Last week Barbara and I took a long needed vacation and had the privilege to return to one of my (and everyone’s) favorite photo spots – Sedona, Arizona. We have only just returned home and the first gallery being posted is for the new friends we made on our 3 hour Safari Jeep Tour to the Mogollin Rim and back canyons. We made a promise to them to pass on some photos we took with them in it.
Our tour was led by the fun (and soon to be labeled “wild”) driver and guide Gregg.
Gregg drove us up the Schnebly Hill Road – paved for the first mile or so before turning to a graded, rough, rocky, dirt road the remaining 13 or so miles until it connects to Highway 17. It is full of switchbacks climbing the splendidly scenic red rock mountains just east of Sedona.
In the two times we have visited Sedona, we have chosen not to take our personal car over this rocky road but many others do (probably in rental cars). On dry summer days, a 2 wheel car can traverse the jolts and bumps and we saw many doing it – to the detriment of their future quiet ride. I vow to have command of my own appropriate vehicle some day to take this road in the wee early morning hours to capture images of Sedona when the morning sunrise puts the light to my back and I’m not shooting into the afternoon or evening sun.
And that is my only real disappointment with this tour – I wanted to get to places to take photos and I was shooting mostly into the setting sun. So I took very few photos at all except for the sake of our fellow passengers. It was my fault not thinking through the logistics of the afternoon tour.
Fortunately, I grabbed my SB900 flash at the last minute and was glad I did since most all the photos were back lit from the setting sun and needed front fill flash to create more than a silhouette.
Our tour companions were five lovely ladies (three sisters and two daughters if I remember right). From the outset they set the tone of fun and laughter!
The younger ones wanted a wild 4 wheel ride and the screams from mother and aunt did not discourage Gregg from providing the thrills. Even from my calmer vantage point riding shotgun in the front seat, I got sweaty palms. Seems Gregg has had plenty of practice fishtailing in desert environments. But the cliff edges…..
Barbara has painfully earned a reputation for missteps and spills on stairs and curbs so seeing her climb the rocks and shoot her own photos from the edge of scary cliffs made my palms sweat a little more.
And any tour of Sedona includes the mystical “vortexes”. Barbara and I know the source of our peace comes from a Heavenly Source but some of our companions seemed to be searching for something from the rocks – or pretending? :
The Jeep climbed to the top of Mogollin Rim and drove through the beautiful forest to connect with Highway 17 (much smoother). After a mad dash down 17, we returned via the carved lava fields/canyons southeast of Sedona. This last image shows the wildflowers midst the lava rocks as the sun was setting.
A good time was had by all. A big “thank you” to Gregg and his skillful (and fun) driving and the ladies that inspired it all. More images here.