Hiking Northern Arizona 2009

Unlike 2008 where most hikes were posted,
this year only some hikes are posted

Click on any of the below names to go to the report
(or scroll along so you don't miss the photos and links between reports):
Carroll Canyon Arch, Bear Ledges Arch, Onyx Natural Bridge,
2009

(Photos and text © copyright by Rob)
Arizona Cypress
Arizona Cypress
(Click the image to see a full-size version.)

Please don't miss the photos scattered in and between each report.


      ERM, Energy Required Miles are determined via the Paul Petzold (one of the founders of NOLS) method of adding one mile to the estimated horizontal distance for every 500' elevation gained and/or lost. This allows one to compare hikes with varying terrain. A hike of 3 miles, gaining 5,000' to the top (and back!) of Mount Borah in Idaho is just not the same as strolling the glacier-scraped flatlands of the mid-east (e.g., Wisconsin).

A quote will appear before each brief report: "The art of adventure implies active visual exploration that is more mental than physical. The art becomes an adventure and vice versa. Where there is certainty, the adventure disappears." Galen Rowell

      Trip 1: Carroll Canyon Arch and the Airport Mesa loop, early January (9 miles, 13 ERM, Energy Required Miles).
      Clambering up the sandstone ledges and skirting around pools from recent snow melt, we nearly use the arch for a climbing aide. Up on the ledge, we are temporarily back in the warming sun. Lovely.
      It is not much of an arch, but the setting is delightful. And, you are in the Sedona city limits. We continued out the top of the canyon, to where it intersects with the Ridge Trail, then continued around Table Top Mountain (Airport Mesa).
      Directions to Carroll Canyon Arch: From the 89A - Hwy 179 junction in Sedona (the Y intersection), drive 4.2 miles Southwest on 89A (toward Cottonwood) to Upper Red Rock Loop Road. Turn left onto the loop road and drive 1.8 miles to Chavez Ranch Road. Turn left onto Chavez and drive 0.3 miles to where a bridge crosses Carroll Canyon. Park near the natural gas metering site just after crossing the bridge.
      From the car park, drop into the drainage and walk upstream about 0.9 miles. The arch is in a tiny fin of a rock ledge, and in the drainage.
      GPS Coordinates for Carroll Canyon Arch are: 12 S 426361 E; 3855819N; WGS84; at about 4100' in elevation.
      See the map below.
      As noted - ERM, Energy Required Miles are determined by adding one mile to the estimated horizontal distance for every 500' elevation gained and/or lost. This allows one to compare hikes with varying terrain. A hike of 3 miles, gaining 5,000' to the top (and back!) of Mount Borah in Idaho is just not the same as strolling the glacier-scraped flatlands of the mid-east (e.g., Wisconsin).

Click here to go to our GPS route along the Carroll Canyon Arch - Airport Mesa. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.
      Wait for the topo maps to form under the route. You can change the scale (left side of map) and relocate the center of the map (use the "hand") as you wish. Use the drop-down box in the upper right to select other maps (e.g., aerial). Enjoy.

Carroll Canyon Arch 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Carroll Canyon Arch 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Carroll Canyon Arch 6
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Carroll Canyon Arch 3
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Carroll Canyon Arch 4
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Carroll Canyon Arch 5
(Click the image for a full-size view)

And, another quote:"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you are a mile away from him and you have his shoes." Idaho Joe Smegma, Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho, 2004

      Trip 2: Bear Ledges Arch, and Bear Mountain, late February (7 miles, 15 ERM, Energy Required Miles). The intermittent trail slips around the base of the glowing red sandstone as we wander, contouring the ledges above Fay Canyon. I spy an arch and thrash through the manzanita to its base. Nearly shrowded in vegetation, it is difficult to get much of a photo of the arch.
      This is one of the most scenic of all the Sedona area hikes. Views into Fay Canyon include the spires and towers and ranging beauty, and also a peek of Fay Canyon Arch - if you know where to look.
      Directions to Bear Ledges Arch: This arch is NW of Sedona, Arizona. From the Y (junction of highways 89A and 179) in Sedona, drive 3.1 miles SW on 89A (toward the town of Cottonwood) to Dry Creek Rd. Turn right onto Dry Creek Rd and drive 3 miles to a T and a stop sign. (You can purchase a Red Rock Pass along the Dry Creek Rd.) Turn left onto FR 152C, signed for Boynton Pass. Drive about 1.6 miles to another stop sign and turn left (this is still FR 152C) and drive 1.3 miles to a posted trailhead on your left. You will need a Red Rock Pass to park on the forest in the Sedona area.
      Cross the road and hike up Bear Mountain on the marked trail, entering the Red Rock - Secret Mountain Wilderness. After hiking 0.5 miles across the flats and up some minor ledges, an un-signed and vague route breaks off to the right. The approximate coordinates for the start of this route are: UTM 12 S 420597E; 3862208N; WGS84. You are almost to the first major red spire forming the "wall" of lower Bear Mountain. Ease around the foot of this wall on an intermittent route.
      After about a mile and a half of hiking from the TH, you come to an open slickrock perch above Fay Canyon. Look up against the wall of Bear Mountain to the SW for the arch. The arch is visible from the route, but depending on the light, it is mostly obscured by vegetation. You can continue up the route just beyond the arch and to the top of Bear Mountain, then loop down the main trail to achieve a 7 mile, 15 ERM hike. Caution, this is not an obvious or a marked route. From the open slickrock near the arch, look to the right of the gulch coming off Bear Mountain - the gulch that has resulted in this polished ledge. The route up can be seen terracing quickly up toward the brushy slopes. It is not easy to find, so be careful and return the way you came if difficulties arise.
      The UTM coordinates for Bear Ledges Arch are approximately 12S 12 S 420702E; 3863155N; WGS84, at about 5200' in elevation.
      See a map of the route below.

Click here to go to our GPS route to the various high points of Bear Ledges Arch and route. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.
      Wait for the topo maps to form under the route. You can change the scale (left side of map) and relocate the center of the map (use the "hand") as you wish. Use the drop-down box in the upper right to select other maps (e.g., aerial). Enjoy.

Bear Ledges Arch 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bear Ledges Arch 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bear Ledges Arch 3
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bear Ledges Arch 4
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bear Ledges Moonshine Ledge
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bear Ledges Spire
(Click the image for a full-size view)

A quote will appear before each brief report: "Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm." Winston Churchill

      Trip 3: Onyx Natural Bridge in Petrified Forest NP, early March (6 miles, 7 ERM, Energy Required Miles).
      Taking counsel from the words of Churchill (above), Kathleen and I are back out in the chilly wind, again hunting for Onyx Natural Bridge in the Black Forest section of Petrified Forest NP.
     
Click here to go to our 2008 wanderings in the Black Forest attempting to find Onyx Natural Bridge. It was then that we discovered that the directions and GPS coordinates we had were bushco (wrong in most every way). Would today be different, more full of hope? You can see the difference between where the USGS map depicts Onyx NB and where it is marked (my waypoint) on the below map.
      Yes! Using superior directions, refined coordinates, and a concise sketch supplied by Bill Parker of the NPS, we cruised right to the natural bridge. The wind was approaching cold, so on our return we paused for lunch in the lee of petroglyph boulders of yore. Fine rock art!

Click here for the NPS sketch of the route to Onyx Natural Bridge. It is a "TIF" file - so open it with Microsoft Office Picture Manager, or another such application.

Click here for the NPS web site for Petried Forest NP.

      Directions to Onyx NB: Drive I-40 to exit 311 to access the North section of the park. For reference, Flagstaff is at exit 195 on I-40. Car park at the Painted Desert Inn in the North section of the NP. The Black Forest route (not a trail) starts on the West side of the Inn (now a visitor center).
      Before starting off the rim, look North and observe the wide drainage of Lithodendrom Wash. The wash makes a sweeping S-turn, the lower end of which is about 2 miles from your vantage point. In the middle of this S-turn, spot a purplish clay hill with a sprinkling of white rocks forming its top. It is in the left sweep of the S, where the wash turns N. Walk down the switchbacks from the Inn and out toward Lithodendrom Wash. Head for that low butte you spotted from the top.
      Set your GPS and, at the top left of the S-turn of the wash (where it turns East), hike NW up the widest of the low drainages, then right at the next turn. You will soon come to a 10' overhang above you. (Note that Onyx is incorrectly marked on the map and most if not all GPS mapping software.) The NB is just above the pour-off at these (correct) coordinates:
      GPS Coordinates for Onyx NB are: UTM 12 S 610071E; 3885850N; WGS84.

      See the map below. Note that Chinde NB is also shown on this map, directly N of Chinde Point.

Click here to go to our GPS route toward the Black Forest and Onyx Natural Bridge. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.
      Wait for the topo maps to form under the route. You can change the scale (left side of map) and relocate the center of the map (use the "hand") as you wish. Use the drop-down box in the upper right to select other maps (e.g., aerial). Enjoy.

Onyx NB 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Onyx NB 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Onyx NB 3
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Onyx NB overview
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Off the rim 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Off the rim 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)

PF Glyph 1
PF Glyph 1
(Click the image)
PF Glyph 2
PF Glyph 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
PF Glyph 3
PF Glyph 3
(Click the image for a full-size view)
PF Glyph 4
PF Glyph 4
(Click the image)
PF Glyph 5
PF Glyph 5
(Click the image for a full-size view)
PF Glyph 6
PF Glyph 6
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Tune in again as 2009 reports are added.....

WV Specialty Pages

Specialty pages on the Wilderness Vagabond site include:
Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth
Signs of the Times
Pleasant Panoply of Panoramas
Hot Springs Excursions in Idaho, Utah, & California
Pictographs and Petroglyphs
Flowers, Trees, and Shrubberies

WV Year-End Summaries

2008 Summary: Celebrating the end of an error, terminating the audacity of dope
2007: A Somnambulistic Solstice Salutation
2006: Long Ranger
2005: Salmon Sojourn!

LINKS

And - Click here to see The Archman's site on Utah and area arches.
Click here to see Ben's Scenic USA - Picture of the Day.
Click here to see Steve's excellent photos - birds in flight, panoramas, etc.
Click here to see the NOAA forecast for the high country.


Wild Vagabond Main   Trip Report Index   Caveat