There is always one bittersweet moment each time I arrive in Sedona, knowing I’ll have to say goodbye again. My first experience of the exquisite scenery of Sedona, was back in the late 1980’s, when it was still somewhat of an undiscovered paradise.
With a breathtaking landscape that melds both desert and forest vegetation, I immediately fell in love with its majestic beauty and splendor. Although it would be almost 20 years until I returned—and much had changed in the name of progress—for me, nothing had changed at all.
A few hours drive north of Phoenix, I’ve always found it to be one of the most spectacular and inspiring of the many places I’ve been privileged to travel to. Sedona is as close to heaven here on earth as I believe I’ve experienced.
It’s always challenging to put into words something that can only truly be felt firsthand. From the beginning of your drive up Highway 179, the magnificent Red Rocks soar above the lush landscape. They are quiet and still, reminding me that there is something much grander and wiser than I am. This is nature in its most glorious, timeless state. The stunning array of red sandstone rocks always leaves me speechless. There’s no way to explain the feeling, other than that it is simply awe- inspiring. Everyone I’ve talked to about Sedona, has either felt this when there, or heard the same thing about it.
There is a quiet, inner peace I sense in this place. Native Americans have revered Sedona for thousands of years, both for its sacred nature and for its very high spiritual energy. Regardless of your beliefs, the word “spiritual” takes on a unique meaning in Sedona. Each time I return, I feel a lightness of being. Time seems to stand still and nothing “out there,” nothing but this moment, really matters. This state often eludes me in my day-to-day life, yet is so effortless to achieve while there.
Chapel in the Rock
The legendary Chapel of the Holy Cross, also called the Chapel in the Rock, is a favourite place to visit each time I return. People from all over the world are drawn to it and those I’ve talked with when I’m there, universally—regardless of religious background—are touched and humbled by its serene yet profound presence.
The magnificent structure is built literally in the red rocks, a vision of sculptor Marguerite Staude who was determined, despite obstacles, to bring it to life. The incredible beauty of both the Chapel and its breathtaking surroundings permeates the senses. An absolute must-see.
What do people do in Sedona? Everything! Whether you like to hike, bike, play golf, try a jeep tour into the red rocks, fly high in a hot air balloon or shop for wonderful local jewelry and crafts, all this and much more are within a few minutes drive. Some of the most beautiful jewelry I’ve ever seen, especially handcrafted turquoise created by native Navajo artisans, come from Sedona.
Sedona is somewhat unique, as it has virtually no streetlights. What an absolutely wonderful way to see a dazzling night sky, filled with seemingly thousands of stars. A site we rarely witness in big cities.
Sedona is well known as a spiritual power spot, with many energy vortexes where you can connect with Sedona’s spiritual energy. A vortex by definition is “A place or situation regarded as drawing into its center all that surrounds it.” A perfect way of describing what I feel when there. I’m drawn in and never want to leave. Taking a tour of the four primary vortexes, offers quite an indescribable and powerful experience.
Having visited Sedona at various times of the year, I’ve always enjoyed the changing seasonal weather and landscape. For me, my favourite time is fall. Perfect for both an avid cloud-watcher like myself, and for swimming and catching some stunningly clear sunny days. It seems as if autumn will never come to Sedona. But it does. I’ve also visited in December when the two-and-a-half hour drive to the Grand Canyon found us in a full-blown blizzard.
What can I say about the Grand Canyon? Visiting the Grand Canyon is an amazing adventure and an opportunity to see one of the extraordinary seven natural wonders of the world. Only through experiencing it, can you truly understand why it has fascinated writers, painters, photographers and explorers since it was first discovered. Although many have tried to capture its essence, it has a timeless and elusive quality. Once you visit, you know why it’s virtually impossible to describe. Frankly, it’s beyond words.
The day we visited, a lone California condor, an endangered species, put on quite a heavenly show for us as we hiked along the south rim. Swooping close enough for us to almost touch it— then just as quickly soaring away to wow other visitors—it was a spectacularly, entertaining show indeed. Indescribably, majestic. The kind of stuff lasting memories are made of.
Hello and Goodbye
As I’m about to say goodbye again to Sedona following a glorious week, I inhale all the energy of the early morning serenity on my last solitary walk. I feel a sense of sadness, unsure of when I might return. I just know that I will. There are still far too many things for me to explore here. Until we meet again Sedona, I gratefully bid you farewell.
What places have you visited that have left you with lasting memories?