I think I’m getting accustomed to sleeping in the car. I slept REALLY well last night. Maybe it was the cool dry air, or the fact that the campground quieted down early, or maybe I had simply been exhausted. I don’t know, but I was grateful. I woke up around 7am wanting to continue sleeping, but my desire to get an early hike in was stronger. I made some coffee, brushed the funk off my teeth, and decided to forgo the $4 shower.
I drove from the Cave Springs Campground to the Oak Creek Visitors Center to get a signal so I could get in touch with my parents, and to look at a map. This place is pretty cool. I arrived as the huge daily Navajo craft display was being set up. There is a short walk around a cliff wall that offers all sorts of panoramas.
The Hangover Loop had been recommended to me by the same teacher friend that recommended the Santa Ysabel trail. He’s hiked all over the world, and said there is nothing like the Hangover Loop. I was starting to worry about time. I would have to drive a distance to get there, and it would be backtracking. I wanted to spend the afternoon in Flagstaff, and not in traffic. I decided to get in the car, start driving in that direction, and see if something sparked my interest. Something told me that any hike in Sedona would be a good one.
I pulled off at the Midgely Bridge. At just before 9am, there was still a parking space available. Sedona seems to be a hot destination for tourists. The roads and the parking fill up early. Added bonus, having my annual National Parks Pass displayed on my rear view mirror meant I didn’t have to pay the $5 to park. That pass has been so handy on this trip.
There were several trails to choose from at this parking area. I chose the Huckaby Trail. It sank into the canyon, crossed Oak Creek twice, ran through a shaded area, then climbed up and followed an exposed ridge for a bit. The views at every turn were amazing. I completed 4.2 miles, and even remembered a hat! I’m so proud of me.
I made it back to the car, and started on my way to Flagstaff. Along the way I made a snap decision to pull off and park at Bootlegger Day Use Picnic Area to see if I could take a dip in Oak Creek. And I did take a dip. And it was a very cold dip. I dried off on some large rocks afterward, then got back in the car. Hunger was starting to set in.
Once in Flagstaff I parked the car and Yelped for a lunch spot. I had a lot to choose from, and settled on Beaver Street Brewery. I got the Goddess Salmon Salad and a cucumber cooler. I highly recommend both. Not only was the food good, but so was the service.
I went to the library next to spend some time on their wifi. This place is impressive. It’s high tech and boasts a fireplace. Not to mention it’s quite large. Curiously there was a hazardous waste receptacle in the ladies room for needle disposal, and it was rather full. Either Flagstaff has a really big diabetes problem, or they have a drug epidemic. It seems they are doing what they can to offer a safe place for disposal of needles, which I’m sure cuts back on the amount found discarded on the streets becoming a hazard for everyone. With this and the PSAs for teen condom use and not smoking in order to set a good example for younger siblings, I feel like maybe Arizona is taking some progressive steps in changing its culture. It will be interesting to take a look at their teen smoking, teen pregnancy, and overall drug problem in 5, 10, 15 or more years to see if any of these things made an impact.
Around 4:30 I hit the grocery store to replenish my supply of Cliff Bars, chips, and water. I was hoping to pop into the Grand Canyon just in time for a sunset vista so I had to hurry. Plus I hadn’t figured out where I was going to camp, but I knew it wouldn’t be in the Grand Canyon. Those sites were booked at least a year ago, and a year ago this trip wasn’t even an inkling of an idea in my brain. I passed Kaibab Lake Campground and continued driving for 45 minutes when it became clear I was not about to pass anything else. In my head the logistics of getting a sunset photo and making it back to Kaibab before all the sites were taken was not going to happen, so I decided to forget about the sunset pic. I turned around and secured myself a site in a very pretty and spread out campground. This is a nice one folks! Take a look at that view. I felt another good night’s rest coming on.