Desert Messenger

May 17, 2017

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May 17, 2017 15 Creek and the Verde River, creating the spectacular rock formations of Se- dona and Oak Creek Canyon beneath an expansive backdrop of the Colora- do Plateau. It is this landscape that at- tracted people for thousands of years. The greater Sedona area was a peace- ful meeting place for Native American peoples from all across the Southwest. The Sinagua peoples hunted and dry- farmed the Verde Valley, gathered native plants, and raised cotton to trade for parrot feathers and other exotic items like sea shells to use in their jewelry. They also mined cop- per from what is now Jerome, and salt from deposits near the Verde River. Later, the Apache and Yavapai diverted water from Oak Creek and the Verde River through elaborate ir- rigation systems to farm the lush and fertile valley. Throughout the Apache and Yavapai Nations, Red Rock country was regard- ed as sacred and special land. Areas like Monte- zuma's Well and Boyn- ton Canyon were sites of elaborate ceremonies and multi-tribal gatherings. In the 1860s, gold was discovered near Prescott, and copper in Jerome. Farmers, prospectors, and homesteaders moved into Apache Territory in and around the Verde Valley. Around 1876, frontiersmen and farmers claimed land around a spring and an Indian Camp through the Homestead Act of 1862. Red Rock Country, specifi cally the area which is now Sedona, was discovered by T.C. and Sedona Sch- nebly who were inspired by the tow- ering red rocks, forested mesas, and vast acreage. They settled along Oak Creek where they planted orchards, farmed, and raised livestock. After being called Schnebly Station, Red Rock Crossing, and Oak Creek Sta- tion, eventually the little community adopted the name of TC's wife, Sedo- na. In 1902, the name was offi cially accepted by US Postal System, and the Sedona Post Offi ce was opened. Zane Grey's "The Call of the Can- yon", published in 1924, introduced the beautiful Red Rock Country to the rest of the world. People fl ocked to Sedona from around the world to experience the spectacular Red Rock formations and lush canyons. Sedo- na became a world class recreational destination for adventurer travelers. Tourism in Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona increased and eventually re- placed agriculture as the primary lo- cal industry. Artists discovered the inspirational scenic beauty, and in the 1930s and 40s Sedona became a popular artist haven which still fl our- ishes today. Max Ernst, a German- born artist and key fi gure in Dada and Surrealistic movements, felt called to Sedona in the early 1940s. He had visualized the Red Rocks of Sedona long before ever laying eyes upon them and was so awe-struck upon fi rst seeing Sedona's landscape that he stayed and opened a studio. Sedona became a mecca for new age spirituality in the 1950's. In 1922, an amateur archeologist named Al- fred Watkins published a book called "Early British Trackways". Watkins noticed that straight lines could be drawn between ancient sacred sites like Stonehenge and Avebury, and hy- pothesized that the alignments were ancient trade routes and therefore high concentrations of energy. These lines became known as "ley lines" and were believed to be mapped by dows- ing. Early New Age movements adopted Ley Lines as magnetically- charged sources of cosmic energy. In New Age thinking, a vortex is a place of exceptionally powerful energy and is located where two or more Ley Lines intersect. In the early 1950s, well-known channeler Page Bryant identifi ed 4 "power vortexes" coincid- ing with several of Sedona's spectacu- lar rock formations. New age spiritu- alists began pilgrimages to Sedona to experience the energy at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon. Today, artists, ad- venturers, and spiritualists still fl ock to Sedona to experience her rich cul- ture and spectacular beauty. For a Photojournal of Sedona, and lots of great rocks, crystals, fossils, and more, visit www.Adventure- For more articles and photojournals, like us on Face- book at AdventuresWithRocks, the Adventure Continues. And, as al- ways, happy travels. ADVENTURES WITH ROCKS ™ By Jenn Jedidiah Free • The skinny barefooted half-naked hippy guy was wandering around at the Airport Vortex. He had come from the trail and walked in a light, springy, fl uid fashion that reminded me of a sprite. I stopped to take pictures of some wildfl owers and he danced over to where I was stooping down and laughed. "I have a cactus spine in my foot" he said, with a big silly grin on his face. I looked at him, a mouthful of sparkly white teeth smiling from behind a fl uffy, but well groomed, beard, and I replied, "Hmmm. Maybe you should wear shoes to walk around in the desert." He laughed again, and continued in an elfi n manner on over to the rounded summit of red Sand- stone that made up the Airport Mesa Vortex. He was quirky, even for Se- dona. The view from the Vortex vantage point was an almost 360 degree panorama. Beneath us, the desert, dressed in its green springtime best, spread out in all directions until it met abruptly with the red and white sandstone buttes, tree-covered mesas, and spires that make up the famous iron-oxide stained rock formations of Sedona, Arizona. With names like Spaceship Rock, Courthouse Butte, Coffee Pot Rock, and Kachina Wom- an the Red Rocks of the Schnebly Hill Sandstone can be seen from as far away as Jerome and I-17 near Verde Valley. These red- to orange-colored formations are found nowhere else in the entire Mogollon Rim, and have drawn people to the lush Verde Valley since 650 AD, when the Sinagua peo- ple fi rst settled in what is now called Oak Creek Canyon. Much of the Colorado Plateau in the vicinity of Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon is topped with a 400 foot thick layer of basalt from volca- noes in the House Mountain Shield region near Oak Creek. This layer is Farmers, artists, & intersecting lines between 6 and 15 million years old. In the Sedona area, this layer has eroded away, leaving the softer and older lay- ers of Kaibab Limestone, Toroweap Strata, Coconino Sandstone, and Sch- nebly Hill Sandstone exposed. Kaibab Limestone is a 300 foot thick grayish or cream colored strata about 250 mil- lion years old and contains fossils of mollusks, brachiopods, and fi sh. The Toroweap Formation is a mixture of sandstone, limestone, gypsum, mud- stone, and dolomite dating to about 262 million years ago. It is a yellow- ish-gray to greenish-gray strata about 200 feet thick which contains fossils of shellfi sh, brachiopods, crinoids, snails, and clams. The Coconino forms a 500 to 1000 feet thick layer of cream or golden-colored cross-bedded sand- stone, indicative of wind-blown pet- rifi ed sand dunes, younger than 250 million years and containing no fossil record. The Red Rocks of Sedona are formed ultimately from the oldest exposed layer in Sedona, named the Schnebly Hill Formation. Schnebly Hill Sand- stone is quartz sandstone stained deep red from inclusions of hematite, interspersed with thin layers of white limestone. This soft layer eroded over time by wind and the waters of Oak

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