It is pitch black and I am riding a bike through the Sonoran desert.
Of course my bike has a light and I’m on a paved trail—a golf cart trail, actually at the expansive (some 1300 acres at the Boulders Resort in Scottsdale known for the distinctive giant boulders that look like snowmen made out of granite and have been here for millions of years.
On one side is a manicured course (the Boulders boasts 36 holes of golf) but on the other is the desert—giant Saguaro Cactus, sprawling, desert bushes, ant hills and the occasional jack rabbit.
Our Guide Kerry Echer is leading us on one of several unique adventures offered by the Golden Door Spa here. Earlier in the day, we’d noticed Echer teaching rock climbing on the giant boulders; there are also guided hikes and mountain biking.
He points his flashlight at the erosion in the middle of the giant rock. You can see straight through. We twist and turn, go uphill and down as we wind our way. Fun!
He tells us that the only grass not native to this region is the grass on the golf course.
We see where the former owner of this land had carved “Rosie’s Rock” into one giant boulder. The couple and their pals apparently used to like to picnic here. It’s sobering to consider these rocks have been here for 12 million years.
Certainly there are plenty of opportunities to explore the Sonoran desert here in Scottsdale—hiking and mountain biking in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve some 16,460 acres, off-road touring and rock climbing, hiking up Camelback Mountain and Squaw Peak, horseback riding (how about a sunrise ride through the McDowell Mountains or even the chance to live like a cowboy for a couple of days at Arizona Cowboy College where you can learn all about branding and roping and driving cattle.
For a more relaxed adventure, there’s the Desert Botanical Gardens where you can take a moonlight stroll—a great way to avoid the heat.
Earlier, we’d indulged ourselves at the huge 33,000 Golden Door Spa which also boasts a fitness center and Yoga studio.
I was slathered in clay and wrapped like a mummy. The spa’s signature Turquoise Wrap is based on the Native American belief that turquoise is a color of protection, self confidence and positive energy. I’ve been exfoliated by blue corn meal and then rinsed by the seven spigots of a Vichy shower as I lay flat. What a feeling! But we’re not done yet. Next I’m wrapped in honey and then rinsed again and slathered in honey butter. Traditional oils, I’m told, are used to harmonize my spirit. The best part, I thought, was those shower heads with warm water all over me, as I just lay back and relaxed
I’m usually not one for body treatments like this. I didn’t understand what the therapist was doing as I lay wrapped up, my eyes covered, when she was shaking rain sticks. But I’ve got to admit, when it was over, my skin felt great.
The idea, she told me, was to create balance and remove toxins. It must have worked. I leave smiling, more relaxed than I’d been in weeks.