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Loy Canyon Trail #5
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mini location map2020-07-26
23 by photographer avatarTboneKathy
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Loy Canyon Trail #5Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 26 2020
Hiking5.25 Miles 1,930 AEG
Hiking5.25 Miles   7 Hrs      1.17 mph
1,930 ft AEG   2 Hrs   30 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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On a Friday of April 2018, I was near the end of a 10-day visit with my son. While he was at work, I uncovered some clues to ruins we hadn’t yet seen. I prepared a small presentation with which to surprise him, and he was thrilled. Saturday, we set out. We’d discovered the thrill of ruins-hunting just a couple of months before, and in April added the fine ruins at Loy Canyon to our list of conquests, including the in-law cave, and some that had experienced quite a bit of collapse a relatively short distance beyond.

I moved to Arizona in late 2019, and in the time between, he’d done his own research online and on foot, and in July 2020 he was going to wow me with even more Loy ruins if we just went further this time. And further.

A dog was barking outside the fenceline at Hancock Ranch. My son had slipped by, then the barking began and the dog was outside the fence, between the two of us. Sending some mixed signals, I wasn’t sure if he was trying to look ferocious, or really was. He hammered me with barks, keeping an eye on my son, as well. I eventually talked him down and was glad he didn’t follow.

We bypassed the petroglyphs east of the main trail this time, and headed for the rambling ruins to the west, off-trail. I remembered them well. What I’d forgotten in over 2 years was just how challenging some of the chutes were. Such a thrill to navigate these, though! I remembered two; this time there were three. Some postings mention social trails to these ruins. But somehow we always manage to end up doing our own thing. And as I’ve learned, Sedona is all about levels and an array of opportunities spread along (almost) any given mountainside to travel level to level. Thank you, rocks, for your faults and joints! (On the way back, we managed with just one chute; sometimes we don’t even follow our own blazed trails!)

We immersed ourselves in these ruins once again, skirted the lone window-wall, considered the in-law cave, and finally returned to our entry point to scale another chute toward the smaller ruins site beyond. I’d forgotten the pictographs here, and people had set on display pottery shards, mini corn cobs, and more.

On to the new.

At one cliff, we were fascinated by the sound of wings as birds flew intermittently in and out from a large crack in a rock face. It sounded like entering and exiting had to be very hard on their wings. We never got a good enough look to make an identification.

We came out to a viewpoint above Hancock Ranch and the road we’d driven in on. We could see our truck parked below, and saw that we were no longer alone out here. And we saw a fantastic ruins site below, quite intact. My son had gone into the ruins with friends, at least the ones that had the nerve to follow the ledge and flat-enough slope along the contour, behind the back of the ruins cave, down, and in. I shot photos and videos of his journey now; by the time he returned, all I could say was, “That’s the scariest thing I’ve done today!”

Descending, he asked if I wanted to try getting into a multi-level set of ruins in a small side canyon that we’d passed enroute. Of course!

They ended up being one of my favorite sets of ruins to date. Well hidden with foliage, the three or four walls were built on a slope and looked like they might have made up a larger room back in the day. Regardless, just as we saw them today, they were charming! We stretched out for a few minutes to just be a part of the place for a time, think our own thoughts, and wish for the umpteenth time to go back in time and just see the ancients living their day-to-day life.

Monsoon clouds gathered, and we descended, with some serious ruins scouting on the way. And a pause near the end to fix the fence as a favor to future hikers. (Our next visit to Loy, the dog was outside the fence again, and on our return trip, barking as ferociously as ever and not to be talked down, and I discovered that the streambed circumvents the dog’s power position quite nicely.)

We saw a lot, all in about 5.6 miles. And off trail, this area is a mecca for extreme social distancing!
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