Two Links, One Finish Line

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April 26, 2021, Sedona- I could have sworn that the destination of today’s hike was not the same place where I ended up, eight years ago. I could have sworn that the Chuckwagon Trail went around to a point east of Devil’s Bridge, a wildly popular hiking destination-even by Sedona standards. Alas, the sole difference between then and now is that today, hiking buddy and I trudged along a road of rocks and sand, whereas “the Chuck” is more hard-packed dirt, and winds around through canyon country. Looking back at my post on the first trek to the area near Devil’s Bridge, I see that the last 7/10 mile is the same.

Oh, well; it would at least be easier on HB’s knees. Hiking with another person is good for my real world connection. I had been getting a bit disconnected, in that regard, going any which way I felt like going-even bushwhacking on occasion. We stopped about 1/4 mile from the actual arch. It was merely a different vantage point from the granite bench where I halted, eight years ago.

There were several awesome sights along the way, though. Here we go.

Lizard Head, visible from Dry Creek Road
Second Lizard Head, just east of Dry Creek Road
All the news that’s fit to paste!
Upper Dry Creek Canyon, with Capitol Butte as its bulwark
West view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The road hard taken
One of several cairn piles. There were some larger ones, each of which had a line of selfie-takers waiting their turn.
Eastern view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The granite bench, where i stopped eight years ago. Capitol Butte rises above.
Devil’s Bridge, with what looks like a small cave underneath.
West face of Brins Mesa
My PlantSnap app identifies this as a Sweet Cherry tree. Brins Mesa rises, across the canyon.

Thus went a cool weather hike. Devil’s Bridge Trail would not have been a good fit for a warm weather trek, though thousands do such a hike, every year.

Five Little Pools

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April 19, 2021, Sedona- A prime hiking buddy and I set out, fairly early, for a trail here that passes what are called Seven Sacred Pools. The area was frequented, in bygone times, by people indigenous to northern and north central Arizona. The area now called Sedona and Oak Creek Village was known, even then, as a place with healing waters and a spiritual air about it. The people we know as Sinagua settled around the region, and their settlements in this area are known to the Hopi, who are among their descendants, as Palatkwapi-“Place of Red Rocks”.

Soldier Pass Trail is one of those for which parking is limited. A and I found a spot near a city tennis court, and walked along the side of the road, for about 1.3 miles. On the way back, we noticed several people taking a parallel trail through the woods, so that would be a likely route for subsequent visits. Today, though, we saw amazing views from the roadside.

View towards Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, from Soldier Pass Road. The people who have settled in this lush canyon have settled well.
Zoomed images of the iconic rock formations, accessible from Oak Creek Village
The lushness of the forest canyons, that were carved by Oak Creek’s tributaries, are a wonder unto themselves.
We came to the trailhead for Soldier Pass Trail, finding it of moderate difficulty.
Above, is Sphinx Rock, which remained watching over us.
Devil’s Kitchen is a sinkhole that sits just under Sphinx Rock.
This shows the position of the two great features.
Zoomed view of the southern end of Coffee Pot Rock.
My selfie with Coffee Pot Rock
Light glints off Sphinx Rock
We came to the Seven Sacred Pools, finding five of them with a small amount of water in each. Three are visible from this vantage point.
Looking carefully, note the remnants of a cairn building contest, of some time ago.
This is a section of Brins Ridge, to the east of Soldier Pass and separate from Brins Mesa.

Thus, my first visit to the Seven Sacred Pools introduced me to five of them, with the hope that there will be monsoon rains this year, and perhaps a view of the storied gushing stream, with small cascades heading where the cairns are now.