March 4-6, 2015
After three long driving days – Portland to Sacramento; Sacramento to Palmdale; Palmdale to Seligman – we had an easy drive of only 155 miles to visit my awesome uncle and aunt in Cottonwood Arizona.
We spent the day just chatting and taking it easy; my uncle has had some problems with his iPad set up so I spent a few hours doing a complete reset. I was then able to get his Photos app to share with the family so they can now get the periodic updates of Jurgen from Andrew and Henriët.
We had a full day in town on Thursday March 5 so Carla and I set out to Sedona to do a hike in the red rocks. We’ve been doing our yoga, walking, and keeping relatively fit so we decided to try a moderate hike instead of our usual easy. The Sedona visitor center in up town Sedona has a lot of great volunteers who can guide you to a nice hike fitted to your desires and abilities. They pointed us to Doe Mountain Trail [US Forest Service page] .
Funny how every time I drive through Sedona I think of it as north and south. Coming from Cottonwood I think I’m driving north. But when you look at the map you realize you are really traveling east and west on US 89A. Click on the map photo below to get a better idea of the layout.
You can see Doe Mountain pointing right to the parking lot. If you are interested in going out to Doe Mountain turn north on Dry Creek Road which is either the first (coming from Cottonwood) or last (coming from Flagstaff) turn off 89A in Sedona. Head out until the road ends at a “T” and turn left on Boyntan Pass Road. Take that road until it ends at another “T”; turn left again and proceed to the second parking lot. The drive is very pleasant and the “dry creek” was actually full of running water thanks to the snow of a few days prior.
When you get out of the car you’ll see your destination looming above you.
The trail is a series of switch backs along a .7 mile trail with an elevation gain of 400 feet to get to the mesa. The switch backs are off to the right in the picture. The trail is rated “moderate” and the description sounded easy in the abstract but looked a little different when we saw it. But we saw other old folks coming down so figured we could make it.
The trail started easily enough with some nice views.
This certainly seemed easy. The problems came when the trail would stop and we had to scramble over some rocks. Many of the rocks were covered with ice like the one below. In this picture you can see the trail to the right; but there were quite a few spots where we hoisted ourselves over the rocks to get to the trail on the other side. Those “shiva squats” Jeanette has us do in yoga class paid off.
And here’s a close up of the red rocks. I remember the hill behind my grandparent’s house in Winslow, Arizona (about 90 miles north east of Sedona) was made up of this same flaky material. My sisters and I would climb up and break off big flakes of rock. Good times.
Another view of the trail nearer the top showing the promise of the view.
We finally reached the top of the mesa after about an hour and it was all worth while. In the picture below you can see the cairn (stack of rocks) in the bottom center marking the trail up.
You can see our progress here as we look back down to the parking lot and trail head.
The top of the mesa is about a mile across and we had a beautiful vista ton every side.
This view is across the valley which we drove through to get to the trail head.
All in all “moderate” meant just that. The distance and rise didn’t bother us; the tough spots were scrambling across that flaking rock that blocked the path in numerous places. Even that wouldn’t have been bad if not for the ice.
When we got back to Cotoonwood that afternoon we helped my uncle and aunt set up a Netflix DVD account. My aunt loves movies and bemoaned the fact that all the video stores were gone and there is no theater in Cottonwood. She is not a fan of technology but the pay off was worth her dealing with it. I imagine my uncle will do most of the scrolling and clicking 🙂
We woke up early Friday morning to head down to Phoenix to catch some spring training games!