I am writing from Sedona. You could call this my “ctrl-alt-delete” weekend. My reset weekend. My “eat drink love myself” weekend. My “getting lost to find myself” weekend.
I flew into Phoenix this morning and drove to Sedona. As I approached, so did the big red cliffs. The striped mountains. The type of scenery you’ll never get in Indiana, and also never get tired of.
The resort is incredible and though I am only here for 3 days/2 nights, it’s absolutely perfect. It’s breathtaking. Quiet. Serene. Comfortable. Simple.
After settling in, I decided to go for a short hike up the side of the canyon. We are nestled right in the center of the Boynton Canyon so this was a great “first hike” to get my bearings. It’s actually colder here than in Indiana right now – only 40 degrees – so I dressed appropriately. Yep – you know what that means: tall socks over my running tights. (You can take the Perfect Stranger out of Indiana, but not the Perfect Stranger out of the girl.)
Within a couple minutes on the Vista trail, I ran into an older couple. I asked if they wanted me to take their picture before I passed them and carried on. The trail was pretty easy to follow but definitely not consistently paved. I am no expert hiker (read: have never hiked before in my life) so was just happy I could follow a path and not get lost!
About halfway up the canyon, I saw another couple coming toward me. The man made eye contact and slowed down so I assumed he wanted me to take their photo. I pulled out an earbud just in time to hear him say “This is for you. It’s a heart from mother earth” as he handed me a red rock in the shape of a heart. I looked into his eyes and thanked him as the tears came. I told him how much it meant to me – and it really really did. I can’t put into words why, exactly. But maybe it’s the fact that this trip largely is focused on loving myself and getting my groove back. And this heart – from a complete stranger- was my sign that I am in the right place. That this trip is exactly what I should be doing.
I held it gently in my hand as I continued to climb and decided I no longer wanted my music (I was listening to my “Noddin’ My Head Like Yeah” playlist (bonus points for those of you who recognize that lyric)). And with each step up the mountain, my smile grew. And when I reached the top, I was surprisingly not afraid. (I am usually deathly afraid of heights).
At the top was a small pile of change and a few things people had left. I immediately wished I had something to contribute but I did find a little note tucked under a rock. And I love every bit of what it means.
On the way back down, I ran into the older couple again. We got to chatting and when I asked them where they were from, I almost fell off the mountain when they responded “Indianapolis.” There we were, in Sedona, on the side of a canyon, talking about Kessler Boulevard. As I gave them advice on going up the trail, the woman grabbed my hand and told me “You are darling. Enjoy your trip.” Right as she said this, I noticed another heart-shaped rock that someone had placed in between the branches of a tree. I thought about taking it with me but decided to leave it for the next person who needed to believe Mother Nature was looking out for him or her. I already had one heart and Katie from Kessler Boulevard.
Tomorrow morning I am going on a 2 hour group hike and then a spa treatment in the afternoon. But maybe Sunday I’ll take a trip back up the Vista trail so I too can leave something on the top of the mountain other than just my signature in a guest book.