Fly in a Good Direction

Today was my best day…I had the single most breathtaking experience of my life aside from Shannon on our wedding day; the Grand Canyon.  I have always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, but severely underestimated its significance.  No words or photographs will ever do it full justice; the colors, lines, depth…phenomenal!

Completely inspired by the scenic views, we were all in full agreement that we needed to take this experience to the next level with a helicopter tour.  As the helicopter started to cross over the canyon, I felt the most extreme combination of fear and awe.  The views from the helicopter provide an incomparable experience.  However, as we rolled into different areas of the canyon, you could feel the helicopter swaying and making different noises as the air currents changed.  This left me with a very uneasy feeling until we crossed back over the edge and I regained my false sense of security.Still desiring a different experience of this amazing place, we went to the nearby IMAX theater to watch a National Geographic film.  The film took us further down the canyon, simulated flight through the canyon, gave us views looking up from the Colorado River, illustrated the power of the Colorado River rapids, and provided a history of the exploration.  Overall, a great enhancement to the experience.

Photograph of the Movie Screen

Ryan has recently gotten heavily into photography researching various techniques to capture the best images.  Ryan mentioned that the best pictures are taken at dawn and sunset, so at about 5:30 in the evening we decided to return to the canyon for yet another different experience and to capture more photos.

There is nothing more I can say…if you haven’t been to the Grand canyon, GO!!  Also, if you enjoy aerial photography and still want to see more, I would highly recommend checking out John Griebsch’s work.  John captures amazing images internationally while flying his Cesna.  Shannon and I are huge fans of his work.


About bhoefen

Going on a road trip.
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18 Responses to Fly in a Good Direction

  1. Dawn DeBadts says:

    Good Morning Folks,

    It says “comment” I have no comment just a flood of emotions.

  2. Carol burke says:

    Brett, When I showed your post to my little boy and explained what you were doing on your journey, he said “He is so lucky”. You are an inspiration

  3. Crissie Kid says:

    The Grand Canyon totally ROCKS!!!! Got there a few summers back and you are so right about pictures not doing it justice! These are incredibly beautiful pictures and video as well. Keep on going further!!!!!!!!!!!!! At this time of the year I live vicariously through your posts! Have a wonderful day! Chris

  4. Cuzin Katie says:

    Oh. My. God. I have never been, and now it is on the top of my list… so amazing people! I am jealous. I especially enjoyed your dance moves at the end of the video Bret 🙂

  5. Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon says:

    AMAZING, BREATHTAKING, TOTALLY AWESOME pictures of the Grand Canyon – WOW is all we can say!!!!!!!! So glad you are experiencing this and we get to get a taste of the adventure through you! Whoever is in charge of photography and capturing these breathtaking scenes is doing an awesome job! You guys were all so daring to go on that helicopter ride, but I have to admit, I would have done the same – how could you go to the Grand Canyon and not experience it from that perspective when the opportunity awaited you! SO AWESOME!!!!!

    Ry, a big CONGRATULATIONS on your job offer! We’re thrilled for you! I too, like Sally, am particularly thrilled that you may also be working in Dansville, being my hometown, it will always hold a special place in my heart. After reading, Bret’s post and him mentioning all your cumulative years preparing for this day – wow, are you really FINALLY done????!!!!!! So happy for you!
    Uncle Lee also has a message for you: ” Congratulations, Ryan – I am drawing encouragement from your perseverence as I am still working on my doctorate in real estate! As you did, I will keep on , keeping on……..!!!!!!!!!! All the best,” Uncle Lee.

    Shanny, that bead place looked incredible! That shop looked like a wall-to-wall jewelry showcase! You must have been totally in your element and had so much fun. I’m sure Makiko wishes she could have been there with you and Betsy. What a fantastic girls’ outing – wish Judy and I could have been there with you too!

    Okay, so our vote for where you should use your round trip tickets to….(so glad that worked out, by the way!) Having been to Bermuda – it is gorgeous and they do have great motor bikes there you could both ride all over – definitely an option. I’d definitely check the weather there first for this time of year though – you’d probably want to be in warm, sunny weather, especially to go to the ocean and beach.
    My second choice I would have to agree with Christine ( if Air Tran goes there) – Hawaii – never been, but it’s one of my ultimate dream destinations – everyone I know that has been there says it is close to paradise. The perfect second honeymoon spot! I’m sure you’ll get some great suggestions – have fun deciding and enjoying!

    We’re cozied up inside with a fire in the fireplace today, trying to stay warm. It was a frigid 2 degrees outside this morning and now it’s a balmy 10! The frozen tundra is relentless! Really pretty out there though.

    Take care all you Hoefenators and keep on enjoying. Bret, hope this current wave of fatigue will pass soon and give way to renewed energy. Rely on those power naps when you need to. Sending love, hugs and prayers to you every day.

    Uncle Lee and Aunt Sharon

  6. Reggie & Mary Lee says:

    The Grand Canyon – on our “Bucket List.” Your photos and videos make us want to get there sooner than later! Did Betsy really go up in the helicopter?!! Wow. Betsy – love that you are collecting rocks along the way – great that there is a trailer to haul them… our trip to Alaska weighted down our trailer lots! I also love that the girls voted for all the turquoise shops! I am with them! I will have to research how far Air Tran goes for my lunch suggestion! Hope that you loose that snow soon!
    Love, Mary Lee

  7. Reggie & Mary Lee says:

    How about Montego Bay or San Juan or Aruba???

  8. Cousin Michelle, Mario, and Simona says:

    WOW…. awesome photography and videography guys! Takes me back to our honeymoon and its still just as gorgeous! You are very brave to do the helicopter- we thought about it but I was too chicken… almost regret that now. Out goal was to do the donkey’s and ride down but the wait list was too long and needed to be booked way in advance. Hope Las Vegas is soon a stop on your list. Be sure to check out the Bellagio!!! And I highly recommend their buffet- its the best in all vegas!

  9. Danielle West-Chuhta says:

    Wow – I totally want to head out (right now) to the Grand Canyon….definitely on my bucket list! Totally amazing pictures….:)

  10. Danielle West-Chuhta says:

    Oh yeah, and you should definitely go to lunch somewhere warm like Bermuda with those tickets….enjoy!

  11. Scott says:

    My 5 year old just saw your video and said, “Daddy, let’s go there tomorrow on your day off!” It’d be pretty cool, I am going to put my family’s name on the waiting list to go white water rafting down the grand canyon… maybe we’ll get to go when we’re 40.

    Keep on flying, riding, walking, or rope-swinging… as long as it’s in a good direction!


  12. Sherri Kennedy says:

    Your pictures and videos of the Grand Canyon are awesome. Went to Las Vegas November 2009. I hope you go to Vegas. Everyone has to see it at least once…which was enough for me. However, we stayed at The Bellagio. So worth the extra money. That place is beautiful! When you walk in the front doors walk straight about 50 strides and look up to the ceiling. You’ll see magnificent flowers. While you are at The Bellagio, go to their buffet. OMG… it is unbelievable! I turn 50 this year and am planning on going back to the Grand Canyon, South Rim, Bright Angel Trail and walk through the canyon to the other side. It’s an over night adventure and I cannot wait. Believe it or not your sense of adventure and thirst of special moments has caused me to take time for just that..adventure and special moments. You are giving so many people so many gifts through this journey of yours. Thank you all so very much. Can’t wait for your next stop!!

  13. Lynne Hudak says:

    Loved your pictures of the Grand Canyon Bret! We were there a few years ago and the colors were not as vivid due to forest fires in California. It is just an awesome sight isn’t it. I think “awesome” is overused, but in the case of the Grand Canyon, highly appropriate. My parents rode mules into the Canyon 70 years ago.
    Be sure to visit Bryce. It was one of my favorites National Parks. Are you going to Sedona? Another favorite spot. (Pink Jeep Tours-l0ts of fun) The west is like another world.
    Please thank your mom for sending my mom, Florence Simpson, the beautiful New Year’s card. She always remembers her-your whole family is so special.
    Can’t tell you how much I look forward to your daily travel stories. You are so gifted. This could be shown on WXXI. Keep living life to it’s fullest and enjoy!
    Lynne Hudak

  14. Steve & Kathy Gilbert says:

    Greetings from frigid upstate New York,
    We’ve been to the Grand Canyon a couple of times, and as you now know, it is impossible to really describe it to someone or to capture the full impact on film. You have made a ‘grand’ attempt at capturing it here. I do love the photos, and the video (very professional) and even the beard!!!
    You should check out the Badlands and Wahl Drugs (like Vidler’s in Buffalo) – they are equally hard to capture on film.
    Love you all, the Gilberts

  15. Cousin Geoffrey says:

    Beautiful shots, guys! I’m so glad you guys hit up the grand canyon. I’m so anxious to see where you go next! You’ve hit a cross roads I think…one path leads South to Sedona and on to Phoenix and the other leads West toward the Hoover dam – you’re living a choose your own adventure book! If you choose to go West and are up for an adventure, head to Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation (off I-40 at Seligman). The village of Supai is located 8 miles from the end of road down in the canyon. You can hike, take burro or catch a helicopter down. An amazing experience and the most amazing waterfalls I’ve ever seen! It’s at least an over night trip – there is camping and places to stay near the falls. Give me a call if interested and I can give you some info!

    Ryan – Congrats on the job offer!!!

  16. Aunt Bo says:


  17. Debbie says:

    Absolutely stunning! And I’m so jealous (and digging the fact) that you took the helicopter ride. It must have been thrilling, feeling your stomach drop when the copter rode the air currents.

    I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon, but I’ve never been to the rim-so I can imagine the breathtaking view. So glad you guys got to go there (and again–MY SISTER EDITED THAT? SERIOUSLY?)

    Did anyone spit over the side? Come on–you can tell me 🙂



  18. Marianne Borrelli says:

    You are rights. Words can not describe What the eye is seeing or what the heart is feeling! BEAUTIFUL

    Auntie Cuz Marianne

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