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Road Trip? Red Rocks? Really?

I overheard Mom say something about “cancelled” and “something instead” and “maybe Red Rocks?”  Before I knew it my parents were bustling around the house gathering up day packs, hiking boots, water bottles, food. . . you get the picture. And then, I knew something good was about to happen, when she called Tailwinds Pet Resort for Kili, you remember my silly little sister the cat. But no reservations for me!

Howling Catahoulagans, we’re going on a road trip! Don’t know where, don’t care, let’s go!

Driving North

Once everything is loaded in the car, we are off, up I-17 to Northern Arizona. It takes a while to get out of the city, but then we climb up the hill from Black Canyon City and continue up to Cordes Junction. There is a cool place there imagined by famed architect Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti. I went there when I was just a clueless pup. Today, just a blur at 80 mph.

Sedona Red Rocks

Down to Verde Valley and then up again (tummy is doing flip-flops) to the Sedona turn-off. I sit up to get the best views out the window. I know that when the car comes around a little bend – POW – right in the eyes – the red rocks. Awwwesome.

Brin’s Mesa Trail

Brin’s Mesa Trail, really is something! Red rocks, manzanitas and junipers. It is part of the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. First we are hiking north, then we head west up a natural rock staircase to the mesa. Although a 2006 fire, wiped out most of the trees at the top, it’s starting to comeback with natural grasses, stunning (I’m working on my vocabulary) with wrap-around views. It is a great place for a little lunch and sniffing around.

Arizona Cypress

At 5,099 feet, we turn to head down Soldier Pass Trail, into a forest with huge, and I expect very old, smooth bark Arizona cypress. They looked thirsty, so happily I help them out. Further along we are hiking on smooth sandstone rock platforms where we pass Apache Seven Sacred Pools, carved over time in the sandstone rock and Devil’s Kitchen, a 50 foot sinkhole. Sweet!

We take the right fork to Jordon Trail and then cut over to Cibola Pass Trail. Over one more ridge and we are back to the car. Six miles of red rock energy!

On the road again

Back in the car I’m dog tired and immediately take a nap. When I wake up, I see white. Out of Sedona, down to Cottonwood, up to Jerome where Andrea lives and teaches yoga, and up again to Mingus Mountain. Everybody holler, “Snow Leopard Dog!” After playing in the snow, we travel on to Prescott for an evening with good friends. Next hike Boulder Mountain.

Not Exactly Red Rocks. . .

. . .but Prescott is surrounded by granite boulders. The next day our whole crew, Mark, Sue, Marilynn and Nora (one of my girlfriends, Woof!) are off to hike the 7,626 foot Granite Mountain in the pinyon pine and juniper woodland of Granite Mountain Wilderness – 9,799 acres in all. The hike starts out pretty mild, but where the route turns right we gain 900 feet in a little over a mile.  At the top of the ridge, we curve around to rise another 450 feet to the base of the peak where the trail ends. We can’t believe there are still snow in patches. All in all, 4 miles, 2,000 feet elevation gain and a spectacular view.

Après Hike

Well the dog-gone best place ever!  Somewhere near Skull Valley in the middle of nowhere is a brewery, tasting room, and place where the dogs roam. Nora and I chased, met a bunch of others dogs… even a couple of miniature horses and really used the last bit of our energy.  What a life, hanging outside, with great friends, great beer and a great atmosphere at Barnstar Brewery.

Homeward Bound

Before we head home, we pull into the Wild Iris for coffee and a bite. The dog friendly patio is nestled under cottonwoods and sycamores with a lovely fountain – for listening, drinking or cooling your paws. Just around the corner is Van Gogh’s Ear, an art gallery, where our friend Kevin Caron exhibits some of his striking metal sculptures. Which reminds me of Pokie (Kevin’s daughter and one of my best girlfriends) who chases me around and around and around Kevin’s giant sound sculpture in their backyard. Woof, woof!

I just love going nowhere!

For your next Arizona Road Trip





  1. What a great trip, Louie! Maybe next time I can go along and we can RUNNNN! And thanks for mentioning my dad – he’s a pretty awesome guy (well, for a person).

    • Stacey Pilcher

      I’m sure you can come along next time. You’d love hiking in the mountains, jut like our hood, but even better. Woof!

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