[Trail of the Month] Airport Loop and Airport Mesa

View from Airport Mesa Sedona AZ

A view from Airport Mesa

This is the perfect cold weather hike! Imagine soaking in the warmth of the sun on a chilly day while savoring gorgeous, panoramic vistas everywhere you look as you trek along a three-and-a-half mile circular path around Airport Mesa and its famed positive energy flow vortex. Talk about an energy boost!

Airport Loop is a wonderful introduction to Sedona’s red rock country because it provides great views of West Sedona and some of our most famous landmarks: Coffee Pot Rock, Chimney Rock, Capitol Butte (Thunder Mountain), Courthouse Butte, the Cockscombs, Wilson Mountain, Munds Mountain, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock – and (whew!) Sedona’s very own “pyramid mountain.” Yes, you can certainly hike this in warmer months, but in the summer it can get very hot, indeed, with hardly a shady spot for cover.

NOTE: If you’re with a group or a partner and one wants to do the hike and another just wants to meditate or soak in the vortex energy, this is an ideal choice.

How to Get to Airport Loop and Airport Mesa

There are two ways to get here:
• Main trailhead: From the roundabout uptown at the intersection of State Routes 179 and 89A, it is about one mile west to Airport Road. Turn left and go up about one-half mile to the trailhead with a small parking area for about a dozen cars.
• Secondary trailhead: Bandit Trail, a very short trail (.8 mile) that intersects with the Airport Loop. From the uptown roundabout (see above), drive 1-1/2 miles west and turn left on Shelby Drive. Keep going and bear left past the Sedona Recycles building. Parking will be on your right.

FAQs

• Open year round.
• Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
• Usage: Light to Moderate, but finding a parking spot at the trailhead can be difficult.
• Elevation gain: 300 feet up and down over the full length of the trail.
• Length: 3.5 miles round trip; 4.3 miles round trip if Tabletop trail (recommended for views) is included.
• Hiking time: about 2.5 hours round trip; another approximately 30 minutes or more with Tabletop trail.
• A Red Rock pass is mandatory, especially since this is a heavily used area.
• Facilities: none.
• Dogs allowed on a leash.

Special Tips:

• The trail is rocky and narrow at times, so hiking shoes or boots are recommended.
• This trail is NOT for small children unless they’re being carried.
• If you have a fear of heights, note that the south side beginning part of the trail is narrow and close to steep cliffs – thankfully, it’s quite short.
• Always take plenty of water, especially in warmer weather, and maybe a snack (remember, leave no trace).
• Take your camera – and binoculars are always helpful to appreciate the views.
• Parking: Early in the morning is a good time to avoid the rush and an almost always-full parking lot – especially on weekends. Sunset is the most popular time of day and it’s almost impossible to get a spot at this time. If you are determined to hike this trail but there is no room at all, try parking down the road and walking up or go to Bandit Trail (see “Secondary Trailhead” above). Avoid weekends unless you can come early in the morning.
• Convenient views: Up the road toward the airport is a lookout that is very popular, especially at sunset, for its phenomenal views – and there is plenty of parking right across the road!
• Dining: Check out the airport restaurant at the top of the road for a breakfast, lunch, or dinner with great views.

Airport Mesa (Vortex)

From the parking lot, look straight ahead and you’ll see an imposing red rock formation. Follow the trail toward it. In about 200 feet, follow the trail that leads to Overlook Point. It’s a short, steep climb that goats would love – about ¼ mile round trip – but well worth the view.
“Where is the vortex?” This is a common question, especially since there is no sign signifying its presence; but it’s not really in one specific spot. Some, however, feel the top of the rock formation harbors the strongest energy; others feel it’s the energy emanating from the steep, narrow canyon below that flows up to cover the mesa. As for the locals, the general airport mesa area is considered a vortex of what is termed positive, electric, or outflow, energy.

Airport Loop

From the parking lot, climb to the top of the small saddle and turn right to the trail that bends to the left. Right away, you’ll enjoy fabulous red rock views. It will be mostly level for the first mile, and then becomes an easy to moderate trek over basalt boulders. The trail will then become more level, drop down to a small wash, and ascend again to intersect with Table Top Trail at 1.7 miles.

Table Top Trail

This is a spur that is about a mile round trip with a gradual climb; at the end of the trail, you’ll see panoramic views of Sedona’s famous red rock formations that include a pyramid-shaped mountain and Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Courthouse Butte. After you return to the main trail, continue north for a moderate descent that goes northeast.

North side

On the north side of the loop, you’ll have great views of Coffee Pot. The trail also intersects with Carroll Canyon trail, then goes to the upper slope of the mesa.

Bandit Trail

About two miles in, Bandit Trail will be on your left; it leads down into West Sedona (see description of alternate trailhead above). Is it named after notorious robbers? Actually, no. Bandit was the name of the dog accompanying its owner, a local man, on this trail. Unfortunately, the pooch died while on the hike – and the owner buried it here. Yes, true story!

And finally . . .

The trail will continue to descend to a switchback and to a more level grade. It’s one more gradual climb to views of West Sedona, Capitol Butte, and Wilson Mountain. Then, before you know it, you’re back at Airport Road!

[Trail of the Month] Long Canyon, Deadman’s Pass, and Rachel’s Knoll

Long Canyon

Long Canyon in Sedona

If you’re in the mood for an easy and pleasant hike that ambles along for awhile along a level, and often sandy, wide, old jeep road, offers ambient, picturesque red rock scenery, is as perfect for a meditative stroll as it is for a large hiking group, and is also considered an area of powerful energies (it’s sometimes called the Long Canyon vortex), then this may be the ideal trail for you.  Many feel that the energy here is at once both serene and yet (gently) expansive and uplifting.  In other words, you just feel good here.

Sinaguan Ruins

As an extra added attraction, when you reach the end of the trail at a red sandstone cliff, you will find a few small Sinaguan Indian ruins and some rock pictographs. If you’re stoked for more action, you have the option of scrambling up more steep cliffs in the upper canyon and searching along narrow ledges for more old Sinaguan dwellings and some gorgeous caves. As always, though, please do not take anything from these sites and walk gently among them.

The Flora

As you enter the trail, you will notice it runs along an old streambed where, though it hardly ever harbors any water, riparian vegetation is still alive and well.  Along the way, the desert foliage of cypress, pinyon, juniper, yucca, Manzanita, agave, prickly pear gradually transitions, once you enter the canyon around 1.5 miles from the trailhead, to a few small ash and live oaks, then Ponderosa pines. Soon, you will be surrounded by Gambrel oaks and Douglas firs and leafy trees like oak, cottonwood, willow, sycamore, and then, deeper in, maple trees.

Note: It’s best to stay on the trail for, if you wander off, just stepping on those black soil (cryptobiotic) crusts that are alive with cyanobacteria will adversely affect this delicate ecosystem for years.

Red Rock Scenery

The ever present, but always magnificent, carved red rock buttes and cliffs have some special names here – try and pick out Steamboat Rock, Wilson Mountain, and Maroon Mountain amid all the other spires and grand formations still yet unnamed.

How to Get Here:

From uptown at the roundabout, drive west to West Sedona about three miles to Dry Creek Road. Turn right and drive about a mile and a half to Long Canyon Road (FR 152D); turn right again and continue for about 0.5 miles to the Long Canyon trailhead on your left.

 FAQs:

  • Open year round.
  • Difficulty: Easy for the first 3 miles, then progressing to a moderate level.
  • Usage: Light to Moderate. Generally, you’ll have the trail mostly to yourself.
  • Elevation gain: 1,134 feet over the round trip full length of the trail.
  • Hiking time: about 4 hours round trip.
  • Length: 7.7 miles round trip
  • Red Rock pass required
  • Facilities: none
    • No motorized vehicles allowed in the wilderness. Mountain bikes permitted until about .9 miles to the juncture, where you will either turn back or turn left to continue on Deadman’s Pass.
    • Dogs and horses allowed.

 Special Tips

  • Sandals for warmer weather are fine, but if you plan on going more than the 3 miles and plan on climbing, especially at the end of trail, wear hiking boots.
  • Always take plenty of water and perhaps pack a snack (remember, leave no trace).
  • Suggestion: Binoculars and/or a camera.
  • Great for trail running!
  • If you happen to see or hear a helicopter buzzing about, don’t panic, they’re not after you. It’s just the occasional skyward red rock tour.
  • You’ll notice a resort development in the distance to your right. This is where you will enter to get to Rachel’s Knoll (see below).

A Quick Glance at What’s Ahead:

  • Mile 1:  Flat, mostly wide trail to Dead Man’s Pass Trail split.
  • Mile 1.5:  You’ll begin to enter the mouth of the canyon.
  • Mile 2:  Easy going on mostly level trail through desert and riparian ecosystem.
  • Mile 2.5:  You’ll cross a wash and the canyon walls will start to close in (not like in a horror movie, though)
  • Mile 3:  You’ll come to wash crossings marked with cairns (red rock stone mounds).
  • Mile 3.5:  Now it gets rugged with canyon crevices and some climbing.
  • Mile 3.85:  By this point, the trail fades out along the canyon wall.

 

Option: Deadman’s Pass

About a mile into the Long Canyon Trail (see above), you’ll see a signpost indicating Deadman’s Pass to your left.  Whether you’re atop a horse or a mountain bike (and if the latter, you must either turn back or go left), this is a great trail that offers easy riding and connects to Boynton Canyon Trail.  For hiking, it is approximately 30 minutes one way, with an elevation gain of 300 feet, and is rated “easy.”

 

Option: Rachel’s Knoll

 This is a very special place, especially for meditating, that has a long history in Sedona.  It was originally owned by a woman named Rachel who found it after a great deal of looking for the perfect piece of land.  She immediately realized its special energy and decided, because the land had been sacred to the area’s Native Americans, to open one portion, the Knoll, to the public so that everyone could enjoy it and honor those who had lived here before. You can view the complete history of Rachel’s Knoll by Pat Krause here. OPEN 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day.

Directions to Rachel’s Knoll:

  • After your Long Canyon hike (or before), head to the end of the road and you will approach the Seven Canyons Resort.
  • At the gate, just tell the guard that you are going to Rachel’s Knoll. He will give you directions and usually will not ask you to sign an agreement. At the knoll, you will be able to park at a small, unpaved lot right next to it.
  • Walk up to the area and you’ll notice a path that goes around and through the knoll.
  • MEDITATE and enjoy – this is the perfect spot because there is hardly ever anyone here!

 

 

 

A Sedona New Year 2013

New Year in Sedona 2013

[Written by Mary McLean] With Sedona touted on so many websites as an ideal destination for art-oriented activities, outdoor adventures, spiritual pursuits, spa vacations, and just spectacular beauty, it’s not surprising that an international travel blog, aka demifantasia.org, lists Sedona as one of the world’s Top Seven Places (including Rio’s Copacabana Beach and Austria’s Innsbruck) to celebrate the New Year.

 Is It Time for a Change?

Have you thought about what you will be doing this New Year?Will the tried and true traditions–watching the ball drop amid cheering crowds in New York’s Times Square, the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game, making resolutions you have no intention of keeping, or maybe partying and jousting your way through noisy crowds on an extravagant beach or skiing holiday – work for you?

If your eyes just glazed over with boredom, you’re not alone. Though usually distinguished by sensory over indulgences, the New Year is still all about a fresh start, a new perspective, and, for more and more people,a desire for a more authentic and spiritually fulfilling life.And it doesn’t have to be tedious – in fact, this could possibly your most exciting and fun New Year ever.  Really.

 A Sedona New Year Takes It Up a Notch-or Two!

What with Mayan (and other indigenous peoples) predictions of planetary transformation on all levels – some of which may already have been reflected in your own life – you would have to be a hermit to not have heard that this New Year could be unlike any other. In fact, 2013 has been touted as the doorway to the evolution of a brand new world of peace and love.

And remember – Sedona is considered a renowned planetary “power spot” famed for accelerating spiritual transformation. If you want to catch the “vibe” of intensely positive earth energies, a “power spot”- like Machu Picchu or Glastonbury or Sedona – is a great place to start the New Year.And we promise you won’t be bored.

Imagine modern indulgences – spas, gourmet dining, and nightlife-juxtaposed by abundant outdoor activities in a red rock fantasy land perfect for peaceful introspection from the madding crowd.If that’s not enough, Sedona is a place where you will feel very supported in making the changes you desire for your life. What more could you want for the New Year?

How to Prepare 

You may need to do nothing at all except toarrive in Sedona with an open mind, a real desire for and commitment to realizing your inner truth, and the courage to open your heart.

If you like to journal and you have been keeping one – great! If not, consider taking some time to write down what you wish to change in your life – beginning with you!This offers greater clarity and focus for the adventure ahead.

Read this article for some great ideas for journaling before, during, and after your trip.

Remember those resolutions? What do you really want? How can you be more of who you are to achieve greater awareness? Keep open to what you truly desire within and not necessarily what is sanctioned by society. Once you really reflect on your life and consider the positive changes you would like to see, you might be surprised that what you thought you wanted has evolved to something quite different. That’s because you’re listening to your heart.

And go to visitsedona.com to book lodging, activities, and restaurants; if lodging is scarce, consider Cottonwood, Camp Verde, or nearby areas.

 Extraordinary Everyday Activities

  1. Visit the famed vortexes. Go to this website’s site index for in-depth information. You’ll be amazed.
  2. Take a hike or bike on a multitude of trails surrounded by majestic red rock sculptures. Stop, look, listen, and…
  3. Meditate like you never have before among the red rocks. (You’ll have to find out what this means for yourself).
  4. Take a jeep tour oriented to your preferences – there’s something for everyone here.
  5. Book a fabulous spa experience to ease your mind, body, and spirit into 2013.
  6. Check here for activity updates.

 Special New Year Events and Retreats

  • Sedona Mago Retreat is hosting a special four-day New Year Retreat to help you connect to the source of your inner power and facilitate “self-reflection, healing, and powerful insights.” For more information, click here.
  • Winter Solstice 2012 Workshop – Dec. 20-23.  Lead by Haejung Jung of  Sedona Meditation center. Inca ceremony by Wachan and Martica.  Includes sunrise meditation, new year yoga, drumming, and collaborative healing. Held at Sedona Mago Retreat. For more information, click  here.
  • The Sedona Method’s 6-Day Holiday Retreat helps you to “dive deeply in the limitless, beauty, love and peace that you are.” For more information, click here.
  • New Year’s 6-Day Retreat at Enchantment Resort facilitated by Louix Dor Dempriey. Illuminating discourses, personal guidance, hikes, etc. For more information, click here.
  • Crossing Worlds Journey – Dec. 29 & 30:  Mystical Nature Shamanic Journey, Inner Pathways/Conscious Evolution Soul Journey Session, Past – Future Life, Redreaming Ceremony, Child Mystic Soul Journey Session, Soul Retrieval and Extraction Shamanic Healing Session.  For more information, click here.

New Year’s Eve

  • Unity of Sedona, 7:00: A Course In Miracles; and Sedona Oneness; Blessing, a transfer of Divine Energy for Awakening to Oneness. For more information, click here.
  • Preparing for 2013: Experiential Seminar New Year’s Eve Sunset Program with ceremonial leader,Uqualla, of the Havasupai Tribe. For more information, click here.
  • 7 Centers YogaAnnual New Year’s Eve Kirtan with the Kirtan Wallahs to “Chant in the New Year” 9 p.m. For more information, click here.
  • OM in the New Year, Indian dancing, kirtan, and vegetarian feast. For more information, click here.
  • Some Traditional Celebrations:
    • Enjoy dinner, drinks, and music and ring in the New Year at Reds Restaurant of Sedona Rouge
    • Dinner, comedy, and music to toast the New Year at Los Abrigados Resort.

New Year’s Day

  • Circle of Power Ceremony, a teaching and participatory drum healing ceremony to evoke powerful cosmic energies for new beginnings. Fore more information, click here.
  • New Year’s Blessing Ceremony for the 2013 Medicine Year with Uqualla of the Havasupai Tribe. For more information, click here.

 Even if you can’t decide among these enticing options, what are you waiting for? Because Sedona is waiting for you. Come and celebrate and gain new inspiration and insight for what could be the most important year of your life.Come to Sedona for the New Year!

 

Sedona Chakra Healing Arts Center

With dark, richly colored floors reminiscent of the earthy hues of an ancient forest, pale walls, natural wood beamed ceilings, and a Zen-like interior design that features a traditional Korean door, plants, bamboo, and pure, simple surfaces and lines, the new Chakra Healing Arts Center makes you feel as if you’ve ascended (via its cinnabar-colored stairs, of course) to a sanctuary of harmony and peace. Your face relaxes, a smile curves your lips and, with a deep breath, you quietly sigh, “Ah-h-h-h.”

Enter the Serenity

It feels almost sumptuous within these walls, and that is because the center’s carefully orchestrated simplicity of design helps to create an atmosphere that feels balanced, nurturing, and peaceful.  Such qualities are intrinsic and expertly revealed within the center’s comprehensive programs for physical, spiritual, and energetic healing, and also reflected in the hearts and minds of each practitioner. Every service, in fact, is highly personalized and oriented toward this goal and given within softly lit mini-sanctuaries of alluring tranquility.

Many healing centers are unique, but the Sedona Chakra Healing Arts Center is unlike any other healing center in Sedona or perhaps in the country. Its philosophy and mission is based on a humanitarian ideal known in Korea as “Hong Ik” – which means to “advance the welfare of all humanity” as well as transcend individual limitations for the good of the earth and the human race.

 The Therapies

 “We practice the most natural forms of healing and medicine,” said Banya Lim, the director of the center, “by combining ancient and modern therapies. We want people to know that, with the right guidance, the body can heal itself, and we honor the body’s innate ability to do so. We also help people to select the therapy that will best serve them.”

 Massages: Among those offered are the highly unique Hwal Gong Meridian Massage, from a healing tradition almost 10,000 years old that features highly specific motions and techniques; Chakra: Healing, Aromatherapy, and Brain Relaxation Massage; and, of course, Reflexology.

Healings: These include LifeParticle Healing, Brain Relaxation, Position Therapy, Spiritual Acupuncture, and Mago Energy Healing.

Position Therapy and Training, for example, is based on energy principles. Simply by holding one’s body in different postures, meridians can be opened. These meridians connect to different organs of the body, which are, in turn, connected to specific emotions. Thus, blocked emotions are released. “It’s really quite effective,” Banya said.

Spiritual Acupuncture is a term coined and trademarked by Banya and a tribute to her mother. With three generations of healers preceding her, Banya was introduced to their secrets by her mother, an acupuncturist, intuitive, healer, and herbalist. In past years, acupuncture in Korea was a man’s profession; for a woman to practice it, combined with these other techniques, was very unusual, and “energy” was seldom discussed. Her mother was forced to be reticent about her practice. Banya was certain, however, that these skills were valuable and should be integrated into her practice.  “I decided not to be shy about it and bring back the original teachings.”

She explained that spiritual acupuncture is based on the understanding that our composition is physical, spiritual, and energetic; all must be tapped to help create healing. “Energy is the voice of our spirit,” Banya explained, “and the quality of the pulse reveals the state of the spirit and determines the acupuncture treatments prescribed. Everyone has different blockages that reflect the condition of one’s energetic and spiritual bodies.”

In great pain, one man literally crawled through her office door after falling off a horse. After three treatments, he felt fine. “They took x-rays three months later and discovered a broken vertebrae from the accident that had since healed,” Banya smiled.

Another client suffered recurring skin cancer. “They had cut it away each time it appeared and now it was on her nose. She was horrified that necessary surgery would disfigure her.” With herbs and acupuncture, it was completely cured, with no more recurrences.

Readings: Intuitive Readings, Chun Bu Kyung Tao Card Readings, and Past Life Reading and Healing offer real insight and assistance for healing. “Past life readings can be very valuable for healing,” said Banya, who was trained by Brian Weiss, M.D. An expert in the field, Dr. Weiss believes that past life regressions provide the keys to healing imbalances and revealing one’s spiritual purpose.

Another offering, the Chun Bu Kyung Tao Card Reading, is quite profound.  Chun Bu Kyung is an ancient Taoist text of 81 characters that are a numerical representation of the laws of the cosmos and is based on the understanding that everything is part of a cosmic harmony. By realizing their innate divine potential, humans can become one with the essence of the universe and embody creativity, peace, and love. These characters describe this process of awakening and regeneration and each holds a specific energy and conveys a particular message.

Trainings: To help people heal themselves and others, trainings in LifeParticle, Third Eye Opening, Energy Opening, and LifeParticle Guided Meditation are offered.

Future Opportunities…

If you would love to know more about these therapies, the center will be offering workshops on spiritual acupuncture, group acupuncture, energy healings, group past life, and position therapy. Visit the center’s website for dates and times as well as more detailed information: www.sedonachac.com.

Collaborative Healing Experience at Sedona Meditation Center

 “This has been a very hard and exhausting week and today I felt, well, so empty, but then after this class, and sending and working with energy, I feel full again,” Frank said, bursting into a smile.

Others in the circle of sharing after Wednesday’s Collaborative Healing nodded in agreement.  Everyone seemed calm, centered, and full of light.

 Tapping into the Rhythm   

Led by J at the Sedona Meditation Center, the LifeParticle collaborative healing  class is beautifully designed to create an amazing experience that is almost effortless.

Relaxing the body and mind to experience LifeParticles

LifeParticle is a term coined by meditation expert Ilchi Lee and refers to the smallest energy particles that compose all of life. He introduced the term in his New York Times bestseller, The Call of Sedona: Journey of the Heart.

Music with a spirited and energetic beat greets you when you arrive, and everyone enthusiastically gathers in a circle to start belly tapping, which helps create circulation in the body. As they tap, each person takes turns counting to ten until the total reaches about two hundred.  Then, each person takes turns with their partner to lightly pound, massage, and gently scratch the other’s back, which ends with a gentle massage to the lower back area.

“There are many ways to get circulation,” J explained to the class, “but two easy methods are tapping the abdomen to feel the vibration and heat, which creates good energy circulation, and the second is movement, especially dancing! Now we have something very happy for you to watch.”

With this, the room darkened, and we watched a very funny video clip of twin babies in their high chairs who, when lively music started playing, immediately reacted with joy and moved in sync with the music’s rhythm.

“You see,” J smiled, “we can be like these babies and move with our own inner rhythm, it is our thoughts that stop us.”

With her gentle and caring direction, we closed our eyes and began to move, shake, and dance to music that almost in itself enlivened the body. “This is special music,” J said. And it seemed so. It was easy to move to it. Soon the pace quickened with drums and cymbals and Haejung gently encouraged us to keep in sync and just allow our bodies to flow naturally with the beat.

 Visualizing Energy Particles

 When the music stopped and our LifeParticles were well circulated, we stood with eyes closed, legs apart, knees bent, and palms up to feel the energy vibration as we focused on our palms and moved our hands up and down very slowly. It was a great exercise to start feeling the energy that we had stimulated through movement just before.

Every exercise was beautifully accompanied by ideal music that helped it to flow naturally and easily.

Energy meditation with LifeParticle Cards

Now we envisioned a ball of energy on our palms that grew bigger and bigger until it enveloped us. Next, we envisioned raindrops in the form of LifeParticles coming down that entered our bodies and grew brighter and brighter. We were becoming Light. “You are the Universe,” J said softly. “Now say, I am the Universe, I am the Universe.”  We visualized bright sunshine from heaven going to our hearts and saw our hearts opening and all darkness disappearing. “Keep receiving sacred energy to your soul, your heart and soul is blooming, and LifeParticles are coming down to your heart and blooming it,” she repeated gently.

Receiving and Sending Energy   

 After some time of practicing this, we were ready to partner and practice sending LifeParticles to each other.  Each segment of the practice was guided in a very gentle but supportive manner by our teacher and included sharing with our partner what we had felt in terms of the energy created.  It helped us to further comprehend and relate to how and what we were doing in working with the LifeParticles.

The next exercise was in gathering in a circle around anyone who wanted to experience the healing effect of LifeParticles from everyone.  J led us through each of the steps to using the LifeParticle Cards to send LifeParticles to two people, Christina and Thomas, in the circle’s center.

Christina was excited about sharing her experience. “I was very aware that my circulation had increased and an abundance of energy flowed through me! My heart, arteries, and even capillaries opened to receive light, energy, and love. My heart opened with all the love that was sent, and I felt a helmet of energy around my head when energy was sent to my face. And my body felt like it kept adjusting, like my shoulder that’s out of alignment went back into alignment.”

Thomas couldn’t speak right away because he wanted to stay in the energy for as long as he could. After class, he confided, “This was my first time, and it is so relaxing and yet I feel awakened. I feel very blessed and very guided to come here. I’ve done meditation, but have never felt the energy as intensely as this. The partner technique is very interesting. It wasn’t interfering at all, which surprised me. Instead, it was enhancing to the energy!”

Sharing Effortless Experiences

At the end of the class, everyone stayed in the circle and shared what the class had meant to them.

“What I discovered,” Lynn said, “is the LifeParticle routine serves to give energy back. It’s a peaceful approach, letting the body do the directing, and puts energy back into the body without stressing the adrenals. I’ve done yoga and t’ai chi in the past, and it’s stressed my body because I have adrenal problems. This doesn’t!”

People sharing their experiences in a circle

Other comments ranged from, “I feel wonderful!” to “I feel very peaceful” to “I feel new again” to “I am realizing through this that I need to open up to those people who aren’t loving, who are difficult, and that’s what’s holding me back. I need to open my heart more.”

At the end of class, J encouraged everyone to do LifeParticle meditation about five minutes every day. “I’m grateful to offer this collaborative healing class  to the Sedona community,” she said. “People find their genuine intention to help others through this experience.  We realize how much we want to love and to be loved.”

“You know, this center and this class is Sedona’s best kept secret,” said Thomas. “We’ve got to get the word out!”

Open to everybody, LifeParticle Collaborative Healing is held at 6pm every Wednesday at the Sedona Meditation Center for free.  For more information, call the center at 928-282-3600 or visit their website.

 

What Makes Your Sedona Trip Spiritual?

Spiritual Sedona

[Written by Mary McLean]

“I’m not very spiritual,” said Ken, a retired businessman. “She’s more so,” he smiled, and glanced at his wife, Mary Lou. “But there’s something I feel in my body and my mind that seems to draw me to Sedona and almost demands I look deeper into my spiritual being. The scenery is beautiful, but that’s not what it is – behind it is the feeling of spirit.”  Mary Lou quickly added, “To me, all of Sedona is a vortex!”

The Rise in Spiritual Travel

Ah, the vortexes. Google “spiritual travel” and you’ll find a flood of sites recommending places to go for spiritual illumination – with Sedona prominent among them. On NBC News Online, Yahoo! News, Sherman Travel, and indie travel site, Bootsnall, Sedona ranks up there with Mt. Kailash, The Vatican, Glastonbury Tor, Ayers Rock, and Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment, as one of earth’s sacred spots and/or spiritual destinations.

Travel has always been a means for self-discovery, but if you suspect that this proliferation of information for spiritual travel indicates an increased interest, you’re right. Though there are no solid statistics yet available on this travel niche, reported estimates of people on some sort of spiritual trek range from 300 million in 2007 to, more recently, approximately 600 million annual religious and spiritual voyages. It’s an understatement to say that the tourism industry is well aware that spiritual tourism has become a hot trend.

There seems to be good reason.  Our increasingly fragmented and fast paced lives have created and will continue to create such stress that the World Health Organization predicts depression and mental health problems will be the second-largest disease by 2020.

In spite of international tensions and economic troubles, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that, “With a record 467 million tourists traveling in the first half of 2012, international tourism remains firmly on track to reach one billion tourists by the end of the year. In 2011, travel for leisure, recreation and holidays accounted for just over half of all international tourist arrivals (51% or 505 million arrivals). Some 15% of international tourists reported travelling for business and professional purposes, and another 27% travelled for other purposes, such as visiting friends and relatives, religious reasons and pilgrimages, health treatment, etc.” The remaining 7% is “not specified.” Thus, even a conservative percentage of the 51% and 27% statistics would indicate a healthy number of travelers seeking a spiritually oriented experience and/or destination.

And that includes Sedona. Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, quoted visitor surveys indicating that “visitation for spiritual/metaphysical [purposes] has grown from an average of 7% in 2005 to an average of 21% in 2011/12.” In addition, she says, “Almost 10% of our members have spiritual/metaphysical businesses.”

Seeking One’s Truth through Travel

What is “spiritual tourism?”  It received a boost from Elizabeth Gilbert’s 1996 book, Eat Pray Love, a New York Times bestseller for 187 weeks and a solid testimony to people’s yearning for spiritual self-understanding through, you guessed it, travel.  There are many definitions of “spiritual tourism,” but whether it’s to experiment with new perspectives, find solace and peace from the madding crowd, recharge one’s spirit and mind, find stimulation for a mundane, unsatisfactory life in a new environment, seek personal liberation, sort out life’s problems, or countless other reasons, one goal of spiritual travel seems to underlie all others – to find one’s authentic self and one’s place in the world. As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And disconnecting from one’s familiar environment has proven helpful throughout the ages to help discern one’s true self.

What do people seek in their destination?  They usually gravitate toward something authentic and real that is rooted in that particular place, whether through history or reputation – and all such places seem to have one thing in common: an integral physical and/or energetic beauty and grandeur. Of course, the extraordinary spiritual experience is highly valued.

Celeste’s experience

When Celeste, a Michigan attorney, was asked what made her Sedona trip spiritual, she replied, “Three things – the beauty, the amazing energy that gives me a sense of timelessness and is so calming and centering, and the Native American history and traditions.” Any special experiences?  “Well, yes.” She looked nervous. “I had an amazing vision at Boynton Canyon. About my life here as an Indian. I thought I was going crazy until I told my friend who lives here. She just said, ‘oh, that’s great.’”

It has been said that a pilgrim is part tourist and a tourist is part pilgrim. Is there really much of a difference?  One visitor said it all.

Paule’s experience

“I teach rites of passage,” said Paule of Quebec. “Each year I bring a group to Sedona for this. It’s really a pilgrimage, as in ancient times, for regeneration and renewal, an inner journey combined with travel. You feel the energy of the land inside and out – and it’s very transformative! People love it here.”

The Lure of Transformation in Sedona

It’s no wonder Sedona has become world famous. Its powerful energies and its long history of sacred use, first recognized by the Native Americans and rooted in their traditions, has captured the world’s attention and provided the foundation for a cornucopia of advanced healing arts geared toward the spiritual pilgrim. Since many visitors (and residents) partake of these modalities, we asked some practitioners about the transformations they’ve witnessed in people.

 “Profound changes can occur, anything is possible when people are open to their super conscious,” said Rahelio, a shamanic guide. Through shamanic techniques that include conscious breathing, drumming, etc., he connects people to the healing energies of the land, guides them to an altered state, and helps them break out of negative programming to reach their authentic self.  “It’s about claiming their power to take responsibility for the creation of their life,” he emphasized. After one session, an “infertile” woman called a month later with “expectant” news. “Anything can be healed when the subconscious mind lines up with positive intent.” One man had an extreme fear of death. A strange voice mumbled, “He doesn’t deserve to live,” during the session.  It was an entity. “I dialogued with this spirit and got rid of it,” said Rahelio. The man’s outlook was vastly improved after the session.

Many people connect spirituality to the healing energies of the land.

Genia Sullivan, Director of Education at Sedona Mago Retreat, said that participants attend mostly for two reasons: they feel a need to quiet their mind and reconnect with themselves, or they have recently suffered through a difficult life event and want to recover their wholeness. “They already realize their answers are within, but that’s hard to do with all of life’s distractions. The most results come when participants go within to get a message from their soul.” One attendee had had a difficult divorce, had stuffed everything inside, and felt selfish if she focused on herself. Through the profound energy of the land and specific meditation and instruction, she released and accepted her feelings without judgment and felt the love in her soul. These realizations helped her gain self-acceptance and the conviction that her soul is her partner in life that could help her navigate everything. “She even started to see her divorce as a blessing,” Genia smiled. “It was amazing.”

Carl’s experience

Some are led here for very different spiritual reasons. Carl, from Denver, said, “I’m not spiritual, but my wife felt a lot of spiritual energy here and spent as much time here as possible. I’d really like to understand that more. She’s in the car.” Could she join us? “It’s her ashes – I’ve come back to bury her at Cathedral Rock. I’ve found the perfect spot,” he smiled.

After extraordinary spiritual experiences that changed her world, Dr. Karen von Merveldt-Guevara ventured outside the boundaries of traditional medicine to practice holistic healing bridging Western, Eastern, and Tribal medicine. “It’s physics,” she says, “and it’s been around a long time. I can connect to the subconscious mind and see the disease from all angles – emotional, ancestral, physical, and beyond.” One patient had neurological problems similar to Parkinson’s and now walks independently and engages in sports. Through her healing methods, and by reactivating memory, Karen helped one woman with a history of sexual abuse come to peace within and let the trauma go during the session. “This kind of healing happens when you make peace with the darkness and can accept it with love,” she said.

While it’s true there are world class healers in Sedona who travel to reach an international clientele, many would agree that it’s the land, the red rocks, and the earth energies here that provide a powerful base for opening one’s heart and mind to allow personal transformation. This, indeed, is the authentic Sedona.

 And for Angus….

“It’s the beauty of the area, you can travel anywhere in Sedona and feel its uniqueness,” Angus of Edinburgh said in a thick brogue. “The hiking is amazing, you feel totally away from the rest of the world, and it’s the feeling of God when you see the area, especially Bell Rock and Airport Mesa. It’s truly recharging for the soul.”

Guide to Sedona Ecotourism

The incredible beauty of Sedona is a magnet for tourism, and it’s not just because of the iron oxide in the red rocks.  Every year, millions of visitors are awed by Sedona’s breathtaking views, the rich diversity of Oak Creek, its abundance of outdoor activities, its history and cultural heritage, its geology, its famed vortexes and the special energies here, its artistic community, advanced healing modalities, spas, and, above all, the land. In fact, there is nowhere else in the world quite like Sedona.

But there is a catch.  Sedona’s exquisite beauty is also housed within such a delicate and fragile environment that, with so much usage, it could easily become irreversibly damaged without constant efforts to promote preservation and sustainable growth – for the sake of all who live and visit here, for future generations, and for the sake of the earth.

With great diligence, Sedona has addressed this issue through the development of many programs and organizations – with a special focus on sustainable, or “eco” tourism.  Since you’re probably curious about what you, as a visitor, can do to help preserve Sedona’s pristine environment, let’s explore that through a sampling of activities that are eco-friendly, along with some tips as to how you can help us keep it that way.

Recreation

Bird Watching

The Coconino National Forest has over 200 miles of trails within red rock, pine forest, and alpine tundra landscapes. Go fishing at forest lakes, ride horseback, and hike and bike to your heart’s content. This whole valley is a paradise for birding enthusiasts – there is even a special festival in the spring.

Eco-tips: It’s crucial to avoid “bushwhacking” your way through brush and foliage and to stay on all established trails. This helps to protect the fragile ecosystem, including the extremely delicate, black patches of biological soil crust that help maintain it. Just one footstep or tire track can destroy decades of “cryptobiotic” growth; in fact, without these organisms, sand dunes would dominate the Sedona landscape – no kidding!

If you’re taking food along, remember to always “pack it out” and leave no litter – even crumbs!  Though souvenirs may be tempting, “Leave No Trace” also means leaving plants, rocks, pottery shards, etc. where you found them. Take photos!

Water Activities

Besides Coconino Forest lakes and streams, the Verde River, Slide Rock, and Oak Creek are the area’s water playgrounds for great fun, with lots of opportunity for other outdoor activities.

Verde River, the state’s only wild river, offers fishing (trout and other species), boating, including whitewater rafting and canoeing along some stretches, as well as hiking, biking, etc.  There is also the 480-acre Verde River Greenway State Natural Area for fishing and canoeing.

Oak Creek and Slide Rock ParkOak Creek is a great place for fishing and water play, but just a few miles north of Sedona you can wade along the creek and have a blast sliding down Slide Rock’s natural rock water chute. Kids love it!

Eco-tips: If you would like to know how to help Sedona and the Verde Valley preserve their precious water supply, here are some suggestions: take shorter showers, reuse towels and linens rather than having them laundered every day, refrain from pouring chemicals or medicines down the drain, and make sure your lodging has low flow water fixtures and energy efficient fixtures.

In addition, we suggest turning off lights and air conditioning when you’re not using them, using the recycling bins around town, and going to farmers’ markets – in short, as an environmentally minded person, just doing what you do at home!

 Environmental Education/Geology/Archaeology/Culture/History

Sure, there are hiking and biking trails and great opportunities for bird watching, but Red Rock State Park is also an important environmental education facility dedicated to preserving the area’s riparian ecosystem.  Movies, exhibits, a junior ranger program, guided nature, geology, and birding hikes, plus lectures on local geology, archaeology, and Native American culture and history make this an ideal place for understanding the area’s ecology.

V-Bar-V Heritage Site

Verde Valley Archaeology Center is “the” place for learning about regional archaeology through educational exhibits and events. The center works in partnership with other organizations as well as Native Americans and is focused on archaeological sites preservation and the care, use, and management of artifacts.

There are some fascinating Native American sites to explore, such as the Sinagua Indians’ cliff dwellings and rock art at Honanki, Palatki, Montezuma Castle, Walnut Canyon, the pueblos at Tuzigoot, and the Verde Valley’s largest petroglyph site, the V-Bar-V Heritage Site.

Eco-tips:  Archaeological sites provide valuable keys to understanding our past, but are very fragile and require diligent care. After all, they are actually remnants of our past and quite irreplaceable! Here are some tips to follow:

  • Do not climb, sit, or stand on walls – extra weight will hasten deterioration.
  • Do not pick up or move any rocks on the site.
  • Cultural deposits, including the soil, are important for scientific tests used in reconstructing past environments, such as the kind of plants utilized by the inhabitants of long ago. Adding anything (such as offerings, etc.) to a site destroys the dating potential.
  • Absolutely no fires, candles, smudging or smoking allowed.
  • Camping is discouraged at all sites, and forbidden at Honanki or Palatki.
  • No graffiti, scratching, carving, etc. is allowed. The oil from your hands can cause deterioration and even hinder the potential for dating the artifact. Therefore, do not touch the rock art in any way!
  • No bicycles or vehicles allowed past the parking lot.
  • Stay on any trails provided.
  • No pets allowed.
  • Digging, removing artifacts, damage and defacement of archaeological resources on public lands, may result in  felony and/or misdemeanor prosecution with imprisonment up to ten years and fines up to $100,000.
  • Report any vandalism on a 24-hour line at 928-526-0600.

 We know that you will love Sedona as much as we do and we very much appreciate your interest in keeping Sedona and its surrounding environs as beautiful as possible.  Every little bit counts, and with your efforts, we will all be enjoying the magnificence of Sedona and its pristine beauty for years to come!

 

Simple Native American Rituals to Perform at the Vortexes

Chief Ayanvli Rick, Cherokee Medicine Elder and Pipe Carrier, and her husband, Lakota-Dakota Medicine Elder and Reverend Joseph Grey Wolf, shared some Native American wisdom as well as a few simple rituals to practice at the Sedona vortexes.

“This is to bring truth to this table in a ceremonial way,” Joseph Grey Wolf explained as he waved a condor and eagle feather over the burning sage, cedar, and sweet grass.  The sweet herbal smoke wafted around us and we breathed in deeply as we sat in the bright Sedona sun, just steps away from their inipi, or sweat lodge.  With the traditional gifts of tobacco having been presented, we were ready to begin.

Since Joseph had just returned from vision quest, Ayanvli gently reminded him of the meeting’s purpose.

“Ah-h,” he said, and nodded solemnly. “So first, the vortexes. One comes to a vortex with a desire to know who they are. The vortex calls you – it’s a spiritual pilgrimage. The physical beauty here allows a feeling of awe, but an epiphany, an intuitive realization, comes when one has a desire to feel the inner spirit.  One has to have balance within to feel what the vortex is sharing with you. It’s important to stop, sit, and just be within the vortex space and let go so we can hear messages. In other words,” and he pointed to the center of his chest, “here is the vortex, and once it intersects with the earth’s vortex, you can experience what is said will happen, but that might not even be what happens.  In other words, we’ve all arrived with a purpose to step out as who we really are –  a spiritual entity to experience the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual life.”

Opening to Creator

 Joseph stood up to demonstrate the first ritual and held his arms out parallel to the earth. In holding out one’s hands to all “people,” including every form of life, animate or inanimate, one extends oneself and focuses on the desire to connect to all possibilities of how divine power will come through – and to be open to those possibilities.

“Breathe deeply,” he said, “and connect to source. Breathe in and acknowledge the breath of love within your heart with forgiveness and acceptance. Breathe in love and what Creator is sharing.  Now exhale on your hand with the breath of gratitude and let go of whatever applies to you in that moment. Let go of ego and become the eagle. This is the recognition of spirit with love and gratitude. The eagle is the messenger and takes our prayers to Creator. Breathing in love and exhaling gratitude opens our spirit to the possibilities of what Creator has in store.”

 Besides being a planetary power spot, Sedona’s huge underground aquifer, red rocks of iron oxide, and imbedded crystals all contribute to it being a powerful vibrational generator, Joseph said. “This is Creator’s playground. The spirits are playful and reveal themselves according to where and how you are. The energy is very condensed here, not the same as the rest of the planet. On the land here, people are laughing, crying tears of joy, letting go of what’s been holding them back, even laying down on the earth, and healing their connection to who they are.”

Visible Prayer

 Let’s say you’re walking on the land and you feel a stone person calling out to you, that is, you are attracted to a particular stone. Pick up the stone in a prayerful way, put it into your left hand, and express a prayer of gratitude. Now breathe into the stone while praying for whatever you desire. Close your hand, express gratitude as you walk, and send energy into that stone person. Transfer it to your right hand now, and hold purposeful intent of letting go of something or calling in something. The stone will hold the prayer. Then breathe on it with gratitude – and release it to the earth once more.

When letting go, wiggle your fingers and release that energy to the earth.

 Now you see a tree that attracts you. Approach it with love and gratitude and prayers of letting go of pain that is not allowing you to be who you are. Place your hands on the tree or hug it. Now breathe onto it with love and gratitude and with what you are calling in. Now breathe in what the tree has to say. It knows why you are there and will give you a message if you let go.

 “So many people,” Joseph said, “feel so alone and find it hard to let go. Touch a leaf, pick up a stone. Hold something from the earth. You are never alone. Letting go is a process in which you have to be steadfast in love and gratitude. Creator wants us to let go of our stuff and other people’s stuff that we carry and be in love with ourselves. Letting go and acknowledging love and gratitude lights the fire within us.”

Releasing Method

Native Americans use prayer ties, which is part of a complex ritual, so Ayanvli offered in its stead a simple but effective method of release.

On a piece of biodegradable paper (such as rice paper or paper made only with wood pulp and fiber), write down what you’re experiencing or things you wish to release from your life. Place this in a tree, either in a hole in the tree or in a fork of its branches, and leave it there. For a simple fire ceremony, write on any sort of paper and place it, prayerfully and intentionally, into a flaming barbeque or fireplace.

Cathedral Rock (Red Rock Crossing)

 Simple Water Ceremony

“Water is the blood of Grandmother Earth,” Joseph said. Ayanvli added, “It can be used as a rite of passage.”

Let us say you have ended something, even maybe passing the bar – this can serve as a rite of passage, a letting go. Go to running water ( perhaps Red Rock Crossing), and scoop the water onto your face, hands, arms, legs, feet, and the top of your head. Next, wipe the water off your body with prayers of letting go what doesn’t serve you.

“Water transmutes whatever is being let go,” Ayanvli explained.

Prayer to the Seven Directions

 Since the Cherokee and Lakota do this a little differently, it was agreed to demonstrate the Lakota way.

Joseph faced the directions as he explained them. First is West – dreamtime, the color black, the strength of the bear, courage, and healing. Here you call in the strength for receiving the knowing of…the North, the color red, representing the blood of all people and Grandmother Earth connected. Here is the spirit of the buffalo standing against the storm. Be open to spirit and acknowledge the blood of all people to receive the knowledge of….the East, of the color yellow, the sun, the beginning, with the knowledge and messages of the bird people. With this, we receive the knowing of wisdom of….the South, of the color white, the hottest of the hot. Here is coyote, the trickster, representing joy, laughter, and the wisdom of the ancestors to help us to come into who we are.

 The Fifth is all that is above – sun, stars, wind, moon, clouds, sky – and is the color blue. Here we receive that which is above and are open to Creator coming through us. Sixth is all that is below – the land, trees, stones, all life on earth, and the color green. Here we acknowledge all creatures of earth. It is good to place your bare feet or hands on the land.

Seventh represents the heart, soul, the spirit, the third eye, and the color purple. Joseph touched his chest center and said, “Here we connect our spirit through all the directions to connect with who we are and with everything sacred.”

 Ayanvli explained, “Because blood is red, that of life, and horizontal, and blue is truth, that of the divine, and vertical, it becomes purple, and the purpose is to experience life. Stay in the center of that cross and be in the present, the here and now – what we call the beauty way.”

There was a solemn peace as we all considered this.  Suddenly, I realized that Joseph was standing next to me.
“Here,” he said. “Open your left hand.”
As I did, he placed a four-cornered red rock stone in it.
“What does that shape mean to you?” he asked.
My mind went blank.

“It’s a tetrahedron.”
“Ah, yes,” I said. I clasped my hand over the stone.
“That represents the connection of all sacred places.”
I nodded, prayed, switched it to my right hand, and blew on it as Joseph had taught. Then I threw it to the right.

“Ah, did you see that?”
I turned to look. A beautiful yellow butterfly was flying around just where I’d thrown it.
“It’s the little things,” Ayanvli said. “Watch and listen for the messages around you. Butterfly means…”

“Transformation,” Joseph smiled.

For more information, go to Joseph’s facebook or email: walkinbalancecenter@gmail.com.

Article Written by Mary McLean 

[Trail of November] Sugarloaf Loop and Summit

If you haven’t much time but are anxious to hike a trail for an outdoor fix, there is a quick, easy, “urban” hike (which means you’ll be aware of the city) that is ideal for either solitary meandering or a family outing. For this, plus wonderful red rock views, Sugarloaf is a great choice.

Thunder Mountain in Sedona AZ

Thunder Mountain (Capital Butte)

Since it’s popular locally, there is generally someone always on the trail but, thankfully, it is not at all crowded.  You’ll find neighborhood locals walking their dogs here, so if Fido needs a break, make sure he’s leashed and take one of the “doggie” bags at the entrance for “pickup.”

Sugarloaf also connects with other easy to moderate trails if you’re inspired to extend your hiking time.  Here’s one reason: a 14-acre park with Buddhist stupas – structures rarely seen in the Western world.  Have we piqued your interest? First, though, let’s get to Sugarloaf.

How To Get to Sugarloaf Trailhead

From the “Y” at the juncture of 89A and Hwy. 179 in uptown Sedona, follow the roundabout to head west on 89A to West Sedona and drive about 2 miles to Coffee Pot Drive. Make a right here and go 0.5 miles, then turn left on Sanborn Drive. Continue for about 0.1 miles to Little Elf Drive and turn right.  Go about 0.2 miles and veer right on Buena Vista Drive, where you’ll see the hiking trailhead sign on your left. Turn into the parking lot here.

  • Tip: You will need a Red Rock pass.

 To Sugarloaf Summit:

Take note of the area map at the trailhead for an orientation to the area’s trails.  You may want to take advantage of them.  The trailhead actually starts at Teacup Trail.  It goes over a few slightly rocky patches, but it’s quite easily negotiated terrain. You’ll notice the characteristically Sedona trail markers along the way – the wire barrel cairns filled with red rocks – that will help keep you on course. Generally, though, stay to the right on the trail close to Sugarloaf Hill. The summit is on your right about 250 feet up. But before we get there…

Chimney Rock Sunset in Sedona AZ

Chimney Rock, View from Sugarloaf

Option 1: Thunder Mountain Trail, Chimney Rock Vista

About 0.3 miles in and almost to the Summit trail, you’ll see a signpost for Thunder Mountain that points to your left. It’s an easy, level trail, but be warned – there is no shade at all here! From the signpost, it’s about 1.7 miles to the actual Thunder Mountain trailhead.

 

Local Lore:

Thunder Mountain” is favored locally over “Capitol Butte” or “Grayback Mountain” and comes from two possible sources: the title of Zane Grey’s novel, made into a movie in Sedona in 1947; or the local opinion that Native Americans called it Thunder Mountain because it seemed to attract a lot of lightning and thunder. Hmmm…

 Option 2: Peace Park

If you opt to take Thunder Mountain trail, look for the sign that says “stupa.”  Take this and you’ll be on a short detour to Amitabha Stupa, Tara Stupa, and a large wooden statue of Buddha on Peace Park’s fourteen pristine acres. According to Buddhist tradition, meditation and prayer are greatly enhanced and expanded at a stupa, which is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and, as such, represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Imagine this within Sedona’s vortex energy – an amazing combination!

  • Tip: A great place for meditating, no matter what your spiritual/religious preferences.

 If you want to hike to the Thunder Mountain trailhead, there are several loops you can take on your way back to Sugarloaf.

  • One is 1.4 miles that starts at the trailhead and uses the trail’s southern portion with Lower Chimney Rock trail. From the loop, a short but steep climb up Summit Trail to Chimney Rock Vista will reward you with a great panoramic view.
  • A moderate 2.6-mile loop can be made using the Chimney Rock Pass Trail and more of the Thunder Mountain Trail.
  • A moderate “figure 8” of three miles can be hiked using the same trails.

 Now wend your way back north, pass Chimney Rock, and the trail will go east past Thunder Mountain until, 1.7 miles later, you’ll intersect Teacup Trail again.

Okay, back to Sugarloaf Summit.

At the Thunder Mountain sign, go straight on the trail for a short distance and you’ll see a cairn with a wooden post. Turn right here to climb 250 feet up to fabulous 360-degree views of Morning Glory Spire, Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, and Chimney Rock. In the distance, you’ll see Munds Mountain, Wilson Mountain and, to the far west, Mingus Mountain.

 Now go back down and turn left to go back to the trailhead or turn right to complete Sugarloaf loop (see below). The total time from the Sugarloaf trailhead to the summit and back (plus whatever time you spend at the summit) is about one-half hour (1.2 miles).

 Tips:

  • Sugarloaf Summit is a great place for meditation, especially in the morning or at sunset. The summit is seldom crowded – in fact, there is hardly anyone there most of the time.
  • If you go around sunset, have a flashlight handy. (Yes, people have forgotten this.)

 Sugarloaf Loop:

Coffeepot Rock in Sedona AZ

Coffee Pot Rock, View from Sugarloaf

At the bottom of Sugarloaf summit, turn right and continue on. Keep your sights on Coffee Pot Rock and, as you make one of the turns on the trail, you’ll see, several rocks to the left of Coffee Pot and a little ways in the distance, the formation known as “Teacup” that looks more like a teapot.

 Options: The Cliff, Soldiers Pass

Keep going and you’ll come to a fork in the road.  A great view envelops you. This juncture is a cliff area. Go ahead and walk down it a little (don’t worry, there’s plenty of room here and you won’t fall off) and you’ll find flat rocks that are perfect for sitting and enjoying the great red rock view spread out before you. From this vantage point, you will be able to see the large sinkhole at Soldiers Pass, called Devil’s Kitchen, to your left a bit (about “11:00”) and in the distance.

  •  Tip:  The cliff area is a great spot for meditating and you’ll seldom hear anything but the occasional passerby on the trail above you.

 The trail to the left will take you on a trail through the bottom of the huge rock formations and on your way to Soldiers Pass. The trail to your right finishes Sugarloaf Loop.

 Sugarloaf Loop FAQs:

  • Open year round. Since there is not much shade, October to May is ideal.
  • Rating: Easy
  • Facilities: None
  • Dogs must be on leash. Be sure to use the doggie bags.
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet.
  • Activity usage per U.S. Forest Service: hiking, horseback riding, and biking.
  • Length: about 2.2 miles round trip.

 Special Tips

  • A great hike in the early morning and especially peaceful and beautiful at sunset.
  • Take enough water for a liter per person per hour.
  • Bring your camera.
  • The parking lot is small, so if it’s full, park on Little Elf and walk in.
  • Stay clear of the sharp points of agave plants and do not touch cacti – those fluffy looking green outshoots will quickly attach to your skin. If so, remove very carefully.

 

How The Call of Sedona Can Enrich Your Sedona Journey

Tree Meditaion from The Call of Sedona by Ilchi Lee

 

If you’re planning on visiting Sedona and haven’t yet read Ilchi Lee’s The Call of Sedona, you might consider doing so before you arrive. And even if you’re not coming to Sedona soon, aren’t you curious as to why it’s been on bestseller lists across the country, including the New York Times? When you read it, you’ll see why.

Praised by both visitors and long-time residents alike, it’s a treasure trove of information about Sedona’s exceptional energies and their counterpart in the human experience, grounded and balanced within heartfelt personal experiences and ancient philosophy, and loaded with wit, wisdom, inspirations, and specific ways to open to Sedona’s powerful opportunities for spiritual progress and personal growth. In fact, it’s a great guide for such goals no matter where you live!
One of the book’s main messages is the importance of interacting more deeply with nature. Why? Such activity is parallel to, and considerably eases, the effort of going within ourselves more deeply.
TIP: Communing with nature is so much easier in Sedona.
Here are just a few inspiring ideas from the book to help you on your future journey of the heart.

Can Nature Help Us to Understand Life?

Did you know that our ancestors observed nature in great detail and used that knowledge to survive? Come on, you might be thinking, I live in a very different world and I don’t have to hunt for dinner.

And you are correct. However, modern life has probably also obliged you to work in a building with artificial light and recycled air, endure long commutes and, aside from home plants and maybe a backyard seldom used, provided very little time for contact with nature except maybe during weekends. Maybe.

You’re anxious to get out in nature, where Sedona’s highly charged energy is most powerful, hike, breathe in the stunning scenery, maybe meditate, and get in touch with your spiritual self. Maybe you’ve been asking yourself, “Who am I, really?”

So Let’s Get Started.

  •  Find a spot on Oak Creek.
  •  If it’s a warm day (or maybe even if it’s not), slip off your shoes and dangle your feet in the water. Swish your feet around and feel the water flowing around them.
  •  Now sit quietly and meditate – either actively or passively. The point is to clear your mind. There might be irritating things jangling around in your head – problems that you wanted to leave behind.
  • Now focus on the creek’s water as it rushes over and around the rocks. Notice how those irksome thoughts are fading.
  • Listen to the sounds of the water as it gurgles and swooshes over every obstacle in its way. Notice where a twig or stick is stuck dancing in a tiny gully. Sit long enough to watch the water finally dislodge it and wash it downstream.
  • Notice that the water’s momentum – or perseverance – and its ability to find a way around something – or flexibility – are key to its success in getting to its destination – or goal.
  • And if there isn’t an obvious path to its goal, it makes one – in its own creative way.
  • Notice again the sounds the water makes as it collides with obstacles in its path. Beautiful, aren’t they? How different would it be if there were only silence, or slight sounds?

In the book, Ilchi Lee observes that, “Conflict is the source of creation. A life that avoids conflict never changes . . . We must live making sounds like the stream of water, not just making small, quiet sounds, but big, beautiful ones. We can produce beautiful sounds in our lives by colliding with obstacles.”
This little exercise is simple, but profound. Do you feel a kinship with nature, however slight it may be, arising within you? Can you see similarities between the water’s path and your own?

Talk to the Trees and the Mountains. Really.

Ever thought about doing this? It’s not just for granola crunchers. You can send your thoughts telepathically, but aloud might work better.

Stand alone among the trees in one of Sedona’s forests – on a mountain or canyon or on a trail. You might want to meditate a little. When you open your eyes, see that the trees are looking at you and not the other way around. Focus on those trees and not yourself. Empty your mind. One of the trees will appeal to you in some way. Walk up to the tree and touch it or give it a hug. You may hear the tree say something. Speak to it as you would a friend. Go ahead and give it a compliment. After you are feeling more comfortable, ask it a question. Don’t be surprised if you get an answer.

You can do the same with a mountain. Just focus on that mountain and speak with it, even from a distance, as you would a friend. Take interest in it and really focus on it as another being. Ask it something and be prepared to hear its answer.
Can nature take away your negative energy and maybe even give you advice? Yes, it can. See the book for another exercise about communicating with trees.

Feeling Energy

Here’s a quick exercise from the book (where it is much more detailed) that will help you to feel energy.
Sit straight with eyes closed; rub or shake your hands for 30 seconds. With palms upward, place hands on your knees and then raise them, very slowly, about five inches. Now lower them about three inches. Keep repeating this and focus on your palms. Be one with them. Imagine them receiving continuous energy from the air. You’ll notice a heavy feeling in your hands. That is energy.

Now bring your hands slowly in front of your chest with palms facing and two inches between them. Again focus on the sensations in your hands. Now move them apart a few more inches and back again. Repeat slowly. You will begin to feel an energy field between them. Imagine your hands linked with energy. Notice all the sensations you feel: magnetism, tingling, warmth, etc.

Such energy exercises will help you to become more aware of your body in a state of relaxed concentration, which will prepare you to respond more fully to the vortex energy and transformation of your body and mind.

As Ilchi Lee so aptly puts it in The Call of Sedona, “The experience of interacting with the earth connects us with a greater and more permanent power beyond the limited and finite self to bring us spiritual fulfillment and a sense of unity.
We say that the red rock mountains of Sedona, the souls of Native Americans, the juniper trees that are hundreds of years old, the eagle flying through the endless clear blue sky gave us a message, but actually it’s that with the help of Sedona’s energy, we have a meeting with ourselves in a state where our various defensive walls surrounding us have come down.”