We stayed on maybe the west side of Sedona or the side closest to Cottonwood. There are many neat hiking destinations within a few miles of our hotel, including the Birthing Cave. It would be a short. flat hike of 2 miles.
We start with our reluctant hiking companion on the Long Canyon Trail. Our destination is not on this trail but from a spur trail off Long Canyon. Most people looking for the cave miss the turn and we encountered several who had made the mistake, today.
We find the spur trail, head steadily toward a rock wall, climb a kind of precarious set of switch backs and soon....
....we're taking a break in the cave. Looking around, I had no idea how it had acquired the name "Birthing" but maybe they ran out of interesting names as others had already been used, lol. Wow, what a....
....great view. A couple others joined us in the cave before we headed back. Before dropping the cave from our sight, we turned for a....
....final look. It's a worthwhile destination but way underwhelming compared to yesterday's hike.
We arrive at the trail head, expecting this popular hike to be crowded even on a Monday and it was, but not too bad. Boynton Canyon trail takes one to the end of the canyon but there is a spur trail, about 2 miles in, that would take us to "The Subway".
Amazing scenery as always.
The trail parallels a resort for about a mile but it's not too intrusive.
In addition to our friends Tom and Janet, we brought Jack the Dog. Jack is not a huge fan of hiking but he loves the attention he receives from other hikers and boy does he receive a lot of attention. We've arrived at the spur trail and begin a steady climb to....
....this steep notch, climb it, circle to our right and....
....wow, what an iconic image. Note the ledge on the opposite side of the Subway.
To access it, one need navigate kind of a steep wall.
Then slowly and carefully walk the ledge around a corner where we find the other significant attraction....
I go inside and take a picture of Amy, standing outside.
We descend an alternative route to the base of the aforementioned notch and head back. Gathering clouds indicate rain is on the way and we did receive a small amount of it.
I had gotten a little ahead of our group so ascended another spur trail to the above pinnacle. I climbed up that but the way down was a little "scary" so....
...these nice people stood below and guided my feet to unseen steps. Thanks whoever you were. Finished with 6 miles and a great memory.
It was fun while it lasted, cutting the tree. It's thrown off lots of firewood so that's good. I dug a trench around the base so I could get the chainsaw as low as possible and then....
....yikes! A scorpion darted from between the rocks. A sting from that would be nasty. The trunk was cut and then....
....we packed and drove north to Sedona while passing a car that had been on fire.
The drive through Phoenix is dreadful so it's a relief to get north of that city.
Soon, we get on 89A and can see the Sedona area coming into view.
...beautiful Sedona! We'll be here with some friends to ride and hike. Much more to come....
Alas, a prominent mesquite in our front yard died, victim of a type of pest that bores beneath the tree bark. Very similar to the Emerald Ash Borer that took out so many of my Ohio ash trees. But, I get to rent a chain saw and get to work so that is the upside. Unfortunately, there are a lot of desirable plants around so I can't just drop it. It's more of a limb by limb project but had Amy to help guide the fall of each piece via a rope as I cut.
I rented a saw for 4 hours but was only able to get half of the tree cut, which also threw off thousands of small branches that had to be burned. The fire kind of got out of hand a couple of times. Next I'll rent the chain saw on the end of the pole to reach the higher branches. All in, I'll probably have $150+ into the project but certainly much lower than hiring someone and denying me the fun of wood cutting.
We rode to the end of Speedway via that awesome new pavement. The vehicles are overflow from the Douglas Springs trail head parking lot.
There's a famous dude ranch also at the end of the road and I wonder if they had some influence to have the road repaved.
We drove to Oro Valley to do a 47 mile ride with 2000'+ of climbing.
The views coupled with many colors of wildflowers are grand.
I finished the week with 135 miles again and am in good enough shape that I think I'll try something epic for the new week. I first rode out Speedway to loosen my legs. More to come...
And just like that! The Speedway Road repaving project is completed. Still have to put in the lines but east and west bound lanes are open and cyclists are flocking to check it out.
Weird. We have a type of cactus with too much lean to one side. Get this!!! I can chop off the most left leaning arm, lay it on the ground for 4-5 days to allow a scab to form over the cut end. Then insert it into the ground, stake it and roots will begin to grow. In the midwest, if air hits the roots, the plant is done but not with cactus.
I drove to Oro Valley to participate in a group ride but arriving, discovered I had forgotten my water bottles. Damn it! Returned home and planned to ride with Amy but then she discovered her rear tire was flat and all the gu that would have sealed the tire, gone. We had to go our separate ways, she to a bike shop and me on a 40 mile ride that included a stop at a high school having a scorpion on the roof.
The route was out and back with nice views of the surrounding mountains.
I finished my solo effort with a 17.7 mph average, not great but quite a bit faster than the last time I did the route. Making progress in small, no very small, incremental steps.
Jack and I walked around a nearby pond which has a large population of turtles. They all slide from their perches as we approach except for this one. On two consecutive days, he stubbornly refused to slink into the water as all his companions did.
Amy and I now have matching jerseys from Neo Pro. Prices are very reasonable.
I happened to plant our Tombstone roses out of the automatic watering system so it requires manual watering. Hmmmm, those jeans don't fit so well, lol.
I joined a group of 21 cyclists for a 70 mile ride to Pinal Airpark, where airlines park their excess inventory. My first visit and at 70 miles, 25 miles longer than any ride I've done in the last 2 years.
It was a good route and the pavement was also very good!
The windows and doors are wrapped. This is the short term lot so some of these planes will be back in service.
Our group had a couple of stops to refuel. My average speed was 19.3mph for the ride and I felt pretty good about that. Many of these cyclists ride extraordinary distances each week and in terrific shape. I finished the week with 135 miles, also a high for the last couple of years. Amy finished with that plus 0.04 more so I lost the distance competition this week, ha, ha.
Wanting to create some additional privacy, we planted two, Tombstone roses a couple of months ago. It's a prolific grower with nice flowers but some of the leaves are yellowing. A trip to the nursery and pouring fertilizer on the ground should take care of the issue.
Another windy day, so much so that dust is aloft and blurring the normal awesome views.
Streaks originating from the southeast. Not sure what to make of that.
My daily walk of Jack with an interesting root structure.
We walk around a fairly large pond that I am told, contains a good supply of bass and bluegill.
A variety of cactus are now in bloom.
I never thought I'd see the day but Speedway is being paved from Houghton, east to where it dead ends at Douglas Springs trail head.
Amazing how many roads on the east side are receiving this needed treatment. OK, not much to report today but more coming, ha, ha.
Well, ok, Jack is my little friend as he watches me fill a fountain but not the little friend to which I reference in the title.
Amy and I go out on a hilly, 40 mile ride with her sister Tracy. The quality of the pavement we ride is very, very good.
We regroup a couple of times which allows us to admire our surroundings.
We include Territory Drive which has a 18% section. Beautiful day and then another system comes through, not with rain but with....
....wind as Jack's hair acts as a wind mill to show the direction from which the wind is coming.
It's welcome but all the sudden, several roads in crummy condition, are finally being repaved, including many miles of Speedway Road. Never thought I'd see the day. All the way from Houghton, past Freeman, beyond Wentworth to where the road dead ends at the base of the mountains. And then....
....I rented a chain saw which is at the end of a 12' pole. Say hello to my little friend...yeehaw!
We did some major tree branch removal. Dang, that thing is heavy but it worked great and the project is finished.
Back to Oro Valley for a ride and snow still visible on Mount Lemmon.
Our route took us to the retirement community of Saddlebrook. From there, I see one of my favorite views. Love this perspective of Pusch Ridge on the left and additional mountain ranges farther to the southwest.
Wildflowers are in abundance.
The route was mostly uphill for the first half and then, for our return, we were blasted by strong, southwest winds. We were both knockered when we reached our SUV at mile 35.
My favorite wash is finally being cleaned of excess sand. Still a decent flow of snow melt so the road remains closed.
Amy had a conference in Phoenix so Jack and I were a couple of bachelors for this night. Jack loves action movies and a gun shot or explosion causes him to run to the TV stand and pounce.
I find a couple of surprises around the house. Peanut Butter Cups!