En . chant . ment: Noun 1. A feeling of great pleasure; delight 2. The state of being under a spell; magic.
It’s how I feel when I get to spend time with my girls and it’s also a pretty incredible resort in Sedona, AZ where her sister and I took my youngest to belatedly celebrate her winter birthday.
The dramatic red rocks of Boynton Canyon stand at the ready creating a wondrous backdrop to every vista of the 70-acre resort. Whether sitting on your balcony, walking to the spa or tennis court or having a drink poolside, the rocks, with their purported spiritual/healing properties, are majestically ever present whispering, beckoning, daring you to try.
Upon arrival, the extremely gracious staff welcomed us with cool water, a rose and chocolates for the birthday girl and, thankfully, a ride up the very steep hill to our adobe dwelling with our bags. After settling in, we opened a bottle of wine to enjoy on the balcony and then headed down (literally) to the more casual of the two restaurants on site, Tii Gavo. Here, you can dine indoors or al fresco, by the roaring fire pit.
We started out with a “Raspberry Fields” (Titos vodka, compressed raspberries, poppy seeds, lemon & Topo Chico), a “Controlled Burn” (Habenaro tequila, Vago Espadin Mezcal, lime juice & agave), and a prickly pear soda. Arizona Nachos with home-made crema, black tepary beans, charred corn, salsa verde, queso and a sprinkle of cilantro warmed us up for dinner: three different tamale bowls, mole braised short-rib, seasonal squash and poblano cream shrimp. Satiated and feeling like we had made a great start to our girls’ weekend, we started our walk back to our room. Maybe walk isn’t the word . . . . . perhaps climb is better. Meh, I’m just weary from the traveling. A good nights sleep and I’ll be raring to hit the trails in the morning!
Having never hiked before, I donned my shorts, t-shirt and sneakers (!) thinking hiking was the equivalent of a walk in nature. I was soon to discover just how wrong I was! We headed out early the next morning, after a healthful and delicious breakfast of acai bowls, to hike the Boynton Canyon trail. The morning started off chilly, but exertion had us warm soon enough. The well-traversed, arid terrain started out fairly flat . . . . until it wasn’t. I dealt with this the way I deal with most things – I started making jokes, my sarcasm and wise-assery in full bloom. There were rock scrambles and the red dust, covering every surface, made the footing quite slippery (when you’re ignorant enough to wear Reeboks!) I huffed and puffed struggling through a tough, fairly vertical climb toward the end. I had been using trees and branches as handholds but eventually, the only choices were cactus so it really got tricky! We reached the top and were rewarded with breathtaking views of the canyon and sat for a while on some large rocks, resting our weary legs. After some recovery time, we started the hike back. (Down is only slightly easier than up, by the way.)
A few hours after we began, we were finally back at the resort only now we had to climb up to our Casita to change into our bathing suits. Oh the torture! Christina laughed as she watched me slowly try to ascend saying, “Walk backwards – it’s easier!” She said this each and every time we had to walk back to our room for something and no – it wasn’t and never got easier!
Once in the hot tub with some drinks in hand and some of the red rocks we had conquered earlier in view, the girls called me out on my wise cracking. “You don’t have to do that. We’ll help you whenever you need it.” And they did. And they do.
They make me better. They make me try things I might not have otherwise and teach me how to just shut up, sometimes, listen to the quiet (or the perfect music Sarah always seems to find when she DJ’s for us) trusting in the adventure and the three of us.
The next morning, I didn’t know if my weary legs could bear another hike. After all, we hiked for hours the day before logging about 14 miles and climbing the equivalent of 22 stories. My legs felt weak and rubbery, but we were there belatedly celebrating Sarah’s birthday and who was I to be a party pooper? I chose a “superfood bowl” for breakfast with egg whites, spinach (hey, it worked for Popeye!) hemp seeds, squash, quinoa, tepary beans, corn, pico de gallo and avocado washing it all down with an “Energy Tonic” of matcha, cucumber, green apple and mint to, hopefully, set myself up for success. I vowed to keep my mouth shut and do my best.
This time, we were headed for “Devil’s Bridge”, another trail rated as “moderate” but this time, with a completely different landscape and feel. Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch and makes a great photo op if you’re not faint of heart. This hike was through a lush, green forest and the trails were much quieter which allowed for peaceful reflection. As we inched closer to Devil’s Bridge, the trail narrowed and there were very steep stone steps and rock scrambles. My legs were weak from the previous day, but each time I struggled, there was a cool hand taking mine, helping me climb whatever obstacle I was struggling with.
This trip really embodied the relationship we three share. When one of us doesn’t feel well, the other two leap into action to take care of what needs to be done, get medicine, water, etc. When one of us needed to make a pit stop in nature, the other two stood guard on the trail. We helped each other with the climb and when we stumbled, we encouraged one another to keep going. And at the end of the day, in matching robes and slippers, sat on our balcony, drank in our incredible view of the red rocks and celebrated each other with great food, fine wine, some profound insights and always, lots of laughter.