Chelsea Taylor recounts the experience of her first aerial tour—one that she’ll never forget over the red rocks of Sedona—Guidance Air’s premier tour, the Dreamcatcher.
We’re a society obsessed with perspective.
“Have you talked to someone about that?” and “you need a different outlook…” and “try to see things from my side” run through daily conversations like fine filaments woven into our social fabric. We don’t even notice the remarkableness anymore.
We live in a culture so enlightened from our past that not only do we accept the vantage points of others, we now embrace them and seek them out. I’ve always prided myself as a collector of different perspectives—the more outrageous the better.
This week I found it: the ultimate perspective; a view from the heavens; the Dreamcatcher.
Turns out, the name of this helicopter beyond appropriate.
Of course, when I first approached Guidance Air’s cherry red, Robinson R44 helicopter, a personal awakening was not foremost on my mind. I was excited by what was to come and a little nervous (a fear of heights carried over from childhood), and that was about it.
I had been on only one helicopter before this: a seven minute flight from inside the Grand Canyon out to the Bar 10 Ranch to deal with a broken foot. I don’t remember most of the flight, unsurprisingly.
Guidance Air is the newest helicopter tour company based out of the Sedona, AZ airport. For those of you who have not been to this airport… well, go there—you will not be disappointed. This is no ordinary airport.
Besides a panorama view of Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte, and other impressively named geologic works of art, it is also the location of one of Sedona’s nine vortices. If all that doesn’t do it for you, the sunsets will. And if you still aren’t convinced, the bartender at Mesa Grill makes a killer martini. Try sipping one while you sit on the patio, watching the small aircraft come and go.
So here I am on the helipad, overwhelmed by the impossible beauty, being ushered starry-eyed by Chelsea onto the prettiest aircraft I have ever seen. Chris, my pilot, adjusts my Bose headphones, which way more comfortable than I had expected. I had been worried about the length of the tour, but my fears dissipate as we float off the blacktop and I begin wishing my hour long tour could be all day.
And then… the world is spread out below me. The rolling white and red hills of rock and shale below me create a visual symphony. I’ve been on many airplanes before, but this is so different. It is unexpectedly quiet.
As we leave the township of Sedona and cruise past Oak Creek Canyon, it feels like I’ve shed the day-to-day concerns of my life and entered a new world where only right now matters. No more pressing responsibilities, obligations, social kinks: It’s just me, the cliffs and the realization that life isn’t as serious as I usually make it to be.
Oh yeah, and there’s Chris. He knows just when to explain rock formations and thousand year-old ruins… and just when to leave me alone with my thoughts.
I felt like a different person exiting that R44—my eyes and outlook significantly widened. I thought I had just signed up for a helicopter tour of Sedona, but ended up getting the experience of a lifetime.