Tag: vacation

Vacation- Soldier’s Pass

I love dirt. I really do.

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.

Recover

The race might have been my slowest ever but I was still a little achy post race.

Actually I had some very angry toes to deal with and they had been angry since I laced up my Wave Rider’s on race morning. It’s odd because toe pain is never an issue I had with them before. I had not worn flip flops one time since we left town. I have been having PF issues, particularly with my left heel so I wore running shoes the entire trip leading up to the race. Primarily my old Ghosts and a little bit of time in my newest trail shoes. The Ghosts are not really old, less than 100ish miles on them but no longer work for me running so I retired them into travel shoes- maybe beach shoes- so I don’t know where the pinched toes came from. I finished the race with one bloody toe and one black toenail. Boo.

The real pain came from the 17+ hour drive on Monday. For some reason we decided to go from northern Washington to middle of California in one day. Dumb. Between short tempers and crappy food and a fiery pain in my right leg- one I remember from when I commuted- I don’t know how we did it.

I think that left me the most sore and tired for the next few days. So Tuesday through Friday were pretty lazy vacation days. There may have been a nap or two.

I did get out for some miles over the weekend. Some trail miles with the pops on Saturday. Where I hiked up and ran down like a lunatic. It’s been so long since I did that. I forgot how much I missed it.

Sunday, I headed out for a short run/walk. Figured I would do whatever felt good. Last week was kind of lazy but I needed a chill week. Work is about to get crazy and I am starting a new training plan for another half, so a laid back week was good.

Actually, I wish it could have been a little longer.

Consistent

Not a word often used to describe me. Even more surprising when you factor in that vacation for me usually means a vacation from coffee too. What???

That said, last week was a good mix of doing nothing, sticking to my training plan and doing nothing. Wait did I say that already? Seriously though it was a pretty good week. I meant to write a post last week but I was just so busy doing nothing, it was a distraction.

When the week started, I had planned to stick to my training plan like it was written but reality saw me moving things around. With my doctor’s appointments and first service on my car, moving things fit my week better. And I added on the extra 2 miler instead of cross training. Woo hoo!

Actually, the 2 miler was the first work out errr, walk out of the week on Tuesday. I kept it close to home and quick. Well, as quick as walking can be. Only downside was a band aid malfunction. I’ve learned I am allergic to band aids-yay- and the sensitive skin ones have less than ideal sticking power.

Wednesday’s speech therapy appointment put me in the same town as the lake path so, yay! It was warm! Plan called for 3.5 miles and I know 3 laps around the lake is 3.5 miles. Instead of carrying water, I made my car an aid station and stopped when I needed to. My watch has been malfunctioning- I broke the dial- so sometimes it starts or stops and sometimes it doesn’t. Partway through my second lap, I realized it hadn’t started again and shorted me around 1/4 mile. So of course I had to walk an extra 1/4 mile to make up for it.

Thursday saw a rest day as my heel was sore. I need better work shoes so this is nothing new plus I had a few appointments.

Friday was supposed to be a hike but just wasn’t feeling it so I headed out for 3.5 miles at the river path. Where there was a nice breeze. I also had another band aid malfunction a little over a mile in so I turned around and headed back for the car. I hit 3.1 miles for the day instead. Grrr.

Saturday was supposed to be hiking and shopping… and it was! It was supposed to be a harder trail but I wasn’t feeling it so my mom and I headed for the Headlands trail. Very user friendly with views of the ocean- sign me up! All was good until almost 2 miles when I bottomed out. Occasionally I get what feels like low blood sugar attacks where I get real clammy, shaky and both feel starving and nauseous at the same time. Usually I have snacks in my purse but because this was an “easy” hike and the weather was nice, I had nothing on me. Not even water. Stupid. I leveled out enough to stare at the ocean some and get back to the car where I had fruit snacks, water and soda.

Sunday was an intentional do nothing day. Except instead of napping, I did some laundry and some cleaning and generally got ready to go back to work.

All in all, it was a pretty steady week. How was your week?

Escape Day 3- Devil’s Bridge

Friday was our last full day in Arizona and as amazing as the Canyon is, we wanted to see some other sights as well. We were up early and headed off for Sedona.

Sedona feels like a completely different world from the Grand Canyon. There’s just something about it. We were both super sore from the previous 2 days so we knew we weren’t up for something intense. So after a stop at the local Golden, errr Teal, Arches, my mother says- hey I found a trail. It’s called Devil’s Bridge and it’s only a 1.8 mile round trip hike. Ok, sounds pretty chill.

The trail head was crowded so we had to park on the street just as many others were doing. That should have been the first sign. Since it was a short hike, I didn’t feel like taking my pack and almost didn’t take water. I grabbed a bottle at the last moment and shoved it in my handheld.

As we walked into the trail area, the second sign appeared. This one literal- Devil’s Bridge, 2 miles from this point, take water. Hmmm, ok, I knew we parked on the street but it shouldn’t be 1 mile to the trail head??? And it wasn’t. Color me confused.

We picked up the trail and headed out. I was even more confused as there were a lot of cars in the trailhead lot not to mention those that parked on the street- but there was no one on the trail? The only people we saw were a couple of mountain bikers who were headed for a different trail. This continued for almost a mile. Were we lost?? The trail finally dumped us out onto an OHV road with an arrow saying it was the way to Devil’s Bridge. Ok?

Other than the deep sand we were walking in, the trail was fairly easy. But there was no way this was 1.8 miles roundtrip. Then we hit another trailhead. Huh? This one was only accessible by foot or by a high-lifted 4X4. Interesting. Not only were we running into more people, the trail was getting a little more technical. Ok. We kept going.

The views were amazing, so the extra distance wasn’t an issue. I had a Buff so I was keeping it up when people got a little close on the trail. It also helped me hide my facial expression when I overheard a conversation. A woman and man were hiking together and judging by their gear and clothes- they were athletes- runners or cyclists- something. But then I hear the woman say that she doesn’t like how spaced out the stone steps/ dirt was. It just wasn’t working for her stride and she wished it was different. Huh????? Sure, let me call Mother Nature about that right now.

The offenders

The trail became more intense the closer you got to the Devil’s Bridge- like you now needed your hands to climb up rocks and steps to reach higher parts of the trail. Again, the parents letting their children run wild surprised me. There was a lookout point and then one last rocky climb up to the level of Devil’s Bridge– only to discover where all the people were. There was an hour+ line for top of the bridge photo ops! What??

No, I didn’t wait. There were way too many people. I tried to take some arch pics from where I was and then I headed back. Now we had to negotiate those same rock climbs going down- and I ate it on the first one- like I bounced. So much for having a big backside- other hikers told me they heard my tailbone hit rock. Yep, felt that one. Ouch.

Lies

Then we hiked back out following the OHV trail the whole way. Where once again we saw a sign- it too said Devil’s Bridge was 2 miles from that point- but it was still 1/2 mile or so to the other sign that said the same thing. So the true length of the trail is anyone’s guess. My watch showed 4.6 miles roundtrip.

The trail was gorgeous but I was a little broken- so the rest of the day was spent just strolling around downtown Sedona, hitting all the tourist stops. I would love to go back and spend more time on trails, maybe just in better shape.

I just liked this rock formation

Oh and my backside? Bruises that rivaled my dog attack- and it hurt to sit for over a week.

Escape Day 2- Rim Trail

I woke sore and a little tired the morning after Bright Angel. Ok, my calves were screaming a little.

I headed back to the Grand Canyon later in the day, I had some fool idea about taking it chill on the Rim Trail and then watching the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Now, if you’ve ever been to the South Rim or pay attention to anything related to a compass or sunsets/ sunrises you might think this doesn’t make sense. Because it doesn’t. The sun does not set over the Grand Canyon, at least not from this rim. Which I realized I knew but forgot? Told you I needed a vacation.

Back to the trail- the Rim Trail is not a “trail”, it’s a paved path that runs the length of the South Rim. A one way trip on the path from point to point is around 13 miles. Even paved, I didn’t have that in me. I started at Bright Angel and headed East towards the Mather Point.

The path takes you along the Rim and is fairly accessible to everyone. That also means it was more crowded than Bright Angel the day before. My buff was up over my face most of the time. That didn’t detract from the views at all. Again, I think I took a few hundred pictures.

The path took us through The Trail of Time too, a exhibit about how the Grand Canyon formed over millions of years with rock examples. My former wanna-be geologist self was geeking out over the rock displays.

The various lookout points were the most popular so I didn’t spend a lot of time there. I was surprised at how many parents let their kids run wild. Most of the path is not secured by a fence or guard rail of some sort. It wouldn’t take much to slip or fall. But then I am also clumsy so I generally think of worst case scenarios.

Seriously?!?

And of course, there were the rule breakers- the ones who jump fences and go down rocks all to get a good selfie. The number of people backing up to edges was ridiculous.

The Rim Trail is advertised as little to no elevation change. And had I not done Bright Angel the day before I might have agreed. But the 600 ish feet we gained and lost in the 6ish miles we went did not feel easy. Ha!

I kind of feel like the Grand Canyon is the Disneyland of trails. Plenty of trash cans, recycle bins, bathrooms and water stations. I have never seen so many rangers out working the trail before either.

But for the love of Pete, pick up your damn masks people!