Monday, October 25, 2010

Bliss at the Vortex

We're back from Sedona, Amster and I.  I'm not sure that we were influenced by the Birth Mother rock formation which loomed over our spa destination 

but we are renewed, body and soul.  I'm in a quiet, reflective, at-one-with-nature place right now.  The sky seems bluer and my breath feels lighter.  I'm not saying that the presence of the vortex is with me, but something's sure going on.

We drove up I-10 to I-17 and turned off at the Oak Creek/ Sedona exit and it was stunning.  Less than 100 yards from the exit the road turns and there they were

red rocks (sedimentary formations filled with oxidizing iron ore which "rusts" and turns red) right in front of the road.  And to the left. And to the right.  And we could have stayed right there and been happy for an hour or so. 

But we continued past the round-abouts and the galleries and the crystal shops and the psychic reading salons and, with the red rocks accompanying us, we wound our way through town and down Boynton Canyon.  By that time, the gentle rain had turned to a torrential downpour.  Hard as it may be to believe, even with all the stuff we packed for 2 nights away from home

neither of us had any rain gear.  We live in Tucson, remember?  When it rains here we all go outside and revel in the experience.  The bell man had a golf cart

and a couple of huge umbrellas and we tried to keep from freezing as he zipped through the raindrops and deposited us in our casita.  Had the table not been soaking wet, we'd have gone out on the porch and stayed there til bedtime.   But the weather wasn't cooperating

so we changed into gym clothes and headed for the Spa and Fitness Center for weights and yoga and stretching and then the hot tub and the sauna and the steam and a shower and then tomato soup and grilled shrimp on grilled asparagus spears in the minimalist dining room.  By the time we strolled back to our beds 

the rain had stopped and we were feeling pretty wonderful.

We'd reserved space on the hike Saturday morning and the message they left us at 3am said that the weather wasn't going to preclude our adventure.  John drove us and our new friends from Newton, MA to the Thunder Mountain trail head in a much-too-big-for-our-purposes 15-passenger van and we set out to bag the peak.

We didn't actually climb up to the top of the crevasse although John swore that he'd seen someone do just that.  I was impressed but uninspired to attempt it.  I'm not crazy about heights. We trekked on red clay

up 1000' to the base of the pillars, though, and scooted around the bottom to see all the views, which were fantastic

and the pace was aerobic and we were ready for the hot tub (outdoor this time) and some lounge chairs

as we rested up for our massages later that afternoon.  Amster put me to shame by heading for the Fitness Center where she worked her legs and butt.  I sat comfortably outside, shooting the clouds and the mountains and the sky

and finished the latest Sara Paretsky epic. 

Bea's massage was heavenly and painful-in-a-good-way and when she said that she "could get lost in this back for a week or so.... there's so much going on here...."  I just relaxed and let her pound away.  Thoughtful fingers are a real treat; combine them with strength and intelligence and the experience becomes sublime.  It was wildly expensive but I am worth it. 

We ate and slept and went to Crystal Magic and shared the drive home.  89-A is the way to go, denizens, if you're driving up that way.  It's a nice hour-plus trip north of Phoenix, and on the way you'll pass Horsethief Basin Recreation Area and Bloody Basin Road and Montezuma's Castle and you'll remember that you are in the Wild West.  There are acres and acres of undeveloped land, covered in scrub and mesquite and dust.  There are squared off mesas and mountain ranges at the tip of the horizon and the only thing that was missing was some autumn color. 

I may have to drive up there next week just for that.

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