• Stephanie Joy

A Morning of Hiking with Lawrence of Sedona Red Rock Tours

We really do like being outdoors, but seeing that I have the coordination of a newborn deer in addition to a bad back, doing a Vortex Hiking tour was seemingly going to a bit of a challenge for me....but thanks to our guide, Lawrence, my apprehension quickly fell by the wayside.

I just wish it was the only thing that fell that morning!

Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness

Sedona red Rocks Tours


(928) 282-0993

One family, 3 different faces for the camera. We are dorks!

We headed out at 9 am, picked up promptly at our hotel by Lawrence, our guide that day. I let him know what due to a back injury, I wasn't able to do like serious hiking and climbing, but I would keep up with the best of them. I knew for Jason and Sarah it would be no trouble, but carrying an extra 50 lbs of weight doesn't exactly have me in the best shape, but I was determined to do my best. One thing I have to say, though:


Although that was a big contributing factor to some of extra weight I've put on over the last 6 months, not wheezing and huffing and puffing like a mad fool was a total first for me. Lawrence took us to the Secret Mountain Wilderness area of the Coconino National Forest and after getting me outfitted with hiking poles to help me as I needed (I only wound up needing one) and we began our short hike to the Kachina Woman and Warrior Man rock pinnacles. Although this is not a hard "hike" by any means, you really do need to watch where you walk. Trust me....I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and lost my footing on one of the rocks I was climbing on and wound up doing a face plant on the ground in front of me. I totally lucked out, as my phone was in my hand, screen side down and it landed directly on the rocks, glass screen first, bearing the weight of me as I crashed down like a sack of potatoes. Gotta give it to Samsung because the phone screen didn't so much as scratch!

With just a skinned knee and a bit of embarrassment on my part, it was Upward and Onward!

Honestly, I could have stayed up there at Kachina Woman and Warrior Man for hours, as it was so peaceful, serene and the natural beauty was everywhere. Being up there, for me, just reinforced in me that in the grand scheme of life on this planet, we are just a small, minute blip on the evolutionary radar and although our time is short, we as a people can make a huge impact on the world for many, many future generations to come. As we headed back down the trail, we encountered a man who handed each of us a heart shaped rock (that he chisels himself) as he was on his way up to the pinnacles where he goes to play the flute.

We then headed over to a place known as Rachel's Knoll, land that was once sacred to the Native Americans and purchased by a woman named Rachel who felt the natural energy of the land and felt a true connection to it. She opened the land up to the public for meditation, prayer, silence and inspiration and with others formed at charitable organization as a means to protect the land, with people coming from all over the world to visit the land. After suffering from a stroke and her subsequent passing, her heir sold the land to developers with the strict requirement that the land continue to be open to the public. I bet you can see where this is going...of course the corporate douchebags immediately installed fences and blocked off any entrance for the public to get there. Up went some million dollar homes and a golf course, but her family did not give up.

In 2010 the courts upheld the original requirements of the land being open to the public, so Lawrence took us up there to do some meditating and I am so thankful that he did. SO rarely in life do we allow ourselves the opportunity to completely clear our minds and focus on nothing and everything around us at the same time. From the sounds of the wind blowing to the toll of the chime Lawrence brought with him, or the chirping of the birds in the trees, it was completely peaceful as we were the only ones up there. To get there, from the junction of Highway 179 and 89A in Sedona, drive 3.2 miles west on 89A. Turn right on Dry Creek Rd. Go north on Dry Creek Road about 3 miles to a "T" intersection. Turn right and continue about a half mile to the entrance gate to Seven Canyons. There is a guard at the gate (this is now a subdivision) and just let him know that you are there to go to Rachel's Knoll. I believe there is a $3 fee.

Lastly, went to the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park located at the base of Thunder Mountain. It is just a short, slight uphill walk to get there, there is no cost to get it (donations are appreciated) and well behaved pets are welcomed.

What is a Stupa? It is a dome-shaped structure erected as a Buddhist shrine with the origin of the structure being around 2500 years ago. The 36 ft. Amitabha Stupa is a place of peace, comfort and healing to many and should be treated as such.

To learn more, visit https://www.tara.org/locations/arizona/

Overall, it was a wonderful day and we are so glad that we had Lawrence to guide us. He was very personable, passionate about nature and made my entire family feel relaxed and helped us enjoy all the sights and sounds around us. It was truly an educational experience and one we would recommend anyone new to the Sedona area who are looking for a great outdoor experience that doesn't involve driving around in a pink jeep.

About the Joy Family

We're not a normal family. In fact, we're downright goofy, with just a touch of nerdy (well, maybe a lot of nerdy at times)...but we're fun, we care very much for one another and we LOVE to travel.

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