Tour leader: Katya Belykh
States: Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah
Dates: October 17th — 31st, 2015
15 days, 14 nights
- Trip itinerary
- About the tour
- Trip Itinerary
- What’s included
- What you’ll need
- The Sweat Lodge Ceremony
Las Vegas, NV — Tecopa hot springs, CA — Death Valley National Park, CA — Grand Canyon National Park, Az — Zion National Park, UT — Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, UT — Sedona, AZ — Phoenix, AZ
After a day in Las Vegas our travels will continue through places of power, many of which are sacred to the Native Americans. It will begin in places bursting with Earth’s crude and primeval energy, like the Death Valley and Grand Canyon. Here you will have the perfect opportunity to forget about tedious daily existence and complex social interactions, and to dive head-first into the primordial energy of the elements — earth, rock, sun and water.
The pristine, primordial silence that can rarely be heard. You get it sometimes in the desert, especially at dusk, when there are no sounds except the sound of your own breath. Here you will see the night as it was before man invented electricity and lit up the planet’s most remote corners. When night descends upon the Death Valley, the only light you see comes from the moon and stars. In most areas of the Valley you won’t see electric lights for miles on end, despite huge open spaces and perfect visibility. On moonless nights you’ll realize that “star light” is not just an expression and could be a legitimate source of light if we didn’t have other, brighter options.
In a place like this you get the perfect conditions to face yourself, hear the silence, see every color, feel every sensation and fully realize the depth and emptiness of space. All of your senses, which normally get bombarded with information non-stop, will be able to relax. Therefore, we will be visiting this place for it’s space and silence.
Escalante Park and Zion Canyon are located in the heart of The Land of Red Rocks. We will see how lush and creative nature can be: conglomerations of different-colored cliffs, arches and canyons, and many other amazing sights. The energy of these places is always very different and strange, and sometimes, you get a feeling that a door to another world is about to open… Every now and then it seems like the surrounding landscapes are just an illusion. Kind of like the scene in Pinocchio where the wooden boy pokes a hole in a painting with his nose, only to find a door leading to a wonderful world with a real puppet theatre that he always dreamed of. Will we be able to open the door to another reality just with the power of our minds? Where will we end up? I have no answer to that, but I do know it might be possible here due to these places’ unique ambiance and the energy flowing through. All of this creates a great opportunity to perfect and transform your inner self.
Our travels will end in the warm, welcoming and fairy-tale-like Sedona. We will arrive here full of energy of the elements and begin work on harmonization and acceptance. That will be our preparation for the real world, with all the chores and social buzz. As we’re comprehending and harmonizing our experiences, we will be assisted by a shaman and member of the Native American Apache tribe — Mario Blackwolf.
Here, we will immerse ourselves in the soft magic of Sedona. We will also learn about the Native American culture, partake in ceremonies and rituals, and get to see the world through their eyes. They make no distinction between the spiritual and the worldly and treat all manifestations of life as manifestations of the Great Spirit. Prayer and communication with the Great Spirit does not require attending church, as they can do it at any given moment of their life. In the Natives’ opinion the Earth, life and everything around is sacred, full of meaning and deserving of respect.
Mario was born and raised in the Land of red Rocks, and lived here for the majority of his life. He meticulously researches and collects the cultural heritage of his tribe, writes books and tells amazing stories. He’s a man with a big and open heart that’s full of love for this world.
Being in Sedona and strolling among the otherworldly landscapes will help us realize, accept and comprehend all we experienced during this immersion/tour and will prepare us for returning to the real world.
This is a physically active tour. We will hike various distances every day, the longest one being 10 miles. The duration and complexity of the treks will be up to the participants; some hikes may be cut short or cancelled upon the group’s request.
In the end of the tour Mario Blackwolf will be conducting a Sweat Lodge ceremony. Participation is optional.
October 17th, Saturday. Arriving to Las Vegas in the evening. Night at a 3 * hotel; rest.
October 18th, Sunday. Exploring Las Vegas, shopping. Those interested may go see one of the shows. Night at a 3 * Las Vegas hotel.
October 19th, Monday. In the morning: drive to Tecopa hot springs (about 2 hours). A stop on the way to buy food for breakfasts at the springs, if we haven’t done it the day before. Arrival to the hot springs. A trip to China Ranch; tasting and optional shopping for fresh-picked dates, exploring the garden, swimming in the springs, rest. Night at the Tecopa Hot Springs.
October 21st, Wednesday. A trip to the Valley of the Sliding Rocks (Racetrack Playa). We’ll stop to buy food for our dinner at the Racetrack. On the way, we will also make a detour to hike into the Ubehebe crater — a place of power for the Shoshone Native tribe. Night will be spent at a hotel in the Stovepipe Wells village.
October 22nd, Thursday. An early morning ride to the sand dunes located nearby where we will walk around and take pictures. Breakfast at Stovepipe Wells. Trekking the Mosaic Canyon. A brief stop in Stovepipe Wells to buy groceries for dinner, and we’re on our way to a magical place in the mountains called Charcoal Kilns. We’ll stop on our way to explore the ghost town of Rhyolite, a pioneer town in the Death Valley that was abandoned over 100 years ago. Night at a hotel in Stovepipe Wells.
October 23rd, Friday. Drive from Death Valley to a small inn in the mountains near the north side of the Grand Canyon National Park. The drive will take all day (6 hours). Depending on how much time we have and the group’s wishes, we can stop on the way for a dip in the Tecopa hot springs or visit Colorado City, an Orthodox Mormon town. Night at a hotel in Kanab, UT
October 24th, Saturday. Grand Canyon National Park, north side. Trekking the North Kaibab trail; the distance we will hike is optional, maximum being a 10 mile round trip. We’re staying until sunset and watching it from one of the scenic view sites. Drive to Kanab, 2 hours. Night at a 3* hotel in Kanab.
October 25th, Sunday. Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument — Cottonwood Road — trekking, walking, places of interest. Night at a 3* hotel in Kanab.
October 26th, Monday. Zion National Park. Trekking to the waterfalls and the Angel’s Landing rock formation. Night at a 3* hotel in Kanab.
October 27th, Tuesday. Drive to Sedona, 4 hours. Along the way: a valley with giant rocks, lunch and market in a Navajo Reservation — Cameron Trading Post. If there’s time we will visit an ancient settlement of the Pueblo Native Americans — the Walnut Creek Canyon. Night at a 3* hotel in Sedona.
October 28th, Wednesday. Trekking Sedona’s vortexes; shopping. Night at a 3* hotel in Sedona.
October 29th, Thursday. Sedona with Mario Blackwolf. The Cathedral Rock vortex; a ritual aimed at ending world wars. Night at a 3* hotel in Sedona.
October 30th, Friday. An early morning trip to greet the new day at the Bell Rock vortex (Optional). Cleansing Native American Sweat Lodge ritual with Mario Blackwolf (Optional). Rest and recreation. Free time in Sedona. Farewell dinner. Night at a 3* hotel in Sedona.
October 31st, Saturday. Drive to the Phoenix airport, 2 hours. Travel out of Phoenix.
Included in the trip’s cost:
- Guide and driver service
- Breakfasts in some hotels
- Entry tickets to national parks
- Excursions mentioned in the itinerary
- Farewell dinner in Sedona
The cost does not include:
- International flights
- Domestic flights
- USA entry visa
- Traveler’s insurance
- Any food other than what’s included
- Personal expenses
- Expenses for any extracurricular program
What you’ll need:
During the trip we will visit places with varying climates, the hottest place being the Death Valley, where daytime temperatures can rise up to 20-25C, and fall to about 5-10C at night. The coldest place will be the Grand Canyon. The north side of the park is located at an altitude of about 2800 meters, and at the end of October night temperatures can approach zero. Showers are not likely, but strong winds are very possible. We’ll be staying until or past sunset In almost all of the parks, so we will have to carry along «layers» of clothing — for a possible hot day as well as a chilly evening.
- Comfortable walking shoes, we recommend light trekking shoes (Mountain, snow or waterproof shoes will be too hot)
- Comfortable walking shoes that are lighter than trekking shoes, like sneakers or sandals
- They will come in handy at the Sweat Lodge Ceremony and at the hot springs
- Small backpack for day trekking
- Trekking clothes: a windbreaker jacket, a fleece shirt, comfortable pants. Be able to add/take away layers, like long or short sleeves, etc.
- Hat for sun protection
- Sunglasses and sunblock lotion
- Large towel will come in handy for the Sweat Lodge Ceremony and the hot springs
- For the Sweat Lodge Ceremony, women: knee-length skirts or sarongs, and a top that covers arms above the elbow and shoulders (a t-shirt works), men: shorts and a t-shirt.
The Native American sweat lodge ritual plays an important role in the spiritual traditions of many indigenous tribes of North America. It’s purpose is helping to reconsider your life, remember your place in it, express your thankfulness, and perhaps let go of something that has outlived its usefulness and needs to be completed. It helps move on to a new stage of life in which one is reborn again. At the beginning of the ceremony participants will bring offerings to the spirits of the four cardinal directions, spirits of earth and the sky. The offerings are: corn — the main food of the Natives, tobacco — a medical plant, and cedar needles — a sacred Native incense. The basis of the ritual is two interacting forces, mother earth and father sky, and the rest of the world between them. The round tent in which the ritual is held represents the womb, and is covered with blankets to stay warm and cozy. Participants of the ceremony bring in red-hot stones from the fire outside. The rocks are some of the most ancient creatures on this earth, and being over millions of years old, they have truly seen everything. Water gets poured on the stones and the healing vapors fill up the tent …
During the Sweat Lodge ritual participants speak to their ancestors and thank them for everything that happened in their life. Thankfulness is the key energy of this ceremony. We’re thanking the world, ask it for protection and open up ways for new beginnings. Everything ends with a symbolic birth — an exit from the Mother Earth’s womb. After that it’s time for hugs and congratulations, as participants emerge feeling renewed and full of energy. You will need comfortable 100% cotton clothes for the ceremony; an ideal fit for a man would be a t-shirt and shorts, and a long skirt with a comfortable top for women (it should cover the shoulders). Bring two towels, one to sit on and one for wiping sweat. The main rule of the ritual: You may exit the sweat lodge at any moment. Being in a “womb” should feel nothing but pleasant and easy; it is not a place for discomfort and suffering. The Sweat Lodge ritual serves to heal mental and physical ailments, for if a trauma was experienced in the past, a piece of the individual’s soul usually stays with it and keeps fueling the pain.
Sweat Lodge will give your soul a chance to return home! To make offerings to the spirits you will need to bring tobacco, corn flour and cedar needles. We usually bulk-buy tobacco and corn flour for the whole group, the cedar needles we just pick from the trees. After the ritual we will drive to the hotel to shower and change.