~Saturday, March 19, 2022~
Off to another day of Red Rock discovery. This one didn’t quite go according to plan, but sometimes, those make for the best adventures. Since it was a Saturday, we knew that parking lots would be crowded, especially Cathedral Rock as it is
one of the top 5 hikes in all of Sedona. But since Beyond Road (the main road to the parking lot) was being monitored by security, and appeared to be full, we had to come up with an alternative parking plan. Up about another ½ mile is a less popular trail called Little Horse Trail, where we successfully found a parking spot. Boy, were the police out in full force today. We must have seen 4 or 5 issuing parking tickets to those who were willing to risk not paying the $5.00 day use fee. Not sure what the parking ticket cost.
Now to find a path to the Cathedral trailhead. Jeff scouted out the area a little ahead of Sadie and I but found nothing. Knowing we couldn’t go wrong with taking the main driving road, we proceeded to take that about a mile in. It was actually nice to take the slower pace of walking as opposed to driving through the quiet, multi-million dollar neighborhood, surrounded by Red Rock formations. It was when we finally arrived at the trailhead and saw the terrain that we realized we’d already done this hike the last time we were here, about a year ago. Maybe it’s a sign that we were destined to do it again, but with one caveat. Today, the trail was closed on the upper saddle portion for trail construction/maintenance. This saddle section is what makes the trail all worth it. It is also one of the most powerful Spiritual Vortex’s in all of Sedona. So I guess we were fortunate that we already experienced the full monty. But no matter, it was great to be back. Scrapping the other open portions of the hike, we instead went to the first junction only, a flat rock area where we were privy to see a wedding the last time we were here. It was a good spot to have a light snack and soak in the views. Just as we were headed back the way we came, a local mountain biker stopped to meet Sadie which turned into a 20-minute conversation with us about the area. We learned about a few off the beaten trails to visit in the coming days and a less crowded, more scenic route to take back to the Little Horse parking lot.
Not part of our original plan, we took the Templeton Trail per our friend’s suggestion, to the H-T trail, then to the Bell Rock Trail which ultimately runs into Little Horse Trail. Along the whole route, we only saw maybe 5 mountain bikers through all the dips and turns on this quiet, shared hiker/biker trail. If you had the right bike, it really would be fun to try it out. One thing we learned is that all of the mountain bike trails in Sedona are labeled like ski runs which totally makes sense…..Green for beginners, Blue Diamond for intermediate and Black Diamond for advanced. This trail was more Blue Diamond-ish. Hmm…..I see new toys on the horizon!
When we got to the junction for the Little Horse Trail,
we decided to take it instead of the path to the parking lot. About a mile in you can extend your hike to Chicken Point which we didn’t do but which in hindsight, wish we had. We found out later in the day that Mike and Derek’s families ended up at Chicken Point just above where we were, around the same time. Great minds think alike. Out of the entire 18 square miles of Sedona, we were all in the same location. What are the chances? In the end, Jeff and I had made a complete 360-degree loop around the entire area and likely a little over 5 miles.
It was nice to get back at a good time to whip up a delicious dinner and eat at what we hoped would be a reasonable hour. That reasonable hour ended up being 9:00 p.m. since everything took longer to prepare than we thought. I was a little disappointed in my risotto since I’ve mastered it in the past. So let’s just blame it on a new recipe and one I would never make again. The salad was delicious and the Ahi, fabulous. Jeff crusted the tuna in sesame seeds and made a delicious ginger, soy, red pepper, peach mango salsa for a garnish. Being the picky griller that he is, he was not all that happy with the results as he’s still learning how to use his new Blackstone grill. I guess the cast iron just didn’t get as hot as he thought. And he’s still mastering cooking fish. It’s all a learning process. If it’s any consolation, I was a fan!