We made it to Sedona Arizona. This town has been on my bucket list for a very long time. A few years ago, USA Today called Sedona the most beautiful place in America. Perhaps it’s the magnificent views. Not sure it is the most beautiful, but it is certainly a contender. Check these out…
There’s a vibe in the air, something not quite audible, but it does call out to have a look around, and to try to feel something that is hard to put into words. Nowhere else in this country does a natural setting feel so much like the inside of a soaring cathedral. Perhaps because Sedona lies at the bottom of a canyon. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel built into the buttes of Sedona, Arizona. This chapel exemplifies that feeling. It is said to be built in a vortex area. You do get a feeling here, but is it a vortex feeling? Or is it the feeling one gets when walking into any quiet and still sanctuary…
The inside of the chapel is basically unadorned, save for the red glow of illuminated candles lit by those in prayer and meditation.
What are these vortices people are talking about? You can even buy vortex in a can at the new age shop. I’m pretty sure that’s just a gag gift 😉
A vortex is believed to be a special spot on the earth where energy is either entering into the earth or projecting out of the earth’s plane. Vortexes (or vortices) are found at sacred sites throughout the world – the Great Pyramid in Egypt, Machu Picchu in Peru, Bali, Stonehenge, Ayers Rock in Australia, etc. It is believed that the vortex energy moves in a spiral, moving up or down.
Some say Sedona’s vortex energy is so powerful that you can actually feel it and that it is powerful enough to help people take giant leaps with their spiritual development. The Native Americans believe that spiritual transformation can occur more quickly and easily in Sedona because the veils to other dimensions are thinner here. Whether or not you believe that energy vortexes actually exist, one thing is for certain, there is “something” about Sedona that has made people travel here for more than just its incredible beauty.
Off to the Sedona Airport, where another vortex is supposedly located. When we arrived, it was a substantial hike for which I was unprepared. I did get this picture of Tim at an overlook.
“Experts” say the vortex expresses itself by twisting the trunks of trees that grow on top of, and under it.
We saw the tree, but honestly, I was sooo pooped by the time I got to the top, the only thing I could feel was the sweat running down my face and my back, and the tears welling in my eyes. (I’m quite the hiker, aren’t I?)
Full disclosure here – I actually am one of those people – a spiritual one , if you will. I am a nurse, but have studied Alternative and Complementary medicines almost my entire life adult life. I am an Advanced Reilki Practioner. Below are images of body vortexes, used in Reiki healing
I am also a Bach Essence Practitioner, and am a Certified Indian Head Masseuse.
In the late 1960s, I did see a UFO – and I was with another person. And no, we were not chemically altered in any way. So yes, I am a believer in most things spiritual – and otherworldly – and I will spend some time here in Sedonae searching for the energy of a vortex. (Now you know a bit more about the real me…)
Sadly, it was time to leave Sedona, and head for Santa Fe, even though we had been there before on this journey. But it’s quite a distance, so the halfway point is Gallup NM. Anything to see on the way to Gallup? For sure – the Petrified Forest National Park. But before we go to the park, we have to go through the town of Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is home to quite a few roadside oddities (do I hear groaning?). But the best one is the Wigwam Motel on Historic Route 66.
This kitschy classic motel, built in 1937, offers lodging in 15 concrete-and-steel freestanding teepees. They are painted white with a red zigzag above the doorway and are 28 feet high. They provide basic lodging, with a sink, toilet and shower, and feature the original handmade hickory furniture. I tried to get a price for a room online, but was unable to do so. There seemed to be many full-timers living in the wigwams. Perhaps, they no longer rent. Vintage cars are permanently parked throughout the property, which is a nice touch. By the way, they were mistakenly called wigwams, as they are teepees (or tepees or tipis).
Back to the forest. Theodore Roosevelt designated Petrified Forest National Monument on December 8, 1906, but it was designated as a national park, on December 9, 1962.
Another beauty. But I think I’d like to explain a little about it. I always thought I would find a standing forest of old trees, whose trunk and bark had seen a better day. Not so – there was not even one single standing tree. In fact, there was nothing that would lead you to believe there ever was a forest. The movie in the visitor center explains this perfectly; I’ll do my best to share it with you. During the Pangaea period, approximately 300 million years ago, Arizona was positioned in the tropics, near where Panama sits today.
The entire area was a prehistoric rainforest. The continents began to break apart about 175 million years ago, leaving Panama still tropical, but Arizona a desert. There were many trees at the time, forests , if you will. A raging torrent of water came along and ripped the trees out by their roots, so that they raged and tumbled along with the water. They were stopped by whatever obstacle may have been in the way, and there they lay for millions of years, covered by sediment. The logs soaked up groundwater and silica from volcanic ash and over time crystallized into quartz. Over the years, each and every cell of cellulose was replaced by seeds of quartz. The trees lay hidden for millions of years. Over time, continents moved and climate changed. As the earth changed, many of these trees were pushed to the surface again. Only this time, they were petrified, turned to stone. Colorful specimens, from small shards to massive trunks, are strewn across this landscape. But trees are not the only fossils. We find hundreds of species of plants and animals, including dinosaurs, that once roamed this area, and a river system larger than anything on earth today.
One especially cool thing is this intact tree trunk known as the Agate Bridge.
This huge tree fell 225 million years ago and remained deeply buried for ages. Over time, tectonic forces from below and erosion from above exposed this now petrified trunk. See how it was revealed lying across a wash? You can also see that many, many years ago – before we knew any better – a concrete beam was placed under the trunk to help preserve it. We are assured that in time, it will succumb to water and erosion, as will the concrete beam placed there for protection.
There are petrified trees all over the world, but only here, in this National Park, are there so many. The Petrified Forest is located in The Painted Desert Area of the southwest. It is known for its brilliant and varied colors, that not only include the more common red rock, but even shades of lavender. The Painted Desert was named by an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado on his 1540 quest to find the Seven Cities of Cibola, made of gold. Passing through the wonderland of colors, they named the area “El Desierto Pintado” – The Painted Desert. The colors are a palette of subtle shades that mimic the rainbow. Look at these rocks called “Teepee Rocks”, that seem to go on forever.
Currently, we are back in Santa Fe, New Mexico, one of the prettiest cities on our journey. This is a real “foodie” city, so we would be remiss not to indulge. (Please check out Atriso Cafe and Bar and Jambo in the Food and Goodies section.) We’ve returned to Santa Fe mainly because it is a step towards our journey east – and to stop at Estrella del Norte (again) to pick up some wine.
Onward to the east coast…
NOTE: THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SAY HMMM! Among them, the folks who believe the earth is only 6,000 years old.
This explanation of TIME was hanging in the visitor center. I wanted to share it with you. It is truly worth reading