Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Last Day

Bell Rock
You know how vacations are. Just as you get to know your way around without using the GPS every time, it's time to go home. We decided to do a "little" hiking on the red rocks south of Sedona. The Courthouse Rock Loop is only 4.2 miles, Dick said. The wind has died down, so we bundled up and went hiking. My Fitbit said we had covered over 6.5 miles before we made it back to the car.
Cathedral Rock
People like to give names to rock formations, depending on what shape they see. There is a Snoopy Rock and Coffeepot Rock that I understand. This one is called Cathedral Rock, and I don't see a cathedral in it at all. Many of the formation have legends to go with them. The Seven Brothers are about seven Native Americans who refused to be moved to a reservation when the army took away the rest of their tribe.
Courthouse Rock
I'm never sure if I'm using the correct name or not here in the blog, but the rocks are fascinating to me. The soft sandstone has lots of holes for critters to live in, almost like a high rise condo.
Flat Rock Stream bed
We walked up and down over rocks and logs along the trail. At some spots, the rocks are flat, and you can see where the water washes down when it rains. One place has the beginning of a canyon in the red sandstone.
Climbing on Bell Rock
The Forest Service operates the areas around Sedona, with lots of signs about staying on the trails, and not damaging the fragile desert eco-system. Lots of people came to enjoy the rocks this morning. We were relieved to see a sign that this climbing was allowed. There were dedicated hikers wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, sneakers and a water bottle as the sped down the trail. Other pairs of walkers talked non-stop.

 We shared the trails with horses and mountain bikers. Some of the bikers had little bells to warn folks they were coming, and others almost ran you down if you didn't hear them coming. Sorry, I don't see the fun in this. Some of the bikers were peddling for all they were worth. Of course, I was limping by the end of the morning with sore toes that have bothered me all week.
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Scrub Jay
Dick and I took our time, enjoying the wildflowers and looking (without too much success) for some of the many birds we heard singing. The advantage of birding with local people is their ability to identify more of the birds by song, and to know where to look for certain species.

We found a website with wildflowers from this part of Arizona and it will take a while to look up all the flowers we saw. It's been a great vacation, and I'd like to come back to the birding festival again some time. Tomorrow I hope we don't get bounced around to bad trying to fly over all the bad weather in the middle of the country on our way home.

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