Company's Sedona trip pushes clients' limits

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NEW YORK -- Although thousands drive through Sedona on their way to the Grand Canyon, few of them see the destination the way niche operator Global Fitness Adventures shows it to them.

"They stop at the T-shirt shops, but they rarely veer off into the wilderness," said Kristina Hurrel, director of Global Fitness Adventures.

With Global Fitness Adventures, clients hike miles from the beaten path. They travel with Native American guides who show them the destination from the perspective of a culture that sees the mid-Arizona destination as an ancient sacred site.

According to Maureen Quinn, a bank vice president who took the trip, "We went really deep into the canyons where we couldn't have gone on our own. We were doing five to 15 miles a day on different trails but our guides really knew what they were doing so I felt totally safe."

Clients on a Global Fitness Adventures tour.Global Fitness Adventures specializes in trips that focus on hiking, luxurious accommodations, gourmet organic food, yoga, tai chi, spa treatments, massage, meditation and cultural immersion.

"Our trip to Sedona creates more change in our clients than any other trip we do, by far," Hurrel said, whose firm also offers such destinations as Bali, Bhutan and Kenya. "That's the amazing thing about this area."

The firm's packages are not for everyone, but many who take the trips come back for more, Hurrel said, and many bring new clients with them.

"Agents usually find us by accident," she said. "But after they've sent clients to us, [the clients] come back raving."

The itinerary includes five to 15 miles a day of hiking -- adjusted to clients' abilities -- on trails that reach elevations of 2,500 feet and offer views of the red cliffs and canyons below. Hikes are slowly paced with plenty of quiet time between activities. Groups are small, usually 12 to 14 people.

The company always talks with clients before finalizing bookings to make sure they are a good match with the style of travel.

"We don't let travel agents send just anyone," said Hurrel. "Our clients are people who want an adventure, become healthier and to immerse themselves in cultures.

"Ours is not just a normal spa trip," she said. "It's something that pushes [clients'] edges."

Accommodations are in houses in Oak Creek Canyon. Set near Oak Creek, each house has two bedrooms and baths, a living room and a fireplace.

The six-night trip is priced $3,000 per person, double, with a March 15 departure priced at $2,200. The other departures are April 13 and 20 and Oct. 5 and 12.

For more details, call (800) 488-TRIP or visit www.globalfitnessadventures.com.

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