Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Craig and I have been trying to get in better shape lately with long morning walks and bike rides, so when we were in Sedona, we decided to take a little hike in the Bell Rock area. The plan was to limit the walk/hike to about an hour since I was feeling a little punk.

We planned to pick up a local trail map on our way out of the hotel, but the concierge had them under lock and key and we didn't want to wait in a line from a tour bus to get one. So we set out with the assumption that there would be posted maps of specific trails and distances at the trailhead parking lot.

You know what they say about assuming! After we'd paid our $5 for the parking permit at the trail head, we realized there was no trail map posted for the area.  Oops! We then rationalized that we'd hiked here before some years back and it would not be a problem.  How hard could it be!

Equipped with one bottle of water apiece, we decided to just hike to the backside of Bell Rock, turn around, and double back to the parking lot. About 20 minutes into the hike, Craig decided we really should climb Bell Rock. Uh, no!  I could just see me scrambling up that slippery rock, slipping, and tearing the tiny thread of miniscus that holds my knee together.  So as a compromise, we decided to loop around Bell Rock and back to the parking lot.  After all, we both remembered seeing a Big Loop sign at a fork in the trail.  Big Loop was evidently a trail that circled around the rock and back to the parking lot!

Well, we ass-umed wrong.  We also assumed there would be good signage to lead us back to the parking lot.  Wrong!  The sign above was typical.  I think it means the trail goes this way and that away?

I'll just cut to the chase.  We ended up on a really big loop. My dad used to say you're never lost until you're out of gas.  In terms of hiking in the desert, I think that wisdom translates to you're never lost until you're out of water and energy.  By the two hour mark, I was out of water and stumbling up and down the rocky trail.  The few directional signs we saw tended to give about as much info as the sign above. We were lost!

Sometime well after the two-hour mark, we came upon an older woman with her shoes off sitting on a rock in a dry stream bed.  And of course, there was a fork in the trail with no indication as to which direction lead back to the parking lot. After staring at the sign for a few minutes, I decided to do the unthinkable. Ask for advice!

Uhhhh . . .  excuse me.  Do you happen to know which trail leads back to the Bell Rock Parking lot?  

The Sage of Sedona answered in her folksy accent -- Oooooooohhhhhhh, come on now!

No really, we're out of water and need to get back to the Bell Rock parking lot.

Ooooooooohhhhhhhhh, come on now! 

The Sage seemed to be passing some sort of judgement on our desire to reach the destination as opposed to just enjoying the journey.  She reminded me of the troll on the bridge in Sesame Street.  Before you can pass by me, questions you must answer three.

A bit desperate, I explained once again that we were lost, had hiked much farther than we were prepared to, and REALLY needed to get back to our car.

Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh, come on now!

By then, I think I was glaring at her.  After blathering something about the joys of hiking in the vortex, she finally threw us a bone and offered that both trails eventually led back to the parking lot.  Alrighty there!  And once again, I dared to ask her which way was the shortest.

Can you guess her answer?   Oooooooooohhhhhhhhh, come on now!

By that time, thirsty and with my knee throbbing, I was ready to grab the Sage by the throat and shake the answer out of her, but we decided she actually might be insane and decided to just go it on our own.  After another 20 minutes of hiking, we finally caught sight of a parking lot in the distance.

Instead of our little one hour walk around Bell Rock in the foreground, we ended up doing the BIG Loop around both of these huge rocks.  Almost three hours later and at least four and a half miles on the trail, our dogs were barkin'!

Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, come on now!  


krisla said...

Was that woman for real? Maybe that's typical of Sedona? I really want to go there. It's beautiful...someday...

Life's a Beach! said...

Kris, she was for real! LOL We heard her pulling the same thing on a couple behind us who couldn't figure out which way to head. They caught up to us on the trail afterwards and we all had a good laugh.

Sedona is gorgeous. It'd be great combined with a trip to the Grand Canyon, which is only a few hours north.

drgeo said...

What? Craig didn't carry you? Next time ask nicely!

Life's a Beach! said...

drgeo, he did let me drink most of his water. I think he must be part camel because he claimed not to need any.