So where did I leave off… oh that’s right, I was just about to fill you all in on a surprise we had waiting for us in Arizona! We were headed towards the Scottsdale, Arizona area to meet up with some of Bryan’s family. Bryan’s cousin Mark had just recently received his pilot’s license and offered to take us up in a private plane ride over some of the local canyons! We were both so excited for this opportunity, and incredibly grateful. How many people can say that they had the chance to experience a gift like this? We arrived at the airport and met up with Mark who proceeded to show us the tiny plane we would by flying in. I had never been in a plane so small! Nervousness began to mix with excitement as we began the take off. Turbulence is much more noticeable in a small plane like this, but Mark did an excellent job of flying us as smoothly and safely as possible. Bryan even had the chance to steer the plane for a few moments as well. Seeing the Arizona landscape from the air was beyond breathtaking; I almost felt as if I were dreaming. This was truly a highlight of our trip, and something we will never forget.
After the plane ride, we headed back towards Bryan’s Aunt’s house, and had dinner with them. They were such a sweet family, and his Aunt also baked the most delicious chocolate chip cookies. Later that evening they all shared some tips for our upcoming travels into northern Arizona. We headed north towards Sedona the following morning.
Sedona is absolutely incredible, almost as if you have teleported to some magical other worldly planet. The red rocks expand out from the earth and contrast beautifully with the blue hue of the sky. We had decided to spend several days in Sedona so that we could truly get a feel for the area. We ended up renting the most amazing Air BnB where we stayed for three nights. The couple who owned it were both yoga instructors as well, and getting to know them made our stay even better.
While in town we had the opportunity to work with another yogi/ photographer I knew who helped create some beautiful images for us. He shared some great insider knowledge of the area, and it was a blessing to make another connection. Those photos are probably my most treasured material souvenir from the trip, and are something we will look back on years from now with even more fondness.
We spent a couple more days in the area doing some hiking, and celebrating Bryan’s birthday. We decided to hike up Bell rock, which is also known for its energy vortexes. The hike was beautiful, and quite challenging at some points because the rock face was quite slick/steep. We made it up as far as we could go, and sat there for a few moments admiring the stunning landscape around us. After our hike we were in need of some refreshment. I had been craving an acai berry bowl, and convinced Bryan to get one too. It ended up being incredibly delicious. (In fact, even now as I am writing this my mouth is starting to water just thinking about it!) Later that evening we got sushi per tradition for his birthday. Overall, I think that it made for a very memorable birthday for him, and it was so special that I got to be a part if it too.
The next day we spent some time exploring the downtown Sedona area, browsing through some of the cute hippie shops and getting a better feel for the area in general. We took a good part of the day just to relax, and enjoy being in one place for a moment. We had dinner with our hosts, and camped out in a tent that night under the Sedona stars.
The next morning we made our way to the original goal of our journey: The Grand Canyon! This is a point in our journey where we should have taken time before to make a reservation, but we lucked out and were able to snag a tent site for two nights. We went out and saw the sunset over the canyon that evening. It was gorgeous, and it was almost as if your eyes couldn’t fathom how massive the canyon was. It was also more touristy than I had expected it to be, but it is a world wonder after all! We camped out that night, and it was absolutely freezing. It’s just all part of the experience, but we were surely happy when the sun came out and began to warm things up. We headed out fairly early, and decided to do a hike down into the canyon. We took the Kaibab Trail down into the Canyon around 4 miles or so. It was much easier going down, than coming back up! The amazing views were absolutely worth it though, and helped give us an entirely different perspective on the canyon itself.
We came back to our campsite that evening only to find that it was so windy our tent had almost blown over, and that some of the poles holding it up had cracked! It was not the most pleasant way to spend the evening, but Bryan and I managed to work together as a team and get it back into a somewhat upright position. It was another very chilly night, and both of us were looking forward to sleeping somewhere warmer soon. We headed towards Page, Arizona the following morning.
On our way to Page, we spent the majority of the drive moving along the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was amazing that after almost two hours of continuous driving the canyon was still in sight! We eventually made our way up to Page, where we had booked another Air BnB for the night. That evening we decided to explore Horseshoe bend, which is where the Colorado river loops around and makes a horseshoe shape (hence the name.) It was also quite a sight to behold, although it too was really crowded. There were also so many gnats flying around which was not something I expected either. We stayed and watched the sun begin its descent as the sky transformed into pretty shades of purple and pink, and then headed out to get Thai food for dinner.
The following morning I had scheduled a tour for us of Antelope Canyon. This as well as Horseshoe bend and the Grand Canyon had been on my bucket list for quite some time. Antelope canyon is one of the most photographed places in the world, and I can certainly see why. The incredible movement of water has shaped these fiery colored rocks into amazing waves and shapes. The canyon is on Navajo land, and the tour is held by the native people. The guides are very knowledgeable, and although they keep you moving along because there are other tour groups behind you, it is still a very enjoyable experience. The guides were very good about pointing out different shapes in the stone formations; one even looked like Bruce the shark from Finding Nemo.
After our tour of Antelope we continued northbound towards Utah, but I think I’ll save more of our other adventures for the next post.
Thanks again for reading! Look forward to hearing about Utah, Nevada, and California in the next post coming soon. 🙂