Mustangs Tackle Bear Wallow and Mitten Ridge
On this especially sunny clear day, the Mustangs were led by Brad Bell with Rhett Atkinson providing tailgating duty.
The group started the trek from the parking lot on Schnebly Hill Road just before it becomes a road fit only for four wheel drives, or a rental vehicle that you have no regard for. The well worn trail took us over the Cow Pies as we proceeded to the Hangover Trail. This route afforded, what was for some, a first time experience as Bear Wallow, instead of being a dry, was a rippling stream. The melting snow from the storm of the past weekend provided that lovely clear liquid that we all love to see in this sometimes arid part of the world. Indeed, the flowing water created great music as it moved through pools and cascaded over the rocks. What a treat!
What was a surprise was how many times we tiptoed across rocks to cross the stream. On previous hikes when the water hasn’t been flowing we didn’t give a thought to crossing the washes. Perhaps this will give us a new perspective on the drainage in the area. We took our morning break in a lovely spot that might normally be overlooked were it not for the flowing water. With the snow melt past its peak, there were some isolated pools already succumbing to the sun, while other pools were deceptively deep.
As we got closer to the Cow Pies we began to move further from the sound of jeeps going up Schnebly and started gaining more altitude. Our approach to the barren formation required dodging a few agave that were standing watch. One was successful as it reached out and left a reminder of just how tough these plants are. Not the first time that this has happened and surely not the last. These plants demand respect from all hikers!
Being later in the hiking season everyone is in pretty good shape, so the group had no difficulty moving at a good pace along the trail and the ascent to our lunch spot.
The group stopped for lunch just past noon on the saddle overlooking Midgley Bridge and uptown Sedona. That view is one that we never get tired of and with the intense cloudless blue sky it was one to remember. Even though the day was suddenly warmer than we had experienced in many weeks, a pleasant breeze kept us comfortable. A few sought shade, but most just sat out and enjoyed the beauty of the day.
After lunch is was time to take to the shade as we hiked on the north side of the Mitten Ridge along Hangover Trail. Those who had scouted the trail three days before our hike noted that there was much snow on this section. Well, the change in temperature over the ensuing days left only damp ground and the glistening of melted snow on the rocks above us. This helped keep us all cool and comfortable as we made our way to the western edge of the formation and back into the sunshine. The color of the sky with the contrast of happy green trees and the always gorgeous red rocks continued to make us want to take more time to stop, look at our surroundings, and perhaps take a photo or two. But, inevitably, we had to move on. And so we came to the descent and to the lower trails leading us back on the Munds Wagon Trail.
Back down by the stream again there was time for a group photo and then the final mile hike back to the car. While we covered over 8 miles, the day was so nice it seemed much shorter which is why we always look forward to the next hike.
The Westerners always welcome new members. If you are interested in joining, visit www.sedonawesterners.org. You also may join at our monthly meetings. The next one is April 11th , 2013 7:00 PM, at the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley, 100 Meadowlark Drive, Sedona.