Located in the stunning southwest
of the United States, Sedona, Arizona has captured the
hearts and fantasies of people for centuries.
Just southwest of
Flagstaff, Arizona, Sedona is fringed by National Forests, and
Mountain Wildernesses. Lying at the mouth of the wildly beautiful Oak Creek Canyon,
it is a unique geological area that
mesmerizes tourists of all sorts.
The ancient Mogollon Rim (pronounced muggy-on) serves as
the southwestern boundary of the vast Colorado Plateau, which
extends into five other states.
Plateau is home to the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pine
trees in the world, and the Coconino National Forest is 1.8 million
acres of precious wilderness area.
can spend the day hiking nature trails, biking, swimming, bird
watching, camping, alpine snow skiing on the San Francisco Peaks,
snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, or ride on the off-road
In the photo
above you can see some of the geological layers deposited over
millions of years.
Over 60% of tourists are
attracted to the famous 'spiritual vortex' in this area. Centuries
ago, native people established spiritual connections with this
sacred land and its mystical properties. Today, people from around
the world come seeking similar connections.
In the 1980's a
locally based, internationally known psychic counselor expressed
that even though 'hot spots' of natural energy are found all over
the world, Sedona was an ideal site because all of the three known
types of vortexes exist here.
These 'hot spots' are
believed to create releases of the Earth's energy and evoke balance,
a heightened sense of awareness, awakening of the spirit and even
divine intervention. The four local points which
are considered to be energy vortexes are Bell Rock, Table Top
Mountain, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon. They are some of the
most visited and impacted sites in the National Forest.
The New Age movement hit its peak in Sedona in
1987 when thousands of believers descended on the town to witness
the 'harmonic convergence' of the planets.
is a fascinating place.
years ago the Precambrian mountains in the area may have looked like the
Austrian Alps of today. 340 million years ago, the whole of the
American Southwest was covered in a shallow sea.
In the piece of
dolomite above you can see traces of marine life from that shallow
sea eons ago. At this time, you could have had ocean front property
Limestone in the
area is made up of sea life animal skeletons that lived in these
ancient Arizona seas. Between 600 million and 200 million years ago,
the Kaibab sea covered western North America from Montana to Texas.
Fossil rich limestone and dolomite forms both the Kaibab layer which
underlies the broad Coconino plateau and the rim rock at both
the Grand Canyon and the Mogollon Rim above Sedona.
In the above
photo of limestone, you can see a fossilized sponge.
element in the rocks is hematite, or iron oxide, a mineral found in
great abundance in sedimentary rocks.
1000 years ago, primitive hunter-gatherers evolved into the
Native Americans we know as Sinagua and other tribes. They farmed,
fished and harvested wild desert plants like the yucca for medicine,
fiber, food and soap. If you are interested in prehistoric rock art
and ruins, visit the Palatki Red Cliffs or the V-Bar-V Heritage Site
which has the largest known petroglyph rock art site in the Verde
The Southwest has
distinctive landforms, a climate of extremes, scarce water and
diverse plants and animals.
Animals in the
area include elk, mule, white tail deer, antelope, mountain lion,
turkey, squirrel, rabbit, bald eagles, osprey, various songbirds,
and migrating waterfowl. The area offers challenges and possibilities
to both man and animals.
primitive man inhabited the area,
homesteaders like J.J. Thompson claimed property under the Homestead
Act. The earliest white settlers in the Upper Oak Creek area had
taken squatter's rights to a parcel of land and built log cabins.
More settlers followed coming to raise horses and cattle. Trails and
cow paths in the canyon became dirt roads which attracted more
Early industry in
Sedona was the raising of apples and peaches which were then sold at markets in
Jerome, Cottonwood, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
T.C. and Sedona
Schnebly purchased 80 acres and constructed a handsome house with
two stone fireplaces. They grew fruit and produce, operated a
general store and ran a hotel in their home. T.C. carted his fruit
to sell in Flagstaff, and often returned with visitors who stayed at
the hotel in his home. He would also pick up the mail for local
residents and when they complained about slow and infrequent mail
service, he filed an application for the establishment of a post
several post office names but the Postmaster General in Washington
rejected the names because they were too long to fit on a
cancellation stamp. Dorsey Schnebly then suggested his
sister-in-law's name, Sedona, because he felt that the character of
this woman would 'stand well as a symbol for the community.'
approved the name, and on June 26, 1902, the Sedona Post Office was
in business - in the back of the Schnebly home.
Sedona's red rock
formations and pinion-juniper landscape made an ideal setting for
numerous Western movies, and many of the most popular movie
"cowboys" made films here.
Sedona began in 1923, and almost 100 feature films and countless
video productions and commercials have been shot either in full or
in part in the Sedona area. For three decades, Westerns were the
most popular movies in America. From "shoot'em-ups" to romance,
dramas, and the singing cowboy films. Today they still attract audiences
In 1945, John
Wayne came to town for his first stint as producer. Angel and the
Badman costarred the beautiful Gail Russell.
Stars who worked here also include James Stewart, Henry Fonda,
Sterling Hayden, Joan Crawford, Glenn Ford, Robert DeNiro, Robert
Young, Hopalong Cassidy, Tyrone Power, Rock Hudson, Donna Reed, and
hundreds of others.
The movie industry provided a small economic boom
for the community as local residents were employed as carpenters,
extras and livestock wranglers. Other new businesses cropped up to
cater to the needs of movie crews.
cowboys are an important part of Sedona's heritage as well. Ranching
was a major part of the area's economy in the early days, and
continues in a modern form today.
and branding were not just rodeo sports to these hardy men and
women. They moved their cattle around the Verde Valley and Mogollon
Rim with the seasons and drove them to market. They made their own
ropes and branding irons, and their meals were often cooked on the
ground over an open fire.
The boom in Sedona tourism came in the late 1960s
and early 1970s. Local ranchers sold property to developers. The
orchards were transformed into homes designed for retirees while
shopping centers and resorts were built for the many tourists
flocking to the area. Tourism quickly surpassed agriculture in
Sedona is also very popular among artists. It
serves as a location for all different types of artistic
interpretations. Hundreds of well-known artists have called the red
rocks home. In 1950, surrealist painter Max Ernst moved to Sedona,
and other famous artists followed.
No matter if you
come for the ancient geological beauty, to see the prehistoric or
native peoples' artwork, to enjoy the history of the American
Southwest, to pursue a spiritual quest, to partake of fine cuisine
and wine or to enjoy nature sports to the fullest, Sedona offers it all.
Spas, restaurants, wine tastings, campgrounds, golf, day tours,
psychic healings and massage.
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