Going Places: Sedona, Arizona, where Mother Nature steals the show.


By MARILYN ROBITAILLE

When you think of Arizona, I’m sure you think of desert heat and cactus. Snowbirds flock there by the thousands to avoid the winter cold, and nobody in their right mind would plan on spending a summer boiling in the 100+ temperatures and dry, tumbleweed-filled winds.


In spite of the summer climate and winter overcrowding, Arizona has some spectacular locations. The one I’m most enamored with is Sedona.

Beautiful Sedona has, in the last few years, become the Mecca of New Age types who use various rocks and crystals to channel mysterious energy fields. Be aware that most of the gift shops cater to that clientele, so don’t be put off by a store clerk asking if you want a palm or tarot card reading. It’s all part of the scene.


Mother Nature steals the show in Sedona. Inspiring, spectacular red rocks populate the landscapes of the nearby canyons. You can choose your hiking trail based on your level of endurance and hiking ability. Even tenderfoots can enjoy some of the hikes with trail heads near the center of town through mostly flat terrain.

Even if the only rocks you believe in are the diamonds on your ring finger, you will still enjoy a guided tour of a “vortex,” several of which are scattered on the tops of nearby mountains. The roads straight up to these mystic locations are curvy, dirt and steep, so don’t depend on your Ford Focus rental as a means of travel. We went by jeep, made a stop at one of the magic places, and then moved on to another mesa for lessons about Indian medicine wheels.


The vortex could be anything – truly magical energy or a motherload of magnetized iron ore. Whatever it is hasn’t been fully explained, but I can guarantee that you’ll notice something unusual at the top of that vista. The best I can describe it is that the air feels charged, a little like it does after a spring lightning storm, but more intense.

From five-star resorts to simple hotels, lodging is plentiful and available in every price range. Restaurants are also plentiful and in every variety. We ate a lot of southwestern Mexican.


Flights arrive at the big airport in Phoenix where you can rent a car to make the two-hour drive to Sedona.


Go for the magic of nature and all it has to offer. The whole of our week proved to be one inspiring event after another with excursions that felt truly spiritual. I was so moved by the mesa experience that I wrote a poem to remember it all by.

At the top of that stunning mesa, I felt a presence, and to honor the Native Americans who used to inhabit it, I referenced it as “a wise woman of the rock.”


For me it’s a memory; for you, I hope it will give you reason enough to experience it for yourself.

To the Wise Woman of the Rock

Sedona, Arizona


You give us ebb and flow of life, green sea

and red sky and turtle wisdom

You breathe metal strength, hammered

White hot against the sun

We know and we are, time immortal

All and best we ride against the tide

Of time, all love but fear to be

The Wise Woman of the Rock

You give us all there is to know and then some

We incandescent bear the load and come with hope

One on one, then parting comes so sweet

And all too brief from this world to the next

Death and travel all alone until we’re met by the

Wise Woman of the Rock


Loving purples, red, blue, and greens

Against the sunset sky. A gift to satisfy the thirst

For drinking in the elements returned to dust

Artful characters dance the dance and we are there.


Mystic Mesa meets the moment and we commune

Three humans with the cosmos all adrift in sync and set

The red, red rock and that one Woman of the Rock

You take us by the hand, then sing us to the force


The Wise Woman of the Rock is north, south, east, and west.

She guides us, satisfied to know the truth.

Smoke the pipe of peace, walk the medicine wheel,

Grant the gifts through her ordained.


The Wise Woman of the Rock says it clear:

Blessed be the moment now all inspired

Dance the dance, sing the song

Now and forever afterwards

In the red, red rock