|Lucy and Snoopy rock formations|
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Munds Mountain Wilderness
Hiking in wilderness areas is always a treat. Motorized vehicles and even peddle-powered bikes are not allowed, making for an exceptionally quiet experience. Munds Mountain Wilderness is one of the easiest to access wild places in the state. Located just yards beyond a bank of private residences along Sedona's busy highway 179, one might wonder just how “out there” this trek would feel. Surprizingly, the trail does offer a refreshing escape. Massive blood red-and-buff colored sedimentary stone cliffs rise along the route's north flank absorbing the din of civilization while inspiring a million photo opportunities. It's along this pinion pine and cypress-shaded trail where two of Red Rock Country's most beloved sandstone formations live. At around the mid-point of the hike, look up to spot “Snoopy Rock” and “Lucy”. The profile bust of Peanuts character, Lucy sits in the middle of a high ridge, while her canine cartoon companion, Snoopy can be seen laying on his back on a ledge just below her with Woodstock the bird perched on his nose.
LENGTH: 2 miles one way
ELEVATION: 4,285' – 4,480'
FEE: $5 Red Rock Pass required
DOGS: leashed dogs allowed
KID FRIENDLY?: yes
BEST SEASON: year-round, but primo October -April
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 125 miles one way
GETTING THERE: (3 TRAILHEADS)
Schnebly Hill (north) trailhead:
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 for AZ179/Sedona-Oak Creek. Travel west (left) on AZ179 to the traffic circle just before entering Sedona (near Talaquepaque center), veer right into the circle, make and immediate right onto Schnebly Hill Road and continue 1 mile to the Huckaby-Munds Wagon trailhead on the left.
Sombart Lane (middle) trailhead:
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 for AZ179/Sedona-Oak Creek. Travel west (left) on AZ179, turn right onto Sombart Lane—located between mileposts 312 and 313--and continue 0.2 mile to the trailhead. Here, there's a 0.4-mile connector trail leading to Margs Draw.
Broken Arrow (south) trailhead:
From Phoenix, go north on I-17 to exit 298 for AZ179/Sedona-Oak Creek. Travel west (left) on AZ179 and turn right onto Morgan Road—located between mileposts 311 and 312--and continue 0.6 mile to the trailhead on the left.
All roads are paved.
INFO: Red Rock Ranger District, Coconono National Forest, 928-203-2900
Marketers love bloggers these days. I know this because hardly a day goes by when I don't receive inquiries offering free product in return for blog reviews.
Although I receive an average of 15 offers for free products each week, I accept only when a product is highly relevent and would be of interest to hikers. (And I don't write about it if it sucks!) Survival Straps are worth knowing about. These American-made, rugged bracelets and accessories are constructed of super-strong knotted paracord that can be unwound for use in emergency situations. An effortless (and fashionable) addition to your hike survival kit, the straps can be used for:
• water rescue
• building a shelter
• fix broken packs, boots
• improvise a sling or splint
• emergency dog leash
• string-and-stick fire maker
• fishing line
• control bleeding
• tent/food bag rigging
• make a trap
But, the real clincher is this: when you purchase a strap, a portion of the proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project—a program set up to support injured soldiers returning home from the military. The project focuses on providing education,employment services, emotional support and physical well-being.
Also, if you deploy your strap and have a good story to tell—send it in to the manufacturer and you'll receive a replacement for just the cost of shipping.
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT:
DISCLOSURE: I received several free product samples but was not obligated to provide a blog review.
Labels: Survival Straps
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Sedona’s premiere hiking store “The Hike House” announces free educational seminar featuring
Arizona birds of prey with Jean
Liberty Wildlife is a wildlife rehabilitation, conservation and education foundation in
Since 1981 Liberty
Wildlife has been taking in sick and injured native and migratory wildlife with
a primary goal of releasing them back to the wild. The organization specializes
in birds of prey, and always has hawks, owls, falcons, and eagles in its care,
along with the occasional California Condor. The Education Program at
Liberty Wildlife trains non-releasable birds of prey into ambassadors for
their species, providing education programs to schools and to community groups
and events. Scottsdale
This free lecture will be held on the patio of The Hike House’s Energy Café. Jean will have a variety of falcons, hawks and owls on display. Join Jean and The Hike House on April 14th at 11 AM for this informative seminar.
The Hike House is located at
Highway 179A #B-1 at Hozho’s. Visit www.thehikehouse.com or call 928.282.5820
Contact: Greg Stevenson
(DISCLOSURE: Mare is not associated with The Hike House. This is not a paid endorsement.)
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
PEACH ORCHARD TRAIL & PEACH LOOP
|View of the Mazatzal Mountains|
So bring on the peaches, already. Given the fruity name of these two south Payson trails, I was certain we'd be wandering among groves of fragrant blossoming trees. Nope. Although the eponymous peach trees were nowhere to be found, we did discover other points-of-interest along the way.
The route was developed as a cooperative project of the USFS and the City of Payson Area Trails System (PATS). Existing 4x4 roads were lassoed into a cohesive “lollipop loop” open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bikes and motorized recreational vehicles. Anchored by two trailheads, we decided to begin this trek at the rodeo grounds, hike 3 miles on Peach Orchard to the Peach Loop and then double back for a 8.2-mile trip.
From the trailhead, the rocky route begins as an easy climb to a scenic ridge. Here, first views of the Mazatzal mountains peek out over thick juniper-scrub woodlands. Next, the trail dips into a yawning green valley passing the stone foundation of an abandoned building and a tiny riparian area (low point of the hike at 4,594') before entering a sun-drenched basin where it connects with the Peach Loop trail. At first glance, the loop--which PATS rates as strenuous---looks innocuous enough. However, it ascends 340 feet (4,765' - 5105') in about 0.2 mile without mitigating switchbacks--so it's tougher than it appears. This makes for a good excuse to pause and enjoy views of the Mogollon Rim that grow more spectacular with each foot of elevation gained. We were glad to hike this section as an uphill, because going down would certainly tax the knees. After this short grinding climb, the loop winds among agave-studded hills before re-connecting with Peach Orchard trail.
|Mogollon Rim on the horizon|
LENGTH: 8.2 miles (as described here)
Peach Orchard trail: 3 miles one-way
Peach Loop: 2.2 miles
ELEVATION: 4,594' – 5,105'
BEST SEASON: year-round, best spring & fall
DOGS: leashed dogs allowed
KID FRIENDLY?: yes, although the loop might be too tough
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 90 miles one-way
Gila County (a.k.a. Rodeo Grounds) trailhead (described here):
From Phoenix, go north on AZ87 (Beeline Hwy) to Payson. Turn left onto Green Valley Parkway at the first traffic signal before entering town (across from the Mazatzal casino) and continue 0.2 mile to the trailhead.
Payson Golf Course trailhead:
Use this option to begin on the Loop:
From Phoenix, go north on AZ87 (Beeline Hwy) to Payson. Turn left on Main Street which is the 2nd light as you enter town. Follow Main St. 1.7 miles to the clubhouse, then make an immediate left to the trailhead.
INFO: Payson Parks & Recreation, 928-474-5242 EXT 7
Sunday, April 1, 2012
WILLOW DELLS SLICKROCK TRAILS
City of Prescott
Thank goodness for guys like Jerry. He's one of the volunteers with the City of Prescott's parks & recreation department that help maintain the “white dot” trails in the granite dells-area parks. Without those spray-painted little directional beacons, it would be impossible to stay on course. We ran into Jerry in the middle of his weekly trail inspection and he was kind enough to share some history and interesting facts about the surrounding landscape and also coached me through a slightly scary slickrock section---which was not as treacherous at it looked after all.
Hiking in Prescott's granite dells is like getting lost in a stone labyrinth hazed with an absorbing “one-with-the-rock” kind of feeling. The network of paths on the north shore of Willow Lake coil through hulking quartz-studded granite buttes squeezing in-and-out on the paths in heaving accordian style.
The rugged meandering loop trails move seamlessly from claustrophobically tight spaces to airy exposed promintaries with unobstructed vistas. Don't be put off by the short hiking distance---the trails are a varied, complex mashup with high steps, cagey twists and surprises around every bend.
LENGTH: 3.3 miles (7 connected trails)
RATING: easy-moderate, sturdy shoes/boots with good traction required
ELEVATION: 5,080' – 5,180'
KID FRIENDLY: older kids
DOGS: must be on leash/pack out poo
FEE: $2 daily parking fee
From Phoenix, travel north on I17 to Cordes Junction exit 262 for Prescott AZ 69. Turn west and follow AZ 69 32 miles to Prescott. Just outside of downtown, pass Walker Road and begin looking for Prescott Lakes Parkway---located across from the Prescott Gateway Mall where there's a huge Cadillac dealership. Turn right (north) on Prescott Lakes Pkwy and continue north (crossing AZ89) to Willow Lake Road. Turn left (west) and go to Willow Creek Road. Turn right and continue to Heritage Park Road (Across from Embry-Riddle U and heading toward the zoo). Turn right and then make an immediate right onto Heritage Park Creek and follow the signs to the to the trailhead.
INFO & MAP: City of Prescott