This past week 9 couples from our park made a trek to Dead Horse Ranch State Park to camp out for a while, and explore the countryside. We had been to this area a couple of times, but not since 2011 so it was high time we went back for a visit. It is only a few hours away from our home in Gold Canyon, but for some reason we’d never found time to go back.
Sedona is a Tourist Mecca, for winter visitors. The Weather is tolerable, but a bit cooler than the Phoenix area because it is about 2500’ higher in elevation. The Scenery is absolutely outstanding, and the surrounding Red Rocks are a sight to behold. The community is filled with Artisans who show a wide variety of artwork, although we have never taken the time to visit any of the shops and galleries and didn’t bother this trip either. And it is a bit of a New Age Spiritual Centre, with lots of shops offering Aura readings and directions to the nearest ‘Vortex’. We passed by those vendors too!
Our first night in Camp was spent swapping lies and making plans for the week. The first order of business was Happy Hour followed by a Potluck Dinner. For those of you on Facebook, you’ll likely see some pictures where I was tagged piling food on my plate and stuffing my face. Typical Seniors behaviour.
On our first full day, 15 of us took off on a hike to Soldier’s Pass. Most of the hiking trails here are very popular, so we took off at 7:30 to make sure we could arrive when the gates opened to the small parking area. There was already a line-up when we arrived, but by the time we left 5 hours later there were cars lined up out onto the street waiting for our parking spots to be free.
Here’s what our day looked like on the Soldier’s Pass Loop. That big spike in elevation near the beginning of the hike was a side trip to get to a cave that I’ll talk about later.
We don’t see too many Juniper and Pine trees in our section of the desert, but they are thriving here.
The 7 Sacred Pools is a popular spot, and lots of people stop here, but it is just 20 minutes or so from the parking lot
Our next destination was a series of Arches and Caves quit a ways off the regular trail. Some of our fellow hikers had been here before and missed the turnoff for this attraction and were determined to get us there this time. It was quite steep and while all of us made it to the caves, more than a few decided not to climb up into the caverns. We did, and we’re glad we did!
The cave we entered was hidden behind the trees in the photo above.
One of our group found a Geocache box hidden in a corner of the cave and signed us in as the Canyon Vistas Hiking club. If you don’t know anything about Geocaching, look it up on Google. I don’t have enough space to explain how popular it is with the hiking and ATV people we know.
Once we left this spot we eventually climbed up above the cave onto Brin’s Ridge and ended up just above the cave.
No idea what this fella is called, but he watched over us for most of the last portion of the hike.
A good time was had by all, but we ended up with only about half of us finishing the hike as a few folks had had enough by the time we finished in the caves.
And now I have a confession to make. We have several different types of hikers in our group. There are those who try and go as far as they can, as fast as they can to challenge themselves. There are others who use a hike as a social event and chat away during the whole adventure. And finally there are those who love to see the sights and take pictures. Sylvia and I are in this group, but I have to admit that I hang around Debbie as much as I can as she has a great eye for a pretty picture and many of the shots I am most proud of are taken after seeing her stop and then taking a picture over her shoulder. Now you know all my secrets.
Next up will be a hike to the 3 Hogs. Stay tuned.