Monday dawned bright and filled with birdsong, as usual at Camp Joy Ranch – today AJ was taking me to Sedona where I was going to experience “new age” mysticism in the hippy-dippy heart of Arizona. Hurry, hurry, let’s get going – I was like a little kid off to see Santa!
First, we needed to fuel up at the local Starbucks – here their stores are all adobe-clad, and so clean and spacious.AJ then pointed the car north and off we went on the 90 minute journey….after about 40 minutes, the terrain changed and we were climbing in altitude, passing some pretty bad-ass towns and roads (see below)I turned round to catch this amazing view of a far-off snow-capped peak – wow!Then suddenly…we had arrived!
First stop…AJ insisted I attempt to climb up Bell rock which is one of the 8 vortices (thought to be swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy) – are you kidding me? Oh well, let’s see how this vortex thing works, see what the universe is gonna fling at me. Perhaps a palpable body buzz, maybe a spiritual shift in my soul – who knows. So I stayed open to whatever would happen and we trekked on up the massive rock. I got a little way up then turned around…OMG! The view was spectacular……we passed some of the legendary twisted juniper trees……then I reached the point where I thought my lungs would explode – whew! Can’t…go…on…any…further. So here are a few pics taken during my vortex encounter:AJ pointed out the vortex “power lines” flowing into me in this picture he took (above) but perhaps they may just be rays streaming down from the sun. Personally, I’m stickin’ with his theory. More incredible views….Time for a cool drink and some lunch so AJ took me to his favourite vegetarian restaurant, Chocola Tree, where we enjoyed healthy organic treats. Lovely peaceful environment and a nice way to “come down” from the vortex thingy.
Now for some serious retail therapy: I promised myself I would buy a really good piece of turquoise so the ever-patient AJ escorted me into and out of numerous touristy souvenir stores until we came upon one particular fine jewellers and there I found several pieces that made their way back to Toronto with me. Who needs rent money when you can buy genuine native American silver and turquoise, right? Haa haa. We then drove a little further into the real town of Sedona (away from the tourist traps) to a mission-style arts & shopping village called Tlaquepaque. What a beautiful place with all sorts of luxury boutiques surrounded by hanging gardens, balconies, flowers and stunning architecture…By now, the sun was getting low so time to head home to Camp Joy Ranch and as we drove out of town I looked up and saw some amazing cloud formations that resembled UFOs following us…yikes!The theme from Close Encounters started playing my head…LOL. Tomorrow, we’re off to Cave Creek, a modern “wild west” town (pretty close to our ranch) that had played host to thousands of bikers from across the country the weekend before. Wonder what we’ll find there….stay tuned.
Saturday April 6th dawned bright and early for me…the sun streamed in my bedroom window (pictured below) by 6:30am and the birds were in full chorus! Today was the day AJ was taking me shopping in Old Town, Scottsdale’s touristy section with all the souvenir shops and boutiques complete with wild west themed exteriors. Our first stop was the weekly farmers’ market – not your usual ramshackle clutch of stalls and tents, but a well laid out, clean and welcoming market with free samples, deelish healthy breakfast treats and tons of local produce. Everywhere you looked, there were flowers and happy smiling shoppers. After indulging in a home-made quiche with honey drizzled over it (wow, so yummy) and downing cups of hot local coffee, we headed off to stroll the Old Town streets. There’s a fabulous art gallery, home decor/accessories and artifacts called Bischoff’sGallery that AJ wanted to show me so off we went, passing several stunning western sculptures…I found so many wonderful treasures inside Bischoff’s including this painted deerskin plus numerous kachina dolls…and I picked up a couple of modestly priced carved wooden figurines – a coyote in full howl and a bunny rabbit, plus a string of tiny red glass chili peppers that are now hanging on my front door. www.bischoffsgallery.com
More wanderings in and out of souvenir stores, picking up fridge magnets for friends as requested.We came upon a stunning fountain with several galloping horses…It was getting just a wee bit hot so we ducked into the fab Berdena’s cafe where the staff prepared fresh squeezed orange juice for me and a tea for AJ. Friendly & welcoming staff made for a pleasant visit. www.berdenas.comMore schlepping around the streets before heading to the incredible Museum of the West where I was to find treasures from cowboy history, native American culture and some samples of the great western artist, Charles Russell. I’ll let the photos do the talking…This next one is AJ’s favourite, as if you couldn’t tell!And these are two of mine….They’re also heavy into pot…clay pots, that is…Lots of wild west memorabilia was on display… I was particularly drawn to the Charles Russell exhibition of his paintings and stories about the women in his life…And there were so many amazing bronzes of native Americans…just look at these regal warriors:And of course I found my very own buffalo…Dances with Glenda!The museum has an outdoor courtyard filled with sculptures… …then back inside I discovered a tribute to John Wayne by his artist friend Harry Jackson near the gift shop:The museum also had a “secret garden” of sculptures around back – look what I found there…Big thank you to Jeffrey in the gift store who pointed out some great western books to bring home as well as some cool cowboy fridge magnets (these ones are for me!). Learn more about Scottsdale’s Museum of the West by visiting their website: www.scottsdalemuseumwest.org
More Arizona Adventure stories coming from this lone ranger so stay tuned!