock

Bell Rock

That photo above was one of the first I took on our trip – believe it or not, it was taken from the car, through the window!

We arrived in Sedona pretty late in the afternoon after landing in Phoenix, getting the rental car, and driving in. We checked into our hotel, rested just a bit, and then headed off to climb Bell Rock! It was a cold night – mornings and evenings in the desert climate can get surprisingly cold.

Our plan for the week was to hit as many of the main energy vortex locations as possible.

Tuesday morning we got off to a slower start and began our adventure of finding our way to Shaman’s Cave – which, once upon a time, was more of a secret destination whose route was known only by a few. While it was still a bit tough to find thanks to partially-marked routes and winding desert roads that appear to go nowhere, apparently it is more widely known now as Robbers’ Rouse, and we were certainly not the only visitors to the site that day.

Sitting in the window of Shaman's Cave.

Sitting in the window of Shaman’s Cave.

It was a cooler day and the wind once we got up there was quite intense. But the views were breathtaking…

The view from Shaman's Cave!

The view from Shaman’s Cave!

In the weeks prior to our trip, I had visions of chanting in Shaman’s Cave, and that’s exactly what took place. We rested for a while, soaked up the sun on the ledge outside the window I was sitting in, and then descended to begin our journey back and move on to our next destination: Cathedral Rock!

Having taken longer than expected to find Shaman’s Cave, the sun had already begun to set when we made it to one of the Cathedral Rock trails. This one took us around the mountain, by a river and through a small forested area. I was only able to get photos in the dark – though they are still lovely. The moon was big and bright because two days later would be the full moon!

Cathedral Rock in the moonlight.

Cathedral Rock in the moonlight.

Wednesday was an easier early start and we arrived at the Airport Mesa trail by mid-morning. The trail goes up and down and around the mountain, giving you peeks of the private air base fenced in on the top of it. This was the view from near the top:

View from Airport Mesa Loop - Unedited

View from Airport Mesa Loop – Unedited

That photo has yet to be edited or touched up in any way – look at the blue of the sky! I love it.

After our hike around Airport Mesa, we moved on to Boyton Canyon – reportedly one of the strongest vortex locations in Sedona. It was a beautiful and warm day.

Boynton Canyon, nearing the top of the 'traditional' trail. Some of us ventured higher...

Boynton Canyon, nearing the top of the ‘traditional’ trail. Some of us ventured higher…

At the top we rested and enjoyed a group visualization meditation, while I went deeper into a meditative state and had one of the most powerful chanting experiences of my life.

I tried to do yoga at the top of the trail, but it was insanely windy and I kept falling over! I managed to do a few rounds of Surya Namaskar – which was magical – and some other asana but decided to wait to do more until I found a better location.

Thursday we travelled to the Grand Canyon. That was an experience, for sure, with countless amazing photography opportunities. I have yet to take a look at any of the panoramas I took on the computer yet – can’t wait to see how they turned out!

View from Grand Canyon - Unedited

View from Grand Canyon – Unedited

A quick preview of one of my favourite shots from the day – yet to be edited or touched up in any way.

Next time I go, I want to plan ahead to stay in the area so we can actually hike down and into the canyon. I have a feeling that would be quite the adventure.

Sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon!

Sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon!

Friday turned out to be more of a day to myself. Two of our group were going to be going their own way to meet up with an old friend of one of them and spend some time exploring Scottsdale and other areas. But I woke up with some severe pains that took a few hours to pass, so my third companion spent the good part of the day off-roading with the other two while I took care of myself.

Once it all passed for me, I had quite the nice day to myself! It was hot enough to strut around in a bikini, but the outdoor pool didn’t tempt me as much as I thought it would and I resolved to read with my legs draped over the edge in the water. When the sun in my face got to be too much, I found a wonderful little area behind the pool in some trees and by a fountain, and laid out my towel to enjoy the a good long yoga session. It was so peaceful and wonderful.

Not knowing when to expect my companions back, I grabbed a snack and bust out my iPad to see what was within walking distance to explore. I found a crystal shop that also sold fresh-made fruit and vegetable juices. I found a stunning large piece of Citrine that I bought to bring home for my yoga/healing space at home and enjoyed a delicious drink made of fresh beets, carrots, apple, cucumber, ginger, and parsley.

As I left to head back to the hotel, I noticed a thrift store that seemed affiliated with the Sedona Humane Society and decided to drop in and see what it was all about. Turns out, its a completely non-profit organization whose proceeds support the local Humane Society. What a wonderful initiative! I took a while to browse to see if I liked anything so I could contribute a bit, but unfortunately what suited me would not have fit into my suitcases to come home on a plane with.

Later that night, my one companion and I decided to go to a restaurant we had heard fantastic things about – the ChocolaTree. Turns out, we had been missing out on something truly amazing all week long, even though our practice of shopping at the local organic grocer and cooking back at the hotel studio was awesome, too.

The atmosphere and food were one-of-a-kind and filled with powerful positive energies. They call themselves vegetarian – they use bee pollen and ghee in some of the dishes and desserts – but there are tons of vegan options, too . Seriously, I sometimes want to open a restaurant/shop of my own and this was exactly the kind of environment I envisioned creating. Even the parking signs outside spoke of the completely unique perspective and energy this place offered…

ChocolaTree - the best place to eat in Sedona!

ChocolaTree – the best place to eat in Sedona!

The next day, Saturday, was spent exploring the final places we never got a chance to see: an Atlantis shop, the Tlaquepaque arts village, and a second hike to Bell Rock, but this time in the daylight.

Tlaquepaque Village was an amazing experience. We explored the most unique shops and got a chance to view some amazing artwork and sculptures.

The view from a sculpture gallery balcony in Tlaquepaque Village - a 'village' of arts, galleries, shops, restaurants, and amazing culture and architecture!

The view from a sculpture gallery balcony in Tlaquepaque Village – a ‘village’ of arts, galleries, shops, restaurants, and amazing culture and architecture!

But going to Bell Rock a second time was probably one of the highlights of the trip. It was a very hot day, and I got a chance to see how much harder the hike can be in higher heats. I had to ask my companion to carry my bag for me, and we stopped for a quick rest and a cool drink several times. During one of our rests, this was the view I saw:

The view from Bell Rock as we stopped for a rest during our second climb - it was a HOT day! How stunning is this shot?

The view from Bell Rock as we stopped for a rest during our second climb – it was a HOT day! How stunning is this shot?

And, getting higher to the top, I finally got a chance to do some of the yoga I had wanted to do on a mountain!

Eka Pada Raja Kapotanasana on Bell Rock - the second time we climbed it! This time in the daylight :)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotanasana on Bell Rock – the second time we climbed it! This time in the daylight 🙂

After our hike up Bell Rock, we hopped in the car and began our trip back to Phoenix. Our flight to Toronto left early Sunday morning so we didn’t even bother getting a hotel for that last night.

What a trip. What an experience! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity and financial availability to accompany my friends on this trip.

I know many of these photos are repeated from Instagram posts but I also know many people didn’t see those anyhow. I have more than 1,000 photos from my trip to go through and edit, which may take some time, but I look forward to sharing many more photos and in-depth stories for each of our destinations in the coming weeks!

Have any of you travelled through Sedona before or visited the vortex locations? I’d love to hear your stories!

Have a lovely day, my friends. xo

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