Tag Archives: cathartic experience

Experience AZ Digital Issue

Experience AZ: Fall-Winter 2013

ARIZONA PACKS ADVENTURES FOR EVERYONE, EVERY DAY

Michael Gossie, Managing Editor
Ten years after moving to Arizona from upstate New York, people still ask me what I like the most about living in the Grand Canyon state. My answer is always the same:

“I haven’t had to shovel snow once since I moved here.”

But if I lived a couple hours north, the yearly snowfall would give my home turf in upstate New York a run for its money. That is what makes Arizona great: Where else can you get a sunburn in Scottsdale and ski in Flagstaff on the same day?

Arizona offers something for everyone, every day.

From hiking and biking to shopping and spas, Arizona provides the opportunity for experiences that create memories that last a lifetime.

That’s what Experience AZ is all about. We want to guide you the the greatest adventures and experiences to make your visit to Arizona one that you will never forget. Based on votes from our readers, we have listed the five best dining experiences, tours, attractions, and places to visit in a variety of categories.

Want to know my personal fab five Arizona adventures? Hiking to the waterfalls of Havasupai. Running the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Relaxing at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. Going to the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. And when friends visit, I always take them to Los Dos Molinos.

So get ready for the adventure of a lifetime. And use Experience AZ to guide you to a visit or vacation that will make you want to come back time after time to keep crossing the must-see hot spots off your Top 5 lists. And when you find a favorite, be sure to vote for it by visiting ExperienceAZonline.com so others can share in your amazing memories.

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

Michael Gossie, Editor in Chief

 

Experience AZ: Fall-Winter 2013:
Best of Arizona. Your Guide To The Top 5.

Red Mountain Trailhead photographed by Kristine Cannon

The Fall And Ensuing Therapy Session On Red Mountain

The Fall & Ensuing Therapy Session on Red Mountain

The walls feel entirely too far apart at this point. I could feel myself breaking into a cold sweat. The orange-hued walls tower above me, the sunlight receding until it leaves me in the mountain’s chilly shadow.

That’s all this place was anyway – a large cave, it felt. Really, it’s a volcano with a natural amphitheater cut into it. And I felt trapped. I was left battling for my bones, even my life, to be spared.

Red Mountain, about 25 miles north of Flagstaff, is where Frank and I decided to spend our Saturday afternoon this past summer. This popular hiking site is definitely a kid friendly, easy stroll, but this trail had never scared me quite this much before because I decided to take a risk.

My footing slips a little bit, setting loose tiny rocks and kicking up a small cloud of dirt and heightened fear. My breathing and heartbeat quicken their pace. The rocks descending down the slick, steep slope aren’t nearly as audible now. They’ve been falling for a while, it seems…

Frank reminds me to hold on, that he’s going to pull me back up. I had to muster up the courage to move from my face down, arms-and-legs-outstretched position, clinging for dear life.

And then I lost my footing.

A shrilling shriek echoes through the amphitheater.

“Hold on!”

Adrenaline is pumping through my veins; I can’t feel anything but my feet sliding against the wall while trying desperately to stop this epic fall. I can’t hear anything but the rocks from above, below and alongside us falling rapidly down the slope. I can’t see anything but Frank clouded in the kicked-up dirt, tightly gripping my arm.

My eyes close, and suddenly we’re stopped, about 25 feet above level ground. It felt like it lasted minutes, but I’m sure it lasted a mere 15 seconds…maybe even less.

Our heavy breathing slows to a steady pace. “Well, we’re not dead,” I thought to myself, “But, whoa, what a rush!”

I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any means, but that was the first time in my life I had experienced something so frightening yet thrilling and exciting. I swore I would walk away with at least a broken finger. Instead, I walked away with an incredibly painful gash in my forearm, cuts and scratches all over my legs, and a new found respect for safe hiking.

I can safely say this was the most amazing, exciting, scary, wonderful, fun experience I’ve ever had in Arizona. Yes, I walked away bruised and battered, but aren’t those technically the most memorable experiences one could have?

And I mean really memorable…you remember the pain, the fear, the rush, the innocent hike preceding the horrendous fall, the nervous laughter afterward and overcoming the fear of taking a chance and stepping foot onto that mountain ever again. [I eventually did.]

But that’s life.

You never know what will happen the next minute. You never know you’ve made a mistake until you’re experiencing the repercussions of it. But the real test is how you handle it all – the fall and the aftermath.

On Red Mountain, I didn’t expect a cathartic experience. I expected to have a few hours of “getting away from it all” but ended up with a different take on life.

So, Frank helped me stand up on my shaky, unstable legs; I brushed myself of the dirt and debris, took a sigh of relief and thought to myself, “I’ll get back on this mountain soon…and this won’t happen again. And if it does, then I can call myself an idiot.”