October 21, 2008
Sometimes it takes a full weekend up north; a trip that boasts it all. Last year’s official Higher Ground trip up to Sedona worked out so well, we scheduled out another all inclusive package deal. For many “vactioners,” that deal may consist of some kind of swanky hotel set up, but for us it was Jeeps, trails, trees, and stars.
We’ve figured out a pretty good system up there: Day 1 do a secluded camp in the forest on the Rim, Day 2 drop in for some scenic trails in Sedona, Day 3 relax and s’plore the woods. While last year we did Broken Arrow, this year’s trails of choice were Soldier Pass and Greasy Spoon. None of these trails require much if any skill, just a little clearance for the rocky steps along the way.
Soldier Pass is less than a mile long but has a couple attractions along the way. Devil’s Kitchen is a large sink hole in the rock and Seven Apache Pools are well, in drier times, just some descending puddles on a rocky slope. They still get plenty of face time with the Pink Jeep Tours, but not as much as Broken Arrow. Another difference is that at least with BA, you have some nice elevated lookouts, even at the end. Not so much with SP. The backdrops were still appealing though and that being said, it is a very good trail to get the family out on.
After SP, we headed over to Greasy Spoon. It’s really just one of those trails you do because it’s listed in the book. Other than a semi-dramatic hill descent, then climb, it’s not real high on the shock or awe factor. But it is a Sedona trail, so again off in the distance there are some pretty good views of red rock although the aforementioned trails get you up and close with them. Once we were done and it was after noon, we drove back up the winding 89A to our nestled camp spot. We explored around a bit, spotting animals and gathering wood, and as the sun set and the Mount Humphries dimmed down, a storm passed over leaving us with a brief shower.
The next morning some packed up for home but a few of us took to the dirt roads in search for whatever lay at the end of them. We spotted some more deer and elk and a couple turkeys, then found some old dilapidated cabins, listed on the GPS as Hidden and Secret Cabin. While Hidden was pretty old and could be driven right up to, Secret Cabin required a one and a half mile hike out on Secret Mountain Trail and was built only from notched log. The roof was long lost but the walls still stood strong. Nearby were a coral and 3 dams each progressively older judging by the construction.
After we had had our fill of assorted overlooks and pics, we reluctantly headed back towards pavement and sweaty crotchety old Phoenix.