Sedona guide books I like

There are many great guide books on Sedona. All of them have their own perspective with information on hiking, climate, history, wild life, etc. All are very interesting especially to nature-friendly people ^_^. Though it is a little difficult to choose only a few books among them, I’d like to recommend 3 books and one free guide for those who want to experience the beauty of Sedona and the peacefulness of meditation. These 3 books are ranked within the top 3 on doing a search on Sedona.

Sedona's top 10 hikes by Dennis AndresMr Sedona, Dennis Andres at Bell RockSedona’s top 10 hikes
When people visit Sedona and want to hike, they are curious about what is the best hike for them. Because there are hundreds of trails here in Sedona. This book is very helpful in such a case. I checked to see if I liked all 10 and I do agree on his selections. The author, Dannis Andre, is one of the well-known Sedona guides and is called Mr Sedona. One day last May when I was hiking on Bell Rock I happened to meet him and his friend. He was filming his guide video for his mobile app. We talked a little bit about mobile apps as well as small flying biting bugs. It was a short talk but I felt he has lots of knowledge on Sedona from his experiences as a guide. You can see his books in most of the stores in Sedona.

Sedona, treasure of the southwest by Kathleen BryantSedona, treasure of the southwest

This book is one of great Sedona photo album books. The reason I like this book is that it has many great photos and also brief stories about people living here. It gives you an idea of the harmonious life of people and nature. It is a good souvenir from Sedona. A Kindle version is also available. A few weeks ago I purchased this book and mailed it to my parents in South Korea to share with them the beauty of Sedona. I wanted to invite them here but they are too old to travel this far. I hope they can feel it through the large photos.

The Call of Sedona by Ilchi LeeThe Call of Sedona, Journey of the Heart

This book was recently published by Ilchi Lee. He visited Sedona about 15 years ago and received many messages through his own meditation in many great places including the vortexes. He eventually moved to Sedona and founded Sedona Mago Retreat, one of the biggest meditation centers in the Sedona area. His book shows how to meditate on all the vortex areas including practical guides on how to feel vortex energy. This book is very inspiring to me and I am able to feel the same energy he did. For example, he climbed to the top of Bell Rock over 100 times for meditation during both the day and night time. If you want to meditate or get your own answers from nature, this book will be useful.

Recreation Guide to Your National Forest by Sedona, US forest serviceRecreation Guide to Your National Forest
There are many tourist information centers in Sedona where they offer free guides. Among the ones I like is this one by the US Forest Service because it has the most practical and useful information for hikers and visitors. It has only a few pages but they contain a loving perspective of nature. This is very informative for kids to experience and learn about.

Let me share a poem I like from The Call of Sedona by Ilchi Lee:

Whatever path brought you here
There is a reason why you came,
Though you may not know it now.

So, please open your ears and listen.
Listen to the message that Sedona has for you.
The old juniper standing tall in the golden sunset
just might reveal it to you…

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Reasons I love Bell Rock

Mr BellrockThere are many reasons to love Bell Rock. I find a new reason each time I climb to its top. Let me share several reasons with you now.

1. Bell Rock is so beautiful. I often whisper to myself that I’m living in heaven. When I looked around while standing at the mid-point of its north side this morning, I actually felt its beauty coming into my body with purity and peace. There are three other major vortexes visible from here.

2. Bell Rock is conveniently accessible to people of all ages. It usually takes between 5 and 10 minutes to reach it from the North and South parking areas. People can choose which hike suits them best, whether around the bottom or to the top depending on their skill level and physical conditions.

3. Bell Rock has many trails. A person can hike around it or climb to its top. Very few of the red rocks in Sedona provide for such enjoyment and exploration. I especially like the energy at its top because it helps me receive messages while I meditate there.

4. Bell Rock helps me live a sharing life. I meet many locals and visitors on Bell Rock. The tourists come to Sedona from all over the world, either with a particular purpose or simply to feel the energy of the vortex. I don’t mind picking up their trash, taking a photo of them, showing them around, or demonstrating my own disciplines.

5. Bell Rock is like my spiritual teacher. It provides me with healing and vitality as well as wisdom and knowledge in each moment. It also helps me receive gratitude, joy, and love in my life’s journey.

I go to Bell Rock today wishing all people coming to here also receive similar benefits for their own health and happiness.

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Thanks to US Forest Service (Department of Agriculture)

US forest serviceOne day when I was hiking on one of trails near Bell Rock, I saw several people walking very fast carrying heavy tools. They looked like military special forces on a mission. I soon realized that they were wearing US Forest Service uniforms. I was very impressed with their determination. They help make many great nature-friendly trails and benches for hikers as well as many other nature-protection tasks.

I love their annual Recreation Guide to Your National Forest because it has very useful information for hikers and visitors. People can get this free guide at the Red Rock Ranger District Station at the entrance to the Village of Oak Creek or at the Sedona Chamber of Commerce in uptown Sedona.

I particularly like the south and north trail heads of Bell Rock. When I am too busy or it is too dark to hike in the morning or night, I just park there and do my own spiritual practices like jogging, shaking, tapping, stretching, Kigong and meditation in the bench area. At those times I really appreciate the U.S. Forest Service’s facilities that I use.

Bell Rock Trail

Though I often climb to the top of Bell Rock the actual Forest Service trail ends half way up. When I pass the sign, ‘End of trail’ it reminds me that I should be very careful to preserve the natural surroundings. I understand Native Americans consider Red Rock country a sacred place and prepared themselves before they entered Sedona to receive heavenly messages.

Thank you US Forest Service for all you do.
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A bee nest

Last July I had an accident on my way to the top of Bell Rock. I was going my usual way when a bee flew in my hair. It then stung me and I panicked because I did not know how to react to a bee’s attack, so I just waved my arms frantically and sprayed my bug-repellant. Then more bees began to attack me all at once. For the next few seconds I received several stings on my head as I headed back down Bell Rock. When I realized they weren’t still chasing me, I also unfortunately realized that I had left my walking stick at that first spot and decided to retrieve it. When I arrived at back at the same spot the bees again attacked me. I also repeated my earlier bad conduct.

Fortunately the pain was not that serious and after a few hours my head became normal. I searched the Internet on bee stings how to properly react in such a situation. I learned that bees usually don’t attack people unless they are attacked first. I found that strange since I was attacked first. I learned that when they attack they usually attack the higher part of the opponent, the head, and they are usually active in daytime and fly faster than a human walks. So the best way to react if attacked by bees is to keep calm (which requires practice), not wave your hands frantically, and simply run from that spot. The bees usually only chase for 100-150 ft. A few days later, when I hiked up Bell Rock again, I found the same bee’s nest. It looks a little special because there are not that many flowers in this high area of Bell Rock. Recently I took a photo of the nest at nighttime.

bee manMeanwhile I found a very interesting photo on the Internet. It shows a honey farmer in South Korea who is famous because more that 250,000 bees stick on his naked body without him moving at all. That photo was a good lesson for me. Now I’m getting used to keeping calm and centered when bees or any insects fly around me. Just let them do their job. We can be friends or at least not opponents.

Yesterday I happened to read an interesting article in Sedona’s Red Rock News titled, “Painful bee stings can be cured with a slice of onion.” It states: First you scrape the poison sack off, then put a slice of onion on the sting. In two to three minutes, you don’t know you were stung. Using a slice or crushed onion on bee stings is listed as a natural home remedy in several publications….’

Be prepared with hats, long sleeves, and pants when you hike. ^_^

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A friend from Japan, Naoto

bellrock friend, naotoI met a young visitor from Japan on May 24, 2011 who was traveling for 5 months in the United States by himself without a car. He had been using the Greyhound Bus Line to move between cities. He said he wanted his own experiences before starting his job after school graduation. It had been a month since he started his travel and he had already visited LA, NY, Salt Lake City, and other places. While I listened to his story, I could feel his courage, determination, and enthusiasm.

After speaking with him I realized that he needed to know how to keep healthy and positive in mind in order to accomplish his long travel. So I taught him about how to recover and accumulate energy, how to walk healthy, how to meditate as well as introductions to Sedona Vortexes.

Sometimes I get to talk with people visiting Bell Rock. I often ask them a question: “What is your dream?” The reason I ask this is because all people with a dream look beautiful and happy when they talk about it. I also get a loving and peaceful feeling when I listen to their story.

So I asked that question to him. He said that his dream is “open and manage one of best hamburger shops in Japan” because he loves hamburgers. It’s one of the reasons he is traveling to the US. I asked him which hamburger in the States he likes the best and he stated Shake Shack in NY. Naturally the topic became the best hamburgers. I told him I like In-n-Out. I especially love their fries. I’ve read an article on the Internet about the best hamburgers in US, and they are Shake Shack, In-n-Out and Five-Guys.

bellrock friend, naotoAfter giving him a ride to Cathedral Rock we shared a hug and a good-bye. I imagined that his big backpack contained his dream. I prayed in silence that his travels would be one of his most precious and useful life-experiences.

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How to feel Vortex energy

the call of sedonaFrom ‘The Call of Sedona’ by Ilchi Lee

Feeling ki (energy) is the most basic step in Sedona Vortex Meditations. If you haven’t yet experienced energy, I recommend that you first try feeling it through this exercise. As you develop your ability to sense energy with your body, it will become easier for you to connect with the energy of Sedona’s vortexes.

Humans consist of a visible physical body and an invisible consciousness. Energy is the medium that constantly exchanges information between the physical body and the
world of consciousness. Energy is what connects the body and mind. As your experience deepens, you will come to realize that the body and consciousness are also ultimately made of energy.

Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and back straight. Rub your hands together or shake them out for about 30 seconds to awaken their senses.

Place your hands on your knees with your palms facing upward. Breathe steadily and comfortably. Keeping your palms facing upward, raise your hands very slowly, about
five inches above your knees, and then lower them back down about three inches. Repeat the motion of raising and lowering your hands several times. Focus your awareness on your palms. Imagine energy continuously coming into your palms from the air. You’ll get a heavy feeling in your hands. That is the feeling of energy.

Now slowly bring your hands in front of your chest with your palms facing each other. Leave about two inches of space in between your palms and focus your awareness on your hands. Very slowly, move your hands apart from each
other, focusing on the sensation in the palms. When you have moved them a few inches farther apart, slowly begin to bring them back to the original position again. As you continue move your hands closer and farther apart, feel the
energy field that exists between them. Focus on the presence between the palms, imagining that your hands are linked together with energy…….

It is best to awaken the senses in your body and mind through energy sensitization like that presented here before you engage in the Sedona Vortex training and meditation.

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Century Plants

There are many beautiful trees and brushes on Bell Rock even though it is a rock. I guess Bell Rock collects enough water when it does rain to sustain its many plants that are full of vital energy and healing power.

Century PlantI like Juniper trees, Manzanitas, Cacti, and specially the Century Plant … which is also called a ‘Agave’. One reason is that it reminds me of the mind for growth and transformation in our lives. A century plant looks like one of popular plants when it is young but when it becomes ready (20~40 years), a big stem begins to grow very quickly from its center straight to the sky. It reminds me of someone overcoming a certain limit of his or her routine life and experiencing a big breakthrough. It finally blossoms so beautifully in the sky and finishes its life.

Century PlantSometimes I ponder questions like “How well do I live my life?,” “What do I really want to do in my life?” and “Am I following the right way for that purpose?” Some wise people say we have the answers within ourselves. I think Century plants, as well as other places on Bell Rock, are good meditation spots and are very helpful to contemplate our life’s journey.

Reference: Agave deserti in Wikipedia
……They are commonly known as century plant

The name “century plant” refers to the long time the plant takes to flower. The number of years before flowering occurs depends on the vigor of the individual plant, the richness of the soil and the climate; during these years the plant is storing in its fleshy leaves the nourishment required for the effort of flowering.

Agave deserti (Desert Agave) is an agave native to desert regions in southern California and Arizona. Its tall yellow flower stalks dot dry rocky slopes and washes throughout the spring. It forms a rosette of fleshy gray-green leaves 1~2 ft long and 2~4 inch broad, with sharp spines along the edges and at the tips. It flowers at maturity (20-40 yrs), sending up an inflorescence 6~20 ft tall. The panicle bears numerous yellow, funnel-shaped flowers 2~3 inch long.

It is a common misconception that agaves are cacti. They are not related to cacti, nor are they closely related to Aloe whose leaves are similar in appearance. The desert dwelling Indians used fibers from the leaves to make cloth, bowstrings, and rope. Young flower stalks (roasted), buds, and hearts of plants (also roasted) were eaten. Agave azul (blue agave) is used in the production of tequila……

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Hiking at Night

I like climbing to the top of Bell Rock because it has a great view in all directions, always gives me a feeling of accomplishment, and it is a great work-out.

Full Moon from Bell Rock One day a while back I asked myself this question, “Do I really love Bell Rock?” After climbing to its top hundreds of times, I came to this conclusion: “Yes, I love Bell Rock.” My reason is simple: In order to love something or someone, you need to love not just the bright side (daytime in this case ^^) but also the dark side (nighttime) too. That’s when I started climbing Bell Rock at night, over 30 times so far.

Now I get to enjoy hiking at night as well as daytime because it gives me such a quiet time to focus on myself as well as other fresh smells from land and trees. But it still requires much caution because of difficulty seeing, a scary mood from darkness, and dangers from spiders, scorpions, as well as centipedes. spider at Bell Rock

I think hiking at night is only good for someone who has the experience of hiking over 100 times during the day, because at night it is not possible to explore here and there. With a lantern, a hiker must follow the exact same path he or she is used to at daytime for safety.

Tonight when I meditate at the top of Bell Rock, the lights from the houses and cars in the Village of Oak Creek look like the light of human-beings who want to grow as bright as stars in the sky. And we are here to help each other for that purpose.
lights from village

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A Rainy Day

In Sedona’s Monsoon season, usually July, August and September, it is hard to predict the weather. It can be very clear and sunny in the morning but a T-storm can suddenly show up in the afternoon. So during this season, hikers have to be prepared to meet this kind of unexpected T-storm in the middle of hike.

Hail in parking lot of bell rockSometimes my mind whispers to myself about something strange to do. ^_^ This evening it was raining with a scary thundering sound and lightning here and there. I thought now is a good time to obtain some experience on how dangerous hiking and climbing are in the rain. I can then tell people what I will learn. I decided to climb up Bell Rock.

When I arrived in the north parking lot, it had rained very heavily. There was also hail. I even saw lightning about 1 mile in front of me. After waiting for a while in my car, I started climbing up Bell Rock. I stayed under trees when it rained heavily and I saw several waterfalls along the way. I heard the sound of rocks falling but I made sure none fell on me.water fall in bell rock

Finally I arrived at top of Bell Rock through many kinds of scary experiences with heavy rain, lightning, falling rocks, and slippery land. I did my regular training like body-shaking, tapping, Qi-gong and meditation there. When I did a meditation, there was still lightning among the clouds in the sky. The lesson I received through meditation is that life is sometimes suffering but it is transient and there is always hope of another sunny day. It was very special journey up Bell Rock that evening for me.

Now I can say more clearly, “Do not hike or climb Bell Rock in a rainy day” ^_^
rainbow in bellrock

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