Four Local Trails Tied Into One Spectacular Walk
"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks." John Muir
On a warm and humid day a group of Sedona Westerners Mustangs enjoyed a six mile loop trek on four (4) of the local trails: Soldiers Pass, Cibola Pass, Brins Mesa and Jordan Loop. This urban loop trail that runs through the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness offers varying elevation changes and lots of different viewpoints: the Devil's Sinkhole and Seven Sacred Pools near the beginning, arches along the canyon wall during the climb up Soldier Pass, and canyon views from the top of Brins Mesa. The view of Steamboat Rock from this trail actually makes it appear to be a steamboat formation.
The hike started and ended at Soldiers Pass trail head with Jim Warren Leading and Bill Birkeland providing the Tailgating position.
The group’s first stop was at the Devil’s Kitchen sinkhole, identified as being a high risk area due to the potential for imminent collapse (last collapse was in 1989, when a large piano shaped rock fell off of the north edge), upon viewing the west side of the formation the group was in agreement that the separation of the rock facing had appeared to have expanded since the last hike visit.
Back on the trail the group enjoyed the heavy fragrance of the Cliff Rose bushes that were blooming on the hillsides and noticed that there were abundant ripe prickly pear fruit along the hiking route. Seven Sacred Pools which are adjacent to the trail still held water, but there was no evidence of Spade Toed Toad tadpoles this late in the season. Next stop was at the Soldier Pass arches and cave area, a short break was taken for hike members to view and take photos of these formations. One of the Friends of the Forest members was pleased to note that there was no graffiti at the site this year. Continuing the hike along the base of the ridge it was discovered that the Javelina had been using the shallow sand filled caves to den up during the evenings. The trail continued to provide amazing views of canyon as it zigzagged through the cypress, juniper and pinyon pine forest area.
The Sphinx Rock Formation can be seen from the trail along with views of Brins Mesa and the Ridge. A short side hike was taken to the Yellow Rock formation (a supposed Sedona Vortex area), but an area which did allowed for a 360 degree view of the valley and plateau. The trail in this area appeared to be an old Jeep trail with duel tracks that transverse the plateau. After cresting the ridge line the hike continued down into the Mormon Valley and Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness area, followed by an assent to the Cibola Mitten saddle for a lunch break. After enjoying the surrounding views from the Cibola saddle the group continued down the trail to the Jordan trail and ended up back at the trail head.
If you are interested in joining the club, please go to our website at http://sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 7 pm at the Sedona Elks Club, 110 Airport Road.