Photo Challenge: Natural Boundaries

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Man has set so many boundaries; be it the barbed wire protecting one’s private property or the well patrolled country borders. Even the houses we build are meant to set boundaries from our neighbors. No matter how strong these human boundaries maybe, the boundaries that nature sets are insurmountable.

The great Arizona Outback

There are counted few moments in everyone’s life when you feel like you are in the midst of something so grandiose and majestic that it’s almost surreal. If you have visited the Red Rock Mountains or the world-famous Grand Canyon in Arizona then you probably know what I am talking about?

Recently we drove to Arizona, on an arduously long drive (8 hour-long drive to be exact). By the time we reached Sedona we were thoroughly beat, and the rear end of our anatomy was crying out loud in pain. However the moment we entered Sedona we started seeing the picturesque Red Rock hills that assured us that our long odyssey was indeed worth all the pain.Arizona 2014 034

The Schnebly Hill formation which is a major component of the Red Rocks of Sedona are sedimentary rock formations that were created 300 million years ago, in part by the erosion caused by sea and in part shaped by the sand blown in from coastal area beaches. The color of the rocks ranges a varied hue of white, tan, orange and bold red. Furthermore, erosion from flowing waters have created famous hills that have been named after their unique shapes such as Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Kissing Rock, Big Bear, Coffee Pot Rock and so on. It sounds like almost everyone who looked at these Rocks had their own interpretation of the shape and coined a name for them.

Arizona 2014 058Here are some pictures to quench your appetite for this insanely beautiful Red Rock country. Feel free to play “I spy” and identify the rocks by their names if you can. But beware pictures just don’t do justice to this natural marvel.

 

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The pink Jeep tours in Sedona are an absolute must and the experienced drivers will show you some spots that are extremely hard and dangerous to reach by hiking. The Jeep tour is a little adventure in itself, because it tours through some really rough and hilly terrain. There were a few moments when the jeep was angled perpendicular to the earth nose-diving straight down or straight up so that I must admit my heart missed a few beats. But rest assured it is perfectly safe and guaranteed fun. One of my favorite hills was what they called the “chicken point” so named because the faint of heart would offer to get off the jeep before reaching it. The view from the Rock is insanely beautiful and it feels cool and refreshingly breezy in comparison to the other spots. As far as I am concerned any vortex could not be more peaceful and serene than this place is.

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So what is a vortex? Vortexes are places that create positive, negative or neutral releases of the Earth’s energy and evoke balance. I believe, places like people have an aural energy and invoke emotions that are unique and personal to everyone; especially historic places such as Sedona.

Arizona 2014 071Although this hasn’t really been proven, Sedona is considered to be pregnant with “hot spots” or vortexes that are supposed to have a great healing, relaxation and rejuvenation properties.

Looking at how dry and arid this place is, it is almost impossible to believe that this land used to be under water. The best time to visit Sedona is in spring or fall and is way too hot in June (as we can testify first hand). Most of the hiking is best done in the wee hours of the morning. I thought even as early as 10 AM the heat was already too oppressive to warrant any real hiking. The best thing to do by noon is to find a pool and relax with a glass of wine or visit the open market.

Arizona 2014 031Sedona has rows of art galleries, exquisite art shops, restaurants, resorts and of course the historic Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts village. Unfortunately the village was already closed when we reached and there was private party going on at the time, so we could not really enjoy it, but from the looks of it, it is a delightful hang out.

On our way back to Los Angeles, we visited the Grand Canyon. The Canyon is the very definition of grandiose. This 277 miles long and 1 mile deep canyon reminds you of a gigantic monster sleeping with its mouth gaping open. The canyon is so wide that you can’t even take a picture that would cover the entire width of the canyon (unless you have the advantage of shooting from a helicopter). A look at this “wonder of the world” makes you see yourself in a different perspective; a mere speck in the grand scheme of life. It makes you mindful not only of the fragility of human life but the shallowness and insignificance of humanly worries and troubles.

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Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year. It is a Mecca for the brave of heart who backpack their way to the Phantom Ranch inside the womb of the Canyon. This hike is certainly not for the faint of heart and numerous books have been written accounting the accidents that have taken place in the Canyon. However those who dare, will certainly be rewarded with an unforgettable experience and superb photography opportunities. Sadly, I am not one of them. I enjoyed the overwhelming beauty of the Canyon from the comforting safety of the South rim which is what 90% of travelers do.

Arizona has left such an indelible mark on me, that I am sure this won’t be my last visit. Who knows next time I will be one of the back packers trekking my way down the winding, path into the belly of this giant monster called the Grand Canyon or hiking my way to the top of the Devil’s Bridge. Here’s to Arizona! Ditat Deus!

Photo Challenge

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