I finished off my hike at Doe Mtn, jumped in Tonto, ate a banana, grabbed some pics of some of the flora near the parking lot and re-geared for my hike up Faye Canyon.
It was getting warm but there was still a gentle breeze that provided some cooling. I wasn't sure if I was going to do the Arch first and then head for the Box Canyon or vis versa. I decided because it was a bit warm, I better do the elevation first. This was a good choice. I left my directions back in Tonto but I remembered that the turn was at .6. I turned slightly before that and ended up on a trail that petered out quickly... thank goodness. I headed back on the trail for less than a tenth when I saw the cairn (they say sometimes the cairn isn't there) and headed across the dry creek bed toward where the Arch would be.
About 1/4 of the way up I look and see the Arch so I stop for a movie. A few more steps later I encounter my 2nd Whiptail lizard of the day so of course, I have to pursue for a photograph as this is a male with the pretty turquoise coloring. As I continue up I can hear some folks above me though I can't see them. I'm very near the bottom of the Arch when I see a fellow on top. I know the trail to the top goes to the right so I headed that way but it was too soon so I cross back to the trail that takes you to the bottom of the Arch.
I see a few folks there but immediately take the path, such as it is, to the right as my immediate goal is to get on top of the Arch. There are a few tricky areas (slippery and just a little exposure). I encountered the one fellow coming back across and since this is more or less a one hiker path, it was a situation where I took the inside and he got around me. Nothing like encounters of the close kind. At least he was cute!
After scrambling to level with the top of the Arch, I finally made my way across. There is a big rock up there that made the perfect tripod for my camera so I even did a self-portrait
. I walked across to the other side of the Arch and sat down for a quick snack and soak up the moment. I decided it was too warm so I made my way back down, missing the immediate right turn but was able to scramble over to the Arch wall and back over to under the Arch.
I put my pack down as my umbrella had come loose in the scramble with a bush. I decided it was still too early for lunch so I just went to the other side under the Arch and sat down to enjoy the moment
and take a movie. Meanwhile I had been discussing with myself if I wanted to call it good and head over to Boynton or continue on the Faye Canyon Trail to the Box Canyon I had read about. The Box Canyon won out so down I went.
Before I knew it I was at the end of the official trail. Well that was quick. I took my picture of the rock formation in front of me and this beautiful bush that was decked out in what looked like white lilac blooms. It was spectacular
. I remember from what I read to head left and you would reach this bench that would provide awesome views. So once again, UP I scrambled on loose rocky terrain but it was short and sweet and before you knew it, yep, as advertised FABulous views
. Plus I love hiking on this kind of a bedrock shelf.
I had talked to some folks at the end of the trail and I heard them try to scramble up after me but I never did see them even though I turned around a couple times. Anyway, I kept walking north (I think) along this totally cool shelf. There were times when it didn't look like you could get through due to brush or a tree but if you looked closely at the ground, you could continue on. But not so fast, brush-closing-in-on-you-breath, as pretty soon, I was having to get way low, turn, shimmy, duck and all those fun things
I hear you more crazy hikers do.
Little did I know it was going to get worse
. It was getting closer to 1 and I was getting really hungry so I decided the next decent area with shade, I was going to plop myself down and eat. That would mean I would have around 3.5 miles or so to finish the hike. I didn't realize until I went to throw my pack back on what a tight area I had tucked myself into right on the trail.
So onward I went
. Soon I would head slightly down into a drainage area that had 4 cairns in it. I assumed I should head down the drainage to find what I thot was the Box Canyon. Well this was not easy going but I decided to go another 1/2 mile at most and if I didn't see any positive signs of some sort, I would head back. At one point I had to get on my knees to get under this fallen tree and immediately got up in pain
as my right knee has still not healed from my fall 3 weeks prior. Soon I would forget about the pain as I continued just a little further
through, around, under and over trees and boulders.
I gave thot to the fact that only my brother and Ambika have any inkling where I'm at as I told them I would be doing 3 different hikes in Sedona. And like many of us now, I think of GPS Joe's family misfortune and that I was still recovering from a serious face plant a few weeks ago... Alas, I said to myself, "THIS is ridiculous! Turn around". Since I had been battling with my pole and closed umbrella hanging up on all the brush I took off my pack and tried to get these items more compact and closer to my pack.
I headed back UP the tree/boulder clogged drainage trying to keep my pole and umbrella with me as they still hung up where I would have to shimmy and slither to get unattached to the brushery that seemed to believe I should stay a little longer
. I seemed to get back to the 4 cairned area quickly. I decided I would rest for a moment. As I was sitting there I could see what looked like a trail north? up the hill. As much as I hated the idea of going up this slick looking hill, I decided, "I had come this far, I was in the shade, Let's go for it
!". I scrambled up the hill only to find a dead-end. At least from what I could see as it was totally clogged with brush and trees and no cairns or pathway to be seen. So I threw in the towel
. (Could it be this somewhat circle of cairns meant the end of the trail?)
I was glad to get out of that drainage and up to where I could see blue sky again
. Part way back I stopped at this one tree that I was crawling over and decided the curvature of the tree and placement of the boulder was perfect for a rest
, even though I didn't need one. It provided a little shade and I was getting a nice breeze. After all, it was still early, I had plenty of time to get back so why not enjoy the respite. It is now the TibberTree
The views continued to amaze especially as the haze had now seemed to disappear from the far south of the valley. I got back to the End of the Trail and pulled my umbrella out for the rest of the hike. I ran into some way older hikers, one who would fall (I'm surprised he was even out there) and quite a few others on the way. Almost all of them asked about my chrome dome and seemed delighted at the idea of getting one for themselves. Even though it was warm and I had been beaten up pretty good
, I was still distracted along the way by the flora and scenery.
When I arrived at Tonto and was putting away my gear, a lady came up to me and asked if I was familiar with the area. I told her "Well not really but let me see if I can help
" as she showed me the map she was using. It does really look complicated cuz it has so much stuff on it. Basically what she needed was a ride back to her car that was parked along Dry Creek Road to the south of the resort. I happily obliged, glad that I could provide a favor for a fellow hiker. She was from FL and had driven up from Phx to get a little jog in that ended up being longer and hotter than she anticipated.
Here is my shorter video for this part of my hiking day: http://youtu.be/QHiNfKm90O8
Oh, to finish off my day I stopped at the Blue Moon Cafe in the Village of Oak Creek to have the always wonderful patty melt/homemade chips and black cherry creme soda . In fact, I ordered another soda to drink on the way back to Phx.