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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

bear mountain

Since apparently I can't sit still for a day, I decided to embark on one of the more "strenuous" hikes in Sedona this past Sunday, not even 24 hours after my 18 mile training run. Also, I did not take my Canon as I was concerned about taking such a nice toy on a rough hike. So, thank you again iPhone.

First off: this is a 5 mile roundtrip hike. The first 2.5 miles entail 2000 ft of elevation gain as you can see in the warning sign below at the start of the trailhead.

Spoiler alert: You can't even see Bear Mountain from the start of the trail here.

I read that parts of the trail would require some climbing in some tight spots. At first, this concerned me, then who are we kidding? Challenge accepted.

The climb begins.

Only one selfie was taken on the way up to the peak.

There were quite a few folks on this trail, which is always reassuring. I ended up running into (well..he caught up to me, and passed accordingly..) a local who kindly pointed out the real mountain once we reached the top of the first "little" mountain we climbed.  Alas, the cussing began.

And then I was happy again when this was the view for the remain 1.25 miles of the trail. Absolutely stunning!

Now, this is rewarding.

At the top, I met a friendly dog who was very insistent on playing fetch with a stick. I complied with his request for a few minutes, then took in the scenery.

Off in the distance, you can see Flagstaff/the San Francisco Peaks.. that's how I high up you are here at the top!

Looking to the Southwest.

And down to the South.

I enjoyed my Larabar at this point, and talked to the local guy that passed me. Apparently the average roundtrip hike for this takes 5-7 hours, but apparently when you're a 25 year old training for a marathon who has mentally established the Larabar as a reward for getting to the top, it will take you 3. 

And then back down I go!

In the distance, you can see the trailhead parking lot. 

Also, right at this moment, I stuck my hand in a cactus. Not exactly my finest moment, but I feel like this was a rite of passage that had to happen while I lived here in Arizona. Let this be a reminder to all: bring a first aid kit with you on your hikes! I luckily didn't end up using mine since it wasn't too bad, but I was quite happy to have it.

Overall, this was the most strenuous hike I have done in Sedona thus far. Totally worth the effort whether it takes you 3 or 7 hours. I would definitely avoid this one after early May as there is not much shade at all. There is also another trail starting at the same trailhead called Doe Mountain that I am sure the most ambitious can tackle after since it appears to be relatively short, but a little bit less tough, offering scenic views. I did not do it as food was the highest priority of mine once I got back to the trailhead...figures.