Sedona – Day 5: Cathedral Rock, Climbing and Crawling

Today’s plan was to hike Cathedral Rock.  You’ll notice I said “plan.”  Reality consisted several adventures around Cathedral Rock.

We started off looking for a river we were told we could hike to in about a half hour.  Around 20 minutes into our hike (sill on flat rock with no shade) we decided to go off-trail and hike up an unmarked section of Cathedral Rock following a dry stream bed.  We hopped to reach the Cathedral Rock saddle from that direction and hike down the other side.  Around two-thirds of the way up we encountered a rock around 5 and a half feet tall with its top sloping upward.  There was no foothold that I could reach and with the smooth top slopping upward there was nothing to hold to lift myself over it.  Mark, being taller than I, managed to climb it and continued up a little further to determine if it was worth finding a way to hoist me over that rock.  After several minutes he came back announcing there was no point in continuing so we headed back down and continued our walk along the path.  After another 20 minutes or so of walking we decided to go back and climb Cathedral Rock.

Hiking Cathedral Rock is a misnomer.  This is not hiking – it is rock climbing.  Some of it you can walk carefully slanted forward, the rest of it you must crawl and/or climb.  We made it all the way except the last 10 yards or so where there are two huge rocks that come together.  To get up that area you must place one foot on one rock and one on the other and sort of shimmy your way up the crevice.  While I may have been able to navigate the crevice I knew that I was too tired and hiked-out to make it down safely.  Mark started up but changed his mind after only a few feet.  He said it was beyond our abilities especially as tired and sore as we were.  We’re still happy and proud we made it as far as we did.  It’s an amazing “hike” and view.

By the way, going down Cathedral Rock is quite an adventure too.  I navigated several of the drops by sitting down and sliding over them on my butt.  So much for those hiking shorts . . .

After making it down Cathedral Rock we headed around the mountain to the lake going the opposite direction from where we had hiked before climbing Cathedral Rock.  After 30 minutes or so we approached a drop in the trail of around 500 – 600 feet.  At the bottom of the drop was the stream.  Walking along the stream several people were swimming and cooling off from the mid-day heat.  The trail ended downstream and, rather than turn around and go back, we took another trail called Baldwin Trail thinking we would be able to hike around Cathedral Rock.

An hour or so later the trail became problematic; we kept losing it.  Trying to use Cathedral Rock as a visual reference we eventually got to a point where there was no trail, we couldn’t go up or down.  Making our way backward somewhat, we made our way down the mountain, through several pricker bushes and out to a road.  Flagging down a car we stopped Loretta and Ken from Delaware.  They were driving around looking for the Cathedral Rock trailhead.  Fantastic luck; we helped each other.  They gave us a ride and we knew how to get them to the trail head using their road map.  Arriving at the trailhead we drove off and they took our parking spot (the only spot available).

Back in our hotel room we looked up our hiking route online and figured out that we would have had to hike another 2 to 3 hours to get back to the trailhead.  Thank you Loretta and Ken from Delaware – where ever you are!!!

Phoenix – Day 6: the Glass and Steel Scottsdale Trail

(click here to continue on our adventure with us)

Red Mountains and Beer – Day 4

(click here to back up a day)

Click here for a slideshow of the Grand Canyon portion of our trip
Click here for a slideshow of the Sedona portion of our trip

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