Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona, 01/02/10

We started The New Year off by flying down to Arizona to meet Nicole’s dad and brother and go to a football game.  Since we had a little spare time, the three of us—brother excluded, as he was arriving later—drove up to Sedona for a day to sample the Red Rock Country.

The drive up to Sedona from Phoenix went quicker than expected; before long we’d picked up our $5 Red Rock Pass and a map and were parked below Cathedral Rock.  We hadn’t quite made it before sunrise, but the weather was pleasant and the skies were blue.

Cathedral Rock, trail.

Cathedral Rock, from near the trailhead.

The trail itself is short and—aside from the beginnings pictured above—steep.  Let’s call it 1.4 miles round-trip with a gain of about 600′, all on the way up, of course.  It’s actually somewhat scramble-y, requiring the use of hands several times.

Cathedral Rock, with balloon.

Balloon, rock, cairn.

A pair of hot air balloons floated above us, drifting leisurely but audibly between the sheer walls and spires that the trail would take us to.

Towards Sedona.

The view north, toward Sedona.

Views were excellent, coyotes were crying, and the sun shone in our eyes until we found ourselves in the shade of the rock itself.  It was a quick climb, but quite rewarding.  We reached the top, sat within the supposed energy vortex—though the cold I’d been battling did briefly relent—and enjoyed the morning.

End of the trail.

Within the vortex.

Before too long, we were back at the car, where other cars awaited our soon-to-be-vacated parking spot.  We saw only a few people on our way up, quite a few more on our way down, and missed the inevitable hundreds that were to come.  I recommend an early start!

HIkers on Cathedral's ledge.

Hikers on Cathedral's ledge.

After the hike, we drove around a bit and then did a bit of shopping and art-admiring.  Beautiful country, if you can stand the tourists.  I wasn’t a tourist, right?

First hike of the year!

Stats: 1.4 miles, ~600′ of elevation gain.

As always, a few more photos at Flickr.

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Boulder River, 04/19/09

We both wanted to get out of the house and take advantage of the [accurately] forecasted weather. With Spring just beginning in earnest and Nicole feeling less than one-hundred percent, we needed something both low and easy. I’d read of Boulder River in multiple sources, where it’d been referred to as, alternately, an early-season hike and a rainy day hike, and so we decided to make it our first “official” hike of the year.

I let Nicole sleep a little later than I normally would’ve, but we were out the door a little before 08:45 and on the road shortly after filling up the Forester. Directions were easy: I-5 North to WA-530 and a right on French Creek Road. Blink and you’ll miss French Creek Road, though–we nearly did. It’s just past a few newly developed homes; that’s probably very little help.

Nicole on the Boulder River Trail.

Nicole on the Boulder River Trail.

In any case, we reached the trailhead at the end of the road at 10:25, ten minutes after turning off WA-530. There were only four or five other cars in the parking lot. After booting up, we were off.

hikers_50

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Twin Falls State Park, 02/04/09

Woke up on a Wednesday with an itch to get out for a hike and take some photos.  Since it was a last-minute decision, and it is February, I wanted to find something close.  Since I haven’t hiked in over three months, I wanted to find something easy.  A visit to Twin Falls seemed to fit the criteria.

The Twin Falls.

The Twin Falls.

Twin Falls State Park is just off of I-90 near North Bend, under an hour from Seattle.  I figured I’d take advantage of the morning’s overcast sky and take some long-exposure waterfall photos.  After packing my bag and making a sandwich, I left West Seattle at 09:00.  Forty-five minutes later I was in the parking lot, along with only four other cars–a great sight, made possible only by my midweek day off.  I was on the trail at 09:50.

hikers_50

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