Bear Mountain Bliss

Today’s forecast promised full-fledged Arizona spring weather… 60° and sunny.  A visit to the Hike Shop in Sedona yesterday gave us a list of trails we would enjoy.  We tried to pick one that would likely be less crowded with weekend tourists.  Bear Mountain, at 5 miles round trip and 2000 ft elevation gain, looked like a perfect choice.

I read through a few trail reports and knew to expect some crevice climbing that may require some scrambling, and several “false summits”…. with another mountain beyond the one you just got to the top of.  Once we reached the top of this ridge (see below and the saddle area left of the red rock peak above)… we had already climbed 1000 ft and could see Bear Mountain summit another 1000 ft higher and mile and a half farther.

I also knew it was rated one of the most scenic trails Sedona has to offer.  A diversity of terrain, many rock layers and several distinctive life zones.  If we managed to make it all the way to the final summit we would  also be rewarded with a view of Agassiz and Humphreys Peaks …. the snow-covered San Francisco Peaks just north of Flagstaff.

So we packed a lunch, grabbed our hiking sticks, and headed out.

The climb was steady.  We encountered a few people as we neared the top of the second “false summit”.  The views were splendid and the sun was growing warmer.

We walked another half mile to where the views opened up over canyons and sweeping expanses on both sides of the ridge.  Ahead of us we could see the summit of Bear Mountain… and the wind gusted through this open area.

After stopping for lunch we decided to forgo the 800 ft climb ahead and go cross-country a bit here, instead….  enjoying the views and stopping to sketch a bit before heading back down.  You can see the trail below us in this picture from the second plateau:

We hiked about 1.7 miles and climbed about 1200 feet in elevation before turning back.  Ahead of us was another mile and 800 ft elevation to reach the top, which we could see from where we were.  Another time perhaps.

In this panorama Bear Mountain summit is to the far left… Fay Canyon opens up to the west as you pan right.

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Stunning Panoramas

When the scenery is just too expansive to get into one picture… my Droid camera will help me take panoramas by stitching together a series of shots as I move across the landscape.

I was a little disappointed to see how small the photos appear on a page display due to their dimensions…. however, when you click on them, they will open in a separate screen where you can click again to enlarge and then scroll back and forth for a truly panoramic feel….. I love it!

ENJOY

Sedona’s airport sits atop a centrally located mesa… a popular sunset gathering spot. The view is a treat even with the crowds!

Our first hike this week was into Fay Canyon… this was the view from the rocks at the end of the hike.

The view from Chicken Point at the top of Broken Arrow trail was spectacular.

This was the view from the top of a hill along Cockscomb Trail

Chicken Point was really a 360 degree bonanza but my camera wouldn’t take the entire circle so I tried it from a few different starting points

I like the way this panorama captured the view as well as the location on the porch of our condo

The clouds in these scenes just make the picture… it was that kind of a day!

These last two seem a bit surreal… somehow the camera missed a chunk or had trouble lining pieces up properly…. what’s there is real, but it’s not quite meshed … I could break these into several separate segments and have some nice individual photos, anyway.

This last one was taken atop the airport viewpoint rock… a noted “vortex” in the area… I think the energy messed with my picture 😉