Roger here... This hike has vaulted to one of our favorite hikes of all time. The mostly flat three-mile out and back trek with the dogs was like walking in paradise. The pictures below do not begin to portray the exquisite beauty of this canyon.
We mentioned in our last post that we intended to rise early, skip morning computer time and get an early start. We filled the water bottles and loaded the back packs the night before. We arrived at the trailhead at 7:45 a.m. and found the parking area (which had no spaces yesterday) to be nearly empty. Perfect.
|House with a view|
Bandido insisted on leading us down the trail. We encountered several nice people along the way, but it was much less crowded than our hike yesterday. The Phoenicians must have returned to Phoenix. Many of our fellow hikers fawned over our dogs which, of course, we enjoyed. One Native American toddler was fascinated by them. His patient and gentle parents allowed him to pet them several times. Bandido and Tequila enjoyed the attention and responded carefully to the little boy.
The scenery was jaw-dropping and the morning sun enhanced the colors of the canyon.
The early portion of the hike had desert-like foliage, but as the gentle slope took us deeper into the canyon we were surrounded by manzanita trees.
|Red Manzanita Bark|
Surprises awaited us at every turn.
The low-to-the-ground manzanitas gave way to a lush pine forest. Dianne and I both agree that our favorite hiking smell is that of pine.
We have seen many shrubs and flowers during our years of hiking, but we had never seen one of these white-flowering shrubs before.
As you can tell, our forward progress was frequently interrupted so that Dianne could photograph the wildflowers....
... and the cactus flowers.
As we neared the end of the "in" portion after three miles of hiking, we encountered fewer and fewer people. Deep in the pine forest, we were both a little concerned about the bear warnings that were posted at the trail head. We made quite a bit of noise and became somewhat wary. We need to find some bear spray that we can legally take across the Canadian border. It was time to follow the same trail to get back to the car.
On the return walk I found a rock to climb! OK. That guy in the yellow shirt is not me. However, it was fun to watch him and imagine it was me.
|Roger's Kindred Spirit|
|Now, how to get down??|
A very cool thing happened as we walked away from the spire with the man on top. A different man replaced him and began playing native American music on a flute. Sedona is known for being a New Age place with vortexes that supposedly have spiritual significance. We later found out that the spire with the man playing a flute is one of those vortexes. Intriguing. Certainly not something we expected. Nothing like having appropriate mood music as we strolled along the trail.
Dianne was able to get a short video of our experience. You'll have to listen carefully:
As we neared the trailhead, we discovered a memorial of some sort that we missed on the walk in. We have been trying to discover the significance of these colorfully painted crosses, but have had no luck so far. We do know that Native Americans still consider this canyon a place of significance.
|One final picture before leaving this magical place|
Later in the day we did indeed go on the promised jeep adventure tour. More about that in the next post.