Best of Sedona - October 2010
Having made arrangements long ago to take this Monday off for what turned out to be an aborted Cedar Mesa adventure, decided to make a trek to Sedona with Lynn and Skippy. There are a cluster of trails off Dry Creek Road at FR152 (Vultee Arch => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=138
, Secret Canyon => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=116
, Brins Mesa West => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=318
, Lost Canyon Ruins => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=888
, Devil's Bridge => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=36
, and many others...) I've never had a chance to explore. Today seemed like a good day to check out a couple of these trails. First task, sorting out the convoluted Red Rock Pass situation;
HAZ Forum Thread on Red Rock Passes => viewtopic.php?f=69&t=5160&hilit=Red+Rock
Recent legal status of Red Rock Passes => http://www.redrocknews.com/News/judge-r ... -pass.html
Red Rock Country => http://www.redrockcountry.org/passes-an ... ndex.shtml
...so my NPS Annual Pass would have covered my Red Rock Pass fee?
Making a stop at the new Visitor Center on Hwy 179 at the south end of the Village of Oak Creek, we pay our $5 for a daily Red Rock Pass (find out afterwards that my NPS Annual Pass would have covered the fee) and head towards Dry Creek Road. As we turn onto FR152 the radio station is interrupted by a special severe weather alert issued for Chino Valley (I think that's only a few miles west of the TH...). My F-150 bounces 4.5 miles along the rutted Forest Road to the Vultee Arch trail head. A quick look to the west shows an advancing squall line. Considering the potential for being stranded at the TH, I make a "Plan B" suggestion - West Fork of Oak Creek. Lynn quickly agrees and as my F-150 exits FR152, it begins to rain - HARD!
Pay the $10 Special Fee Area admission, and find the usually crowded parking area at West Fork surprisingly empty. We pass half dozen hikers completely soaked from rain we dodged back at FR152. This gives us an unexpected private showing of West Fork...
About 3 miles upstream from the TH, thunder echoes through the canyon. Another menacing dark cloud appears overhead and rain begins to fall. Turnaround time - only a 10 minute shower this time. Make it back to the TH parking area relatively dry and head back into Sedona to grab a drive through dinner we consume at one of the new "Scenic View" parking areas along Hwy 179. This turns out to be the Little Horse Trail Head => http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=69
and Bell Rock Path. Skippy gets a "post cheeseburger leg stretcher" on the Little Horse Trail. Another squall line approaches from the west, and a couple of serious looking photographers set up in the parking lot focused on Cathedral Rock capturing some "red rocks and lightning" images. Our drive home along the I-17 is through a torrential downpour from Sedona to Phoenix...