by Chris CordesPhotography by Scott Brady, Christophe Noel and Troy Bignell

Not every overland adventure crosses a continent or even a county. Busy schedules often conspire to postpone extended travels, but that only opens the door for shorter excursions which can be no less challenging and fun. For the coming year, the Expedition Portal team will set out to prove that all you need is 36 hours to have a great escape. We encourage you to embark on your own 36 hours of adventure and share those experiences with us. How much fun can you fit in a day and a half?

36 Hours of Adventure: Sedona

Not just anyone can have an adventure these days. Long gone are the times when you could head out on the weekend with a few friends and a case of beers to enjoy the outdoors and escape the monotony of every day life. Today you have standards to uphold, requirements to meet, and gear lists to check off. If you want to have a proper trip you must pack an expensive truck full of gear, spend an extended period of time wandering through the wilderness, and cook incredible chef quality meals from your high-end camp kitchen. Not just any man with a weekend can do these things after all. You need to be serious, focused, and ready for anything, like these guys…

Okay, so are you ready to reach through your screen and punch me yet? Good, because what I describe above is complete garbage. You don’t need fancy gear, weeks of time, or a passport to have a great backcountry experience. In fact some of the best adventures happen with a few good friends and a weekend away from home, which is why are making a point to share more of our weekend getaways in a series called 36 Hours of Adventure. Contrary to popular belief, the Overland International team doesn’t spend its time polishing titanium cook boxes, stitching together leather saddlebags, or plotting to takeover the world using our green oval shaped death star.  We call a few friends, grab some food, and hit the trails for a night of camping, camaraderie, and laughter.

In pursuit of adventure within the limits of 36 hours, we made our most recent trip in honor of some great folks visiting from Australia and a new vehicle added to the stable. The plan was to depart Prescott around noon on Friday, make our way through the town of Jerome for dinner, and then head toward Sedona to camp at Oak Creek Homestead before running Broken Arrow trail on Saturday. Of course like most times in life, the only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Our plans blew up after delays in Phoenix held me from reaching the others until almost five thirty that night. Fortunately thanks to some flexibility, the team met up at the trail head with some burgers, fries, and chocolate milkshakes for dinner. Sadly, the delays did cause us to miss our first day’s photo opportunities so you’ll just have to trust me that the sunset was beautiful and the burgers and shakes were delicious. The group rolled into the campsite well after dusk and we were soon laughing as we all attempted to set up tents, search for firewood, and find our camp chairs in the inky black of night. Fortunately we had one lone flashlight and we quickly had a fire crackling by our feet and cold beers icing our hands.

Morning revealed a typical scene for a group of people who had half thrown together their site the night before. I was walking around like the hunchback of Notre-dame after my sleeping pad repeatedly deflated. Our friend Rob from Australia had thrown himself on the roof of the LR4 to escape the roar of half the camp’s snoring, and an intrigued Scott Brady was staring up through the sunroof wondering at what point an Aussie had relocated above his head. The laughter and smiles soon resumed as the coffee heated up on our camp stove and we ate our breakfast of egg and bacon sandwiches over discussions of the day’s plans.

To the excitement of everyone there, the first activity was completing a small water crossing near the camp before heading for the crux of the trail, a loose hill climb with some large rock ledges. It proved easy enough for the Land Rovers, even with a first time off-road driver at the wheel of the Sport, but was far more difficult for our coworkers Christophe and Brian. They unfortunately found themselves scrambling for traction as their heavier adventure bikes spun on the loose rock.

While Brian made it up without major incident, our Senior Editor Christophe ended up in a slightly hairier situation than expected after his bike caught a rock ledge wrong and sent him on a trip skywards, then earthbound. Thankfully proper safety gear, plenty of riding experience, and a little luck saved him and his bike from serious injury.

Just before turning for Sedona, the Land Rovers had some fun articulating through this ditch and showing off a little wheel lift. While we headed for broken arrow, the motorcycles made the wise choice to turn back as the broken front brake and missing fender from Christophe’s crash wasn’t ideal for off-highway riding. Upon arriving in Sedona, the red rock left our visitors staring in wonder while we pulled onto Broken Arrow and ascended the first obstacles. Never having pushed the Sport off-road before, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it on this relatively difficult trail. Much to my surprise and satisfaction, it conquered the route easier than even my former truck, a fully locked H3T on 35”s. The LR4 was equally impressive and took the more aggressive lines without so much as a scrape or bump all day.

 

While on Devils Staircase, one of the tougher obstacles, the three Land Rovers crawled down the rocks like a walk in the park. Of course years of wear have softened this once crushing section, but it still stands as an impressive and fitting end to a fun day of adventures in Sedona.

By five o’clock we were rolling into Prescott again with new stories, new photos, and a new appreciation for our weekend. Overall this fun adventure took just 24 hours but allowed us to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life as we’d hoped. We’re looking forward to our next weekend getaway and hope that many of you will be inspired to go have your own. If you do please share it with us. After all, a weekend away with friends can be one of the greatest adventures of all.

36 Hours of Adventure: Sedona

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About the Author: Chris Cordes

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Chris didn’t receive a real taste of the outdoors until moving to Prescott, Arizona, for college in 2009. While working on his business degree in the Embry-Riddle undergraduate program, he learned to fly and spent his weekends exploring the Arizona desert and high country. He fell in love with backcountry travel and four-wheel drive vehicles, which led him to Overland Journal and Expedition Portal. Chris was immediately hooked by the concept of overlanding, which combines the excitement and adventure of flying with his affection for cars and trucks. After receiving his degree, Chris did a summer internship with Overland International before accepting a full-time position on our team.