When Michael Peach first laid eyes on Oak Creek Canyon, he was just 6. He remembers vowing to one day live within view of the red rocks. His dream was realized in 1983 when the Arizona native moved to Sedona, and he’s been here ever since. Chances are, if you’ve lived here for more than five minutes, you’ve heard his name.
With a master’s degree in theater, Michael has been involved in every theater startup you can name, including his own company, Coyote Magic Theatre, which lasted for two years in the 1980s. He performed 16 shows in 18 years at the Sedona Arts Center, helped get Canyon Moon Theatre off the ground and performed with Shakespeare Sedona. For the last 12 years, he’s been hosting territorial history programs, most notably at the Sedona Heritage Museum where his current show (the subject changes each month) is titled The Facts Keep Gettin’ in the Way of the Story. (This month’s show takes place Dec. 7 at 1:30 p.m.; the cost is $6.) Michael published a book with that same title this summer; it’s a collection of cowboy poetry based on the history of the Verde Valley.
But that’s only half of Michael’s story. Shortly after moving to Sedona, he began guiding jeep tours for Time Expeditions, one of the area’s first tour companies. Time Expeditions was bought by Pink Jeep Tours in 1996, and Michael was part of the package. All told, he’s been leading jeep tours and educating people about our history and geology for 28 years, longer than any other tour guide, he says. And that’s a big part of the reason why this performer has no intention of leaving Sedona for the bright lights of a big city.
“I have an incredible situation here,” he says. “Sedona is in my soul. Through Pink Jeep, I work in God’s office. It’s soul sustaining. I’m an entertainer, but the message I deliver gives validity and importance to my work, and I have to feel like I’m making a difference.”––Erika Ayn Finch