Sedona Mystical Tours: A Day in the Vortex

A few weeks ago Zach and I set out to do what I like to call a “location redemption.”  That’s when we go somewhere that we’ve been before, back in our drinking and partying days, and experience the place again through our now-sober selves.  If you’re not in recovery it might be hard to understand, but I really love going back to some of the places where I partied particularly hard and made some not-great memories and “redeem” them by having a more conscious, mindful experience as a sober traveler.

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Sedona is a famous “new age” destination due to its vortexes.  Crystal shops and psychic readers profiting from the tourists abound.  We sought out the real thing.
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Zach receiving some singing bowl sound healing during our Sedona Mystical Tour.

Sedona was high on my list for a location redemption.  I’d been there so many times, but I’d never really looked into the vortex phenomenon or any of the many spiritual aspects of Sedona.  Enter Mark Griffon of Sedona Mystical Tours.  I found Mark’s tour company online and knew immediately that having him guide us through Sedona would be the perfect way to finally experience the sacredness of the red rocks.  And I was totally right.  Mark’s expertise and gentle nature make him a perfect guide for seekers in Sedona.  Mark took us off-the-beaten-track to some locations where we were the only people there, even during the crazy tourist season!  Here’s the video we made of our Sedona Mystical Tour experience.

As you can see in the video, we had a truly remarkable experience in Sedona this time.  We had started the day feeling stressed and anxious due to outside factors, but after a short while of hiking and feeling the vibration of the land with Mark, we both felt cool, calm and heavily meditated!  It was wonderful.

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The epic view from Mark’s backyard, where we started out tour.
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Feeling the energy of the vortex trees.
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Sage ritual

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As we were posing for our last picture of the trip, this magical light beam came out of the clouds to bless us.

This post will the first in our series on vortexes and spiritual places in the USA!  Next on our list to visit and film are both the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, and the other Mystery Spot in the Upper Penninsula, Michigan!  Where else should we go?  Leave your recommendations in the comments!

 

 

 

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Our Southwest United States Roadtrip – Almost VanLife

Hi lovely readers!  You may be wondering what we have been doing in the months since we posted!  It’s been so long! Our digital nomad lives have brought us home to the USA for a summer of roadtrip camping adventures, visiting friends and family, and running some workshops and retreats for our yoga retreat company Bigger Life Adventures.  It’s been fun to live “Dirtbag Life” with our Prius and our tent again and explore the beautiful nature of our own country.  It’s almost VanLife, right? Here’s a video we made to show you our road trip through Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.

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Feeling at “ohm” in the gorgeous landscape north of Taos, New Mexico.
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The “Prius Tent Life” Chef

The highlight of the trip was definitely the Via Ferrata in Telluride, Colorado, which you watched at the end of the video above.  This amazing adventure course is bolted into a rock wall hundreds of feet above the stunning Telluride Valley.  It’s super thrilling and LONG, with sections of hiking and sections of scary iron steps and a sheer dropoff below!  It took us about four hours.  So worth it for the views and the adventure though!

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The other huge highlight of our summer so far was hosting our Mid-Summer Reset at Laguna Mountain retreat campout!  We had 13 guests and it went super well!  I got to teach yoga in the beautiful mountain meadows of east San Diego County and Zach cooked amazing plant-based meals for everyone!  We can’t wait to host our next retreat in Sri Lanka!

Check out the amazing video our friends from Where We Wanderlust made about our retreat!

 

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Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Kale Salad – just one of our amazing meals!

 

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Hiking Garnet Peak
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Teaching about Ayurveda!
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Yoga in nature is the best!

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Transitioning to Dirtbag Life

It felt weird to be back in Arizona. Not our home for six years but the comfort remained as we checked out all our old favorite spots. We hiked to our favorite swimming hole, which was still as beautiful as ever, water a perfect way to cool off in the middle of a seven-mile, 90-degree hike. Nearing the end, we witnessed a teenage couple— the guy foolishly hiking into a deep part of the canyon to get water, cursing back up at his girlfriend for not following him down. They showed up at the swimming hole about an hour later. Apparently on the edge of death, the miserable looking boy pulls out a small battery-powered fan, his girlfriend using his precious water to wash sand off her butt. I never did see them get into the water.

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Smile!!!!
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The Crack
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Hiking is fun!

On the way back we drove through Sedona and up Oak Creek Canyon. The views in this region are unbeatable! We had forgotten what an amazing place this is.

The next day we hiked a section of Bill Williams Mountain, starting at the ranger station east of town.  The hike has some pretty nature and I enjoyed finding four types of wild mushrooms nestled beneath the pinion pines. The grasshoppers buzzed around the woods, their sounds always startling and interrupting the tranquility. We didn’t finish the hike, which round-trip totals seven miles, because we have done it a few times before and we had been hiking a good deal.

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Our third day we got up at dawn and drove to the Grand Canyon. We hiked along the rim until there were less crowds with selfie sticks and climbed over the edge to a nice place to hang our feet over. In the distance we spotted two California Condors which we had never been lucky enough to see before. They circled through the sky, catching air streams, and eventually cruised right in front of us. The sound of their feathers rippling through the wind was mesmerizing, wings stiff like a hang-glider. Easily the coolest birds I’ve seen in the wild.

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Day four we finally got some climbing in. We went bouldering at a place called Priest Draw off of Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff.  The Draw is famous among the climbing community and we were excited to check it out again, having last been there in 2011. We sent some of the easier problems, leaving the classic cave problems for the pros. It was a great spot to spend the morning with our pup Toby who loved tramping around in the woods. We planned to go across the street to The Pit, a sport climbing area, but it started to rain as we entered the parking lot so we went to Flagstaff to a gear shop. We needed just a few more things for our coming Mount Whitney trek.

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Our Prius has been carrying us everywhere and we are calling it the “Rock Crawler” now.  Every day seems to bring about some new dirt road for us to conquer.  We are decked out with gear and a new solar panel/battery bank.  Wish us luck as we head to hike Mount Whitney!

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Zion National Park – Hiking Angles Landing – Heaven on Earth?

Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon Arizona

After dropping our dog Dusty off in Arizona to be kindly taken care of by her grandparents for the next two months, we headed off toward Zion National Park on a long meandering path to Burning Man!  The first stop was Horseshoe Bend, a crazy geological formation near the eastern end of the Grand Canyon.  It’s only a mile off the lonely highway but it’s still surprising to see so many tourists and hear so many foreign languages being spoken in this crazy desolate area.  The short walk down to the overlooks is totally worth it if you don’t mind your stomach turning a bit!   No guard rails here, as in most of the canyon.  With more than a 1000 foot straight drop off in most places, I wouldn’t recommend cliff jumping either.

After seeing the bend we crossed Lake Mead into Utah.  Since it was Friday and we hadn’t made a reservation, we were assuming Zion National Park would be full and we’d just find a campsite outside the park.  But, lo and behold, luck was on our side and we pulled up to the gate just in time to nab the last campsite in the park, over at Watchman Campground.zion national park

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After setting up our tent next to some way-too-tame deer and a little fawn, we hiked the Watchman Trail, along the Virgin River and up a small bluff.  I remember tubing in this river when I was a young girl.  Warped memories from when I was really small plus the western drought in recent years made it seem significantly less “rapid” than I remembered, haAfter a good night’s sleep, we set off the next morning on the trail to Angel’s Landing, one of the most popular and strenuous hikes in Zion National Park.

We were repeatedly warned of the difficulty-steep grades and sheer dropoffs and do not attempt if you’re not a confident hiker!  Call us crazy, but as relatively-well-seasoned hikers, we didn’t think much of it.  Granted, the trail was a lot of steep switchbacks, really tough on the thighs!  The trail was really wide though so the “sheer dropoff” wasn’t quite as dangerous as they made it sound.  Or so we thought!  It wasn’t until we got ourselves almost 2000 feet up to the last section of trail that we got our rude awakening.  I’m not sure “trail” is even the right term for the last climb up Angel’s Landing!  It’s literally a skinny outcropping of slanted rock layers, with a chain bolted along the side for you to desperately cling to, while you place your feet into crazy contorted positions, precisely one after another, trying to ignore the sheer drop to your right!  Ahh!  Oh, and there’s only “one lane” for all hikers, so sometimes you’re practically climbing over the top of people or bear hugging them so they can pass or you can pass them.  They needed some traffic control up there!

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The thing is, I am not really scared of heights that much.  Strap me into a harness on a belay system and I’ll hang out off the top of that precipice all day.  But when I know that it’s only my own strength keeping me from falling to my death, that’s when I freak out.  I know I can do it, but I’d wayyyyy rather have a lifeline.  Anyway, we’d come so far, so we kept going to the top, stopping to snap a few pics, all the while our hearts still beating and palms sweating at the thought of having to go back down the same way.  Luckily, we kept our cool and no one went hurtling.  After finishing the sketchy section, we practically ran down the rest of the trail, and finished the whole round trip in 1/2 the time the rangers tell you it takes.  Ha, at least we’ve still got that on them!

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The Cost of Our Cross-Country Move

Toledo, Ohio to San Diego, California

6 Days

2461 miles

Gas: $398.11

Tolls: $25.80

Food/Beverages: $245.85

Accommodations: Free!

Grand Total: $669.76

We didn’t exactly live like paupers during this road trip.  We Couchsurfed everywhere of course, but we also splurged on quite a few meals out and quite a few brewery stops in Colorado.  It was a mini vacation!  Still, I think the fact that we spent so little proves something…

Do it.
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Moving to California – Day 5

We left Denver early after a fun few days around town.  The Rocky Mountains loomed before us and we patted our old car whispering “Come on, you can do it!” Up, up, up, we went, ears popping.  The aspens were just starting to turn giving the mountains beautiful touches of gold.  We headed toward Durango, where we would stop for a rest.  The car made it up and over the mountains where everything leveled into a high plateau.  We drove through some pretty hick-ish Colorado towns, including Fairplay, famous for inspiring South Park.  Thankfully, there were no delinquent children running around or political movements occurring.

Mr. Moose enjoys the aspens

Eventually we came to a “truck on triangle” sign signalling a hard downhill for the next 10 miles or so.  This was the end of the Rockies, a spot that would test our car to the limits.  We switched into a lower gear but about halfway down our breaks started smelling of burning rubber so we stopped at a scenic view point to check out the damage.  There was smoke pouring out from around the front wheels.  I threw all of our water on them, plus half a cup of coffee, and some coolant, everything instantly turning to steam.  We waited around, worrying, for about a half an hour.  There were only a few more downhill miles to go so, after testing the breaks, we set out to make it to our break spot.

At least we had an awesome view while our breaks were smoking.

After a quick stop in Durango, we were back on the road and headed through the familiar Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona.  “The res” is always an interesting place, with packs of dogs, no one speaking English, locals sitting along the road watching the cars pass.  The sun went down fast but we were still able to catch some of the cool rock formations and the painted desert.  We were pretty tired by this point and the miles left didn’t seem to be getting any fewer.  The last few hours of any long car trip are always the hardest.

Sun setting and miles to go

We got into Williams, Arizona around 9pm and went straight to bed.  We planned to rest for a day then head to the beach!

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