Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hike to Cathedral Rock and Exploring Sedona AZ…

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Another hike we had in mind to do while in Sedona was Cathedral Rock as it is one of the sites that are known as vortexes. What is a vortex? It is a place known for its centers of energy conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. Sharon and I wanted to experience one of these hikes.

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As I mentioned before parking is always a challenge at Sedona trailheads where if you are lucky enough to find a spot you can purchase a daily pass for all Sedona trails for $5.00.  However we have the Senior Lifetime Pass and it along with the America the Beautiful annual pass can be used as well.

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Cathedral Rock towers over the surrounding landscape within the Coconino National Forest. The trail itself is about 1.5 miles round trip which isn’t very long, but the nearly 750 ft. of elevation gain makes it a moderately difficult hike. I read about the hike and thought Sharon might be able to do this one even though there would be some height related challenges.

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The trail started off easy as we walked along a sandy bottomed trail which eventually gave way to a rocky trail. We were in a scattered forest of ponderosa pines and white fir. As we began to climb we could easily see where we needed to go because of the large basket cairns marking the trail.

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As we continued we came to a large crevasse in the rock we had to scramble up. We got through a few of these with me inspiring Sharon that “she had this” as we continued upward. Well that all ended when we came to a section of the trail that required near vertical climbing along a crack in the rock some 40 to 50 feet straight up. Sharon decided that this hurdle was a deal breaker for her. She encouraged me to finish saying she would soak in the sights while she waited.

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With Sharon waiting below I headed on up the crack in the rock and continued hiking steadily upward until I hit the final steep rocky ascent to the saddle. Once atop the saddle the views of the expanse below including parts of Sedona were in clear view. What an amazing view it was! There were some rocky outcrops at the saddle which may have been climbable but were beyond my skills so I headed back down to find Sharon.

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Reunited we headed back down the trail and talked about the vortices in the area. While neither of us experienced anything out of the normal we both agreed that the beauty of this area warranted it as worthwhile hike to undertake. They recommend doing this as a sunset hike but I am not too sure the hike down would be pleasant without full light of day to go down.

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On the way back we stopped to see Bell Rock which is known as another one of the vortex sites. We hiked partway up the trail but it was already too hot to finish this hike especially after doing the one earlier.We snapped a few photos and headed back home happy with the memories of beautiful Sedona Arizona.

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NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Hiking the Fay Canyon Trail, AZ…

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Staying close to Sedona AZ we planned a few hikes but would have to do so between monsoonal rain events. One trail we wanted to hike was the Fay Canyon Trail. However hiking in a canyon meant making sure it would not rain and one day the forecast was favorable so we headed to Sedona.

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The Fay Canyon Trail is about 2.6 miles roundtrip on an in and out trail with modest elevational change. It was going to be a warm day so we were glad to find this somewhat shorter hike through the red rock country of Sedona AZ.

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Once we arrived at the trailhead parking lot we were pleased to see this lot didn’t charge a parking fee. Several lots do charge a fee but we later found out that we could use our Senior Lifetime Pass in many of the lots to park for free. We parked and donned our boots making sure to pack plenty of water.

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Looking for trails in the area I came across this quote: “Fay Canyon is a hidden gem. The Fay Canyon Trail is an easy, scenic hike that takes you through this lesser-known Sedona canyon. You won't see majestic open views like those of Bell Rock, but you will find gorgeous views, without the crowds.”

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There were quite a few cars in the parking lot so we assumed we might see more people than we had planned but as it turned there are many different trails from the parking lot so we only encountered a few other hikers on our trail.

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The trail is a mix of having some sandy parts along with mostly rocky spots. We found ourselves hiking in and out of the drainage since thee was still some standing water from recent rains. As we were hiking I was keeping an eye out for escape routes from the canyon should the weather suddenly change.. Fortunately storms weren’t an issue on this day.

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About halfway through the hike there was a reported natural arch we somehow missed on the way in. The hike was a steady uphill trek which ended abruptly but there were several areas where adventurous souls continued by rock scrambling up the steep slopes. We chose to stay and enjoy a light snack while taking in the views.

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One nice thing about canyon hikes that are in and then out is that the views are strikingly different on the return hike. We were also fortunate to spy the natural arch and stop to enjoy its beauty. All in all this is a nice hike to see magnificent red cliffs ,an arch and some interesting pinnacles. Even though it was hot this day we were able to find an occasional remnant of shade and once back to the car we were glad we were done as it sure was getting hotter…

NOTE:  We are currently in Mesa, Arizona until November 1st…