I was up and on the road at 3:30 AM local time, hoping to be at the trail head and pedaling away on Chuckwagon seven hours later. Up and over the mountains and down to the desert, I sped, with Yuma being the gas and coffee/grub stop. Go, go, go! Across the Sonoran desert to Gila Bend, and then on up to Buckeye and around Phoenix, continuing north to Cottonwood, I went, feeling tired, coffee-buzzed-wired, and half sick to my stomach from the madness.
More gas and grub, a cup of electrolytes, and I was off on the final push to west Sedona. Yep, I made it in less than 7 hours from San Diego.
The trail head off Vultee Arch was packed. Cars were also parked all long the road at the turn off. What is going on? Mid-week on an overcast day? Dunno.
I squeezed my car into a spot along the road, un-racked the bike, changed clothes in the front seat, and pedaled off to the trail. Within five minutes, I was feeling great. No joke. The drive weariness and sleep deprivation was gone. I was smiling and happy and feeling so glad that I made the road trip, knowing I had a couple more days of red rock riding.
Trail conditions were great–tacky/dry, with a few wet spots. The creek crossing at the bottom of Chuckwagon before connecting to Mescal added a little adventure. I had no choice but to step in and hoist the bike on my shoulders.
Mescal is one of my favorite trails; that spectacular red rock wall back in the horseshoe bend pulsates.
Hikers along the way were smiling and cheery. The positive energy abounded, no one wearing scowls or grimaces.
Mescal to Aerie on over to Cockscomb and the rest of the “tour” made for a great ride, as it does every time. Views of Thunder Mountain always require a stop and stare:
I worked my way around, closing the loop, but not before riding a little extra on Dawa and Cypress and then back up the way I came before then going down to Anaconda. The creek crossing, again, was one of carrying my bike through knee-high water.
Back at the car with no real agenda, I decided to stop at a coffee shop and check work emails before heading up to Manzanita Campground to set up my tent, etc. I reminded myself that the drive to ride Sedona’s trails is something to not be debated in the future.