Spring Break in Sedona
~Wednesday, March 16, 2022~
It appears there’s been a switch from Boyscouts to Girlscouts in the site right next to ours. Nice to see the girls all pitching in as they should, not relying only on their leaders to do all the work.
Time for us to break away from all the sedentary, computer laden time of planning to venture out into the beautiful Sedona wilderness. We’re about 70% done with our planning so let’s do it!! Today’s destination……Devil’s Bridge.
Devil’s Bridge is the largest natural sandstone arch located in the Sedona area of the Coconino National Forest. As we approached the area, we couldn’t get over the crowds and the number of cars. Duh!! We totally forgot about Spring Break which apparently in Sedona can extend for a few months with all of the staggered high school and college schedules. Of course, Spring Break is not really on our radar any longer, being empty nesters. We tried parking at the trailhead, with no success (I think it could fit maybe 30 cars at the most). So we joined the hundreds of other people who found their perfect spot on the side of the road, and one big enough for Hank; not a big deal adding an extra mile to our hike. The trailhead is really not a trailhead but more of a “forest road” for ATV tours and off-road vehicle users. Ah, yes, for the majority of the hike you are breathing in all that nice rust dust, sharing the “trail” with those adventure vehicles. Actually we’re not even sure how most of the Jeeps and ATV’s make it, barely clearing the numerous boulders to get to the base of the trailhead. Even if you had a short wheel base, it would be challenging.
The wind picked up, and the clouds grew darker, with little gaps of sunshine here and there. It was actually pretty refreshing to get a few raindrops on us as we made our way to the bridge. It wasn’t a cold rain and we were dressed appropriately. So it was all good. At about the 1-½ mile mark, the road turns into a narrower trail to the top, with a little bit of boulder climbing, but not bad. Everyone was complimenting Sadie’s abilities as she appeared fearless. But once you got to the bridge, it was insane. Way too many people causing a lot of wait time, especially at the bridge. Every hiker wants to take advantage of the photo op, at least those without a fear of heights. The bridge is about 60 feet above the ground, 45 feet long and about 5 feet wide. Jeff and I opted for observing only because of the high winds and the noticeable slight vertical crack in the center of the span. At some point, that puppy is going to give, and really didn’t want our doomsday to come all too soon. 😳But, the Red Rock country views from the top really are breathtaking, which would have been more so had it been sunnier. All in all, we’d give this 4-mile trail a 7 out of 10 simply because the trail itself is not all that spectacular until the end, and it was incredibly crowded (one of the busiest of our trip so far). We think others rate it so highly because of the bridge itself, not the route so much.
We shouldn’t have been surprised by the fact our campsite looked in disarray thanks to the same windy conditions we experienced earlier in the day. Evidently there was a squall that came through, rattling everyone’s trailers for a good 30 minutes, accompanied by lightning and thunder. Our chairs had been blown over, and 3 collapsible water bottles appeared to be missing as they had been hung from the back of the trailer to dry out in the sun. Since we could tell the direction of the wind by the way the chairs were knocked over, we went on a search and luckily recovered 2 of the missing 3. After about 10 minutes of looking for the third one, we called off the search. Later in the evening, we got a knock on our trailer door where our woodcarving neighbor Sol appeared with the missing piece. Now that’s one way to meet your neighbors.