weekend wanderer

Something about Sedona

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Summer's here, the days are long and the call to adventure is in the air. If you are still stuck behind your desk, a few days retreat to Sedona, Arizona, that magical, Wild West wonderland two hours north of Phoenix and thirty miles south of Flagstaff, might provide just the recharge you need to make the season memorable.

There's no mistaking it, Sedona and its famed Red Rock State Park are breathtakingly beautiful. Dramatic geological formations tease the imagination with their towering size and fantastical configurations. Colorfully named landmarks such as Thunder Mountain, Coffee Pot Rock, Steamboat Rock, Sugarloaf and the awe inspiring Cathedral Rock with a refreshing creek at its base, each provide a unique piece of the Sedona puzzle and offer astonishing treks through what resembles Wile E. Coyote's home turf. On foot, by jeep, hot air balloon, horseback or helicopter, Sedona is a haven for exploration.

Like most outdoor recreational areas, Sedona boasts plenty of conventional activities, an enticing range of accommodations and spa services. But, Sedona offers something extra — something that draws thousands to this otherwise remote but lovely desert location each year. That something is its profusion of energy vortexes — said by those who know, to be four of the most powerful on planet.

Wondering what an energy vortex is? Combing through books, websites, guides and pamphlets, you'll discover that while it may be difficult to pin down precise qualitative, quantitative or scientific descriptions of the vortexes, a vast range of spiritual seekers describe them as a phenomena of palpable energy that emanates from the planet in several places and particularly in Sedona. Vortexes are often described as whirling funnels of subtle energy that spin from the surface of the earth — sort of like an invisible micro-tornado. While neither magnetic nor electrical in nature, vortex energy is generally described in similar terms of intensity and pull.

While some votex-aficianados propose that all of Sedona is perched upon a massive vortex, most resources contend that there are four major ones that you can visit, sit or stand within and experience the transformational energy flowing through and around you — healing and rejuvenating.

Some people are said to be more sensitive and thus feel the force more distinctly, others scoff at the whole idea, claiming the vortexes to be little more than a spiritual version of the emperor's new clothes. Not so, promise many more, who claim the twisted trees near the vortexes and small but measurable magnetic shifts lend concrete evidence to the proof of their existence.

In any case, if you consider yourself a bit of a spiritual seeker and are willing to trust those who have gone before you, you have little to lose by traveling to Sedona. The energy of the vortexes well may fire up the dormancy of your everyday life, and if not, the beauty, fresh air and range of amenities will. The red rock formations offer hikes for every level of athlete as well as birding, biking, fishing and golf opportunities. Well-appointed day spas such as A Spa For You offer a wide choice of specialties for both individuals and couples and can enhance your experience of sanctuary in the Arizona high desert. Check out their enticing Aromi di Lucci message, which combines aromatherapy, Swedish massage and your finishing pick of hot basalt or cool marble stones. Check it out at www.aspaforyou.com.

Be sure to leave time to explore the varied art galleries and many restaurants Sedona has to offer. You'll find yourself meeting travelers from the far corners of the world, many drawn to Sedona by the promise of beauty and adventure, and chances are, many more, by the same rejuvenation you seek.

Sedona is accessed via Interstate Highway 17, about eight hours by car from Los Angeles or Albuquerque, and approximately four hours from Las Vegas. You can fly to Phoenix or Flagstaff and rent a car or take a take a shuttle from Phoenix to Sedona (under $100, round trip). Visit www.sedona-phoenix-shuttle.com for more information.

Accommodations run the gamut form a perfectly nice Hilton, to bed and breakfast spots such as the lovely Las Posadas, Graces Secret Garden, and Canyon Villa.

For an informed and passionate metaphysical guide to Sedona visit www.lovesedona.com.

More conventional travel information can be found at www.visitsedona.com.

You can check out the local newspaper online at www.redrocknews.com and peruse issues of Sedona Magazine online at sedonamagazine.com.