I came, I saw, I fell into a cactus

Sedona Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
The first saddle

After being rear-ended on the freeway in Phoenix, my Arizona trip was not going as planned. Not one to let a little whiplash stop me, I traded for another rental and headed to Sedona anyway. I had heard Cathedral Rock was a nice hike with great views, and I wasn't going to let some Scottsdale douchebag in his daddy's car ruin this day completely.

The first  time those red rocks come into view as you drive along the freeway, it's quite amazing. Highway 179 cuts right through the heart of the region, passing famous formations like Bell Rock. A short detour down Loop Road will take you on an easy to follow scenic drive of the rest of the formations.

Sunset
It's a drive that shouldn't be missed if in the area -- and one that I didn't get to go on the first day because some asshole had put me 5 hours behind schedule.

I stopped for food at a little restaurant called Maria's -- and lo and behold, they served rattlesnake! Awesome. Rattlesnake is apparently not very meaty. The appetizer consisted of tiny fried strips, some yummy dipping sauce, and the snake's ribcage. This was the moment when I realized how different I was from the average American, as far as eating was concerned. See, normal Americans, when confronted with something that may or may not be edible, will simply not eat that thing. My reaction, on the other hand, is to put said thing into my mouth and see what happens. Even after that though, I still don't know if snake ribcage is exactly edible.

View from second saddle

I finally found the trail to climb Cathedral Rock pretty late in the day (Go west from 179 at the roundabout). The trail leads up to where the stark red rock structure rises from the desert, the path guided by stacks of rocks called "cairns". Many parts of the climb are so steep you'll have to use your hands to get up the bare red rock. You can part walk and part rock scramble all the way to the saddle of the structure, between the spires. The spires rise completely vertical from there, and you'd have to pull some cliffhanger shit to get all the way to the top.

The saddle is pretty high up and offers amazing views -- on one side, the freeway and the wide expanse of the desert, red rocks rising in the distance. On the other side, the sun was slowly setting over the valley, and you could see Oak creek tiny in the distance.

Bell Rock on 179
The sheerness of the structure makes you feel like you're perched on a two sided cliff. A distinct, black lava dyke cuts through the red rock  structure, offering some interesting geology.

The view from the first saddle is the end of the marked trail. You can actually climb around to another saddle, higher and in front of the spire, but don't go any further than that. It looked as if there might be a path leading down the other side of the rock, so down I went. Yahhhh......

The "path" became less and less of a path and more and more cactusy. I couldn't see around to the main trail, and the sun was setting soon. That's when I had the ultimate Arizona experience -- I fell into a cactus. I was still picking out needles two days later.

I finally made it back up the way I came and down the main trail as the sun was setting. I was the last person on the rock structure, and it was so completely gorgeous -- big sky ablaze in oranges and pinks as the sun set over the redrock structures, on one side, bathed in red light, and on the other, a striking jagged sillouette.

venusgurl28 says:
love the pictures!
Posted on: Dec 06, 2007
Sunflower300 says:
Your photos are wonderful!!!!
Posted on: Dec 01, 2007
Sunflower300 says:
I loved Sedona. :D
Posted on: Dec 01, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The first saddle
The first saddle
Sunset
Sunset
View from second saddle
View from second saddle
Bell Rock on 179
Bell Rock on 179
Sunset from Cathedral Rock
Sunset from Cathedral Rock
The spire
The spire
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
Sunset
179 through Sedona
179 through Sedona
Midway up Cathedral Rock
Midway up Cathedral Rock
Yay! I made it!
Yay! I made it!
The second saddle
The second saddle
Lava dyke
Lava dyke
Sunset from cathedral rock
Sunset from cathedral rock
Sedona Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
I stumbled upon Maria's in a strip mall outside of Sedona. I love weird food, so I was really excited when I opened the menu and saw that they served … read entire review
Sedona
photo by: Fitnessguru729