Sedona after a winter storm

Cathedral Rock in Sedona after a winter storm

Just like Alabama Hills (our last month's image) Sedona was one of the highlights during our winter trip 2018/19. As a heavy winter storm was announced for the whole area, we changed our travel plans spontaneously and headed south towards Sedona. It's been one of my lifetime dreams to shoot those fantastic red rocks blanketed in white. 1-2 inches of snow had been forecasted for December 31st, so everything just seemed about perfect. And we felt so happy in the morning while standing on the balcony of our hotel when it really happened. Seeing all those big white flakes falling down from the sky and slowly covering Capitol Butte and Coffee Pot Rock. What a sight!

But it snowed so much in such a short time, that we were left trapped the whole day in the city right after our breakfast coffee. All roads leading out of town were closed due to slush and multiple accidents. By the end of the day it still didn't stop snowing, more than 5 inches had already accumulated. Since our hotel was located a few miles away, we started to worry about getting back home. But the police worked hard and cleared our road (Hwy 89A) before darkness and we even managed to get to Sugarloaf Mountain at sunset. Although there was no real sunset that day (still too gray and too cloudy skies), we could not resist shooting Coffee Pot Rock.

The next morning was one of those where you wish you could beam yourself at many places simultaneously. It was bitterly cold at dawn (-12°C / 10°F), but while on Soldier Pass Trail and at the Seven Sacred Pools we felt surrounded by one of the most fabulous winter wonderlands. Just the same a little bit later at Slick Rock State Park or at the Airport Mesa, etc. etc. But despite the prevailing freezing temperatures and although the sun was hidden behind clouds most of the day, the white blanket disappeared terribly fast. Almost no snow was left when we finally arrived at Secret Slickrock Mesa, and unfortunately there were no pools either. But luckily, the beautiful Cathedral Rock faces northwest, so this butte was still snow-covered in evening when we climbed Schuerman Mountain.

It rarely snows in Sedona (hardly once or twice a year) and then the snow usually is gone within a couple of hours. We have been on quite a few winter trips in the US, but each time we went to Sedona it felt like springtime over there. Once we were even wearing T-Shirts on New Year's Day! But this time it was pure magic! And we wish the snow would have lasted a little bit longer, on January 2nd it was almost completly gone (just a few leftovers in the areas shaded from the sun). It's hard to put down in words how uncredibly lucky we felt being able to start the New Year in such a way! And still now, while working on the images and remembering those wonderful experiences. :-)

Image data:
1/3 s at f/16, ISO 100; Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM at 150 mm, Canon EOS 5D Mark IV