Sunday, April 1, 2012

Riding the Red Rocks

This winter has been one riding adventure after another and this last weekend was our final ride and our friends here in Arizona had arranged for it to be a special adventure. I got home from Dogpound North on Thursday evening and we were loading our rig and heading to Sedona on Friday morning. We were going to meet Bill and Sandy Roberts, Tom and Joyce Compton, all from the Benson area as well as David and Linda Modahl and “K” and Teresa Rogers from here in the valley. Linda and David had made all the camping arrangements and it all went as planned. We arrived in the early afternoon at the Horse Mesa Ranch near the village of Oak Creek and got ourselves all settled in to await the arrival of the others. Here is a piece of the view we had from our spot for the weekend.


Saturday morning we moved our horses over to the Turkey Creek parking lot and unloaded and saddled then brought our trailers back to Horse Mesa while some folks hung out and waited for us. Joyce gave us a ride back and we got ourselves organised and headed out on our ride. First off we dropped down into the creek to take a few pictures with Cathedral Rock in the background.

Cathedral Rock in the Background

Once we got those shots we headed up the creek and through a vortex area. Follow this link for a map of the vortex’s in the area. Once we left the creek we headed up through some pretty narrow and ledgey switchbacks. Not a problem by themselves but remember this is Sedona and we are sharing the trail with hikers and mountain bikers. Although we met both along the trail they were very accommodating and had gotten themselves well out of the way in the few spots that allowed that to happen. Probably in a large part due to Dave’s bellowing “horses coming” and the appearance of six horses and a couple of mules scrambling up through the rocks towards them.


There were more than a few places here where there was no room for a misunderstanding or to meet a party going the other way. Once we got to the top we circled around the bottom of Cathedral Rock on our way to Chicken Point and Courthouse Rock.


That is Courthouse Rock in the distance in the center of the shot above and Chicken Point is to the extreme left. Here comes Bill and that little horse Fred. He is a dandy that one, nothing bothers him and he sure hasn’t figured out that he is only half the size of a real horse. All heart and no quit.


Below Earl is trying to figure out why he is not included in the mint handout that Teresa has going on.


Brenda up on the rocks at Chicken Point.


A lot of hikers here were pretty surprised to see a bunch of horses scrambling up onto the rocks here and along the trail. You probably need a good mountain horse or mule to make this trip but it’s worth it let me tell you. We continued on from Chicken Point past Courthouse Rock and around the hill back to our overnight spot.

Sunday we headed up towards Horse Mesa for a short ride before loading up and heading back to Dogpound South. Another beautiful ride and I will hook up a couple of links to the pictures I took over the three days below this final shot of Bell Rock.


First night at Horse Mesa Ranch

Turkey Creek to Horse Mesa Ranch

Sunday morning ride along Horse Mesa

Sedona is a truly special place and it is hard to stop clicking the camera, I edited these hard but I still have a lot of shots and each one is of a special place or special people. I think the only improvement I could make to this country if it was in my power was to make about a 100 miles of bad road the only access. But then the multitudes of folks we saw would have not had the chance to share this beautiful country.

As I said at the start of this rambling epistle we have had a wonderful winter riding the trails of Arizona and owe a large dollop of thanks to the folks of the Arizona Back Country Riders website and the Lone Rangers riding club, both have welcomed us with open arms and we have enjoyed the new trails and loved the potlucks and socializing around the odd fire and more often just circled around a great meal. Just remember if you are feeling like getting out of the heat this summer we always have room in our barn at Dogpound North.

To paraphrase our good friend K, “I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t us.”


  1. Wow what a ride! Were Bill's feet draggin? Or was he just putting his feet down to stabilize the ride on those narrow cliff trails? Looks awfully green up there compared to drab old Apache Junction.... We get to go back again in about 4 more weeks........

  2. John, those are some gorgeous photos. Beautiful country!

  3. Wow! K is right. I feel sorry for me too. :)

  4. Can't think of a more beautiful place to go riding than the Sedona area, wow! Great photos.

  5. Great pictures, but the one of you and Brenda in front of Cathedral Rock is a money shot, suitable for framing, of course.

    What a great memory that photograph will be.

  6. Sedona is a special place and you showed it well with your photos. A well told story too!

  7. What gorgeous scenery... and just love those Sedona Red Rocks!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  8. OMGosh how beautiful, you two are very lucky to have seen this gorgeous country. <3

  9. Thanks for sharing the photos! That is such a beautiful area around Sedona. It's nice to see things from the perspective of a horseback ride. Great place to enjoy a lovely day.

  10. wow what a ride and what a route...gorgeous pictures...what great fun you both have!!!

  11. Interesting! We rode with Dave and Linda as part of the "Lone Rangers" group years that the horses are away, we've moved onto motorized travel. Glad you enjoyed the Red Rock Ride!

  12. Does Brenda share her Cheesy Potato recipe? I've heard so many great comments about them. Love your blot & plctures of my home state. Becki

  13. Your post slipped through the cracks somewhere & I just noticed it this morning. Great way to see the Sedonna area & that kind of scnenery just lends itself to a camera for sure. That's gotta be a better way than having to use the old aging legs to go that many miles too. And horses don't make loud sputtering noises like ATV's either. How fortunate you guys are......

  14. Wonderful adventure you had. I guess riding through the area the way you do is the best way to experience the great AZ-outdoors.

  15. Just wanted to stop by and say "Howdy",,,Long time no see.... Plus I don't want you feelin to sorry for us!!LOL