Sedona, Arizona

Photos and memories and a roadtrip in Arizona.

I spent part of yesterday looking through old photos. They’re never the photos I wish I’d taken, of course, and they often don’t capture the memories I really want to hang onto.

Like my photos from Arizona a few years ago.

I was in Phoenix for a work conference, and turned 25 halfway through the week. Of course, I have no photos from the slightly-crazy birthday dinner I had with my work friends, plus various people I felt obliged to invite because it was a work conference, plus the various additional people I didn’t even know who got invited by invitees who didn’t realize it was a birthday dinner. Somehow the 2 dozen of us got a table at a decent restaurant, without a booking, and I think even the non-birthday dinner people had fun.

After a week of being peopled-out I needed a break, so I’m glad I booked a few days vacation after the conference and went to the Grand Canyon via a road trip through Sedona.

It was a trip of new experiences. Having just turned 25, I hired a car since it was suddenly so much cheaper than it would have been a few days prior. Travelling with a car was a novelty for me — I’d been very much a bus/train person, to a fault — but there’s no way to take a photo of the feeling of being in a new car, an easy-to-drive automatic at that, and thinking “Oh my gosh I can go anywhere!”. Although I do have a photo of the car (well, plus some snow; this was at the Grand Canyon where it was frrrrreezing):

Coming from a warm country, my response to this was: ??!!!

Coming from a warm country, my response to this was: ??!!!

And you’d need better photography skills than mine to get an image capturing the feeling of driving north on the Interstate, traffic flowing smoothly on a ribbon of highway through a country of strange rock formations and giant cacti. The car had a digital radio and I eventually settled on a classic rock station that played Hotel California approximately every six hours — to this day, that song reminds me of my time in Arizona.

Propelled by the I-can-go-anywhere feeling, I pulled off the interstate after about an hour, deciding instead to take the back roads on my way to Sedona. I didn’t get a photo of the road winding through switchbacks up a rocky hill, up to where there was snow on the ground and the view back down to the plains went on for miles. Mostly because I was too busy freaking out about the fact that I had zero experience driving on crazy winding roads, and what if there was ice, and what have I done why didn’t I stick to the Interstate??!

Though I did get some photos from a view point on the other side of the pass, where I pulled over to calm my nerves afterwards.

Pretty sure I’d already heard Hotel California at least once on the radio by the time I took this photo.

And then there’s the places that are unphotographable even if you try. Like Sedona, where I spent a couple of nights. (Another change of travel style for me: I got a motel room, breaking my tradition of staying at backpackers no matter what.) If you’ve been to Sedona — and you should go, if you ever get the chance — you’ll know what I mean about how impossible it is to get photos that do any justice to the rock formations.

Dramatic rocks and skies.

Dramatic rocks and skies.

Dramatic rocks with snow on them.

Dramatic rocks with snow on them.

Yes ok more dramatic rocks.

Yes ok more dramatic rocks.

I mean, those are some nice snapshots of rocks, but the feeling of exploring somewhere new to me, of seeing a landscape so different to everything I’d seen before… that’s hard to capture.

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