The Birthing Cave trail in Sedona is nice, short, fairly easy trail to do. Unless you do it the same day you do Soldiers Pass and you’re overweight and out of shape.
Oh, wait, that was me.😆
Honestly, getting to the trail head was probably harder than the trail was. My GPS disagreed with what AllTrails said. And I didn’t actually find the trailhead. I stopped too soon and parked along the road near the Mescal trail head. Which is also how I learned there was another route to Devil’s Bridge but I’d already been there the last time I was in Arizona.
We started out on the Mescal Trail thinking we were just going to go a mile or so in and see what there was as we knew we weren’t in the right spot. Luckily a quarter mile in, we hit a trail junction that included a branch off onto the Long Canyon Trail which is where I had been trying to drive to. So we took it. It was a nice single track with some elevation drop.
Once at the Long Canyon trailhead, we headed back towards the Birthing Cave. Or, at least we hoped, this trail doesn’t have signs and there some places you could another direction. We ran into others just as confused as we were. Good thing was that this trail was pretty flat, wide and actually runnable if you wanted to.
After a little more winding back towards the cliff walls, you start to climb. I had to take a break, I’m so out of shape.😂. Then you start to scramble up, careful you don’t try to use a cactus as your handhold. The cave is cool but also not as big as you think it will be and it fills up quickly. It’s also very slippery and I was too tired to try climbing all the way in. I didn’t need to break my face.
After a short time in the cave enjoying the views, we headed back to the car. With the extra we tacked on with parking at the wrong trailhead, we came up just under 3 miles. Like I said, short but still good.
Getting sick in January may have derailed my original vacation plans by a lot, I was still planning on adding getting in some miles on new to me trails. So I headed back to Sedona.
First trail up was Soldier’s Pass.
AllTrails calls Soldier’s Pass a moderate, 4.5 mile out and back trail. There is a small trailhead parking lot but will likely be full. We parked in overflow about a mile down the street at a school/ bike park location. There was a nice trail that ran along the road so it was nice warmup.
I love the color of the rocks and desert in Sedona. I know it gets hyped up a lot but there is a very valid reason for it. That also means be prepared for crowds. Everywhere. From prepared, experienced hikers to people in flip flops.
The beginning of the trail brings you to a cool sinkhole to check out. Then about a mile in (or 2 from overflow) the trail brings you to the Seven Sacred Pools. Maybe I was tired, but this part was a little underwhelming. Were there 7 pools? Maybe. Maybe I was blind. The trail starts to climb a little here but nothing strenuous.
The path was nicely shaded actually as we made our way to a little plateau. From there the real climb begins and things start to get hard. The path narrows and gets steeper as you make the last climb to the rock wall and the caves. The caves are cool. Getting up an into the big one is sketchy but I am proud that my claustrophobic self managed to climb up to the cave level. I spent some time up there for a bit- only almost fell once, ha! It does get crowded up there though and how more people don’t fall, I don’t understand. I did slip on my way back out of the caves and wrenched my shoulders a bit but I didn’t fall, so win!
From there, it was back down to the plateau then on to the Seven Sacred Pools again. Took a few moments here to take a sit and eat a snack or 2. It was a little warmer than I figured for March, even in Arizona.
All in all, round trip from the overflow lot to Soldier’s Pass was 6 miles with around 800 ft of elevation gain. Most of that in the last .25 mile or so. Totally worth it.
I keep telling myself I am going to get back to getting these posts up on Monday so it’s less like I am 2 weeks behinds… But, so far, no luck. Also, do my titles make any sense?
Last week was a blur of stress and tiredness. I remember being tired (seems to be new normal) as well as an evening of gnarly dizzy spells. Work was crazy and a system crash didn’t help. I kind of just wanted to nap all weekend but I am really trying to not do that as well. Plus I wanted to get some miles in as I am still not running during the week.
I admit I ventured out to SLO for some shopping on Saturday and wasn’t sure I was going to have enough energy or time to get in some miles. After eating the best pizza I have had in months, hitting some stores and buying nothing I headed home. It was late and I was taking my parents to dinner but I managed to get out the door for a few miles. Just over 2.5 miles but I felt ok. Hot as it was a freak 80+ degrees that day but and hadn’t cooled yet but still good. Can’t say the same for the dinner with the parents later though. Not going to that restaurant again for a while.
As for Sunday, I had plans for my longest outing since COVID. Hmmm, maybe of the year, actually. I headed out to MDO to hit up a trail. I call it the Jurassic Park trail because something about the first 1/2 mile makes me think of Jurassic Park. Out and back without any of the trail offshoots is just over 5 miles. I was hoping this would feel fairly easy as it is fairly flat, only around 500 ft of elevation gain. And it felt good!! Yay! Plus I love all the sights and changes in vegetation along the trail.
So 7ish miles for the week. Still small but growing. I’m trying not to think about the fact I am registered for 2 half marathons in March at the moment, ha!
Oops…. Didn’t mean to stay away so long but then life just kept on rolling. I wrote a post in my head almost every day but never followed through on the typing part. Slacker.
So let’s catch up, rambling style.
Went on the grossest run of my life a couple of Saturday’s ago. Smoke and humidity in the air? Levels of hell. I was walking by the end and wheezing. Felt so nasty from the sticky humidity it’s the first time I’ve ever hosed myself off post run. 🤣
Went for a trail run and lost my pops. In the first quarter mile. How the what?? Turns out he took a different junction and between my waiting to see if he caught up (like we usually do) and running out and back the junctions meant he beat me to the top of mountain! I passed 2 hikers and asked if they had seen a man in a bucket hat with hiking poles- “oh, yeah, he’s way up the trail!”. I said what the hell out loud and they laughed as I starting booking it up the hillside.
My GI disorder decided it had been too behaved in the last few months and flared. Big time. I ended up actually missing most of a day of work and trying to sleep it better. Grrr. It’s leveled a bit but not much. This took me out of even thinking about running for most of a week.
Which, timing wise wasn’t horrible as we hit a week of 110 degree temps with wildfire smoke thrown in. Which might have added to a ridiculous migraine that rolled in too.
Said goodbye to my boss at work. Which even though I’ve known it was coming since June, it still feels like a blindside. I wish him all the best, it’s just odd. New boss is good too but it’s still odd.
I went to a concert! One of my top 3 favorite bands is on tour and they came to my town!! What are the odds? I never thought one of my bands would come to town, both due to the nature of the bands and the size of the town. Not to frown on my town though, I’ve learned that we have a couple of great concert venues. Which is why I got to see Rise Against at our outdoor amphitheater! And it was amazing. Totally worth the late night with work the next day. Although wearing heals to work the next day was a very bad idea, ha!
About 7ish years ago, I went out to do one of our local trails. I remember having a pounding migraine and being only a week out from a half marathon but I thought how hard could it be?? It kicked my ass. Hard. I remember stopping at the swing partway up the trail and my legs were shaking, like a constant twitch that wouldn’t stop. And I was in pretty good shape at that point. I was with my mom and S that day and back then I would usually run ahead and then they would meet me at the top. Not that day.
Then I somehow never went back. Time has moved on and I chalked the difficulty up to the migraine. Had to be, right? My brother has become an avid adventurer who summits mountains for breakfast- like really, last weekend he did 5 peaks over 2 days. And I’m talking minimum of 11000 feet here, but he’s crazy. When he’s not off in random parts of the Sierra he has a couple local routes here… one of those involves this trail. Except he’ll do it 3x in a row and then follow it up 2 other mountain trails because these are baby mountains.😂
My memory had to be tainted by the migraine, right?
So Sunday morning saw me up bright and early (for me) and heading to the trail with my mom. We were the first ones at the trailhead but while we were getting ready, another car pulled in. I noticed both because I was glad we weren’t the only ones there and because there was something that reminded me vaguely of my grandmother. Then I put it out of my mind as we headed out.
The initial half mile while way more overgrown than I remember was also easy ish like I remembered. Once we hit the water crossing- which surprisingly was not dry- that’s where things took an uphill turn. Literally and figuratively.
I remember the trail being sketchy but I didn’t remember that many rocks. We took a break at the tree swing (which is also a newer swing) because we were struggling. Mind you, we were barely a mile in.
We were taking another break around 1.5 in and now it was more dying than struggling when the woman from the parking lot and a friend who had joined caught up to. Then passed us and never paused while still climbing up the trail.
Dude, we’d been granny’ed! But also they gave me new life goals. I want to be them!!
My mother and I continued to struggle up to the top. It wasn’t necessarily the steepness of the trail is it was the number of rocks and roots in the path. It looked like someone had decided to do some bushwhacking of their own but they didn’t clean up the cut pieces, just left them there to get slippery. Or I was just looking for reasons why it was so hard. We actually contemplated quitting but couldn’t bring ourselves too.
We finally made it to the top and headed for the old radio tower. This trail is much easier. We finally made it to the tower where the 2 ladies were sitting enjoying a nice snack. We took a few pics as my mom and I both said we were not doing this trail again, ha!
The ladies once again showed us as they headed back out…but not the way we came. Wait, when did this trail beome a loop??? It was only an out and back the last time I was here. I had noticed the new signs along the way but also wasn’t paying as much attention. Yay, maybe a less rocky way down?
And it was – for about 1/4 mile. Then it was rock city. We ended up passing up the older ladies as we made better time going down but it was still a hot mess. I tripped and turned my ankle so many times, I was alternating between shouting out mother bleeper or saying jinkies. Apparently this trail left me with no in between. The new way down was also about a mile shorter and by that time I was so damn thankful. I am so over this trail right now, it made the Grand Canyon seem like a walk in the park. And I fell on my ass twice in the Grand Canyon.
I clearly need to put in more work if I want to be those older ladies.