Roger here... It was a pretty short drive from the north side of Phoenix to the Sedona area. We left a little earlier than usual so that we could set up the motor home and find a laundromat. It is amazing how many dirty clothes can accumulate in twenty days! I set up the campsite while Dianne went to the laundry which was, thankfully, nearby. (Please don't think I normally wait 20 days between laundry chores! We've just been too busy and still had clean clothes to wear, so we put it off until it was convenient. -- D.)
Our home for the next six nights is at Dead Horse Ranch State Park near the small town of Cottonwood, 15 miles from Sedona.....
I guessed correctly this time in reserving the campsite. This is our view from our campsite of the town of Cottonwood in the valley --- really pretty after dark with the twinkling lights and the full moon.
We still aren't used to the Arizona time zone, so we've been waking up around 5:00 a.m. We also tend to fall asleep shortly after sunset --- without tv. So, we left fairly early in the morning for our first hike in the Sedona area (on a Saturday). We intended to trek the Boyton Canyon Trail, but due to a navigational error, found the Fay Canyon Trail (also on our list) first. Why not? The scenery was breathtaking. At one time the Sedona area was considered for national park status. I suspect it would have been one of the destination parks, had that happened.
|Bandido and I are ready to go!|
|So is Tequila. Look at those ears at the bottom of the picture. Tug, tug, tug.|
The cairn in the picture may have indicated a scramble up the canyon wall to an arch. I started up the unmarked pathway (alone), but it did not look promising. I probably should have gone farther, but the day was early and we had other priorities.
I did not scramble up to the arch, but I did find a huge boulder to conquer :-)
Dianne took the photo below to add a little perspective to my conquest.
|Can you spot him? He's wearing green. -- D.|
As the hike was ending, we encountered more and more hikers along the way. We always stepped to the side to let them pass. After all, we had two dogs. One very nice group offered to take a picture of the four of us. Very nice of them.
Did you notice the and... in the title of this post? An explanation is in order. Our second planned hike of the day (which was supposed to be the first) was Boyton Canyon --- hugely recommended as a not-to-be-missed hike. It was only about a mile away. When we arrived at the trailhead, all the parking spaces were occupied, and there was a warning sign that stated that a placard was required by the forest service or we would face fines and/or towing. I knew this might be a possibility at some point and had looked it up ahead of time. Our Golden Age National Park Passport should have been recognized without requiring us to purchase a special permit. When I went to the kiosk, there was no procedure for Golden Age Passports, only an option for inserting a credit card. Ugh.
Based on the influx of people (not a good thing when you want to enjoy the beauties of nature), we opted to find a visitors' center to find out what the proper procedure would be so that we could do the hike another time. The Sedona Chamber of Commerce Vistors' Center was closed (Saturday). We did find a Visitor Information Center that was obviously not official. I took a risk and went in. The salesman who talked with me gave me a lot of valuable information. He explained that the Phoenicians (people from Phoenix) infiltrate the Sedona area on weekends, making things very crowded. He advised me -- knowing that we were there for a week -- not to go into the center of Sedona until after the weekend. He told me that placing my Golden Age Passport on the dashboard was the standard procedure (wish that bit of information had been available in the parking area).
As we discussed our future hiking plans, he gave quite a bit of good advice, and then told me that he had free tickets for a late afternoon jeep tour into the back country that most people don't see. Tempting, but there must be a catch. Of course there was. We would be required to attend a 90-minute presentation from a time-share corporation. Hmmm? We decided to do it. Fortunately, the dogs were welcome to sit next to us during the presentation. The realtors were disappointed that we did not buy on the spot, but they did indeed give us the voucher for the jeep tour the next day. Update in the next post.
The helpful man at the sponsored visitor information center (and he really was helpful) told me that we might go to the Crescent Recreation Center to avoid the crowds to see spectacular views of Cathedral Rock from the uncrowded end of the formation. He was correct. The views along the road were amazing.
Unfortunately, we discovered that in order to get closer to Cathedral Rock we would need to take our low-clearance Toyota down a road that we found suspicious. So, we turned around and parked at a nearby trailhead with which we were unfamiliar. It was a good stop for a forty minute walk.
The pyramid trail sign gave no indication of the length or elevation change, but what the hey, let's walk for a while before returning to the car.
We hiked along the trail for a while, but it was late afternoon. Since we had no desire to get lost on an unfamiliar trail (even though we had plenty of water), we returned to the car and ultimately to our motor home.
Stay tuned... tomorrow we will leave early for a second attempt to hike the Boyton Canyon Trail. Later in the afternoon we will see if the late afternoon jeep trip voucher into the back country works out. We really hope so. It would be a new adventure for us.
The pet picture of the day shows Bandido and Tequila slurping up a well-deserved dish of water on the trail.