After visiting the majesty that is the Grand Canyon, we spent the night in Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is about an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon, up, up, up, to about 8,000 feet above sea level.
The main tourist attraction there is the ski resort. The mountains are tall and snow-capped and look just like you would imagine the Rockies. Even in town, there was snow everywhere on the ground, though there wasn’t a hint of it in the air. It seemed like the type of snow that had been there for a while.
We had one of the most delicious meals of the trip at Pasto. I had the goat cheese ravioli with candied beets:
Unfortunately, we didn’t spend much time hanging around Flagstaff because we were in a hurry to get to Sedona and make our way down Oak Creek Canyon.
A roughly 30-mile drive to Sedona from Flagstaff goes by very quickly. This is billed as one of the best drives in the Southwest because of what you see happening in the geology around you. And unlike the canyons of California, this road is well-traveled.
The rocks start turning red as you get further into the inferno that is Central Arizona:
Outside of Sedona, there are miles and miles of desert with these distinctive Red Rocks. I came to find out during the trip there that it is a haven for many types of people: artists (dozens of art galleries), desert hikers, fitness gurus, and middle-aged (+) people with money. Maybe it was the time of year that we visited (mid-March), but I saw very few families there. Most of the tourists were wearing linens and heads of silver hair.
I also came to realize that Sedona is a major mecca for people looking for spiritual guidance, relief, etc., in the desert. And/or some sort of physical healing.
All around Sedona, there were little shops set up where you could have your aura read or photographed, or where you could have hot rocks placed on your chakra, or something like that.
But the big draw, it seems, is the Vortexes. (yes, vortexes, not vortices)
There are a few of them placed around the outside of the city. You don’t have to actually stand directly on the vortex to feel the energy, they say, but if you do, you will be spiritually uplifted. Supposedly the confluence of the great energy in Sedona exists because there are so many people there who are on the New Age path of becoming all they can spiritually.
Well, it must be working at least a little because you can’t buy a house there for a middle-class wage. (Our bed and breakfast in Sedona was by far the most plush and luxurious of our trip — we stayed at Boots & Saddles, where we oddly enough met another couple traveling from West Virginia.) So on our treks around town, we went to a few places around Sedona that were near the vortexes, but I don’t know that I felt any different.
Maybe some people are affected by the heat, which makes them feel a different energy. I call that a hallucination.
I don’t mean to make light of something that so many people spend so much time, energy, and money to try to find here in the desert. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m not tuned into that wavelength. Accordingly, while I love-love-loved the scenery, I don’t know that it meant as much to me as it does to some people. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it:
I guess I just find it a little strange that an entire town’s flourishing tourism industry is built around a sort of spirituality in the desert. Does that make me strange that I think that?
Well, whatever the reason that people flock there, I would love to return with some proper hiking gear and really dig into the trails around Sedona because there are dozens of them. Until we meet again, Sedona.
In the meantime, I’m thinking of trying to replicate that goat cheese ravioli from Pasto in Flagstaff. Have you ever made your own pasta at home?