Benny Benedict – review:
A Sedona resident, great friend and trusted mentor suggested my wife, Cindy, and I call Benny Benedict’s Earth Tours for options before traveling to Sedona. From our initial call, we built a rapport which grew into respect then affection.
Benny spent two days with us during our week in Sedona. The first day we visited sacred spaces, starting with a few historical spots located in the same valley with our rental property. Then we visited a spa with a Medicine Wheel where Cindy stood on one cardinal point, Benny and I on two others. He walked us through some personal insights and without pushing, we all set some intentions.
Next stop the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, a Buddhist temple where we walked, sat in quiet meditation, and walked some more. No views in Sedona are bad, but the Stupa has special vistas on Capital Butte, Chimney Rock and Sugarloaf Summit. Benny spoke of native names and legends concerning different canyons, mountains, and rock formations. His knowledge was encyclopedic. When I asked about a tree or a plant, he knew the scientific name, what natives called them and why that particular tree thrived where we stood. I rarely stumped him whether the question concerned animal, mineral, plant, or anything else. Benny has an infectious sense of humor, and we shared plenty of laughter.
Benny drove north along Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona to near Flagstaff, the temperature dropped. The greenery down in the west fork of the canyon made us feel like we were on a different planet from the desert from whence we had just come. We hiked past ruins of the Mayhew Lodge where celebrities, politicians and dignitaries once stayed. Between massive canyon walls painted a variety of colors through eons of formation, weather, and water flow. We crossed the creek twice and turned back only because Cindy and I had overdone hiking the day before. Benny led us through a gentle guided meditation across time and history. The resulting peace renewed our flagging spirits.
Our second day with Benny took us to the Grand Canyon. Words fail to describe the majesty and magnificence of that sacred place. Books have been written, I suggest you go yourself and write your own story. Having coffee in Flagstaff that morning, the subject of special experiences at the Canyon came up. Benny spoke of sighting California Condors but warned us it was rare. Cindy asked the Universe aloud to show us. What are the odds? 100%, we like to say.
Benny dropped us at El Tovar Hotel near Hopi House. As we began to walk the Trail of Time marking Earth’s geological history, guess who flew up. You got it. Benny joined us just in time to answer when I asked, “hey, what kind of bird is that?” His delight was profound as ours, A California Condor flew across the canyon and landed on a promontory not one hundred yards away. We were part of a small group that noticed and began to snap photos and videos. The condor perched several minutes, looked at us a few times then unfolded his impressive wingspan and flew back to the western rim of the canyon. Our joy was Benny’s joy and we carried that joy throughout the day.
We hiked the Trail of Time, enjoying amazing views and photo ops along the years. Poised on our respective birth years, we realized how infinitesimal yet enormously profound our human existence has been in relation to these rocks where we stand.
Stopping for a healthy picnic at a point on the road to Desert View Watchtower, Benny introduced us to a couple of ravens he called Heckle and Jeckle. The Watchtower provided several safe overlooks to view the distant Colorado River. With Benny’s binoculars we could see river boats traversing the rapids some eight miles away, a mile below our current elevation.
Benny’s wit and wisdom offered memories Cindy and I will share forever. Stories from native fathers and legends of the American west to Buddhist masters at the foot of the Himalayas. I am grateful to have met Benny. I am happy to recommend his services to anyone seeking adventure, experience and wonder in nature. Cindy and I wholeheartedly endorse Benny Benedict’s Earth Tours. Give him a chance, you won’t be disappointed.