Day 24 - Monday 8 August 2016

Hog overload, more red rocks and double whammy vortex

Looking over towards Airport Mesa from Hog Wash trail

I was up 5 minutes before the alarm again, got myself ready and was out the door just before 7. Hassan and I got in the car and drove 10 miles up Oak Creek Canyon to West Fork ready to commence a 3-4 hour hike up a canyon. We got to the gate and its locked with a sign saying open at 9. Bumzer, as my son Sam would say. Hassan drove us a further 5 minutes up the road to look at a natural spring water tap thatís straight off the mountain. It was very nice and cool. We got back into the car and headed south back into Sedona, past Uptown and further down the road south soon turning into Pine Street (I think it was) and to a trailhead for a 4 mile hike.

The hike was a loop and took in the following trails: Peccary, Hog Wash, Twin Buttes, Hog Heaven, Hog Wash (again) then Mystic to finish with. The loop trail commenced as a slow climb, it then plateaued before ascending some more. As with every other walk there were awesome views in every direction, as was also usual with our walks we stopped midway to rest, eat and drink a little and just take it all in.

Big red boulders on the trail The entry to Hog's Heaven trail More of the same Beautiful bolbous red rock

At one point on the trail we came across a weeping Juniper tree. I touched the sap, it was very sticky and it smelt just like a strong gin, remarkably so in fact. I had never before realized this to this degree. Someone should really start gin production in Sedona as juniper trees are absolutely everywhere. (Later in the day I picked up a juniper berry off the ground, stuck my finger nail into its hard flesh and smelt it but this time it smelt like a soft gin, very subtle and nowhere near as potent as the sticky sap).

One of the buttes above

The hardest part of this walk were on was the Hog Wash section. It consisted of an uphill ascent followed by crossing over the side of the cliff face on the thin cliff edge trail. I wouldnít say it was hard or even challenging but it was fun either way. After 2 hours we were back in the car and sitting at the brunch table devouring a delicious Persian influenced breakfast. In fact we had Kookoo Sabzi (kinda like an omelet or a frittata with rehydrated Iranian herbs in it) and as per every other breakfast that Iíve had since being here it was excellent.

One of the many expansive vistas Juniper sap 700 Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock, (not sure) and Cathedral Rock

Following brunch I went into the casita, completed some writing and decided that next I would go and hike the Airport Mesa Loop Trail including the Table Top Trail and eastern side of the vortex as I had recently read that this is where the highest concentration of energy was as it travelled up from in earth in between the two small buttes.

It was 1.15 when I arrived and surprisingly it wasnít too hot. I had 2 litres of water some apples and muesli bars and commenced my walk first passing the throngs of vortex hunters up to my left. The airport loop trail was great. Views in all directions (again) and because this mesa is smack bang in the center of Sedona it was an excellent way to get a sense of where everything (mountains that is) is located in comparison with each other. It wasnít too challenging a walk either but I kept alert, mostly for rattlesnakes, and thankfully came across none.

Looking down on West Sedona from Airport Mesa loop trail

The first hour of the walk was in a south eastern direction taking in the mountain range that I had walked around this morning with Hassan and that looked small in comparison to those around it), then Courthouse Butte, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock coming into view to my right. Gradually the more southwest I headed it became more of a green cover on the ground rather than the raw red rock. The trail slowly rose to the top of the mesa and soon I was walking along the fence line of the airport.

Looking onto the vortex from Airport Mesa loop trail 700 The bolbous red rock that is airport vortex At centre left rock (mountain) is the hog trails that we walked around this morning

A short distance further the Table Top Mountain Trail appeared so I deviated about 20 minutes down it to where there were two cypress trees marking the pinnacle with uninterrupted and expansive views southwards. I set up my camera on time-lapse and spent the next 20-30 minutes wandering around the top observing Sedona and beyond. There was a bit of wind that would occasionally wobbly the camera but that also meant that the clouds were moving over the mountains at a good pace and sure to be picked up in an interesting manner on the time-lapse. A strange buzzing sound was coming out of a nearby bush. Was it an insect or a rattlesnake? I wasnít sure and I didnít want to find out so I packed up and headed back up Table Top Mountain Trail to the Airport Mesa Loop Trail walking in a northwestern direction towards West Sedona, spread out in front me allowing for a good sense of its scale.

At about 15 minutes before reaching the end of the trail I spotted a massive elk (or deer, not sure which one) on the trail ahead. It saw me and dashed off into the scrub. I made it to the carpark soon afterwards and took myself onto the Yavapai and Overlook Point Trails that make up the airport vortex. I made my way first to the eastern side of the vortex about 20 feet below the pinnacle where there was no one else around. I sat up against the rock for a while (one thing that I have found with all of the vortexes that Iíve visited is that they fit the contour of my body really well. The soft sandstone is very delicate and smooth and therefore all sorts of beautiful curvy shapes are formed. A good fit for human bodies.) Looking back onto the rock was what was most exciting for me. Bulbous shapes and small cracks appearing in the rich velvety red surface. In terms of vortex energy, well none again at this one (just like my brief first visit a couple of weeks ago).

Looking down onto Kachina Woman (vortex) from the Spires at Boynton Vista

I climbed my way up to the top where there were about a dozen people loitering around, a couple in an embrace gently kissing, a bikini clad very fit looking woman perched on an edge calmly soaking in the energy, a family appeared and hushed just as another woman started to pose at the pinnacle, stretching her arms out in pretty lame yoga poses again soaking in the energy (but a bit too hippie for my liking).

Looking out from The Spires at Boynton Vista Tired looking but feeling calm fitting into the vortex A Spire and Kachina Woman (vortex), Boynton Vista Kachina Woman (vortex) from the other side

I walked off the vortex and I hopped back in the car and made the short 10-minute drive back to the casita. I cooled down a bit, sorted through some photos and was back on the road again. I pulled into Whole Foods in West Sedona, purchased a few supplies before heading out onto Dry Creek Road and to the Boynton Vista Trailhead. I parked the car and made the 20-30 minute walk up to my second vortex for the day (and like the airport vortex one that I had visited before). So why come back to this vortex? Well last week when I visited it I felt like I rushed my way or lacked any focus when I was there. All week I had been thinking that I would like to revisit it and spend more time there so this was my opportunity.

By now it was about 5.15, the sun was in a more golden hue but it still had a few hours before setting. It was very still and much calmer and cooler now. Just as I was nearing the vortex (known as Kachina Woman) there were two others frozen still on the path. I was soon upon them and one of them said, Ďcan you hear the bear?í I stopped, took my hat off and listened. Nothing. I couldnít see any movements occurring in the low lying scrub either. Nothing was there so we all climbed the final section (perhaps a tad brisker than usual) and from here had a good look around from its high vantage point and still nothing. Phew.

I made my way to the nearby Boynton Spires next to Kachina and climbed to its base. The rock formations were beautiful. Again bulbous shaped forms. The spire I was underneath appeared to be a bit of miracle of nature. Surely some day soon gravity will do its thing and it will no longer be standing? The two I arrived with didnít stay long. There were three others around, a Japanese pair (he was slowly wandering around, she was spread across the vortex soaking it in) and there was a woman setting up her tripod and taking long exposure images.

Kachina Woman (vortex), another rich red bolbous rock

I spent about 15 minutes on the spire, then 15 minutes on Kachina. Again it fit beautifully into my body at each place where I sat on it. Again it had beautiful bulbous red velvety rock formations, and again there were the vast and expansive views. At one point, when I was on the other side of the Spires from where the trail leads into it, there, not far below was Enchantment (the wealthy tourist resort) when I heard what sounded like a drill of some kind go off, and what do think it sounded like? A bear grumbling. Problem solved. And what of the feeling of vortex energy at this site? Well the thought of a bear got my senses alert and sharpened; yes I was feeling more fresh, alert, free and alive but I also felt a real positive energy on this vortex but with no real intensity like I did at Cathedral. If I was to put my finger on this vortex was for me, I would say that I felt loose, and I kinda like that.

At 6.30, as the sun was lowering behind Boynton Canyon, I made the short walk down back to the car. 20-30 minutes later I was back in the casita, eating some dinner and writing some more. (It was another big day of walking with my Health app telling me that; 93 floors were climbed, over 25,000 steps made and nearly 17 kilometres walked.)

I woke up this morning feeling tired and couldnít shake it until after brunch, but I felt energized by the airport loop walk and calm and loose by the final vortex. My eyes were closing and dream-time was upon me. I was asleep at 8.

The sun starting to set over Boynton Vista