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 > My Temporary Cure For Winter Blues

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seldomseensmith

Flagstaff, AZ

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Joined: 09/18/2006

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Posted: 03/03/10 09:44pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This is a trip report.... But since my TC is off the truck and will be for at least seven more weeks, I'm cheating. The way I see it, I COULD have taken my TC on this trip, and many of you from around the country will make seeing the area I visited a must see destination, so you might as well get introduced by a local.

Flagstaff has had one of the snowiest winters in many years, and the area around my place is likely to stay snowbound for some time to come. Honestly I'm pretty tired of white and the arrival of March on the calendar means at least the lower elevations are drying out and greening up.

[image]

To alleviate the winter blahs fortunately all I have to do is drive 45 minutes south and all of a sudden I'm in a completely different world - the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. At around 4500 feet in elevation, snow does fall but seldom lasts long, making this a great place for the winter weary.

There are so many trails around the red rock country that making a choice can be difficult, but I wanted something challenging so I picked one of the steeper climbs on the north side of the valley, a real grinder called Bear Mountain (Trail 54)

All the trails here are part of the Red Rocks - Secret Canyon Wilderness on the Coconino National Forest. Although the area is not a National Park (it has all the necessary attributes) access is tightly controlled, and all users must display a "Red Rocks Pass' to park on forest lands. You can also use the "America the Beautiful" annual pass for the same purpose.

[image]

The trail crosses the road from the parking area and begins an approach to the base of the mountain. What you see ahead is not Bear Mountain, only the first of several climbs on the way.

[image]

Once at the foot of the hill the trail wastes no time heading up. The one way distance is 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1800 feet, so there's not much level trail tread here, especially since the topography is classic canyon.

[image]

[image]

The good news is that almost the entire route has outstanding views, leading to frequent picture stops and the chance to catch one's breath.

[image]

This ephemeral waterfall will probably last until May - by then most of the snow should (hopefully) be gone from the high country.

[image]

The higher the trail climbs, the better the views get. The first image is looking south to the snow covered Mingus and Woodchute Mountains above the historic and picturesque mining town of Jerome.

[image]

[image]

Here I finally get a look at the summit of Bear Mountain, still 1.5 miles away and some 900 feet above.

[image]

The trail follows a ridge at the edge of the mountain - again with the result of great views.

[image]

[image]

Finally I reach the top. There was a large fire here a few years ago, and the skeletons of dead trees frame the horizon. The view at the summit is unremarkable except for the panorama of the San Francisco Peaks above Flagstaff. Home snowy home.

[image]

The journey down has just as many splendid vistas as the way up, with the added bonus of being able to breathe easier.

[image]

[image]

[image]

[image]

I sure do appreciate being able to get away from the snow covered landscape of home, even for just a day. It really whetted my appetite for the first real road trip in April. I can hardly wait!

* This post was edited 03/03/10 09:56pm by seldomseensmith *


The Road Goes Ever On



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Atchafalaya_man

Lafayette, Louisiana

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Joined: 08/24/2009

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Posted: 03/03/10 09:53pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOW, WOW, WOW! Amazing country.

btggraphix

Golden, CO

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Joined: 03/08/2005

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Posted: 03/03/10 10:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Beautiful Senor Smith, beuatiful. Your spot looks like a carbon copy of DonCurley's location below the La Sal Mtns. near Moab.

weymard

NORMANDY

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Posted: 03/04/10 03:39am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Nice pictures, thanks


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silversand

Montreal

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Joined: 09/12/2004

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Posted: 03/04/10 04:36am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gotta love those photos! Always, always a pleasure to read your Reports.

Your geographical locale puts you in the unique situation where, if one gets cabin fever from snow, one can, in literally a few minutes (what, 40?) drive to the desert environ.

Cheers,
Sand & Dunes


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

pasusan

Northernmost PA

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Joined: 05/13/2009

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Posted: 03/04/10 06:24am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

seldomseensmith wrote:

and many of you from around the country will make seeing the area I visited a must see destination, so you might as well get introduced by a local.


You've got me convinced! Beautiful pictures! I want to go there, but... What about that Valley Fever I keep hearing about? I figured I'd have to stay away from the desert southwest.


"I'm out here to enjoy nature -- don't talk to me about the environment!" ~Denny Crane

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ken white

Ohio

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Posted: 03/04/10 06:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome!

[emoticon]


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~DJ~

Boise, Idaho

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Posted: 03/04/10 07:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Very Very Nice!!!! [emoticon]

What a great area to live!!!!


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FarcticOx

NH or somewhere else

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Posted: 03/04/10 07:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OK, it's on my list. What's the total hike distance? We may just get a chance to do it this spring.[emoticon]

Oops, never mind, I just checked your Clicky and got my answer.

Great hike, thanks for the report.


FarcticOx

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cewillis

Tucson, az, usa

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Joined: 01/24/2005

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Posted: 03/04/10 07:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Fantastic color combinations in your pictures, Eric. I'll never get tired of the area.
Now back to work -- you, not me.


Cal


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