Mystical Arizona

After a morning catching up with my good friend Molly in Phoenix, a quick hike to a view point and back, Bridget and I were once again alongside the road thumbing out for our next ride. There was potentially a place for us to stay with my friend in the always fun town of of Flagstaff, there was also Sedona and the Grand Canyon which were not to be missed.

A roper hauling horses and a house trailer made a U-turn to come scoop us up and off we went. He was heading to a smaller town up north and decided that Flagstaff could be on his way by taking another route, he was glad to do it as we were all getting along well.

We arrived in Flagstaff with warnings of coming rain, the cold was already evident. We walked for a bit, given the choice of left towards town center or right towards the road breaking away, we chose right. I still hadn't heard back from my friend, so aiming more directly for the Grand Canyon seemed the thing to do.

We walked a good ways, up and down and no rides, the sunset approaching and temperatures dropping. We stopped for a bite to eat, riding out what I had left on some Subway gift cards that had sustained us much of the trip.

We took turns in the bathroom layering up as much of our clothes as possible before breaking out into the cold again, the last of sunlight all but gone. We thumbed some more cars, but at this point we were looking for a place to tuck away. It didn't take all that long to find a run of thick trees, we hopped a small fence and found ourselves a spot underneath a big pine tree, home for the night.

The morning came, a layer of snow atop us that I'd heard sprinkling through the night, a blanket of white beyond us as well. Bridget was all bliss, we packed up quickly, back over the fence and to the road to see all the hills beyond us covered in the same powdery whiteness.

We paused at the first gas station for a little coffee warm up talking to the friendly cashier, then it was back to the road for some more walking amongst the beautiful scenery until getting picked up by a Navajo guy. He rode us up as far as the junction to the park entrance, from there we got a ride from another couple Navajos who got us into the park as we cruised through the vast snowy views.

One last ride from a Las Vegas couple got us to the rim of the canyon. It was easily my most beautiful trip there, partly because I was enjoying it through Bridget's eyes as well as mine, but also because the snow clouds kept rolling in and out. The contrast of clouds, shadows and sunlight was amazing, we could see them rolling in for miles and fill the canyon, then gone again.

We hiked along, snacked on overhangs and enjoyed it for a good while. Back at the road we got a ride quickly from two spiritual girls. Of all the places one could be going from the Grand Canyon, they were going exactly where we wanted to be, Sedona.

We had great conversation and cruised through the ever changing weather, finally arriving in Sedona in the rain where they dropped us off, right at the door step of someone Bridget knew and had got in contact with, a Shaman named Jade. He offered us his spare bedroom while we visited, we spent the night with tea talking after enjoying the view of the sunset on the red rocks from his back deck.

The next day we headed into town to explore, Bridget was loving the little shops and gravitated quickly to a gem shop and places like this. Once we ran through most of them, we made our way down the road to a trail head, did a little running, soon we were amongst all the red rocks twisting and shooting up. We climbed and twisted ourselves until we were high above everything with amazing views, breaks for meditation and then more exploration.

We found our own way back down and eventually came to the road where we easily hitched a ride from a French Swiss guy. He said he didn't like Sedona very much, "too many self made Gods", he told us, the mysticism had gone too far. I had to agree in some regards, as powerful a place as Sedona was, there was a high level of commercial hippy mysticism throughout, one look no further than the trinket shops and high dollar aura readings advertised in store fronts everywhere.

We were aiming for one brewery, but he suggested another smaller one a little further away and he dropped us off right in front. We sipped our beers and talked to an excited guy from Miami next to us. He was waiting to meet the maker of a bottled tea, one that was available at this brewery, he was a prospective distributor for the tea.

Stefan came in, the creator of this Mighty High Chai, then all of us got to talking. Bridget was in particular excited, as there was some overlap between his tea business and her budding tincture endeavor. He gave us samples of the tea while we sat and talked, he brewed it on the premises and his office was just next door.

Eventually we made the walk back to Jades, he had a good dinner going and we had another night talking about his trips to Peru, his role in the 70's resistance and spiritual talks about trends in Sedona and beyond.

The next day Bridget and explored the town a little more and eventually wound up knocking on Stefan's office door, he'd invited us to come check it out. We spent hours drinking chai after chai, the conversation flowed from tea making, to distilling, aliens, ancient ruins in the Grand Canyon, chem trails, Vipassana breathing, eating gold to read minds and eventually a possible collaboration between Stefan and Bridget where he'd use her animal essence tinctures in a tea he'd call Star Chai.

At last we wound up next door, Bridget and I at least, a beer in hand and live music with a fire pit outside for a while. High on Chai, conspiracy theories and more mysticism, it was always good to have a beer.

The next day Bridget and I headed out the door from Jade's place, backpacks on and ready to get to Prescott. Friends of friends lived there, it would be our last planned stop before Mexico. We got a ride after a bit of walking from a guy embracing his spiritual mission. He'd moved to Sedona with a woman, but time withered away their bond and he was now on his own, finally things were coming back around mentally for him. He was as grateful to had met us as we were to meet him and accept the ride. It was a fitting ride to get out of Sedona, he landed us in a town high up called Jerome.

We walked through the switchback style main road before spying the Ghost Pepper Company. I'd only just recently been introduced to the pepper by my friend's dad, he'd also given me a bottle of sauce I was now traveling with. We poked around inside and the woman gladly chatted us up and gave us some samples of her various sauces.

We walked around the bend, the view was excellent. Soon we were picked up and loaded in back of a pickup truck, whipping around turns in the cool air, the view ever changing and beautiful contrasts of snow and trees. Once over the pass the driver stopped and made room and we rode up front. He was a climber and was able to get us to Prescott and close to our new friends' home. We were out of the mystics once over the pass, ready for the next thing, ready for the last of the US and the start of our Baja adventure.

February 11, 2012 to February 16, 2012