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Monday: Sedona. A town I’ve never visited but many a folk have said I would enjoy,
It’s Day 1 of 3 and while I’m not impressed by the town, I’m not dissspointed. It’s what I’ve anticipated. Read: Lahaina. Tourists. Sprawling.
After finding my ride from Flagstaff to the Manzanita Campground, I walked about 12 miles into town. It was pleasant walking with great canyons and lovely trail. I did have a “HELLO, your Flagstaff rest and consumption is over!” immediate few hundred foot climb that after a few days off was...a huff and a puff 😉. It was nice to be under a canopy of trees as well as have a wide, often chalky footpath. I meandered my way through town and am now at my accommodation for the next three days. No camping, but a bed. Same will be true for two nights in Tempe and then three nights in Phoenix.
Tomorrow my goal is to get out early and do a lot of hiking up until about 1:30 PM at which point I have a two o’clock hot tub reservation. Same deal for Wednesday, but the hot tub for three o’clock. This is the Covid era people: hot tub reservations.
Tuesday: I hit a lot of trails today. While listing off names is certainly entertainment, it’s enough to say that I stitched together at least a dozen to loop from Hyatt (where I am staying on points) to Airport Mesa Vortex (nice), Red Rock (nice, busy), Bell Vortex (fine and a hella lot of bikers), Baby Bell (same), Cathedral Vortex and east of Route 179 back home. A lot more trail today than yesterday that is multi-use between bikers and hikers.
Again, the trails were like a fine chalk red dust, well-impacted from seasoned use, and wide was the pathway. I thought I would pull close to 20 miles, but it ended at about 17 and, well, that was fine.
Tomorrow I am taking off early at 6 AM to do the Boynton Canyon Trail, the last of the four holy vortex of Sedona. Admission: I am taking a cab to the trail head because I don’t want to meander and piecemeal trails together for the first three hours just to get to the start of the actual trail. However, after doing the 6-mile loop I will zigzag my way back down into town. That will require sewing together about half a dozen trails. And yes, I will do three days in a row of the hot tub.
This afternoon with some extra time I visited a nearby wine shop for a tasting of Arizona’s finest reds. I was happily amused. I also stopped by a local café for food and was sourly disappointed because of the absurd wait for a simple order. Needless to say, I bailed on that and found comfort elsewhere.
Sleeping in a bed for several days past and several days to come after a few weeks of tent, sleeping pad, inflatable pillow, and sleeping bag is a jarring juxtaposition of diametric worlds. Real-time access to non-trail food/drink is also part of this confluence of crazy. It is a good foreshadow for how the reconciliation of returning to everyday life might take place come after summer. For sure: exercise, eat less and drink less alcohol, relax, take life in stride, have meals outside, savior ice.
Wednesday: I am super happy to have taken that cab ride and arrive at the trail head by 6:15/6:20. From trail head to terminus it’s about a 6.2 out and back and for the first mile or so it was a pleasant if not unremarkable lead in.
Roughly at the 2-mile marker is when the canyon really took on character. Coupled with some incredible music by Ashana and a recently shared new rendition of “Door of My Heart”, the gentle morning light breaking through the dense forest was an ethereal splatter on the soft dirt trail, on the canyon walls, understory brush, and myself. The brisk temperature only added to the tone. The canyon endpoint was magical. Heck, the whole trail was magical.
If you have ever seen Pan’s Labyrinth and found delight in the notion of mysterious meets animated spirit of rock, then you have a sense of what I felt at nearly every turn and along stretches with oncoming formations that shifted from personality to frozen to frozen with emotion as I passed by. For anybody dialed into higher vibrations, the walk was completely impossible to miss those frequencies. It was a perfect culmination of intentional visits to the vortexes these days.
The way back was a bit more conventional with a few very well-developed bike trails that because I was slack packing made for some jogging. I tell you, it is a world of difference to hike with 4.4 pounds of water and a 1-pound backpack plus a few super light snacks thrown in than a 20-pound carry, elevation or not.
Included are a few pictures from today and two sunrise shots from the (four) Pile of Dudes who were at the Grand Canyon’s southern edge this morning. I was there in spirit and will be one day in actuality.
This wraps my AZT HikerFeed. Cya on the PCT feed.