With Jeff Jelen
, Mike Mattes
, Clark Norgaard
, Matt Bond
, and yours truly
Loaded all the gear into 2 vehicles and got an early morning start Saturday traveling from Phoenix to Sedona
. Took Hwy 179 into Sedona since this was Jeff's first visit to the area. Along Hwy 89-A, took Dry Creek Road
looking for a Red Rock Pass kiosk
since the Ranger Station was closed! Picked up our Red Rock Pass
(note to self, kiosk does not take $20 bills...) and we were off to find a camp site near the Loy Canyon Trail Head. Found a suitable site and set up camp
(another note to self, camping only allowed on left side, that is, south side, of road).
We started the hike from the trail head
a little later than planned - 12 noon. We agreed that 3:00pm would be the turn-around point no matter what and we were off
! Soon went past Hancock Ranch
and a series of bizarre looking trees
. Seemed to be an extraordinary amount of alligator junipers
Soon made a sighting of some cliffdwellings
to the west of the trail at GPS coordinates 34o 56.803'N and 111o 55.464'W. Couldn't find an obvious route to these ruins. Sounds like a future trek! Would appreciate hearing from anyone that has visited these ruins.
The fall colours were a little less than expected, but still found the occasionaltree
still decked out. Still had Sedonabackcountry colours
to make up for any loss...
With the 3:00pm turn-around time approaching, Jeff, Clark and Matt made a sprint to the junction with Secret Mountain Trail. Mike and I hung back
at the saddle enjoying the view
and feeling the effects of some lung congestion (stupid cold).
At the turnaround time, my GPS indicated we had covered 4.75 miles. When we returned to the truck at the trail head it now read 10.02 miles. This was a bit of a mystery since we took a direct trip back with no stops. GPS route
shows we took a different route back! Mystery solved. And no one noticed we were on a different trail...
Back at the camp we had a fine selection of beverages and noble slices of beef courtesy of AJ's Fine Foods (yes we rough it!). Sunday morning was suprizingly cool, near freezing with what appeared to be frost on the tent and Matt's sleeping bag. A fine breakfast
prepared by Mike and crew. Packed up and made a side trip to Honanki Ruins Sunday morning before returning to Phoenix so Jeff could catch his 4:00pm flight back to Minneapolis.
Should mention the starlit sky with multiple shooting stars that evening. Amazing! Don't know why this trail is rated so low. Rates a "5" for me