Days 215-219 – Hiking Amid the Red Rocks

IMG_3951Broken Arrow Trail

For our third hike, we’ve picked a loop (more or less) hike that will take us to two of Sedona’s more famous rocks: Chicken Point and Submarine Rock. The trails here are all pretty well marked, with good signs at the trailheads and intersections. There are often maps posted below the signs, even at the junctions, which is very nice.

We’re on the Broken Arrow Trail – named for the 1950 movie starring Jimmy Stewart that was filmed nearby. There’s supposedly the remnants of a cabin built during the filming but my trail description doesn’t say where and we don’t give a second thought to looking for it.

Our first point of interest is the Devil’s Dining Room, a fenced-off sinkhole that really does seem like it extends deeply into the earth. We peer in briefly before heading onward.

As we walk, we’re trying to pick out Submarine Rock. I see people up on a rock to our right that could be deemed “submarine-shaped” but the trail veers left before we get to it.

We come across a wash (dry creek bed) and Walt heads slightly to the right of the trail, headed for a low, big rock with people on top. It, too, could be called “submarine-shaped” but, again, the trail cairns shift us off left. We come across another wash with a sign pointing to Submarine Rock and keep going. Finally, we hit a huge rock and we can hear – but not see – that there are a lot of people on top. Since we’ve read that the rock is part of the Pink Jeep Tours (for those who don’t want to hike out to interesting formations, there are lots of off-road jeep tours), we figure we’re probably, finally in the right spot. From where we’re standing, the formation looks nothing like a submarine but we easily hike up the slickrock. At the top, we realize the rock is way much bigger than we’d thought, with a dozen or more people and a park ranger all on top and room for about a thousand more people.

It looks like we’re standing on the long back end of a submarine that has just surfaced in the water. The long, bullet-shaped rock even has a sloped rock toward the far end that could be a conning tower.

Lesson learned: if we see a rock that could be what we’re looking for, we’re probably not in the right spot because when we hit the right rock, there is no doubt that we’re in the right spot.

We climb up to the “conning tower” for a few pictures. It’s a little trickier to get here, although not very by our standards, so it’s just us and one other couple looking out with a 360-degree view of the landscape.

We enjoy the rock before hopping off by the pink Jeeps and following the road out to Chicken Point – so named because people used to drive up here in their Jeeps and dare each other on how close they could get before they chicken out (or so my guidebook says). Vehicles aren’t allowed up on the rock anymore, so we sit in the sun, have a snack and enjoy the views before heading back out to our car.


Turkey Creek Trail

After a zero day (grocery shopping, wandering around Sedona’s shops, searching in vain for a used bookstore with non-fiction books), we head off again for another hike. It’s the weekend so we choose a hike that is rated as not very popular. We’ve quickly realized that the parking areas at trailheads get very full, especially on weekends.

Turkey Creek is our longest hike yet, some 4 miles out, skirting lots of red-rock formations, crossing a neat grassy area and then heading up some hills to the shoulder of House Mountain. We enjoy the hike but are a little disappointed that there’s no trail to the top of the mountain. We hike up a bit farther anyway, to see what we can see and get a pretty nice view north to Sedona and the Secret Mountains.

We turn around and head back to our car. We can’t be disappointed with a sunny day of hiking in 60-degree weather.

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