A September 2003 trip
to Sedona by Loraleefry
Quote: From the moment I saw the red rocks that I had read about, I was enchanted with Sedona.
Attraction | "Red Rock Balloon Rides"
At 5:30Am they picked me up at the timeshare along with passengers at other resorts. We drove in darkness to a canyon where, once we arrived, they began filling the balloon. A couple of coyotes sat about a hundred yards away watching as the sun rose and the great, colorful, silken balloon grew and rose as well. The balloon was carrying seventeen passengers and our pilot. We were all ably assisted in getting in the basket after a briefing, even those who were elderly and not so agile were able to get in. As the sun peaked over the eastern peaks, we rose above the canyon floor and surrounding rock walls and watched the two coyotes trot off into the brush. They were obviously not as awestruck as we passengers were, having seen many a take off I am sure.
Below us were the fantastic rock formations rising above the golden valley floor, looking even redder than usual in the early morning light. Above us was an azure sky with a few puffy clouds drifting about. Beside us was a flock of birds looking for an early morning meal. Unlike an airplane, there was no noise other than the occassional firing of the burner to keep the balloon full of hot air. Nor was there, as we drifted silently, a sensation of movement.
The passengers hardly spoke, only the wind whispered, an occassional shutter clicked, or the pilot might point out something now and then. Thank heavens I had several rolls of film. Deer and javelina, livestock and birds were visible below feeding as well as coyotes hunting rabbits. You could see the early morning commuters start about and the city start to waken. It was pure magic.
A couple of hours later we sat down lightly and were helped out of the balloon basket. We were treated to muffins, fruit juice, and/or champagne and presented our "graduation" certificates as ballonists. It was among the best $165 I have spent and months later I dream of floating above the earth with the wind and birds as my companions and know how God must have felt when at the end of Creation, He looked out and said, "It is good."
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2003
Red Rock Balloon Adventures
295 Lee Mountain Lane
Sedona, Arizona 86351
+1 928 284 0040; U.S
The train departs the station and goes by the rather unsightly, but interesting remains of the mining activity in this area of Arizona. From there on, it becomes a beautiful excursion into a wild, primative area mostly accessable only by foot, packing in, or from the comfort of the railroad train. There are enclosed cars for inclement weather or for those who prefer not to be in the sun too much, as well as open air cars for the more adventurous. There is ability for the handicapped to take the trip as well.
As you get further into the canyon, the walls rise ever more steeply around you. Often, the wind and water has carved the rocks into natural formations that resemble turtles, frogs or eagles and have been so named by imaginative viewers. The river is often viewable with green gray and brown grasses or stands of green cottonwoods or aspens blazing yellow in the fall. There are several old adobe strucures built into the canyon walls by Mogollan, Hohokam or Anzazi peoples long ago. The train winds along through tunnels and over bridges with little sight of human habitation or intervetion for two and a half hours before turning around and heading back.
One might think it boring to see again what one has seen, but the canyon takes on new dimensionsand beauty as the sun moves acrooss the sky and sheds a whole new light on things. As shadows lengthen, the wild animals start to get hungry and look for food. One might see a pair of coyotes hunting for rabbits or other rodents, or deer feeding, or if really lucky a majestic bald eagle soaring or even just sitting and scanning for food. I have seen eagles in zoos, but whether above the Wisconsin River at home, or in the Verde Canyon of Arizona, the sight of these majestic symbols of freedom of our country is beyond belief. The second half of the trip seems to fly by.
Back at the station is a small museum and gift shop where one can purchase momentos and souveniers of the trip. It is a wonderful afternoon and goes year round.
Verde Canyon Railroad
300 North Broadway
Clarkdale, Arizona 86324