Red dirt isn't any softer than beige dirt I learn when a juniper tree grabs my handlebar and flings me to the ground below Courthouse Butte near Sedona, Arizona.
Up to that moment, I enjoyed the easy trail, the red cliffs framed against the brilliant blue sky, wildflowers, and surprise cacti beneath the pines.
I ride assorted trails between Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock, including the Bell Rock Pathway which feels like a city sidewalk busy sidewalk with all the vortexing tourists from around the world.
Bell Rock is a vortex that has "masculine electrical energy" according to the helpful Sedona Vortex Map given to us at the hotel. We stay near the Airport Rock vortex, but don't feel too much of anything except fear that we will run over meandering hikers on the shoulderless road up Airport Hill.
Bell Rock with the edge of Courhouse Butte on the right.
After riding around Bell Rock, I choose the Llama Trail over the Baby Bell trail, and I'm happy to be alone and headed into the pines. I cross slickrock areas, dry creeks, and ride on rocky trails into the shade. I see the back of Courthouse Butte and gaze north across the valley to other beautiful rock formations around Sedona, including the massive Cathedral Rock.
Scenic and shady, the HT Trail Loop hike transports us from the agony of the freeway to the peaceful beauty of the high desert on our first afternoon in Sedona. It's an easy hike that could also be part of an extended mountain bike ride in the Bell Rock Area.
On another hot afternoon, we headed north to Oak Creek Canyon with about a million other people and found the access parking lot closed. Determined, we drove north and parked on the side of the road behind other cars, and asked some teenagers how to get to the creek. "Oh! you just go through this tunnel right here, and climb down to a great swimming hole." Teenagers always know. After climbing down the near vertical cliff, we found a beautiful place to take a dip in Oak Creek's ice cold water, then lounge in the sun.
The final day in Sedona, we explored Brins Mesa Trail which took us high above Sedona and over the ridge to see nothing but wilderness. On the way back, we saw Mitten Rock.
Breezes cooled us on top of the mesa, but soon we headed back down into the heat and the familiar desert flora. An excellent weekend of biking, hiking, and splashing!