Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Sedona Visit & Vortex

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016
Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Shadow Wolf & Hunter Moon made the climb to Cathedral Rock with me.

Sedona has been on my bucket list for some time.  It exceeded my expectations.  There are a few places I have visited that are truly breath-taking.  This is one.

Photos and descriptions of those red rocks at sunset just do not do justice to the majestic beauty of this place.

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan's hike

Twisted tree in Sedona, Arizona seen on Jenna Kernan’s hike

The natural splendor of Sedona is reason enough for a visit, but in addition to the absolutely amazing rock formations, there are Vortexes.  I went there not really knowing what a vortex was, aside from the general understanding that it is a place where the earth’s energy is either magnified or released.  The website Wild Sedona says that a vortex is ” a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a beneficial source of energy.”  As they suspected, I was skeptical but open to an experience.  I’m always up for a trip outdoors that involves hiking boots and vast quantities of drinking water.  The only thing I like better is one that also involves a rock hammer.

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

Author Jenna Kernan at the saddle of Cathedral Rock vortex

If you pay attention, you will notice that in certain places the trunks of the trees begin to twist.  Before visiting, I thought to my clever self that this must be due to wind.  I believed this because I have seen trees on the coast in the Northeast that are twisted and bent by the savage winds.  But these places are not subject to any particular winds that would not affect the trees growing in close proximity.  Yet they twist.

I visited three vortexes.  Two on purpose and one by accident upon arrival on our first hike.  The first was at Bell Rock.

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

Jenna Kernan at the Bell Rock Vortex

I paused in the vortex without knowing it.  It was the only place we stopped on the hike.  Why there?  It was beautiful and it just felt right.  Only after sitting and having some water did I notice the twisting trees.  I could not leave without promising myself to return someday because I did not want to leave.  Promise made, we continued on.

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The Cathedral Rock vortex left me energized

The second vortex was reached after making a great climb up Cathedral Rock to the saddle.  You can reach the vortex from the parking lot and do not need to climb, but I the view is worth the effort.  This place was devoid of trees but was one of the most magnificent vistas I’ve ever seen.  I wanted to linger and did delay for as long as possible.  But the day was heating up and we still had to climb down.

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

Jenna Kernan at the Airport Vortex in Sedona, Arizona

The last vortex we visited was Airport Vortex.  This was very easy to reach and, for me, was the most peaceful.  Where Cathedral Rock was exhilarating (perhaps because I did not die on the ascent), Airport Vortex just made me want to linger.  Sitting on the trunk of a twisted tree, I felt a deep sense of calm and found myself smiling.  I’m not generally tranquil, but there I certainly was and felt completely at ease with my surroundings.

Sedona's red rocks at sunset

Sedona’s red rocks at sunset

My experience in Sedona has left me believing that there is power in those red rocks and the wide blue sky.  If you get a chance to go – grab it.  If you visit, don’t forget to pack water, hiking shoes and an open mind.

For more on Sedona: Visit Sedona website

“Mayberry on Acid”

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

“Mayberry on Acid” reads the sign in one of the many tourist shops that climb the main street of Bisbee, AZ.  The town sits eight miles from the border of Mexico and I visited in February because of a recommendation of a man sitting next to me on a bar stool in Tuscon.

“You should go!” So I did.

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

Bisbee, AZ is a mountain resort town that sits nearly on the Mexican border

The town’s elevation attracts tourists because it is about 10 degrees cooler here than in Tuscon.  You might need a burro to climb the main street or reach one of the guest houses.  Many of these accommodations feature fabulous views, streets that would put San Francisco’s crooked street to shame and stairs, stairs and more stairs.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

The Copper Queen Hotel is the jewel of the town past, present and future.

We stayed in the Copper Queen.  You can’t miss it.  This is the biggest building in town.  I was built when the Copper Mine opened, then a hard-rock mine.  It remained there for the famous, the working class and the working-girls.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Famous folks stayed at the Copper Queen.

Two plaques drew my attention.  President Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, of course, and actor John Wayne, also of course. The names of other plaques were not familiar but I discovered they are former working girls and one is a resident ghost.  They still rent his room, though.

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past

The Copper Queen is still a grand old lady with a checkered past.

Entering the lobby and looking at the safe tucked behind the counter and the old room keys, I really felt I should ask for a brandy and a cigar.

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

A t-shirt in one of the shops advertises Bisbee as Mayberry on Acid

There are many artists in Bisbee and creative folks.  This is a fence made of old metal headboards that I found really creative.

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Not all the sights are awe-inspiring. This is the remains of the Lavender Pit – an open pit copper mine.

900 feet deep scar sits south of Bisbee – the Lavender Pit is named for the man who founded the mine, not for the color of the stone.

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The bars that were once filled with copper miners are now filled with tourists drinking margaritas.

I sat at the bar in this popular Mexican restaurant and watched the bartender making Margaritas like a Margarita-making machine.  They are the most popular drink there, he said.  I watched a petite woman finish hers and weave out the door with her date who looked none too steady on his feet.  Seems like a one-and-done drink.

ROAD TRIP: Boot Hill in Tombstone, Arizona.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Boothill in Tombstone, AZ at sunset.

“The only stone out there you will find is your tombstone.”

That is supposed to be what soldiers told the founder of the town of Tombstone, AZ.  But they were wrong.  Ed Schieffelin found silver.  A lot of silver.  But those soldiers were right about one thing.   Bunches of people did find their tombstone there.  I know because I recently visited Tombstone, AZ cemetery otherwise known as Boot Hill.  Many graveyards are called this because of the number of men who died with their boots on.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop.

3-Fingered Jack Dunlop. I wonder if one of the fingers he lacked was his trigger finger.

Tombstone is a misnomer here because, although each grave is piled with stones to keep out critters, the markers are made of wood. Tombwood just sounds wrong, though.  Doesn’t it?

                      1881 – Hanged.

A woman working in the gift shop told me the weather is so rough on the wood they have to remake the markers every seven years.

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        You know the OK Coral?

The most famous residents here are the losers of the shootout at the OK Coral (Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury).  But there is no shortage of interesting ways to die here.

Some markers have the cause of death but no names.

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Here lies an unfortunate teamster killed by Apaches. Cause of death, but no name.

Some have no name or cause of death.

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

This marker reads only: Two Chinese

Sometime you get the name and the cause of death but no real answers as to why or how this happened.  Here is the grave of George Hand who was, apparently killed by Indians.

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George Hand -Killed by Indians

Some markers are just plain tragic.  This man’s marker reads: Here lies George Johnson Hanged by Mistake 1882 –He was right and we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone.

George bought a stolen horse, rode it into Tombstone where he was arrested and hanged for horse theft.  No one believed his story and the truth arrived too late for Mr. Johnson.

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There is no way to correct some mistakes, like, for instance, hanging an innocent man.

Most of the deaths were violent, but not all.  My brochure, purchased for $2, relates that one cowboy who laid to rest in an unconventional manner.  His friends lassoed his ankles and dragged him into his grave because no one really likes to touch a person who died of smallpox.

There are some markers renowned for their poetry, rather than for containing the famous remains of famous folk.  This one is often quoted.  Perhaps you have heard of it:


Lester Moore.




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                        Poor Lester

They don’t really know all the stories of all the men and women laid here to rest.  I’m left to wonder about just what happened to some of these folks because their graves give no clue.

I can’t really imagine what Tombstone was like in its heyday, but I do know it was not boring.

February Research Trip to Arizona

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Author Jenna Kernan

Jenna Kernan research trip for new mini-series: APACHE PROTECTORS: Tribal Thunder

Lucky me!  I got out of cold, damp, snowy New York in February this year.  I’ve never been south of the Grand Canyon before and this time I nearly made it to Mexico.

Author Jenna Kernan

Cactus give terrible directions!

I was doing some research for an upcoming series I am writing for Harlequin Intrigue.

I’m really pleased to announce that my APACHE PROTECTOR series, that finishes up in June 2016, will be followed by a new mini-series called APACHE PROTECTORS: TRIBAL THUNDER.

Author Jenna Kernan

Jenna Kernan takes a wrong turn on a hike to cliff dwelling.

In preparation, I got myself out to Arizona in February to see and touch and smell.  All these experiences help me make my writing more vivid and evocative–help me get it right, when describing a place.  There is no substitute for experiencing something.

I’ll be sharing more of this trip in my blog, including the mining town, ghost town and Apache reservations that I visited.  I hope you will stop back.