Mescal Loop

We opted for an easier hike this past Friday. We set out a bit later in the day and hiked a familiar trail and added a few others to make a loop. A loop that I like to call the Mescal Loop.

The Mescal Trailhead offers a generous parking area for cars and we have always been able to find a spot here. This trailhead never seems to be crowded.

We hiked just under 5 miles over the three hours that we were on the trail. The hike was quite easy for the most part. As with every hike we have done here in Sedona, the views are amazing. We particularly enjoyed the section of the trail that follows the inner contour of Mescal Mountain.

We created a loop by heading out on the Mescal trail, connecting with the Deadman’s Pass trail and then circling back on the Long Canyon trail.

Here is a video overview of the hike on the GaiaGPS app.

And here is a video of the hike.

The Mescal Trailhead starts with a short, elevated connector trail.

From there the start of the main trail begins.

We noticed that the creeks were no longer filled with rainwater. It made the crossings much easier and the trails were dry for the most part.

Still, there was water to be found crossing over the trail at certain points in the hike. Just not as deep as we had experienced earlier in the week.

There were several groups that started out at the same time as we did. We easily outpaced them. Even with our fully loaded backpacks.

Always some tremendous viewpoints along the trails of Sedona.

It was here that I had an unusual encounter. Coming around the corner, just at the beginning of Mescal Mountain, were a couple of hikers. Nothing unusual there. I often see hikers on the trails. Just not very many of them as we try to avoid the heavily congested trails as much as possible. On this hike, especially late in the day, there were very few people out on the trails.

But just as this couple came into my line of sight, they grabbed masks out of their pockets and quickly put them on their faces.

Was I about to be robbed?

Uh. No.

They had fear. Fear of Covid infection. They saw me as a threat. As a potential source of infection.

No matter. I passed them by and I attempted to contain any potential viral infection from heading out their way.

The Mescal Mountain trail hugs an expansive rock face with a very steep rolloff to the ground below.

The rockface arcs over a very large area and it provides an expansive view of the surrounding landscape. This photo shows Lorraine walking along the trail and you can see the angle of the rolloff is quite steep.

I’m not sure the camera does the size of this area justice. It is a good 10-15 minute walk to cross this part of the mountain.

And this is the view from that part of the hike.

This photo of Lorraine might provide a bit more perspective on the size of the mountain. Mescal rises up to about 5,000 feet.

The Mescal trail follows along the contours of the mountain.

We followed Mescal until we connected with Deadman’s Pass.

It was in this part of the trail that we heard screaming and yelling. We were very close to the Boynton Vortex and a large group of people were celebrating their time at the vortex. This was at odds with what I had read about Sedona Vortexes.

These sites are said to be concentrated areas of swirling energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. At some vortexes it is said that energy flows upward out of the earth, while at others the energy spirals downward into the earth. These are often popular spots to meditate or practice yoga. The Boynton Vortex is supposedly a balanced vortex.

I couldn’t tell if the crowd were Spring Breakers or not. But they were having one heck of a party on that vortex. They were gathered near the knoll at the left side of the mountain. However, at this distance, I could not reach them with my 24-70mm lens. I could, however, easily hear them on this side of the canyon.

The sounds of screaming and yelling gradually faded as we hiked Deadman’s Pass. That trail eventually connects to Long Canyon.

And, as we made the turn out of Long Canyon to the Mescal connector trail, the sun began to set.

We made it back to the trailhead before we lost the sunlight. Such beauty in the Sedona landscapes.

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