Above the Rocks

Traveler: Özlem Avcıoğlu – Photographer

What is your most unforgettable escape? Last October I visited Arizona, Utah and Grand Canyon. It was an unforgettable experience for me…

What was the purpose of your travel? Visiting Amangiri resort, which I think is the most exclusive resort-hotel in the world; visiting Scottsdale, Sedona and Grand Canyon. I always felt very good in the Native American land. Maybe I was a Native American in my previous life…

With how many people did you travel? Me and a very old friend of mine Esra who lives in New York.

Where did you stay? In Utah we stayed in Amangiri, and in Scottsdale in Four Seasons from where we made daily trips.

What did (do) you most like about the trip? Being in the middle of the nature. There you can really feel that the nature is so powerful, there is no way to beat it. (I don’t have any intention to beat by the way J) You have to live in harmony otherwise catastrophes will follow.

Could you share an unforgettable memory about the trip?  I was driving from Scottsdale to Sedona, and when we approached Sedona there was a hill when I suddenly had to stop the car in the middle of the road. The view was incredibly amazing. Never seen such RED ROCKS in my life, let alone the rocks never seen such a color… I had to get out of the car, realized where I was, then continued driving.. It took me 2-3 minutes and I jammed the whole traffic…

Your most surprising find during the trip? We rented a Cessna aircraft to see the Grand Canyon. During the 1,5 hour flight, I was amazed to see the Sonoran Desert where Scottsdale is. Not only the Grand Canyon but the whole trip was an amazing experience to see the different kind of stages of desert from the top.

Favorite restaurant(s) or food you have tried during your trip? I liked most Proof, a contemporary American canteen at the Four Seasons Scottsdale, and had all my breakfasts and most of the dinners there. It was like a road trip down the main streets of America. It has relaxed comfy atmosphere with great comfort and amazingly tasty margaritas.

What is the must tries of the city? In Sedona Chapel of the Holy Cross is a must visit place. It rises from the ground and merges  with the surrounding towers of stone. The Chapel  was designed by sculptor, Marguerite Brunswig Staude and completed in 1957. In Scottsdale there is another architecture must visit building: Taliesin West. Nestled in the foothills of the Mountains and surrounded by Sonoran Desert lays an 600-acre complex which was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The buildings and the landscape complement each other in every aspect..

Any hidden gems you could whisper to us? In Sedona there are 6 energy vortexes.. ( By the way a vortex is a place, usually on or near an interesting rock formation, where people have reported feeling inspired by a source of energy.) One of these is the Crescent Moon Picnic Area, known locally as Red Rock Crossing. That image of Oak Creek flowing in front of majestic Cathedral Rock is one of the most photographed images in the Southwest. And late afternoon is the best time to photograph the reflection of the Red Rock on Oak Creek. . If you’re skeptical, about the vortexes that’s okay – it is still a fun excuse for a hike and photography.

Would you go back? Definitely but this time I will go the West rim of the Grand Canyon to see and to walk on the Skywalk which is located on tribal lands, consists of a horseshoe shaped steel frame with glass floor where you can walk and watch the view..

Could you list a few of your favorite finds you came back with? These can be anything from traditional finds to airport finds to hotel creams! In Scottsdale I found a great Native American Arts and Crafs shop where I bought handmade Navajo, Zuni and Hopi baskets, wall hangings and sculptors ..

Any tips that might be useful to know before going there? You don’t have to stay in Sedona.. The best way to visit the area is to stay in Scottsdale and make daily trips. For Grand Canyon renting a Cessna from Phoenix airport is the most amazing way to visit the Canyon area.

Next stop you would like to visit? Norway Fjords till the arctic circle at the of August 2014…