Arizona may have cured what ails me.
I finally took a long-delayed vacation in the last week of June, visiting a friend in Scottsdale. It was my first significant break I’ve had in six months, and I think I made the most of it. We stopped at a lot of restaurants and shops and museums, and I got out for a brief hiking expedition each day.
Some of these outings made me realize why Arizona’s tourism season is the opposite of New England’s. Each day was sunny and nearly cloudless, with temperatures peaking at 110 degrees. The hiking trails tend to be fairly level and skirt peaks rather than climb them, but strolling along with no shade in sight is a workout in itself.
One expedition my friend and I went on brought us to Sedona, slightly cooler thanks to its higher altitude. The community is best-known for its stunning red rock buttes, which rise from the desert floor in crags and spires to create incredible vistas as far as the eye can see. A hiking trail up one of these, Bell Rock, stopped at the base of one such butte. Nevertheless, visitors are allowed to clamber to one of its spires to get a more elevated view of the magnificent landscape.
Sedona has also gained a reputation as a center of New Age healing. Several downtown stores sell crystals and other such items, and a number of resorts and spas incorporate the philosophy into their work. Some places in the area, including the butte we ascended, are reputed to be home to vortexes of energy and healing. People have taken spiritual journeys to these places and report a number of positive effects.
Me, I just wanted to see the view. Still, when I arrived back in Connecticut I couldn’t help but notice that the had abated quite a bit. Not cured, but a lot better. Visits to a couple of doctors finally pinned the problem as spondylolisthesis, a scary-sounding but not uncommon issue in which a vertebra is misaligned. I’m still doing some work with the good people at the here in New London, who were also kind enough to .
I’d probably credit the improvement mostly to the weeks in physical therapy and the variety of back-strengthening exercises and other work they’ve had me do. But who knows, maybe that Bell Rock vortex sucked some of the problem out to space or wherever.
Getting out on vacation also tends to make you more active. Aside from the sweltering hikes, I typically spent some of the afternoon in the pool. One evening involved a seven-mile bike ride, which was excruciating on my back at first but no doubt helped with the issue.
Or maybe it was just that river tubing trip on the last day, where the rocks whacked the incautious if they weren’t careful going through a shallow section of rapids. I happened to be one of those incautious people, and maybe that thump to the back put the vertebra back in its place. Perhaps it’s just the fact that I came away from this four-hour outing on the river with a pretty bad sunburn and that’s using up most of my pain sensors for now.
Whatever it is, I’ll take it. Hopefully you’ll see me back on the road soon, wearing a groove in my .