May, 2014 – The beautiful red rocks and views of Sedona, Arizona, are utterly enchanting, but the exotic Vermillion Cliffs two hundred miles north lured us away.
However, this time we stopped for a while to explore the area in a little more depth.
The Wave requires a permit that is given out by lottery or reserved months in advance.
Everyday while we were there, 100 people vied for ten permits that were passed out at the Kanab BLM office 40 miles from the trailhead.
Yikes! That was way too complicated for us to do this time around!
But the gorgeous slot canyons in the area use a self-pay permit system at the trailhead ($6 per person) and are open to anyone willing to hike skinny!
WOW! Talk about stunning!!
We were in total red rock awe as the rippling walls of burnt orange stone rapidly rose up around us.
Wire Pass Trail is every bit as beguiling, and it takes a lot less hiking to reach the slot canyons.
We baked in the sun us as we hiked in a sandy wash for the first few tenths of a mile.
We were going very slowly because the cameras kept begging us to stop!
When we finally slipped into the slot canyon, we found the air refreshingly cool inside.
The magically undulating waves of stone were even cold to the touch.
The slot was narrow, but not uncomfortably so. Tipping our heads way back, we could see a thin strip of blue sky high above us.
At one point a crow flew along that blue ribbon of sky, carrying a bit of nesting material in its beak.
Mark made his way through the nooks and crannies of the slot ahead of me, and in an instant he was swallowed up by the massive rock walls. Each twist and turn of the rocks was unique, and they seemed to fold open and closed like an accordion.
There were three places where there was a drop-off of five feet or so, but these were easy to negotiate, as someone eons ago had wedged very sturdy logs into place.
The logs are silky smooth from the oils of a thousand hands that have rubbed on them, but there are notches and handholds in all the right places so you can scramble up or down with ease.
At the end of the third slot we found ourselves at a T-intersection in a vast open area where the sheer rock walls pierced the sky.
The hike continues either left or right, but our cameras had slowed our pace down so much that the mere 1.7 miles we had covered so far had taken us three hours!
We retraced our steps, finding each slot to be a brand new experience in reverse, showing us new contours and shapes in the changing afternoon light.
At once point, outside the slots, we found a vast rock overhang protecting the most lovely still-life of a purple wildflower set against a weathered log in soft pink sand.
It was so perfectly positioned that it seemed as though someone had set it up for us to photograph.
But no, the roots were solid in the ground and the little flower had grown up around the log.
This was Art of the finest kind, created by a truly divine hand.
After hours of hiking, and armed with hundreds of photos to download and review, we bounded back to the rig in high spirits.
We would make this beautiful place our home for a few days…
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