The Amblers Visit a Pyramid…and More!
January 27, 2023
By Sara Stiffler
The Westerners always enjoy a snack and lunch break with beautiful views. Here, a lone Westerner contemplates life and the soaring vistas.
Sunlight glistened like diamonds on frost-covered logs and tree limbs as we started our hike around Pyramid mountain. The trailhead is located off Upper Red Rock Loop Road near Chavez Ranch Road. The air was a chilly 32 degrees as the nineteen Amblers started down the shaded trail led by Jon Petrescu and Linda Schermer. Jon told us this would be a lollipop trail - a straight path that then circled in a loop around Pyramid Mountain and back again. Not long into the hike, Jon looked down and picked up a Dum-Dum lollipop still in its wrapper. An odd coincidence indeed.
The shady trail quickly opened to the sun as we continued on the path across a plain of red rock along Scorpion Trail. The official sign post was missing and had been replaced with a paper sign. One can only imagine with dismay the original sign now hanging on someone’s wall or perhaps discarded and forgotten in their garage.
We quickly began to warm up as we started a gentle elevation gain, and clothing adjustments became frequent.
Pyramid Mountain appeared to our left and some of the hikers wondered if we were going to climb the Pyramid. Not this time. Our goal was to circle the base of the mountain back to the trailhead with a slight detour off the loop. The detour proved to be a great alternative.
The trail became flat as we walked along a ledge of red rock that overlooks Red Rock State Park. As we looked back we could see Cathedral Rock appear behind the Pyramid, hazy in the morning sun. Below us, tall rock formations lined the canyon wall and a steep escarpment dotted with small juniper trees sloped down to the tree-filled valley floor far below. The view was stunning.
We continued on and there was talk of the “polygons.” These were not geometric-shaped rock spires I had imagined, but rather from our vantage point what looked like faint white-clalk lines on the flat rock surface below us. These formed interlocking patterns that could be easily missed if you weren’t looking for them. The polygons are actually cracks in the rock surface that have filled with white sand. Jon pointed out several places where these unique shapes appeared - and it was a case of “when you saw them, you couldn’t not see them.”
Further down the trail we saw a thick layer of black rock in the hillside made of Basalt rock left as a result of volcanic activity millions of years ago. A distinct contrast to the commonly viewed rock strata of the Sedona Red Rocks.
A sloping amphitheater of red rock strewn with loose pieces of rock provided a grand stopping place for a snack and quiet contemplation as the valley lay below. The House of Apache Fire could be seen atop a hill overlooking the tree-lined Oak Creek in Red Rock State Park.
Cathedral Rock appeared once more from behind Pyramid Mountain as we returned down the path.
The final leg of the trail along the Pyramid Trail offered more spectacular views of tall rock walls with rock outcroppings. Desert cactus and juniper trees clung to the rock walls and ledges even as pieces of the rock faces appear chipped away and cracked by time and the elements.
As we climbed down a steep rock staircase taking care with each step, we could hear voices in the distance. A small group of mountain bikers were maneuvering the steep rock path below, some more successfully than others. One biker determined to make the climb went back down the path to try the slope again, this time with more precision and speed.
The path flattened out and we made the final leg of the lollipop trail to our cars. Many of us had removed our jackets by this point, even though it was still only about 45 degrees. We’d gotten a great workout on a spectacular morning hike.
The Sedona Westerners always welcome new members, and we have hikes multiple days of the week for all abilities. If you are interested in joining the club, please visit our website at sedonawesterners.org. You will find an interesting history, the whole season’s list of planned hikes, and a handy membership link. It only takes five minutes to sign and start your new adventures here in the Red Rocks.