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A Successful Experiment near a Sedona, AZ Vortex
by the scientific snail
Sunday, July 18, 2010

SEDONA, AZ - Local legend has it that there are mystical vortexes in the vicinity of the Enchantment Resort, Sedona, AZ, where I attended my business' national conference. My associates, knowing about my running escapades, insisted that I must go out, find a vortex and report back on the experience.

So, of course, I set out to find one, immediately. Friday evening, just after my arrival, before the conference got underway, I went out for a quick (20 minute) fartlek. Although uneventful, I did not experience anything that might be called paranormal.

Saturday morning, armed with a sketchy map, I ran out to the "Head" of Boyton Canyon, where I expected to find a vortex. To dispel any doubt I created, from a few red stones, a marker near the head, the letter "S" (for "snail," stupid, not for the other guy). Although it was a nice run and a nice lookout at the Head, after the ~6 miles, again, no special sensations, except a few scratches on my left arm and shoulder, from a small stumble.

OK, the macho me broke down and asked for more detailed guidance. So, Sunday morning I took off for the "Vista," the purported location of a mystical vortex. At the end of a steep, half-mile climb, I reached the amazingly gorgeous view, on a shoulder between the two red pillars at the Vista (it felt very biblical, but no, I am no Lot). No tingling sensations, but it was indeed beautiful up there.

Although a vigorous climb, I had been running only 20 minutes, so I decided to run up Deadman's Trail, aiming for a total of 60 minutes. The outbound run was uneventful, and the scenery was more like Boynton Canyon than the Vista, but nice nonetheless. Inbound, at about 50 minutes, on a sharp left turn, I tumbled forward. Instantaneously, using my super quick wits, I devised a scientific experiment: "Would my face effectively prevent the dirt trail from swallowing me ... alive."

Indeed, the experiment succeeded, as attested to my continuing back to the resort. On the other hand, I had bashed the right side of my face - my forehead, eyebrow, nose and upper lip, all of which were bleeding, profusely.

Some associates along the trail were aghast at my appearance. However, I assured them that I was fine.

When I got back to my room, I realized why they had that look of horror on their faces. Imagine, if you will, me dipping my hand into a bucket of damp dirt and wiping it down the right side of my face and then letting it drip on my shirt, pants, legs and shoes. Imagine, if you will, me then dipping my hand into a bucket of blood, wiping it again down the right side of my face and again letting it drip on my shirt, pants, legs and shoes. (Think, "Braveheart" or your favorite horror movie monster.)

So, although it did not particularly hurt, my face was quite impressive. In fact, if I didn't know better, I would have thought that it was just make-up. Unfortunately, I did not have my wits about me (maybe my wits DID get swallowed by the dirt trail), and I did not take a picture.

I cleaned up and plopped two bandages on the ugliest parts (my forehead and over my upper lip. At breakfast, again, gasps and looks of horror. When asked what happened, I calmly replied that I thought that I had seen an apparition, sporting a goatee, just behind me (a rather transparent reference to the Franchisor), so maybe I was pushed. We then posed for a mock fight picture, before I further hammed it up, at being Rocky.

As an aside, on the way back to Phoenix, I dragged two associates off to a dirt road, to a place along the highway that I had visited 20 years earlier. Paolo Soleri, the extremely creative and well-known (among peers) architect established Arcosanti 5000 in 1970. Arcosanti is an experiment at creating very condense communities, of 5,000 to 5,000,000, that blend in with their environments. At the end of the day, my associates thanked me for the unique visit. I bought a wind chime that I plan to hang in my center.

What can I say? As usual, notoriety seems to follow me around. And, once again, I do not recommend that you try this at home.

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Yankee Homecoming (Newburyport) and a few of you at the Around the Lake Marathon (Wakefield), and maybe someone at the Stonecat 50-miler (Topsfield). May the force of the Vortex be with you!

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