Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I've been through the desert...but not on a horse with no name.

And boy, do I love me some desert. (Desert, not dessert, although I've never met a dessert I didn't like.)*

We just got back from five days in Arizona, some of them spent in Scottsdale and the rest in Sedona. You can't beat Sedona for its laid back, hippy, artist community vibe. I love it there even though it was hot as blazes. But, it's a dry heat. You know it's hot when the weather guy says "Hey folks, it's official, we're in the middle of a heat wave and we're just one degree below a record setting temperature."

Main street in Sedona
If you look closely at the middle of this photo, you'll see ruins dating back to 1125AD. Apparently people are allowed to hike up there. I'd rather see it from a chopper, thanks. It was over 100 degrees the day we were there.

We flew along the base of this canyon.


This is called The Devil's Bridge. Enlarge the photo and you'll see people huddled on the rock to the right. To the left is a narrow, bridge of rock. The chopper pilot said people routinely wave, but one afternoon, two girls decided to show off and instead of just waving, they did backflips on the bridge. He said it scared him out of his wits.

The scenery made up for the heat because it is gorgeous in Sedona. I've been there before, but this was Doug's first time. He suggested a helicopter ride with Red Rock Helicopter Tours. I'll be honest, I had to be talked into it. I was dehydrated from our walk but more to the point, I get motion sickness on a swing, so I wasn't sure how this was going to pan out. However, after climbing in the chopper the size of a Volkswagon Beetle, four of us (three passengers and the pilot, a retired Medivac pilot) took off for the wild blue (actually bright red-rocked) yonder.

We did the ancient ruins tour, twenty-five minutes of cruising through canyons and over peaks, sometimes so close I felt like I could reach out the window and touch the rock. The sensation was nothing like I expected. I go up occasionally in my friend's small Cessna, and while I love flying (LOVE flying) after about 20 minutes, I am fighting to keep my lunch down. A helicopter, on the other hand, has more of a smooth sideways motion, almost as though you are gliding side to side on ice. I like it. I would hop on another helicopter in a nano second (although it took me a tad longer than that to hoist myself into the seat and strap in.)

We had strict instructions to wait at the front of the chopper, and not to ever, ever, EVER wander back to the back end because the tail rotor would pulverize us and probably ruin an expensive machine in the process.

Best part? The Secret Canyon and the ancient Sinaguan First Nation's cliff dwellings in Boynton Canyon built between 1125 and 1200AD. (Sinagua is Spanish for "without water.") For closer shots of the ruins, go here.

Can you tell I'm having fun?
Our little red chopper.

*That's not altogether true. I hate tapioca, if that's classified as a dessert. Also I'm not a big fan of trifle or tiramisu. Basically anything with custard in it. Although, having said that, creme caramel is my favourite. And creme brulee will do in a pinch.  So disregard what I just said. Oh, and though I tried a fried Mars bar, I can't say I'd order it again. I am also fairly confident I will never order a Fried Coke which is exactly what it sounds like.


Unknown said...

Gorgeous photos--I'm so glad you had fun! I love desert landscapes--the colors are amazing, and the way the color changes depending on how the light hits the rock--just lovely!

Linda G. said...

Beautiful pics! Looks like it was a fun trip.

But, seriously, FRIED COKE?

Unknown said...

Nice pictures Pam! What camera were you using while in the air?

A Novel Woman said...

I didn't bring my Nikons with me, so I just used my iPhone! Had I known there might be a helicopter ride I would have brought it. Next time we're going to fly to the Grand Canyon so I'll bring it for sure.

jeanie said...

Isn't nature AWESOME!! Glad you enjoyed seeing it from some of humankind's awesome. :)

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