Highway Cacti ~ Arizona, USA

Changes in landscape are so distinct from state to state in the USA – I’ve noticed this especially in my recent travels across the southern (from east to west) parts of the country.

From the rusty reds and yellow hues of Washington DC’s fall foliage, to the grand arched branches of Charleston’s live oaks, to the dramatic sunsets of Texas that form a fiery backdrop to its shrub covered flats; the effect of nature on one’s impression of a place is so pronounced.

One of my favourite landscape vistas on this trip was while driving through Arizona. Heading from Sedona towards Phoenix, gently undulating mountains frame the highway as far as the eye can see, their slopes punctuated with dozens and dozens of columnar catci. It was tough to get a sharp photo from a moving car so I leave this scene to your imagination. “Wild” is an initial thought that popped into my mind.

Below are a few images taken at a rest stop in Black Canyon City, AZ.  Enlarge and look into the background of the first image – you might see multiples of what in reality are giant polyp-like succulents.

Prickly Pear Cactus

Sedona, the Beautiful ~ AZ, USA

Vortex: a funnel shape created by a whirling fluid or by motion of spiraling energy; anything that flows such as wind, water, or electricity. Think: whirlwind, tornado, water going down the drain.

The first time I saw Sedona was through a car window. Four years ago, we’d headed to Los Angeles via the Grand Canyon. Driving for miles past nothing but flat land and cacti, we found ourselves suddenly engulfed in a valley awash in red. At every turn, we were faced with grand rock formations, eroded into abstract shapes, and layered with colours that ranged from yellow, to sand, to burnt sienna. This was Sedona. As we hadn’t planned a stop at the time, I vowed to return. And so we did.

Sedona is a town set at an elevation of 4,500 feet, with a population of 15,000, and is a tourism destination catering to millions of visitors annually. Despite these numbers, the hiking trails that weave in and around it are so peaceful; hearing the whoosh of the wind is a constant while seeing large groups of people is not.

Long regarded a spiritual land by the Ancient Indians, “the Yavapai-Apache tribe consider this sacred ground their Garden of Eden, believing this is where the first woman mated with the sun to begin the human race.”

30 years ago, Page Bryant declared that Sedona was a key area for vortexes – subtle energy that interacts with the being of each person that comes within 1/4 to 1/2 mile of it. These days, Sedona is a popular town to visit for its healing powers.

How to find the strongest points of energy? One way is by observing the Juniper trees around those rock formations pinpointed for their vortex strength. “Juniper trees respond to the vortex energy in a physical way that reveals where the energy is strongest. The stronger the energy, the more of an axial twist the Juniper trees have in their branches.”

I adore Sedona, especially now that I’ve experienced it underfoot and all around me. While I became a treehugger, trying to soak in as much energy as I could, my husband was overcome by the power of the vortex. Either that, or he was feeling the effects of a prickly pear margarita, consumed straight after 5 hours of hiking/walking under the rays of the warm Arizona sun.

Enjoy this snippet of a town that I am so happy to have finally visited.

Sedona as seen from the top of Cathedral Rock – a site of vortex energy

Bell Rock – one of the most powerful sites of vortex energy

Twisted branches may mean strong points of energy. Seen from top of Bell Rock.

Saluting the sun halfway up Cathedral Rock

Prickly pear cactus

Sunset in Uptown Sedona